I had a real chuckle when I heard this story on the radio yesterday, and even now when I think about it, I smile. It's Barnsley in South Yorkshire, where Roger Froggat and his missus, Kathryn, are having a kip in t' bedroom, nae bother, when they hear summat. The Froggats live above the pub they run, (Low Valley Arms), so Mrs Froggat sends him to investigate (what a brave man), and perhaps swing a cricket bat if he can muster the courage. He gets to the pub, only to find that there are no balaclava'd men in dark tights and plimsols filling their bag of swag with reassuringly expensive Stella Artois bottles and Golden Wonder crisps.
Instead, what he saw alarmed him somewhat - all the television screens were on. Of course this is no reason to be alarmed, after all we don't all have satelite television. And with new episodes of Grey's Anatomy showing on Living TV, and Desperate Housewives showing on E4, I can see how one can break into a pub to watch cable. Why all the tellies? Surround sound, you should try it sometime.
But it didn't end there, what Roger saw next scared the freckles off his face. He went to the toilets, only to see a ghost of a woman in a flowing white gown - and get this - with half her face missing! So he did what any self-respecting man would do (regardless of even if he had to impress a wife waiting upstairs for a progress report), he called the police.
Operator: Hello, 999 emergency, ambulance, fire, or police?
Mr Froggat: Well, me heart is now in me mouth, so I need an ambulance. The fire service could probably trap her with that foam jobby, like in Ghostbusters, and a copper could arrest her for scaring me.
Operator: Calm down sir, what exactly happened.
Mr Froggat: I saw a ruddy ghost, with half her face missing, is what happened.
Operator: Sir, I hope you haven't wasted our time and possibly endangered the lives of people in genuine distress trying to get through to the emergencies services. This is 999, we don't do exorcisms. Call your parish priest for that. Sir.
Mr Froggat: I'm right scared, I am. Honest.
Operator: Okay, out of the goodness Her Majesty's constabulary, we'll send a squad car round.
So the policemen arrive at the pub and go to the toilets to seek out Barnsley's very own Carlotta Valdes. And lo, what do they see? Pub toilets flushing of their own accord. Nobody tugging at the flush chains, no lager louts (on the odd occasion that they remember to flush) kicking the cubicle in frustration, just pub toilets peaceably flushing. That in itself is worth ten apparitions. The coppers were obviously scared, but didn't see any immediate threat, and didn't call for back-up. Independently flushing toilets? They'd never live it down back at the nick.
I'm sure the story was actually reported because there were upstanding members of the community to witness the dodgy happenings. If the pub landlord had mentioned it to any of his regulars, he would have been laughed out of his own pub, or even sectioned for being one G&T short of a distillery. But there were witnesses, and these ones were credible witnesses. I know what you're thinking, coppers fiddle evidence all the time. But even a copper as bent as a coat hanger wouldn't make this story up.
It's all rather confusing. I'm thinking, on the one hand, of course ghosts exists you silly bottoms. What do you think we Africans have been saying for centuries? Serves you right for not listening to us. On the other hand, I don't believe in ghosts, so it's just very funny for its silliness. Très amusant.