Today's Scary Six comes from the lovely Lara Williamson!
If you had to spend Halloween in a scary place, where would it be?
There is a place, not far from where I grew up, called Ballygally Castle in Northern Ireland and it overlooks the sea. Now it’s a hotel and is reputed to be one of the most haunted places in Ulster. It’s most famous ghost is former resident, Lady Isobel Shaw, who is supposed to haunt the place by knocking on doors. After she failed to give her husband a son it is said that he locked her in a tiny turret room and she eventually leapt to her death from the window. The room she was locked in is called ‘The Ghost Room’ and I’ve been up there to have a look but only for a few seconds as it was freezing cold and felt pretty spooky. So, I’d spend Halloween there but I would need a big duvet and some mates to keep me company. And by mates, I don’t mean ghostly ones.
Have you ever seen a ghost?
No, but I have been present when someone else has. I was walking along the pavement with a member of my family. It was a dark night and very quiet with no cars driving past. There was no one else in the street with us. We were happily chatting away when suddenly the person I was with stepped off the empty pavement and began walking in the road. Of course, I was a bit confused and when I asked what was going on they said they had got off the pavement to let the man in the hooded top go past. Did I not see him? Um… all I’m going to say is that I saw no one. Eek!
Have you ever had your fortune told? Did it come true?
I’ve always had an interest in things like this. Growing up in seaside towns we used to visit those fortune-teller arcade machines. You’d put in your money, the fortune-teller would swing into action and their crystal ball would light up before a prediction was delivered on a slip of paper. Oh, how I loved that. Still do. I’ve had my tarot cards read, my handwriting analysed, my tea leaves read. You name it, I’ve tried it. The one thing that sticks in my mind particularly is when I had my tarot cards read as a teenager and I was told I’d marry a man with the initial G, which I did.
What used to frighten you as a child?
It’s probably the usual stuff that most children fear. I used to think that monsters lived under my bed or in the wardrobe. I’d often be so scared I could barely put my feet out of the bed for fear that the monster might grip at my toes or drag me under the bed. I also remember a ghost train I went on when I was about ten and I was so scared of what I anticipated happening that I kept my eyes closed the whole way around. I went on that same ghost train this summer and I managed to keep my eyes open this time.
Have you ever been in a morgue?
Ah, no. I haven’t. But as a teenager I wanted to be a forensic scientist and in fact recall asking my careers advisor about this very job. In the end I didn’t follow this career path and went into fashion design instead. Actually, I’m not quite sure how or why I made the leap from one to the other but I did.
What would you dress up to Trick or Treat?
Hmm… this year I quite fancy being Malice in Wonderland.
The Boy Who Sailed The Ocean In An Armchair by Lara Williamson is published by Usborne.
All Becket wants is for his family to be whole again. But standing in his way are two things: 1) his dad, his brother and him seem to have run away from home in the middle of the night and 2) Becket’s mum died before he got the chance to say goodbye to her. Arming himself with an armchair of stories, a snail named Brian and one thousand paper cranes, Becket ploughs on, determined to make his wish come true.
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