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Case File: The Imaginary Friend

A couple's small daughter befriends a Victorian ghost


LORENDA M. lives in a large house that was built during the Victorian era, filled with old charm and secrets in every room. She took residence in the house several years ago with her husband, Ben and their six-year-old daughter, Anna.

Lorenda and Ben loved to entertain and often hosted parties for friends and family. Occasionally these visitors would stay as guests at the house. That was one of the reasons the young couple moved from their smaller house in London to this spacious English country home. And for the first few weeks they lived there, they found it lovely and peaceful.

Anna especially loved exploring the house. But that's when and how the horror began.


Anna had not yet started in any kind of school, and the couple and not had the chance to get acquainted with the neighbors. Anna therefore had not made any new friends, and so she contented herself with the curiosities of her new home.

One day Lorenda could not find Anna anywhere in the house. "I was worried she might have gone off outdoors," says Lorenda, "and Ben offered to watch out for her while he walked our golden retriever, Lulu."

Lorenda thought she was in the house alone. Then she heard the most deafening thud from upstairs. It was so loud that it caused the chandelier above her head to tremble. Lorenda froze, staring up at the ceiling and wondering what on earth could have caused such a dreadful noise.

With her heart pounding, Lorenda tentatively crept up the spiral staircase and began to search every room on the second floor. She came to a room that she and Ben were intending to convert to a bathroom, but which had been an old nursery. She pushed open the door and popped her head around the door. "When I didn't find the source of the noise," Lorenda says, "I turned around, and almost jumped out of my skin when I saw Anna there, gazing up at me."

Little Anna innocently asked her mother why she looked so scared. Not wanting to alarm the child, she replied that it didn't matter. To relieve the tension of the moment, she took her daughter downstairs for some drink and biscuits. As they entered the kitchen, Anna piped up, "Mummy, I want to play with the doll's house upstairs, but Jess says I can't because it's her sister's."

Lorenda was confused. She searched her daughter's face for signs of playfulness, but Anna was concentrating on the small TV on the sideboard. Lorenda didn't have a clue who "Jess" was, and they didn't have a doll's house. Lorenda, however, decided that she had had enough weirdness for one day and decided that Anna was just exercising her wild imagination. Yet Anna was such a good girl, not prone to lie or make things up.

Next page: The dog sees her

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