Our task was simple - rip out an old fireplace and expose an inglenook fireplace built around 1697. The work itself proved uneventful careful hand sorting of the rubble and sifting of the endless dust produced nothing of interest. The offending fireplace proved to be the first of three that were removed to expose the original brickwork. We had decided before starting the project to photograph the inglenook when first exposed at various stages of repair with an old entrusted camera. Three attempts were made, but all failed. Then panic took over it was Boxing Day so no more films or flash bulbs were available. Fortunately a friendly neighbour offered their camera with just one exposure and one flash.
Great care was taken to set the camera, and with my wife standing firmly in front of the fireplace the photograph was taken quite successfully or was it? Has the negative developed in front of us there no image of my wife, in her place a mob capped old woman sat in her chair, a cat lay curled in her lap while another stood on its hind legs clawing at her drindle skirt. On the right of the picture stood a man, stooped with old age .
With the passage of time numerous friends looked at the picture and invariably and without prompting identified the image we had seen. Eventually the local Spiritualist Church contacted us and asked us to arrange a meeting. Contact was made during the seance and an explanation ensued.
The lady in the picture was a Puritan spinster who looked after the old man, her father. They had lived in the house for many years and both died there. They were deeply sorry for any upset they had caused they wished us no harm and overjoyed that the old fireplace, that had given them so much warmth and pleasure through their lives, was now restored to its former glory
We believe they still sit there.