Frank Jones, 59, was obliged 12 years ago to have his home in Windsor Avenue, Thornton, exorcised after a malevolent spirit dubbed “The Thing”, which had already driven one terrified family from the house, turned its attentions on him and his wife and kids.
In 1971, previous residents the Ross family told the Gazette how The Thing had “pulled at their bed covers while they were asleep” and that they “sensed a vile smell and felt something breathing in their ears”.
Jones moved in 20 years ago, solidly sceptical about the legendary presence, but “soon changed his mind”. He recounted: “I just thought they were imagining it. But there was a lot of banging and an earthy smell in the house. Then one night I was lying in bed and a mist came across the room. I wanted to shout out at it, but I couldn’t get my words out. My face seemed to be paralysed. It all got too much for me when that happened.”
Jones’s daughter, Maureen, 30, confirmed that The Thing had turned on taps and “ransacked” the house. She said: “You think people are exaggerating until you experience it. I was home alone one evening and suddenly heard these footsteps coming up the stairs. They went into my dad’s bedroom and then I heard all the cupboards banging open. It sounded like burglars.”
Cue an exorcist from Fleetwood Spiritualist Church, who “cleansed” the property of the spirit “trapped between two worlds”.
Peace then reigned in Windsor Avenue until five years ago, when Jones suffered a double tragedy – the death of his son Steven, 32, from a brain tumour and wife Sadie, 69, three months later from a heart attack.
Jones explained: “Just after Sadie died I came home and I felt like I didn’t want to go in the house. I got a missed call on my mobile, but it didn’t ring. The call was from my own home number, but there was nobody in the house. Then when I went inside there was a smell like cigarettes which Sadie used to smoke and the smell of her perfume.”
Jones says his family has since received strange SMS messages which they believe to be from Sadie. He concluded: “She always had a mobile with her. We buried her with her phone. There have been messages with words Sadie would say but there’s no number.”
By Lester Haines, theregister.co.uk