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4.2 out of 5 stars27
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 18 August 2013
This is my second recent foray into genres I usually avoid, and I was pleasantly surprised (although maybe 'pleasantly' is the wrong word, since I began reading at night during a thunderstorm and had to switch to something less alarming).

There are endless 'true haunting' books available but most seem sensationalised and overwrought. Maybe it was the understated, colloquial style of Colette Shires's writing, or the fact that the setting is Leeds, with which I am familiar, but this is one of the creepiest, most chilling accounts of unexplained activity that I have ever come across. Like most factual accounts, as opposed to fiction, there are no handy explanations: the house is not found to have been the site of some strange previous activity and the uninvited guests are not discovered to have been previous owners or victims/perpetrators of tragedy. The range of experiences that the Slater family undergo is wide and inexplicable, from sightings to sounds to invisible weights and missing objects that reappear having seemingly defied the laws of physics.

What is truly unusual, and I had not come across this before, is that whatever inhabited the house in Grant Place seemed to follow the family outside the house, then arguably caused the house to collapse and followed them to their next home and beyond. Was the haunting in fact of belongings, or of the family themselves? I will definitely think twice before buying that attractive table or cabinet from an antiques fair next time....

The author doesn't come across as someone who spends her life watching for shadows or listening out for things that go bump in the night, and she also gives a plausible answer to what everyone wonders while watching horror films, namely "Why don't they just leave?!" Not everyone in the house(s) is as affected, while some are genuinely intrigued, and the practicalities and expense of moving house when nothing scary has happened in a long time preclude the move. That's another difference between real and fictional accounts of odd activity: in the former, it's sporadic rather than relentless. I'm interested to know whether the house in Potternewton still has inexplicable happenings, and whether the possessions that were sold on have introduced some extra members to other families. Most of all I hope the Slaters have found some peace, whether that is by accommodating their unusual experiences, or having finally outpaced their retinue of strange followers!

Highly readable, and recommended for anyone who feels or has felt haunted, or just wants to know more about hauntings generally from the point of view of a believer or a non-believer.
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on 14 June 2011
A very interesting and at times disturbing tale of a more-or-less "ordinary" haunting. The story is told in a fairly matter-of-fact way and comes across as quite believable, if you consider hauntings to be possible (I do). There are no conclusions, just lots of questions, as tends to be the case with non-fiction hauntings, with the implication that perhaps an object was haunted, rather than a house. Phenomena included all the classics, including phantom sounds, apparitions, disappearing and reappearing objects, invisible weight sitting on beds etc. and included some poltergeist-type effects. A very interesting read, well told.
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on 9 February 2009
This book is mainly set in the Sheepscar and Potternewton area of Leeds. It focuses on the eerie experiences of the Slater family which includes a house falling down for no apparent reason.

The story is creepy but believable as it is written in a non sensationalist way. You do find yourself interested in the non spooky aspects too. Although it is set in Leeds, I do think that readers from other areas will also find it interesting.

I loved it and would recommend it.
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on 29 December 2013
Interesting book..quite weird as I used to see men's faces floating around me in the dark when I was very young and they wore flat caps but they would shout.I remember being terrified.Also from my cot I saw a little goblin type creature running around the beds.This book took me right back to the old spooky flat where I was born and makes me ponder that they could have been ghosts.I have always had an interest in the occult and have had other ghostly encounters since.maybe they do latch on to certain people.A very enjoyable and convincing read.
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on 3 April 2009
I loved this book. So believable. What a fascinating read, even though quite frightening in parts. Apart from ghostly happenings to the Slater family which followed them from a house in Sheepscar, which fell down for no apparent reason to a house just as haunted in Potternewton, it offered a chronicle of the family. Mrs Slater even had a ghost following her to three elderly persons homes in her old age. I do not understand the remarks by B. Osborne about Oakwood Hall, which was not a statley home but just a mansion, which was an important part of the story. I think they either did not read it, or they read a different book to me. I definitely recommend it. Photo's too.
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on 20 January 2014
Well written without a hint of sensationalism.

I found this absorbing and interesting-my heart goes out to the family as it is a very scary situation.

A good description of what went on in their lives.
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on 4 January 2013
I don't know how this poor family could go through so much terror, i would of been out of there in a flash !!
This is one of those books that you can't put down, enjoyed every page !!
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on 22 March 2014
I bought this book because it's set in an area of Leeds very close to where I grew up. I never experienced anything of the kind but the author tells her story clearly and simply, without any literary tricks or devices. She knows what she saw and heard and that's what she relates. There are points in the story where more natural causes suggest themselves. For example, an old house that's structurally unsound is extremely likely to produce odd noises. But there are many incidents where the reader has to decide whether the author is simply making it all up or whether the existence of ghosts is a reality. Unfortunately her way of describing these events is sometimes just too plain and simple, such as when someone rises from the bed and is taken up to the ceiling. This either happened or it's pure invention. If it happened, the world is a far stranger place than we take it to be. But there is no follow-up to this, no subsequent investigation, no details on exactly what the person felt during and afterwards etc. It's an extraordinary story, but if you don't want to be convinced, you won't be.
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on 16 March 2014
I loved this book. Very believable. I wouldn't call it scarey to read as other reviews have...however, I have no doubt that to experience the hauntings as the family did no doubt would have been scarey. I found this book sad at times, simply for the poor luck health wise that befell an obviously close and hard working family. Many times I've wished I could experience my own haunting, reading the effects in a down to earth, everyday kind of way as in this book, I'm no longer so sure for myself, and most definitely not for it to affect my children the way it did the authors.
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on 10 March 2014
Down to earth recounting of a lifetime or extraordinary events. I have always believed in ghosts but I would like anyone who dismisses this account to only do so if they can provide serious and feasible alternatives which doesn't include " it's their imagination", it's no good being an ostrich confronted with experiences like this, it requires an open mind.
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