White vespa with Learner plates, parked in front of Modern Classics shop front.

Spectres on Steep Hill

When I filled out my UCAS forms all those years ago, I never realised quite where my degree might take me. Back when I applied for my journalism course I imagined it would be all council meetings and school fetes – don’t get me wrong, there’s a hell of a lot of those. But, last Wednesday I found myself on a dark street corner wondering what I’d gotten myself into.

I was waiting for Mark Seale, a real-life ghostbuster, with my friend and colleague Aaron. Mark is a real life ghostbuster and a member of the Shadow Seekers, a group who have been investigating paranormal goings-on in Lincolnshire for almost a decade – he was joining us to check if the reported haunting of a Steep Hill café was true.


We knew there was something fishy going on inside Modern Classics, and it wasn’t the kind that came with chips. The owner of the café had told me earlier that several people had reported seeing or feeling the presence of the supernatural while dining there. He recounted the tale of one woman who was moved to tears by the presence of three spirits in the upstairs room and had to leave. Of course, I was sceptical that a gang of ghosts had forced her outside, but to me, it didn’t matter whether or not the story was true. It was mere days before Halloween and the idea that the supernatural might be lurking in the shadow of Lincoln’s gothic cathedral made my news-sense tingle. There was a story here, and we were going to find it.

Mark arrived and we took a seat in the café. He laid his ghost hunting gizmos out on the table and demonstrated how they could be used to detect and capture spirits. We hadn’t been there long when the gadgets began to react and Mark began to feel the presence of a spectre in the far corner of the room.


An EMF (electromagnetic field) meter. One of the many gadgets Mark uses to hunt the undead

“It’s a young lass,” he said, “Around eight-.” The ghost had cut him off. “Ah, 22.” He spoke to her for a while and relayed what she had told him.

Her name was Carol-Anne and she’d lost her life in the 1920’s, falling down Steep Hill in a drinking accident. I laughed a little self-consciously having narrowly avoided falls on the hill myself. It might be 70 years after her death but things in Lincoln haven’t changed that much. According to Mark, Carol-Anne was quite posh and thought herself above the rest. She responded to many of my questions by calling us ‘louts’. Although I didn’t get any real answers, I can safely cross ‘being insulted by a ghost’ off the bucket list.

As stated by Mark, Carol-Anne wasn’t the only ghost in the room but she was the only one willing to communicate with him. He sensed 2 more spirits but they were hesitant to talk, instead opting to hide in the attic. Mark felt it was best they were left alone so we said our goodbyes and parted ways.

I went home that night not quite knowing what to make of the experience. I still had doubts over how much was true but, either way, I’d got what I had come for – a goofy Halloween story to submit to my tutors. I had a lot of fun gathering the information, and I know that in a pile of stories about school fetes and council meetings my tutors will have a lot of fun marking it. I don’t know if Mark spoke to the dead that evening, but I do know he spoke to my passion for the course, the passion for the interesting and the unexplained and a passion for sharing those stories with others.

Find out more about studying Journalism at Lincoln on the School of English and Journalism website.