Before the war, there were several abandoned houses in Chertsey. One in particular was known as the ‘Haunted House’, it was situated on the corner of Thorpe Road and St Anne’s Road—I believe it is now a restaurant.
Since Mr Wade told us a story about the house, I have always felt a cold shiver when ever I was nearby.
Apparently, a rich man had bought the derelict house as an investment. During the re-building a friend of Mr Wade’s, Taffy Jones, was digging a trench for the new drains when he came across the original cesspit. The wall of the pit collapsed into the trench and it had to be emptied.
At the bottom of the pit they found lots of rubbish including some bones—human bones! That was bad enough but—there was no head. The news of the grisly find soon went around Chertsey, could it be ‘The Headless Horseman’?
This quirky old town had its fair share of ghost stories, and one story that is still told today is of ‘The Headless Horseman’? A ghost that is seen riding down ‘The Old Coach Road’ in the middle of the night, and anyone who sees it will have some very bad luck.
Sure enough bad luck visited the rich man, almost as soon as the discovery of the bones he lost his fortune. He fled, leaving many unpaid bills, and the house was abandoned.
Now, here I am aged ten in the garden of the Haunted House, and against my better judgment, I have been persuaded by Teddy Wade and little Johnny Sewell, to scrump some apples that we could see in the back garden. they were cookers called Blenheim’s, but quite alright to eat.
Next to the apple tree, was a complete wooden staircase, Teddy said, the staircase was removed during the re-building to make the house single-story, as the rich mans wife was disabled, but the house was never finished
While we were sitting on these stairs eating the rather sour apples, Johnny said.
“Listen, I can hear someone talking”.
We stopped munching and sat absolutely still, I was ready to run for it, I can tell you. I’d had a funny feeling ever-since we climbed over the fence.
The voice sounded like a very old man counting money or something, and it was coming from the old house! I have never been the bravest of boys, but this was making my teeth really chatter, Johnny said .
“Be quiet, Wegsy, it’s coming from that window”
The trouble now was, that we had to walk along the path right next to the window to get out.
As we moved nearer the house the counting got louder, and we saw that a window was open, the counting suddenly stopped, and on the window-sill was a new packet of ‘Players’ cigarettes and a box of Bryant and Mays matches.
I have never been so frightened in my life, I remembered Mr Wades story, this house really is haunted. First the counting now this new packet of cigarette’s just sitting there.
But not so my two mates, they grabbed the fags with great alacrity, quickly lighting up and were soon puffing away and laughing at their good fortune.
Johnny, while he was enjoying his fag, looked at the ‘Players’ cigarette packet and started laughing.
Printed on the packet was the slogan.
‘It’s the Tobacco that counts’
I know it’s an old joke but what would Christmas be without a Ghost Story!?