Local BBC Sites

Neighbouring Sites

Page last updated at 18:14 GMT, Friday, 6 March 2009
Lucy McCarraher: Ghost writer
Lucy McCarraher
A move to Norfolk brought a ghostly addition to the family home

Lucy McCarraher's latest book Kindered Spirits, was heavily influenced by a ghost in her Norfolk farmhouse.

"He told my friend where we could find him in the churchyard. And blow me down, we did!" said Lucy.

The story has a split narrative, thanks to the information from Lucy's ghostly friend, one set in World War II and one in the modern day.

It's a ghost story in which village politics and family feuds combine to get rid of outsiders.

Lucy moved to Norfolk in 2003 and at first all seemed well with her new home in Bunwell, near Attleborough. Then a psychic friend came round and informed her that her family weren't the only ones living there.

"It was a summer evening there was this huge thunderstorm and we were watching the lightning," said Lucy

"We went back and sat down and suddenly he said to me, 'Oh Lucy, there's someone here who wants to talk to you'."

Writer's instinct

Many people may have cut their losses and left at the suggestion of an unwanted presence in their new home, but undeterred Lucy decided to find out more and pressed her friend for further information.

A writer at heart, having started her own theatre review magazine when she lived in Australia, Lucy knew a good story when she heard one.

"He wanted a wrong righted, something he'd been accused of back in the 1940s.

"There was a background of wartime there and something to do with our village, although I don't think he was actually to do with our house, I don't think he ever lived there," said Lucy.

"I eventually found out that he had married into quite a wealthy family in the village and in '44 or '45 the patriarch of the family had died and not left a will, which was quite strange.

Lucy McCarraher
At home with Lucy McCarraher
"The estate was not as big as it should have been.

"It seemed as if funds had gone missing. I know that he and his family had to leave the village because of family disputes.

"My guess is, and I could be completely wrong of course, is that he had been accused of spiriting the money away."

Freak out

Receiving contact from a ghost is one thing but actually being able to confirm that person existed by finding his grave is a different matter.

"It did freak me out a bit. I didn't feel that his presence was floating around my house and that I felt threatened," said Lucy.

"His story to me was a gift, he told me to move the place in my house where I was working to a bay window that overlooks the road. He said that would be my 'window on the world' and I should write there. So I did."

Lucy has now finished her third novel, Mr Mikey's Ladies, but her life before moving to Norfolk was equally exciting - albeit minus the spooks!

Lucy moved to Australia in her twenties and found a job in the flourishing arts scene, starting a theatre magazine and landing a job as a theatre reviewer on TV.

When she returned to the UK she also worked on the infamous Lovers Guide video that was released in the early 1990s.

The video caused a furore but Lucy insists that the video served a vital purpose.

"There was a market for this. It was stuff people needed to know and a lot of stuff people didn't.

"People could read the book The Joy Of Sex and things like that but there's no substitute for seeing what actually happens and where various bits are," she said.

Russian adoption

Lucy has also had time to bring up four children, but even this has a twist.

"I've got two grown up sons from my first marriage and two little girls. My sons grew up in London, my two little girls are growing up in rural Norfolk but they come from Russia because they're adopted from two different children's homes there."

Lucy McCarraher
Lucy is a writer, consultant and mum to four children
Adoption is a theme that has been present in both Lucy and her husband's life so it wasn't a huge step to consider.

"My second husband and I were going to have a family and it didn't happen and my mother has been involved in all sorts of childcare and she suggested, 'Why don't you adopt from abroad?'.

"I suppose I'm a bit of an adventure freak and it seemed like another interesting project and adventure to start getting involved with," she said.

But what of her friendly phantom? Has he ever been back in touch with her?

"He's never been back again. I'd love to think that I've picked up some of the vibes and at least got something of his character into the book.

"The story of the will, the family and the break-ups are in the book and he is vindicated in that."

Who knows? Maybe he just wanted some recognition?

Whatever his motives, three novels later, the advice to write by her 'window on the world' has certainly paid dividends.

Kindred Spirits is published by YouWriteOn/Legend Press at 6.99


OTHER RELATED BBC LINKS


BBC iD

Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2017 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific