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Friendly Little Charlie


I've just logged in and realised it's almost 2 years since I have been on the site! I'm so glad that it hasn't changed a bit!

This story actually started before my birth. After being married for about a year my parents bought a house in south west London - back in the days when 'normal' people could still afford to purchase property in the capital! It was an early Victorian - possibly about 1840 - built 3 storey house. There were two entrances to the house, reached by two stair cases - one went down to what we called 'the area' (a common name for a basement then) and the other stairs went up to the first floor.

When my parents had lived there for about a year, they discovered that one of my great grandmother's sisters and her husband had owned the house about 15 years before they purchased it. When I was born, about three years later, Charlie was already well ensconced in the house. I have absolutely no idea why it's called Charlie, but my great aunt had named it when they owned the house. This means that he was already a resident of my family house in the 1920s/1930s - my parents believe that they were able to buy the house for such a good price because of Charlie, but we could never be sure of this! When we left the house and moved to another house about 5 miles away, Charlie decided to come with us. We weren't aware of him for some time, but after about a month Charlie made himself known and made himself at home.

When I married and moved away from the family home, guess who decided to come with me? That's right, Charlie! When I moved away from London to the Kent coast (south east England) again, he came with me. When I moved to the West Midlands and married my second husband, it seemed to take Charlie a couple of months to 'track me down' but he is living very happily with us again, which is great, as I really missed his presence.

Charlie is a friendly, if somewhat mischievous, spirit. He loves to hide things and then leave them in truly bizarre places. Once I had a little tiff with my then very young son, whilst I was cooking a fried egg for his lunch, I went looked back at the cooker, the frying pan and the egg had vanished. I found them about an hour later, hidden in the freezer, and amazingly the oil was still sizzling around the still cooking egg.

He also likes to move things that you're using if you're foolish enough to put them down for a few minutes. One of his great favourites is to come into my craft room whilst I'm working and wait for me to put the scissors down. Of course, when I look back to where I left them they are gone - on one occasion hidden behind our tropical fish tank, so they were not found for around 3 months.

My husband didn't really believe that Charlie existed as he had never had any of his possessions moved. This was when Charlie decided that he couldn't resist my husband's tools - especially when he was working on one of his cars. Socket sets are very much his favourite, usually he manages to remove the exact piece of the set that is needed next, or failing this, a nice spanner will do! He often leaves them in the fridge, but he has also been known to leave them in our bed, always on my husbands side.

My kids all know Charlie, and have used him as an excuse on many occasions - which makes Charlie move their stuff and hide it from them. My son once claimed that it wasn't him that drew on the wall so it must have been Charlie - fine if I'd not seen my little artist drawing on the wall! He's hidden so many things that we've lost count. He doesn't get more active when there are arguments or upsets in the house, nor did his antics increase when I hit puberty or when my children did. I understand that is quite often the case with this kind of activity.

Funnily, none of us have any desire to discover who or what Charlie really is, and we definitely don't want to get rid of him - he's been part of my family for at least three generations, and I would love him to continue long after I've gone. He is very mischievous, but has never once scared us or put us in any kind of danger. So far he's shown no interest in knives or anything that could harm us (even though he LOVES my scissors!), and I'm certain that he would never do anything to hurt us or our visitors. I have to say though, that he's more than happy to pinch items from our guests and hide them - maybe he enjoys the antics of us mere living people looking for the things he's moved!

Life would not be the same without Charlie and, as we're moving around 300 miles away next year, I really REALLY want him to come with us.

Do other people have these little pranksters living with them, or am I extremely lucky in having Charlie in my life since before I was born?

Thank you for taking the time to read my ramblings on a poltergeist, if that's what he actually is!

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The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, tigerfeet, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

M00nchxld_ (3 stories) (9 posts)
3 years ago (2020-12-16)
Thank you for sharing your story. This is truly adorable, at least you have a friendly spirit that can keep you happy and entertained ❤-Moon/Day
TigerPaws (1 posts)
5 years ago (2019-10-13)
Hey! I'm TigerFeet's Daughter! Charlie has been in my life since I can remember and as the youngest daughter in the family, I look forward to having him in my life for years to come.

