Creepy Things That Seem Real But Aren’t: Ghostwatch

Dr. Pascoe’s footage of Suzanne and Kim Earley’s bedroom.

A call in the studio is taken: The caller, a woman from Slough, has a story of her own, but more importantly, she tells Dr. Pascoe that in the footage shown at the beginning of the program, she thought she saw a figure in black hovering near the curtains. Interestingly, Dr. Pascoe says that she has examined that piece of footage many times and there has never been anything visible present. Parkinson, however, tells the caller that if she can find exactly where in the footage the spotted the figure, they’ll play it back and take a look at it. Meanwhile, Suzanne and Kim Earley share their knowledge with Sarah Greene: They call the ghost Pipes, a name drawn from his tendency to bang on the pipes in their walls, and he lives in a cupboard under the stairs, which their mother has boarded up. They had tried to go public with their story before, but of course, no one believed them. The newspapers misquoted and misrepresented them, and they became outcasts in their own community. And so here they are, on Ghostwatch, in one final effort to prove that their story is true.

To Parkinson’s, Mike Smith’s, and Dr. Pascoe’s surprise, callers keep phoning in saying that they, too, witnessed a dark figure standing near the curtains in the opening clip of Suzanne and Kim in their bedroom. They look at the footage again, but Pascoe believes what viewers are seeing is nothing more than a shadow cast by the curtains themselves.

And then the real trouble strikes. As if on cue, a loud, insistent banging noise commences, and Greene, naturally concerned for the welfare of the two young girls in the house, moves to head upstairs to make sure they’re all right. Parkinson, though, stops her, and through the cameras mounted throughout the house, Dr. Pascoe finds a startling discovery: Crouched in a closet on the upstairs landing is Suzanne Earley, banging on the pipes herself. Naturally, after this discovery, the whole event—Pipes, the house, even the family themselves—is deemed a hoax by a slightly belligerent Parkinson.

But if only it were that simple.

In spite of Parkinson’s support of the fairly irrefutable evidence of Suzanne’s involvement, Dr. Pascoe, perhaps unwilling to believe that so much of her research may not be worthless, but perhaps driven by something else, insists that this cannot be the only explanation. Indeed, Suzanne’s own tearful explanation of her actions support this notion: That the only reason she was banging on the pipes now, while they were on television and being broadcast nation-wide, was to show the world that they were telling the truth. Because, you see, while Suzanne had done the banging this time, all of the other reported activity was caused by some force other than her. Those things, she insists, actually happened, but in order for the world to believe it, she thought she needed to present absolute proof. And if nothing was happening on its own that night, she intended to do something about it. Backwards logic, perhaps, but then again, Suzanne is very young and the whole family is under a great deal of stress.

And this is far from the end of the program.

Truly inexplicable things now begin to happen at the house on Foxhill Drive. Greene and the crew begin to hear the sound of many cats mewing piteously, but are unable to pinpoint the source of the noise. When they head upstairs to check on Suzanne—in case she is somehow creating these noises as well—they find not a mildly ashamed girl hiding in her room, but a traumatized girl lying motionless on her bed with a face full of scratches. Furthermore, when Pam attempts to get the camera crew away from her eldest daughter, Kim, her youngest, insists that they have to stay; they must see everything.

Another call is taken. This caller, however, is more than just a hysterical audience member. Northolt born and bred, she reveals that when she was a child, parents used to scare their children into behaving with tales of a woman called Mother Seddons: “Go to bed right now, or Mother Seddons will get you.” Years later, the caller found out that Mother Seddons did, in fact, exist. She had been what is called a baby farmer: Someone who takes in children and kill them. And she had lived at what is now Foxhill Drive.

Greene reports from Foxhill Drive that the decision has been made to get everyone out of the house. But as they attempt to do so, the banging noises begin again, only now, they are violent enough to knock a picture frame off the wall and break it. The voice from Dr. Pascoe’s previous research footage begins to emanate from Suzanne. More cats are heard, and now the sound appears to be coming from the cupboard under the stairs. Greene goes to investigate, at which point a large mirror crashes down on top of the sound man. Kim screams. The signal is interrupted…

…And when it returns, Sarah and the crew appear to be playing with the two girls in the living room. There is no sign of anything strange or inexplicable happening.

You can reach this post's author, Lucia Peters, on twitter.
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