A Few Ghostly Thoughts.

No ghosts? Not even a fleeting phantom? Not even the slightest errant soul?

The tour guide shakes her head and “assures” me that the castle is not haunted.

You can’t have a castle without a ghost, that’s like Starsky without Hutch or Kojak without his lollipop (yes I betray my age.)

But I want a ghost or at least a spine-tingling ghost story about the castle. I am very disappointed. I almost feel like asking for my money back

This is France. The French don’t do ghosts, not like the Brits and the Americans. I live in the historic heart of France, there are chateaux everywhere, but not a single ghost

My town’s medieval centre is so thick with history, half -timbered houses and historic monuments that it is perfect for ghosts, but in the 25 years I’ve been here, I’ve never heard of a local ghost – if this were in Britain, there would be spirits, phantoms, headless noblemen, grey ladies, white ladies … all happily haunting away.

I get the feeling that it must be hard being a French ghost. Imagine after death, that you need a job as a ghost – well there are plenty of places that need haunting in France, but it seems that the French just don’t have ghosts – employment prospects for phantoms are therefore severely limited in France.

I often wondered why the French don’t have ghosts – sure they’ve got witches and demons and suchlike, but they’re not super on the supernatural. Could it be a religious issue? – this is a predominantly Catholic country and catholic doctrine doesn’t have much room for ghosts. The Spaniards and the Italians don’t have ghosts, yet the Irish have plenty of them (perhaps for the tourists).

A Frenchman visiting a chateau will not consider if it is haunted or not, yet on a tour of a British castle or Stately Home, the guide will always chuck in a ghost story.

So, next time you visit a French chateau and get a tingle down your spine – no, it’s not a ghost, it’s just a draught, and as for that murky apparition – your glasses need a good clean.