Charlie loves anything to do with electronics and on multiple occasions, he has moved my chargers, computer mouse etc. He's a part of this family and honestly cannot imagine life without him around, even if he gets annoying sometimes ❤
Tweed (35 stories) (2494 posts)
5 years ago (2019-10-12)
Hello there Tigerfeet,

Biblio emailed me the link to your experience here in the hopes of setting your mind at ease, that yes there are others living with otherworldly critters. So, you're not bonkers, or maybe you are and so are the rest of us.

Actually the scissors fixation jumped out at me because I used to know a mentally unstable woman, now deceased, who was also fixated with scissors. We knew this about her but when she died her family found nearly a hundred (ninety something) pairs of scissors stashed around her home. No idea what that's about either!

I'm guessing Brownie for your Charlie. If you want to take it next level crazy town you could try leaving a food offering for him. They're said to love porridge, honey, butter, bread, tea and beer. Also said to usually take up residence in a cupboard, or similar nook. (Good place to leave an offering)
I started doing this but felt a right plonker and stopped. A friend does this without hesitation, his lives at the bottom of the garden. I blame the hedgehogs for the food disappearing, but he's sure it's a gnome of some sort.
As for my food offering experiment, the drink went down, but that could be natural evaporation. The bread broke up a bit around the edge. But that could have been mould forming, and it did go mouldy.

My feelings on offerings is that it's the thought that counts. I wouldn't put it past fae folk to appreciate a nice gesture.

Cool stuff, thanks for sharing.
Bibliothecarius (9 stories) (1091 posts)
5 years ago (2019-10-02)
Hi, tigerfeet:

As an English teacher with an interest in history, I love teaching folklore, folk tales, and urban legends. Sure, the more modern "urban legends" derive from a variety of factors, but folklore is among them.

As for a Brownie or Hobgoblin living in Battersea, I'd like to note that the realm of Fae & Faerie stories often suggests that they have an expanded idea of time when compared to the realms of men. Certainly, Greater Metropolitan London has absorbed hundreds of hamlets, villages, towns, and the occasional city (knowing stare toward Westminster Abbey).

The original construction of St. Martin in the Fields was built *in fields* a statue mile west-south-west of the Roman wall around London, marking the halfway-point between Westminster and London (for non-Brits: the rebuilt structure on the same site now overlooks Trafalgar Square).

Greenhithe was a dock on the Thames in the countryside; Erith fields have always been open space; until 1850, only 300 people lived in South Battersea & Wandsworth; Battersea Park started as market gardens built on reclaimed marshland; Covent Garden was Westminster's "convent garden"; and Stockwell started as expansive manor house pasturelands around a well near a tree stump (or "stock"). Moving briskly along, Clapham Common was literally a common grazing-ground for animals; and Lambeth was docks named after the lambs seen there. North, there's Spitalfields, where produce for Our Lady of Bethlehem Hospital (or 'Bedlam') was grown; Hampstead Heath... I've got the feeling I've covered the point: most of Greater Metropolitan London was agrarian in form and function. Just because more houses were put up in the area over the last 500 years, it doesn't mean that the sprites of yore left; they may have done the simplest possible thing and adapted to the new structures.

Though I'm very fond of my hometown, Leicester, I've always been fascinated by the history of London... I suppose that's obvious.

I'm glad Charlie is now in the Midlands with you. If you have the chance to visit Bradgate Park and Beacon Hill, it's really lovely as the bracken turns red this time of year.

tigerfeet (4 stories) (11 posts)
5 years ago (2019-10-01)

I'm really glad that my experiences have helped you. I think that a lot of spirits who are attached to people like to be treated with kindness and respect and, in my experience, this has (nearly) always helped me to get items returned more quickly than when I've lost my temper with Charlie.

Persevere with your house spirit - you might be surprised at the results 😊

tigerfeet (4 stories) (11 posts)
5 years ago (2019-10-01)
Thank you for your comments, Silver and Biblio. I like the idea of Charlie being a brownie or a hobgoblin. I have, on occasion, wondered if he is a sprite of some kind, but brownie or hobgoblin have never been high on my radar - I always associate them with country cottages, farm houses, etc., definitely not with an early Victorian house in south west London (Battersea)! Putting my history degree to some use (at last!), I realised that if people moved from agrarian life styles to urban living it makes sense that their 'folk tales' would come with them and, as we know, the majority of folk tales have a sound basis of truth. I think Charlie is happy with us, and I hope he goes on to live with my daughter when I've gone. He seems to prefer females to males - my Great Aunt, my mother and now me!

