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  • I was invited to accompany some friends on a visit to a local chateau, so very local I could have walked. There are a lot of chateaux round here. They tend to perch perilously on the bluffs above the wide river Vienne where they have a stupendous view of approaching English forces. (This is the fourteenth century and the Hundred Years' War is just getting into its stride).

    This particular chateau (Ch√Ęteau De Fougeret) was latterly "improved" in the nineteenth century and then abandoned about fifty years ago and left to rot, but its new owners are keen to restore it, a really incredible piece of work to take on as rain has been pouring through the roofs and ceilings for decades with most unpleasant consequences.

    So, we started the guided tour outside in the sunshine and most of the talk was of architecture. There was a French family on the tour with me and my Scottish friends. We chatted cheerfully as we waded through the long grass.

    When we moved inside however, the guide hesitated. "Do you want me to talk about the ghosts?" she said. "Some people don't want me to talk about the ghosts."

    We assured her we were very keen to hear about the ghosts.
  • It turned out that there was the woman who sobbed "Aide-moi", the child who simply cried, the man who paced round and round the turret room demanding to know who had done this to his home, and the young woman called Alice who died of a mystery illness and now passes it to anyone who spends a night in her room.

    We started to feel rather uneasy.

    So much so that, when the chatty Frenchman suddenly sneezed, my friend Louise jumped so violently that if the floorboards had been any more rotten she would have plunged through them.

    They're having an evening with a medium in September. I think I may have to go along. In the interests of research, of course...
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