So I just got back from the UK visiting nifty places. You all know I used to live there and that I go back usually about once a year. You probably know that I’m an amateur ghost hunter (debunker and science geek) and that my location of choice is usually a graveyard, vault, or old prison, but I’ve never really seen anything weird or unsettling. Not even in places where tons of people make claims.
However, this last visit was a bit different. It’s not a huge experience and it could easily be debunked, I suppose, but it was cool in the moment, I must say. So here’s the tale:
We had just gotten finished with one of the better Jack the Ripper tours I’ve ever been on, and my husband, mother-in-law, and I were at a pub in Aldgate drinking a farewell beer (our last night). I cannot remember the pub we were at but I can tell you it was huge, and very very nicely appointed. meaning that everything was clean, there was the general sense of remodeled terrain, and the bar was connected to a larger restaurant that one got to via a long hallway with several enclosing fire doors. If you’ve been to Britain, you know they’re obsessed with fire doors. every hallway has a door on each end. Sometimes you have to go through two or three doors to get ten feet. And they’re usually heavy, swinging doors without locks.
So after drinking all day, like one does when one has British beer at one’s disposal, I needed to go to the bathroom. The tour was two hours long and we had come directly from another pub. The toilet, to my shock, was down two flights of stairs. These were wide carpeted stairs with many landings and large windows onto lower floors. Almost like a stairwell in a hotel, and they led to a basement level that was carpeted, and lined with pictures, flowers, etc. Meaning not derelict or dirty, just empty. So to give you a map, to get to the bathroom, you go off the bar, through a fire door, around a banister, through another door, down the stairs, through another door onto the floor, then into a fire door, to a hall, then the main bathroom door. Loads of doors.
So as I’m walking down, the staircase is completely deserted, and while the floors seem to lead to a larger complex like a hotel or restaurant, there was no one around. I went into the bathroom hall, and noticed that the main bathroom door was propped open. I was surprised to find that the bathrooms, despite being underground (usually an indication of ick) were stunningly remodeled. Gorgeous stalls with wood panneling, free-floating basin sinks, a side table with lotions and whatnot, makeup table, bench etc. I went into a stall and went about my business, but as I sat down, I heard a sound in the bathroom outside the door, almost like someone walked in quietly and was checking stalls to see if someone was in them. I made sure my stall was locked, but I had the distinct feeling someone was standing on the other side of the door about to knock. I assumed it was a bar patron or maybe my mom.
When no one knocked, I just assumed I had been imagining things, finished up, stepped out of my stall, expecting to see maybe an attendant or someone, but no one was there. I walked up to the sinks to wash my hands. So about two full minutes had elapsed since I entered the stall, got the creepy feeling, and then emetrged to wash my hands. While washing (taking my time because I needed to make sure my many layers of clothing were in place) I was still looking around the bathrooms thinking “these are the nicest bathrooms of any pub I’ve ever been in”, when out of the corner of my eye, I caught movement.
If you know me, you know I only have pereferal vision and that I’m acutely aware of it because it’s how I see. I assumed I would turn to see somone pushing through the hall fire door, but there was no one there. through the propped open door, I watched as the outer fire door swung open about a foot, stayed open, and then slowly swung closed again.
In the spirit of a debunker, I stood there, watching it for a long time, waiting to see if it would happen again due to weird air currents or something, but nothing happened, so I went back to the door and messed with it, pushing and pulling it to check its weight. It was HEAVY, and did not swing easily, did not hang upen, but fit firmly against its jamb and plate. I walked out into the hallway and popped my ears just to see what the air pressure was like. Nada. So I went back through all the doors slowly, watching them react to one another and the pressure shifts. Nothing. Finally, I walked back up the stairs through the staircase door, watching the haunted door as I did. No swinging.
I went back upstairs with a bemused smile on my face. When I got to the table I asked my mother in law if she’d had a creepy feeling in the bathroom. She asked me why I would ask that. When I told her I’d watched the door open and close on its own and could find no reason for it to have done so, she looked very surprised and both she and my husband were a bit shocked, because of all the pubs we’d been in, to have found a weird experience in this nice, modern, luxurious place was odd.
Anyway, I put this before you. It was a bit chilling, funny, and altogether NOT frightening, which is the kind of weird experience a ghost hunter likes, as you’re not too stunned to react in the moment.