A TWITCHING curtain may not be a rare sight in some Oxfordshire villages but when the house in question burnt down more than 130 years ago, then questions start to be asked.
During a visit to the ‘cursed’ Hampton Gay manor house, near Kidlington, photographer Bryan Robertson captured a black ‘curtain-like’ piece of material hanging from the second floor window.
Mr Robertson was recceing the site ahead of a planned visit by the Oxford Mail’s camera club later this month and was taking pictures from different angles when he saw the material blowing in the wind.
He said: “It was around 2 or 3pm and I was stood there and got a sense someone was looking at me.
“I had my eye to the viewfinder and thought I saw something in the window.
“I looked up and it was gone. Then the wind picked up and it was there again. It looked like a black curtain blowing in the breeze.
“It was weird, very odd indeed. I thought if it hasn’t been lived in for more than 100 years, how can a curtain still be there?”
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The notorious house was supposedly cursed after a major railway disaster in 1874.
The Paddington-to-Birkenhead Express crashed nearby, killing 29 people, but the owners were said to have refused those injured help and shelter.
When it was gutted in a fire in 1887, it was seen by some as retribution for what happened and the ruins of the house have stood empty and crumbling ever since.
A dozen or so Camera Club members are due to visit one night later this month to capture the derelict building against a backdrop of stars.
Mr Robertson said he hadn’t been put off by the ‘strange affair.’
He said: “We are going because it’s a good location to take photographs of the night sky.
“It hadn’t even occurred to me that it might be spooky.
“There are stories the area is haunted by a white lady who has been seen down by the bridge.
“But it is all hear say of course – just a good story.
“We’ll be taking hundreds of pictures in quick succession so if there is anything strange, we might get it on camera.”