Ghosts, ghouls and things that go bump in the night

Cover story ' Gemma King outside Ayscoughfee Hall with her new book, which has Ayscoughfee Hall on the cover. Photo (NIKKI GRIFFIN): SG190812-236NG
Cover story ' Gemma King outside Ayscoughfee Hall with her new book, which has Ayscoughfee Hall on the cover. Photo (NIKKI GRIFFIN): SG190812-236NG

MUM of two Gemma King has her first book in print, Haunted Spalding, following paranormal investigations in pubs, hotels, restaurants, hairdressers, shops and the town’s most celebrated building, Ayscoughfee Hall.

Gemma (36) recounts all manner of incidents, things that go bump in the day and night, names being called out by disembodied voices, spirit sightings and a spirit ordering a cup of tea during a seance at Ayscoughfee.

Most chilling of all, Gemma tells the story of “an evil spirit so intent on harassing a local family that it could only be removed by repeated exorcisms by a local priest”.

Gemma says she was 19 when she heard a disembodied voice saying “hello” to her when she arrived home late one night.

She’s not afraid of ghosts but says she would know where to draw the line.

“I am more frightened of spiders and wasps,” she said. “If I said I would never be scared at all, I can’t make a sweeping statement like that. You never know what you are walking in to. If I felt there was anything evil or demonic, and people were being harmed, I would not touch it. I think that’s something for a Roman Catholic priest to get involved in.”

Royalties from her book sales will go to a Spalding-based mental health charity, Making Space, which has a crisis house on Winsover Road.

Gemma said: “This is an extremely worthy local cause and I hope people will join me in wanting to support them.”

Haunted Spalding includes stories about familiar places in the town, such as Flames Restaurant, fashion shops New Look and M & Co, hairdressers Hedonism, dry cleaners Geoff Neal and Son, The Punchbowl pub and many more.

The book gives several mentions to Holbeach, including The Mansion House, The Chequers Hotel and Holbeach United Sports and Youth Social Club

It also focuses on South Holland villages including Surfleet, which reportedly has a family of six spirits living in The Crown Inn.

There will be two official local launches of Haunted Spalding – one at Ayscoughfee Hall on a date to be confirmed – and one with a talk at Bookmark in The Crescent, Spalding, at 7.15pm on Tuesday, September 11.

Gemma lives in Cowbit with her husband Phil and children Mikey (6) and Jasmine (4). She’s already writing a second book, Haunted Boston, which is due to be published next June, and has been invited to write more books in the Haunted series.

l Haunted Spalding is published by The History Press and priced £9.99. The book includes a web address so people can review some of the incidents Gemma has recorded during her investigations, a beginner’s guide to the paranormal and an explanation of technical equipment used in investigations.