Home Of A Friendly Ghost

Norfolk Eastern Daily Press
Behind the scaffold-covered frontage of a city centre property lurk tales of floating paper and typewriters working by themselves.
For this has an unenviable reputation as the city's most haunted house.
A bricked up window above the roof-tops is the key to the former pub's spooky history.
Number 19 Magdalen Street, Norwich, was (and maybe still is) home to young woman named Sara who was murdered more than 100 years ago in the attic.
The new owner of the infamous residence was unaware of its history when he bought the property at auction nearly two years ago.
But part-time postman Brian Roberts is about to make his ghostly inhabitants feel more at home, by restoring the former Red Lion public house to its original Victorian condition.
"I am going to expose the beams and I have already taken down some of the 1960s plaster to reveal a flint and brick wall," he said.
"The front dates back to 1845 and an architect said it could have been four cottages originally."
Mr Roberts plans to turn the ground floor into a craft shop, with a living space upstairs - including the attic.
Sara, who was allegedly strangled in the roof space in 1860 when the building was a house of ill repute, is known as a friendly ghost.
She has been blamed for many of the unusual events that have been reported by businesses which have rented the property, including Stirling Travel, Oxfam and Ron's Reptiles.
Staff at Oxfam had the biggest scare when they found one morning that all the women's garments from a bin bag of donated clothes had been taken out and neatly folded in a pile.
The experience led the staff to use an ouija board to contact Sara and they even got in touch with the Bishop of Norwich to have the woman exorcised.
But Mr Roberts is more fascinated than frightened by the stories.
"I would like to research the history," he said "As soon as I bought the place someone told me about it. I still get a lot of people commenting on it and they even want to go up in the loft where the girl was supposed to be murdered.
"I have sat in here in the evenings and I don't sense anything. I only believe it if it happens to me. If it was a violent ghost I wouldn't be so happy but she is meant to be friendly.
"I even say goodbye to her when I walk out the door. And I was going to put a bundle of clothes out to see if she would sort them."
Dave Chisnell, known as Ghostly Dave, who has been conducting spooky walks around the city centre for seven years, thought the restoration could lead to increased activity.
He said: "I think it is one of the most believable ones. It is not just one story that has come to light. It has come from at least four or five different businesses. If he is going to unblock the window that could be very interesting."
But Maxine Wicks, an administrator for Include, which currently rents the premises, has worked in the building for more than a year and said that although it felt strange sometimes nothing unusual had happened.
She said: "If I have to go to the fax copier in the back I quickly turn the light on. Sometimes you get a feeling. I have never seen anything but I do go round and look sometimes."
Mr Roberts plans to open the craft shop in April.
He said: "I'm sure people will be coming in and asking me if I have had a strange experiences. There seems to be a real interest in the place."
Anyone with old pictures of Magdalen Street and the old Red Lion can contact Brian Roberts on 01603 611016.
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