Ghostly Goings-On at No 23 High Street
This newspaper cutting dating from the 1960s was kindly shown to me by Christine Tysterman (formerly Cook) who used to live at No 24 High Street when it was Cooks Butchers. The story relates to events at No 23 High Street which was then Continental Shoe Repairs and is now Simply Sweet Bakery and Coffee Shop. As the clipping is very small, the full article is reproduced below:
“Strange happenings up above scare shop staff”
“Wisbech High Street is gay with Christmas decorations and noisy with shoppers at this time of the year. But those thronging this busy thoroughfare can hardly be aware that behind a window which looks down on the lights, tinsel and Christmas trees there have been happenings so strange and inexplicable that the staff of the shop below have become very frightened people.
It was several months ago that those working on the premises of Continental Shoe Repairs first began to hear unusual noises in the shop.
There were footsteps on stairs at the rear of the premises which are never used and in rooms above the shop.
When the staff went to investigate they could find no one there as the manager, Bill Hyam, said yesterday, the footsteps always seemed to be one step ahead.
LIGHTS CAME ON
At first Mr Hyam paid little attention to these noises, but when other things started to happen he began to sit up and take notice.
A wireless in the shop was switched on and off when no one was near it, and lights which were turned off, when the staff left the premises at night, were on when they returned in the morning.
To put an end to this, My Hyam removed the plugs, but this made no difference – the lights still came on in the middle of the night.
“Even when this was happening, I still tended to make a joke out of it” Mr Hyam said “but I ceased to think it was funny when a drill was torn out of my hands”.
When that happened, Mt Hyam thought he had seen enough for one day amd closed the shop. “I never used to believe in poltergeists, but I am convinced that we have one here” he said.
The staff went home, but long after they had gone, assistants in the shop next door heard the sound of footsteps coming from Continental Shoe Repair s.
Mr Hyam said that these unusual activities usually reached their height when there was a full moon, but in recent days they had attained a new peak.
He sought to solve the mystery by sprinkling flour on the floor of the top floor room. But far from finding a solution, he managed only to deepen it.
Within a few days of the flour being put down, there appeared in it five footprints, well away from the door, leading from a window to a fireplace. All of the prints are of a bare right foot belonging to either a child, or more probably, a small woman. There was not a single left footprint. In addition to the prints there are parallel scratch marks in the flour.
Yesterday My Hyam found two stockings, both right foot, in the chimney.
“All the back doors to the premises are barred and the windows at the front are securely locked and I don’t mind admitting that I am scared stiff” Mr Hyam said.
The only girl working at the shop is Miss Margaret Roper. She said that she had got used to hearing footsteps, but she admits that the discovery of footprints really frightened her.
The other member of the staff, Patrick Lee, is so disturbed that he will no longer venture up the stairs.
My Colin Cook who owns the butchers shop nect door, has seen the lights being switched on and off at night, and he and another High Street shop manager have volunteered to spend the night at the premises with My Hyam.
Meanwhile, Mr Hyam has approached the Rev T.F.Butler, assistant curate of St Augustine’s to see if he can help.
“I don’t know enough about it yet to give my views on what is causing this” Mr Butler said “but Mr Hyam and his staff are obviously genuinely frightened people and I intend to have another talk with them before deciding what to do”.
Mr Hyam said that the unusual happenings began when a young lad came to work at the shop. This boy had now left and, although the events had frightened him, they were not the reason for his leaving.”
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