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Monday, 10 February, 2003, 04:12 GMT
Haunted house to get makeover
Windhouse
A woman's skeleton was found under the floorboards
One of Britain's spookiest building projects is about to get under way.

Property owner Andrew Taylor plans to renovate a "ghost-filled" house on the Shetland isle of Yell.

If there are ghosts there, I can see why they don't want to leave

Andrew Taylor
The castellated Windhouse, which has been derelict since the 1920s, is reputedly one of the most haunted homes in the country.

The ghostly goings-on are attributed to the presence of an ancient graveyard under the original structure.

Spectral occupants are said to include a servant girl who mounts invisible steps, a man in a top hat, and a ghost dog.

There is also reputed to be a lady dressed in silk, who is believed to be the spirit of a woman whose skeleton was discovered under the floorboards of the main stairs when earlier renovations were carried out.

The ghostly throng is rumoured to have sent the building's last living occupant fleeing in terror.

'Not bothered'

But Mr Taylor, 40, and his partner Caron Reeves, 38, are willing to share their property with a few phantoms.

The couple, who come from Cheshire, discovered Windhouse on the internet and bought it as an investment.

"When we saw the house, it was such a lovely day it never occurred to us that it may be haunted," Mr Taylor said.

Windhouse
Major structural repairs are needed
"It is only since we bought the place, that we have learned about its past.

"Caron believes in all that kind of stuff, but I'm not really bothered by ghosts.

"We just hope to make a good job of renovating it and to move in a few years time when it is finished."

Relocated

The original house was built in 1707 but was moved away from an ancient burial site in the 19th century.

The building requires major structural repair, which will take several years to complete.

The couple, who love the outdoor life, say they are looking forward to enjoying the area's natural beauty.

The house is located beside RSPB Scotland's Lumbister Reserve, and surrounded by internationally important wildlife.

The truth behind these tales remains a mystery

Robbin Mitchell, Land Agent
"I've always enjoyed the great outdoors," Mr Taylor said.

"This house will not only allow us to enjoy a more peaceful existence away from the racket of the city, but allow us to observe wildlife and conservation first hand.

"I don't think you could ask for a better location than on a nature reserve.

"We're not worried about the stories of hauntings either.

"If there are ghosts there, I can see why they don't want to leave."

Mystery remains

RSPB Scotland's Land Agent Robbin Mitchell said: "People have used the site where the house now sits for more than 5,000 years.

"That's plenty of time for these kind of stories to generate, but the truth behind these tales remains a mystery.

"However, there are plenty of people who are 100% convinced about the haunting of the old place."

See also:

31 Oct 02 | Wales
29 Oct 02 | UK
09 Aug 02 | England
05 Apr 02 | England
20 Mar 00 | UK
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