The Laughing Ghost Of Perranporth: The Story Of The Phantom That Terrified Two Holidaymakers

In 1947, in Cornwall, England, Miss Robinson was on holiday with her friend when she claimed they were terrified by a laughing ghost, a phantom dog, and a self-moving rocking chair. This is a first-hand account of the incident that the witnesses could never forget.

The paranormal encounter took place in the Cornish village of Perranporth
The paranormal encounter took place in the Cornish village of Perranporth

The remarkable events that occurred to two ladies in July 1947 when they were on holiday in Cornwall always remained a source of intrigued speculation and bewilderment to them. Miss Frances Robinson and her friend, Miss Roberta Probert, both in their forties, decided to celebrate the end of the war by renting a caravan for a fortnight in the well-known Cornish holiday village of Perranporth.

When they arrived there late in the afternoon, however, they were disappointed and annoyed to find that instead of a new mobile home they had been allocated something that was little more than a dilapidated wooden shack consisting of a tiny living room, a bedroom, and a kitchenette. As it was fairly early in the season and consequently many of the other chalets and caravans were unoccupied, they felt that they had been rather shabbily treated, but tired after the journey, and conditioned by eight years of strict austerity to accept whatever scraps of pleasure came their way, they settled in. After washing, a meal, and unpacking, they went to bed early to read.

About 11pm they were greatly alarmed by the sound of stealthy footsteps paddling around the outside, and of a dog growing at the front of the building. Both women peered through the bedroom window, but as the night was very dark and overcast, they saw nothing. Hoping that the walls, flimsy though they were, would provide sufficiently strong moral, if not physical, barrier to a potential intruder, they settled back uneasily to their books.

Suddenly there was the sound of the front door, which understandably they had locked and bolted with scrupulous care, being opened and then slammed shut. As the reverberations died away, they were aware of the same paddling steps prowling around the living room. Horrified, Miss Probert called out, "who the devil is there?" A heavy silence followed, and both women prayed that the stranger had taken fright and had left, and was not waiting motionless but poised in the darkness a few yards away. Then to their utter amazement, they heard the rustling of paper as if someone was turning over the page of a large newspaper, and a gentle, jolly chuckle that was completely devoid of any malice or evil. It was as if a lunatic had entered and was enjoying a leisurely few minutes with an amusing article in the daily paper. The crinkling of the paper came again, followed by the laughter, and then an unidentifiable creaking noise. With considerable courage in view of their relatively lonely situation, the two women slipped from bed and advanced to the living room. When they threw open the door the whole of the little room was visible in an instant: there was no one there, and nowhere anyone could hide. But with a tingling of their scalps, they noted immediately that the wicker rocking chair was swaying to and fro with uncanny regularity. It was not the dying oscillations of a spring set in motion and left to run down, but the steady and equal rhythm of a chair being worked back and forth by someone invisible seated in it. Again from the chair came the eerie, but cheery, laugh, and the crackling of paper, then as Miss Probert advanced, the low warning growl of an unseen animal which appeared to be located by the side of the rocker. Once more came a more insistent snarl from the phantom dog.

The women's nerves broke at this point. They fled back to the bedroom, locked the door, and sat huddled under the electric light until dawn. From time to time they heard the footsteps around the house, and occasionally the happy laugh, but that was all. Once the sun rose, they packed their cases and sat on the sand dunes until the rest of the camp began to stir.

Another holidaymaker gave them breakfast, and then they walked to the house of the owner. To their surprise, she showed little interest in what they told her, but said, "I have heard similar stories from others." She did, however, offer them one of her latest luxury caravans for the remainder of the holiday, and for the rest of their stay, they had no more unexplainable events.

This story was recalled by Miss F Robinson, Brighton.

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