When William C Graves, purchased his house at 19, little did he know how strange the next few years would turn out to be.  From mysterious hands appearing on a baby monitor, unexplained footsteps and mysterious voices being heard, the Sheffield author has revealed the spooky goings on of living in a haunted house.

William can still remember with clarity the day he woke up to find the front door ajar. His first thought was that he had been burgled. Outside the house he found a bag owned by his tenant and his personal belongings strewn across the floor. He walked around the house to inspect what had been stolen but the sight he was met with was far more frightening than any burglary. 

A set of five knives that he owned were driven into the oak wood flooring, in a neat line, outside the kitchen doorway. “They were all about two inches deep across the doorway. To drive a knife into the floor, you wouldn’t be able to do it by hand, you’d have to hammer it into the floor,” William says.

This would turn out to be one of many terrifying occurrences that both William and his family would witness in the semi-detached, three-bedroom, Sheffield home.  “I didn’t sleep very well for the next few weeks, but the scariest thing that happened to me was a night where I was living in the house alone at the time,” he says. 

William was at home alone with his parents’ dog, Guinness. As he prepared to go to bed, he attempted to turn off the living room lamp. To his shock, the lamp stayed on. At first, William didn’t think much of it, until he unplugged the lamp only for it to remain lit. “I put the plug on the floor, left the lamp on, and went upstairs to bed.” 

But while he was in bed, and Guinness asleep on the landing at the top of his staircase, William heard a scuffling noise that he initially thought was Guinness’ wagging tail. “I sat up a little bit in bed, and I was just about to call her (Guinness) inside when I heard, as clear as day, a man’s voice from the stairs say, ‘Come here!’ It was so crisp, like a strong whisper. It was clear as day. I froze.” Grabbing a golf club, William went downstairs to investigate, and much to his surprise, the usually obedient Guinness did not follow him. “Whatever was down there, she didn’t want to know about it.”

Despite investigating, he found nobody inside the house. “Every door and window were locked,” William says. “There was no way somebody could have made it in and out without alerting me.” 

William has chronicled 19 years of living in a haunted house in his book “The Lady in the Bay Window.” The book which contains 25 anecdotes has now raised over £25,000, sold over 6,600 copies worldwide and become an Amazon best seller. 

When the author first purchased the house in November of 2004, he was warned by the previous owner that “something wasn’t right” with the house. William, who labels himself a “sceptic with an open mind” said he didn’t think much of the comment.  “I’m quite a sceptic. I do have an open mind because I’ve seen things, I heard things that I can’t explain. Not just me, multiple witnesses have seen and heard things as well. I try and debunk anything that’s happened in the house, but there are things that even I can’t debunk that happen.”

Despite having lived through terrifying paranormal encounters, William remains jovial. The encounters are not always scary, he explains, recalling a time when his friend had been using the toilet when a hanging light fixture floated and turned in the air, startling his friend. 

His first paranormal encounter in the house was when his friend claimed to have seen an old lady looking down at them in displeasure. His friend described the old lady as wearing a dark cardigan and having short, grey-permed hair. He would be one among the four people who encountered the old woman. 

“I think there’s an old lady here who’s quite nice. The male figure, the heavy-footed figure that we’ve heard around the house seems to be quite a bit more assertive, not necessarily aggressive, but quite assertive,” says William. He invited a psychic to his the medium confirmed, without being told about any of the paranormal events, that he detected the presence of an old lady and her husband, who had died in the house. The description of both matched the ones of his friends and family. 

“Things don’t happen all the time. We tend to have what we call the week of madness every couple of months. We’ll have a week of things that happen,” says William.

The most recent incident happened three weeks ago when William claims a disembodied hand was captured on the baby monitor of his 10-month-old son. The hand was seen passing through the barricade of the cot, reaching inside to pick up a dummy. 

William has dedicated his book to his mother, who was diagnosed with a rare form of breast cancer, while he was writing the manuscript. Sadly, she passed away before she could read the final copy of the book, but all proceeds have been donated to Cavendish Cancer Care. 

William was prompted to write his book while he was recovering from an operation and a friend had enquired about recent paranormal experiences. William explained he had an American one-cent coin thrown at him in the shower, describing how he felt excited rather than scared. Listening to the story, William’s friend turned while and explained that after he had visited the house a week before for electrical work, he had found a single American one-cent coin in his work trousers. 

The friend suggested that William should write a book recording his experience living in a haunted house. “I started writing that night and it took me three years of doing five drafts and two edits because I wanted to make sure it was perfect before it hit the shelves in effect,” says William.

He said the most difficult part about living in a haunted house is knowing that when something odd happens, it’s not an isolated incident, but despite the terrifying debacles, William continues to live in the house because he believes that the spirits are malevolent. “I know that there’s some sort of force at work in this house. I don’t know what it is I’ve never seen the old lady. I’ve seen shadows. I’ve heard voices. I’ve heard footsteps. I’ve seen poltergeist activity; I’ve seen a coin thrown at me. I saw the knives on the floor.

“I’ve also seen spring-loaded door handles go down and doors open with nobody on the other side of the door. It’s not physically possible without someone being there to hold the door handle, and I’ve seen that. So, I would say I’m still sceptic, the first thing I look for is to debunk something.”

Following the publishing of his book, he had people contact him explaining their own experiences living in haunted Sheffield houses. William now hopes to write a second book compiling these stories. 

Whether you are a believer or a sceptic, William’s real-life experience only goes to prove that sometimes facts are stranger than fiction.