Ghostwatch is a 90-minute mockumentary TV film first broadcast on BBC1 in 1992. It is presented as a live show that aims to investigate paranormal phenomena. The Ghostwatch team goes to Fox Hill Drive and investigates a house belonging to the Early family, and which is said to be haunted by a malevolent spirit. Two girls and their divorced mother talk about hearing strange sounds, a hand knocking on the walls, and invisible cats yowling around the house. One of the girls is photographed with scratches that mysteriously appear all over her face. Her sister calls the spirit “Mr Pipes”. To find out if the Early family’s stories indeed are true, Ghostwatch sends a team of three – cameraman, boom operator, and reporter – to stay in the house for Halloween.

It’s complete fiction of course, but Ghostwatch lends it veracity by hiring actual BBC personalities to conduct the interviews and take phone calls. If I were a British child seeing this for the first time in 1992, I would have been completely thrilled and traumatized. It will be one of those Halloween specials that I will remember for many years to come. It is a slow burn. It starts off slow to lull you into submission, until all hell breaks loose.  Because it is “live” TV it has no reenactments, just a narration of events, which I like. Sometimes reenactments just ruin the story for you; sometimes what you imagine is worse than anything a film crew can ever show you. This is why I love hearing ghost stories from other people. No reenactments there, but the goosebumps still appear.

If you’re the kind of viewer who wants to see things happen, then don’t fret. There is payoff after the wait. And what a payoff. I slept with the lights on.

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