A HOUSE-hunting expedition left a chill down the spine of a Worcestershire man after a close encounter of the ghostly kind.

As Peter Alcock stood in the bedroom of a derelict bungalow, near Pershore, the hairs on his neck stood on end and his thoughts turned to suicide.

"As I stood on the threshold, I had a feeling that I was not alone. Someone was watching me," he said.

"The hairs on the back of my head stood up and I felt very cold. A thought came to me that, if I wanted to commit suicide, I could hang myself from a stout hook that was by the side of the chimney.

"I thought 'hold on, I don't want to hang myself'."

Mr Alcock, of College Road, Upton Snodsbury, had come across the bungalow in Pensham, while hunting for a country cottage with his ex-wife in 1964.

"We saw the dilapidated dormer bungalow, with a 'for sale' sign, and so as it was empty we decided to take a look at it with the intention of rebuilding it," said the 80-year-old.

"The front door was hanging on one hinge only and all the ground floor doors and floorboards had been removed.

"Some of the floor joists had also been taken but sufficient for us to walk across were still in place.

"On the landing, again most doors had been removed all except one through which I entered into the loft, which strangely was floored throughout the entire area.

"The chimney from the room below protruded through the ceiling and up through the roof."

That was when Mr Alcock was overcome with the strange thoughts of suicide.

"That night in bed as we often did, my wife and I discussed the properties we had seen and I asked what she had thought of the Pensham bungalow," he said.

"She said she had a terrible feeling of sadness and chill. I then related what I had felt and thought."

Mr Alcock had taken a mental note of the estate agents selling the property that told him the owner had died some years previously.

But it was not until some years later in a pub in Pershore that they discovered the grim truth.

"We were with some friends and a man who used to have a market garden in Pensham. Thinking of the bungalow, I asked about it.

"He told me that the owner was Captain X and had committed suicide by hanging himself in the loft from a hook by the chimney.

"He went on to say it was reputed to be haunted. He told me the property had been stripped by gipsies."

Mr Alcock said the property had since been demolished and another bungalow built on the site, some distance from the original.

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