GHOSTLY goings on have spurred two friends into trying to trace the origins of a strange dark figure seen regularly at their homes in Rastrick.
Neighbours Liz Phillips and Alison Mitchell are convinced their homes in Gargrave Close are haunted – but they insist it has nothing to do with this week's Halloween celebrations.
Over the last 18 months they have seen a tall, dark-hooded figure, which they have christened 'the monk'. They have found windows that had been left closed, wide open, toiletries thrown on to the bathroom floor, mugs hanging on a tree mug swinging violently to and fro, dried washing moved on to wet washing, and heard whispering noises. There have also been black shadows and unexplained bad smells.
Both women say they do not feel threatened or frightened but they want to know if the ghostly figure worked or lived in the area.
"Before these houses were built the land around Boothroyd could have been a farm," said Liz, who lives with her husband, Gordon, and sons, aged 25 and 18. "But old maps also show an area marked 'Nunnery' and of course there is Nunnery Lane. Could the dark hooded figure be a farm worker or a monk?"
Alison, who has lived at her home for six years, said she first became aware of something odd about 18 months ago.
"I was in the living room when I could see a dark figure as if someone was coming in through the front door. I thought it was my son then realised it wasn't," said Alison, who is 38 and lives with her four children, aged between seven and 19.
Soon after she found a window, that had been left firmly closed, wide open but no one in the house was responsible for opening it. She was also contacted by a friend who lives opposite in Nunnery Lane who said she had seen a tall hooded figure.
"The figure had gone past her window but then disappeared," said Alison, a fraud investigator.
She was even more convinced there was a presence in her home when a friend visited from Corfu earlier this year. The bathroom had been left clean and tidy but when Alison went in soon after everything was in an untidy mess on the floor.
"Then we had the instance with the mugs swinging on the mug tree.
"Once I hung my friend's clean top up for her and when we checked later it had been moved on to some wet washing," said Alison, who has also experienced someone whispering in her ear while on the settee.
On another occasion her son had friends round to watch a DVD and the machine paused and started playing again without anyone touching the controls.
Liz, who has lived next door for four years, has seen a low, black shadow in the living room and a black figure at her bedside.
"I did not feel threatened or spooked by it but it has made me want to find out more about the area," said Liz, who is 50. On another occasion she was at home with Gordon, when they became aware of a dank, musty smell and it went very cold.
She also discovered after shave had been moved on to the floor. She said her husband was sceptical at first but now accepted something strange was going on.
Liz has spent time researching the area at the library and has census details from the 1800s.
"We would love to know if this was farm land and if the route through our houses was one of the old pathways," said Liz.
One name that has struck them is that of Elijah Dyson, an agricultural labourer, who appeared on the 1841 list but had gone by 1851. "Is our ghost Elijah?" said Alison, who is a member of the Brighouse Spiritualist Church. "Whoever it is if they are wanting to move on, we will help them if we can.
"We would also like to hear from anyone with historic details of the area."