This special page for Halloween 2018 shares our collection of spooky stories from scientists and engineers around the globe. If you would like to contribute, send us your tales of ghosts, phantoms, spirits and spectres via our contact page. We'll post the best ones here.
To get you started, here's an account from someone we know personally...
The house at Bridge Farm
The house at Bridge Farm lead a solitary existence until the arrival of the adjacent railway in 1865 then, in 1945, housing estates to the north of the line were constructed for the bombed-out population of London.
The farm was sold for development and large factories were constructed on the land once occupied by dairy cattle. The house and outbuildings remained intact until the early 1960s, being used by a company that manufactured surveying equipment.
Sometime in the mid-70s the final vestiges of the farm were bulldozed and more buildings were erected.
One building in particular on the site housed one of the most advanced precison engineering facilities in Europe at the time. It contained a clean room, had only four windows that were double double-glazed (yes, double double-glazed!), and the super thick concrete floors were rubber mounted to provide vibration isolation. Entry to the building was by a programmed key card.
The staff there, both scientists and engineers, were not given to flights of fancy. Yet they would often relate tales of weird goings on. The most common were the sounds of doors banging when only a couple of staff were working late, and the smell of a hot meat pie wafting through the fully filtered air-conditioning system.
The most siginifcant event occured during the day. A visiting service engineer was on site at lunchtime to repair a vacuum coating machine when he happened to glimpse a woman in period costume cross the end of the facility and go into a fume cabinet room. As all staff and visitors were required to wear white coats, he immediately rushed to see who it was in fancy dress.
This tiny room had only the one door, so he was very surprised to find it empty. No one could have left without him seeing them. When we returned after lunch he was in quite a state.
The factory added thermal imaging equipment to their product range and during peak demand teams worked shifts building and testing the heat sensitive cameras for the armed forces.
One night the test team had trouble with a just completed system. Focussing on the end of the workshop they were plagued with an intermittent shadow that drifted across the screen. A sort of 'ghost' image they told the day shift team leader. He laughed and told them that they'd seen a real ghost.
Plans of the area clearly show that a quarter of the building was built directly over the site of the farm house. Consequently, the ghost was always known as the farmer's wife.
Today the factory has gone, replaced by plush new office buildings... but does the phantom still haunt the plot that once was the house at Bridge Farm?