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When thinking of ghosts, we normally associate them with terror; be it slow, creeping dread, or Exorcist style nightmares. Humans love to be scared, so it’s unsurprising that the popular ghost stories tend to focus on the more frightening aspect of the supernatural.

However, there are plenty of tales of people who have lived harmoniously with ghosts; and some who have even embraced these eerie guests as one of the family. Here’s one example of spirits and humans in relative harmony – in a farmhouse in Devon.

Honiton’s Youthful Ghosts

There’s a building, just outside Honiton (a busy enough town in Devon), that has now been converted into a home for the elderly. However, it doesn’t just house retirees; it’s also home to two rather younger residents.

Rewind to the 1980s, when the house was still a private dwelling, and the home of Mr and Mrs Rugless. They experienced strange occurrences almost from the day they moved in. Running footsteps in the bedroom above, even though no-one was up there. An odd, rhythmic creaking noise from within, as though someone was riding a rocking horse. Additionally, the couple noticed that both their cat and dog refused to go near the bedroom in question.

Backed Up By a Friend

A friend of theirs, who happened to have a keen interest in the supernatural, came to stay. Mr and Mrs Rugless deliberately didn’t mention their spooky house-guests, as they wanted to see if she picked up on anything. Sure enough, the friend said that she’d picked up on some strong energies – two young girls, with names that began with an E or an A. She also said that they weren’t sisters, as they were dressed quite differently.

Comfortingly, she also reinforced what Mr and Mrs Rugless believed themselves; that the atmosphere that accompanied the spirits was a happy one.

Doing Research

Naturally, the couple’s curiosity was piqued. After some digging, they discovered that two girls had died in the house, and both were just four years old; but that they hadn’t died there at the same time. The first girl had been born in 1844, and was called Elizabeth. The second, born in 1902, was called Ann.

They were also blood relations, as their family had lived in the house for several generations.

Staying Put

Far from being alarmed by these youthful ghosts, Mr and Mrs Rugless lived in the house for many years, and reportedly told people that they felt lucky to have “such pleasant little spirits about the place.” Mrs Rugless also said “the noise they make doesn’t usually bother me, but one afternoon I heard them run out of the bedroom and start jumping around on the landing. I went into the hall and shouted up at them to stop – and they did!”

(This tale was taken from the wonderful book, West Country Hauntings, by Peter Underwood.)

Could You Welcome a Ghost into Your Home?

It’s natural to react fearfully to the supernatural. After all, you’re dealing with something that is quite literally ‘beyond natural’, and with that comes uncertainty and unpredictability.

However, as someone who was raised in a rather strange house (with plenty of the usual ghostly events, plus a few other more unusual occurrences), I can testify that it is something you soon adjust to – particularly when you realise you’re not under threat.

This was actually my starting point for the Dr Ribero series – presenting the supernatural as something that is all around us, and which can occasionally be frightening, but also fairly pleasant. Much like humans themselves, really.

On a completely different topic, it’s now just one week until the release of The Case of the Deadly Doppelganger. If you’d like to bag a copy, it’s available for pre-order on or