July 6th, 2005

Most Haunted

I'm a sucker for Most Haunted- a TV show in which people go and hang about in dark cellars and midnight churchyards and get themselves thoroughly spooked.

Last night they were in the Bronte village of Haworth, nosing around the Black Dog.

Which is a pub.

Bottle-blond spirit medium Derek Acorah started receiving impressions. Pretty soon he came up with the name "Branwell".

Which is exactly what we were hoping he would do.

Imagine the disappointment if he'd come up with Alf the boot-black or Tillie the chambermaid.

Branwell Bronte, it appears, is everlastingly miffed that his sister Emily stole his ideas and published them as Wuthering Heights.

He expresses his disapproval by monkeying around with the spotlight over the portrait of his sisters in the lounge bar.

A seance was held.

This time The Rev Patrick Bronte turned up and caused a table to wobble. He is everlastingly angry that his son is everlastingly hanging out at the Black Dog. Stewart the lighting man said "fuck" a number of times. And the Rev Patrick, his clerical sensibilities ruffled, wobbled the table some more.

Derek Acorah said it was the best seance he'd ever had.

Then the girls went down into the cellar and the boys went out into the churchyard. A drunken man was heard raving in the distance. Perhaps it was Branwell.

And Stewart the lighting man fell down a hole and banged his knee- which'll teach him to say "fuck" in the presence of ghostly vicars.

Meanwhile back in the bar, a back-up psychic had produced some automatic writing. "Look to the east/ And there you'll find the beast" (or something like that). One of the girls said that the East/Beast thing pointed to ancient Egypt and the psychic said he'd go home and translate the message into hieroglyphics just to be sure.

I'm not inventing any of this.

Was the message from Branwell? The psychic thought not. The fact that it was couched as a riddle suggested to him that it came from "higher up"

Day dawned. We left the Black Dog.

A sceptic summed up. He suggested that the message might have come from the psychic's subconscious and said it was a pity we hadn't been able to see what was going on under the table when the Rev Patrick was wobbling it.