Many years ago when I first started work we were sent on a lot of training courses to get us up to speed with the latest programming crazes that were sweeping the world. HTML, XML and A lot of scripting. There were about 20 of us that were sent down to a hotel / training centre and we were there for months learning different things. It was like being at a grown up boarding school but a bit of a spooky one.
The training centre was once a massive stately home built a few centuries ago. Owned by a very affluent family, the portraits of the lords still hung in the vast halls with the high ceilings and red carpets. It had a homely feel to it. Yet you didn’t feel too comfortable walking down them by yourself too late at night. Something you couldn’t quite put your finger on.
We’d heard a vague history of it from one of the chefs telling us it had been turned into a boys boarding school over the course of history and that it had also been a hospital during war times. There was a cemetery for the people that had passed away during the war too, somewhere in a corner of the many acres of land the stately home owned.
Although now a conference centre and hotel, it was still steeped in its old grandeur and, being a listed building, had all of its original structure and features. Complete with the boys bedrooms on the top floors.
We’d always stayed in the new modern complex on the same estate. The rooms had been purpose built for trainees in around the 70s and although it was a sharp, somewhat ugly and characterless structure, it provided all the modern amenities that one now comes to expect of hotels. We were all happy trudging back the half mile to the comfort of our modern rooms. We didn’t care less about what was in the old building.
We didn’t know….
Till one day.
Like all the previous weeks we’d arrived on the Sunday afternoon ready for another week of gourmet cuisine, familiar old halls of training and then evenings of sitting around socialising with the staff we’d come to know so well and collapsing into sleepy slumber in the comfort of our modern rooms after a long evening.
Today would be different though.
“Hya! Can I check in please?”
Like always we all waited obediently or our rooms to be sorted out. The receptionist then handed us our door keys. Except this time I didn’t get handed a card key. I got given a traditional “proper” key.
I was to stay in one of the rooms in the old building. Uh oh.
I did my best to try to get a room in the modern complex bit but i knew it was a lost cause really. The place was heaving with trainees so the old rooms had to be used for the overspill.
Maybe it wouldn’t be too bad.
That day at lunch we discussed which rooms we’d all been allocated. It turned out about half of us had been given the old rooms in the main building. Maybe it wouldn’t be too bad.
It was then that Geoff, the security guard, who happened to be passing decided to give us the lowdown on the haunted history of the old main building.
Haunted? I was already feeling nervous at the very word.
He told us of all the places in the building that were haunted by ghosts from various eras. And of all the sightings that had been reported by people.
Like the ghost of a wounded soldier that roamed the acres of land around the stately home.
Or like the ghostly presence that was always felt in the small corridors that led onto one of the courtyards.
Or like the cries of a baby that people had reported at the foot of the stairs that led up to the hotel rooms.
Or how none of the cleaning staff now cleaned the top staircase. Rumour had it that one particular evening one of cleaners had been slapped by an invisible presence. She never went up there again and no other cleaner was forced to do so.
Oh my god. I was stunned into a terrified silence.
Some of the lads burst into disbelieving laughter and patted Geoff on his back for “a good story!”.
I pretty much ran back to reception and tried my best to get my room changed. No such luck. They did however find me a room in the modern complex for the night after.
It was now getting late and despite my fears I would have to spend one night in one of the old rooms.
With a massive amount of trepidation I opened the door to my abode for the one night. I was staying a floor below where the apparent ghostly presence was. The slap happy one. I would be ok. I would be ok. I would be ok.
I have never been so scared in my life.
I put all the lights on and glued myself to the phone to the OH. And relayed every little noise I heard.
Footsteps. Then nothing.
Hurried footsteps. Then nothing.
People chatting in corridors.
Why was there so many rushing footsteps?
Then a knock on the door.
Oh my god.
Silence. Then knocking.
Oh it was my friend asking if I had iron.
This went on till about 2am.
Each and every single sound frightening the life out of me. I kept listening out for some horrific drama on the top floor but it didn’t happen. The small very old ex-boys room doing nothing to give me any comfort whatsoever. I felt like I was trapped. Trapped in the haunted old building. Everyone else was asleep. Just me. And some ghosts.
Eventually, with the lights still fully on in my room I eventually fell asleep and slept till about 6am.
It was daylight.
I traipsed down to the big breakfast table in the restaurant feeling utterly knackered and somewhat cranky.
My friend had also had a crap night from all the worrying. We both compared noises we’d heard and confessed we’d slept with all the lights on.
Two meek, tired sounding voices followed:
It was the 2 guys that had been in fits of laughter the night before.
I was lucky enough to never stay in the old rooms again. That was almost 10 years ago. From what I’ve heard they’ve now been completely modernised. But I now know the history. Those ghosts may still be wandering.
This is my spooky Flashback Friday for this week.
Come link up!