Next time you settle down with a brochure to book your gîte in the tranquil beauty of rural France, spare a thought towards the history of the building - it just might not be as quiet as it first appears.
In the spring of 2002, tired of the rat race that is England, I set off to create a new life for my family.
I knew I wanted the house the moment I set eyes on it. Virtually derelict, swamped in head high weeds and swathed in thick cobwebs, it was crying out to be brought back to life. The farmhouse was large, but it was the outbuildings that drew us - there was plenty potential to create our dreamed of gîte (holiday cottage).
During the renovation we noticed many strange phenomena in the main house. Every evening, at roughly the same time, there would be a single tap on the back window of the living room, although we never saw what caused it. The door to my daughter’s room would often come open in the night - even though the latch was firmly closed. There were times that her television turned itself on by itself, and on several occasions, she reported hearing the sounds of movement in her room.
Needless to say, she soon switched bedrooms - but it didn't help, as whatever it was had followed her to her new room.
Worth noting, that on the occasions that my husband slept in that room, he took to jamming a chair under the handle, to keep the door from opening - something it never did during the day, or if the room was unoccupied.
With the work on the gîte completed, we excitedly awaited our first paying guests. Little did we suspect that the cottage was already occupied.
It slowly became apparent that people just weren't comfortable sleeping in the back bedroom. Although a lovely cosy room by day, it seemed to take on a different persona at nightfall.
Many of our guests reported sudden dramatic cold, (in the height of a French summer, this is very notable) - lasting a few minutes and then disappearing just as quickly.
There were taps, and knocking noises - the sound of footsteps on the stairs and even one report of a guest being woken by something temporarily holding them down on the bed.
An American family, on route to Italy, were particularly affected. Their ten year old son refused to sleep in this room - insisting on sleeping in the double room with his mother. Of particular interest to us though, was discovering that the father was also declining to sleep there - instead, taking the bedding each night and making up a bed on the sofa.
From the main house the light activity continued sporadically - causing us no real distress, but piquing my interest.
For me personally, the most notable event was to take place when my husband and son were away visiting England.
Alone in the house I went to bed as usual and fell asleep quickly enough - only to be awakened in the early hours by the sound of heavy footsteps on the wooden stairs. I listened wide-eyed to a heavy dragging sound (not unlike the sound of a heavy wooden chest being pulled across the floor), there was a scuffling noise, and then the footsteps retreated back down the stairs and faded away.
The thought that it could have been a burglar never crossed my mind - I just knew that it wasn't. The air was somehow charged. I didn't sleep a wink for the rest of that night and in the light of morning went to check the landing. Nothing had moved - nothing had changed... what the dragging noise was, I had no idea.
Well that for me was the start of my obsession with the paranormal. It had always been a strong interest, but now I knew that I was going to be a Paranormal Investigator.
To follow my dream I sold the house that had been our home for ten years and returned to Cornwall... the rest, as they say, is history.
So do the new owners think the place is haunted? ...yes they do.
Are they bothered? ...no.
It's just part of the charm of the place.