I often talk to Charlie, telling him family news and such like. When I told him last year that my mum has had to go into a care home due to her dementia, he went very quiet for about 3 months. Then I found my mum's music box in the fridge, so I new he was back 😊.

Silver, in my experience hauntings are as rare in the UK as they are anywhere. Some of the pubs and manor houses/castles/etc. Cultivate the idea that they are haunted for purely commercial reasons. There are genuine hauntings in these types of places. I think that many of these are well documented and in some cases there is photographic and/or audio evidence of the spirits. After Biblio's comments, I wonder if any of these spirits are in fact nature sprites? Hmmmm - more food for thought for me!

I do have more stories to tell both of my childhood and now that I'm adult as well as things that happened to my family. Some are scary, some are sad and others are just plain funny!

Thank you all for your comments - they are much appreciated.😊
Cherubim (14 stories) (245 posts)
5 years ago (2019-09-30)
Oh no tigerfeet, 😊 NEVER feel sorry for your ramblings, I've enjoyed reading every word and love that feeling of nostalgia as well. I had another incident and took your advice by asking nicely for my missing item to PLEASE be returned. I was irritated at first but then remained calm. The next morning when I was doing my laundry I found my money at the bottom of the laundry basket! 😲 😁 That's the first time I've had something "returned" so quickly. Thank you for sharing, you've been a comfort and great help. ❤
Bibliothecarius (9 stories) (1091 posts)
5 years ago (2019-09-30)
Greetings, tigerfeet, and welcome back!

Just a point of clarification for you, initially. You noted that, "He doesn't get more active when there are arguments or upsets in the house, nor did his antics increase when I hit puberty or when my children did." The reason that the maturation process triggers increases in poltergeist phenomena is that much of the activity is *generated* by the suppressed mood swings of young teens. This, in my view, rules out Charlie's being a poltergeist manifestation. Poltergeists express frustration, anger, and much more negative emotions than you have described.

As Charlie has been active with your family for several generations, and has decided that you are his close friend, I'm going to suggest two possibilities: either a spirit with a strong personality or a brownie. Charlie may be a deceased individual who has formed a good relationship with your family, through decades of positive and humorous interaction. You've taken his pranks in good sport, and he's been helpful or contrite when you decide he's crossed a significant line. Brownies, my second guess, are helpful house-spirits of British lore (one of our regular contributors, Tweed, has one in her home); they are associated with keeping houses tidy, whereas the closely-related "Hobgoblin" spirits are known for playing pranks in good fun.

I suspect that your entity *may* be a Hobgoblin, as this would account for his mischievous sense of humor, but I wouldn't rule out a young boy's spirit.

I enjoyed your crisp writing style as you delved into key moments over several decades, introducing each with a succinct contextual comment. I do hope that you have more to share with us in future.

silverthane61 (4 stories) (344 posts)
5 years ago (2019-09-30)
Tigerfeet, I have read that most of the manors, pubs, and inns in England have their very own local haunts. In this, you are certainly proof of that. Like children, you cannot choose your parents - and as earth-dwellers, we cannot choose our ghosts. So it is certainly refreshing to read about one family who actually gets along with their haunt. Poltergeists are often person-specific - in that, I mean that wherever the person goes, the poltergeist goes. But yours seems to have been there long before you came along. Good tale!
tigerfeet (4 stories) (11 posts)
5 years ago (2019-09-28)
Hi Cherubim

Thank you for your comments. Charlie can be extremely vexing at times! Last year I was trying to wrap up last minute presents - ok, so don't judge me I was trying to wrap ALL the presents I had for family and friends - on Christmas Eve. First the tape vanished, found it in the shower in our en suite. That delayed me for about 10 minutes, as I had other tape that I could use! This seemed to really set him off, but to be honest, I think he loves Christmas as much as I do. When I took the new roll of tape back to my bedroom to continue wrapping, the roll of wrapping paper was gone. I checked in the dog's bed, where she stashes anything 'interesting' that she finds laying about (the dog is only just over 2 so not responsible for any of the previous loses!), but it wasn't there. I went downstairs and got another roll of paper, and when I got back upstairs it was in the middle of the bed. To stop any more loses I tucked the scissors in my pocket, but when I went to use them, they'd gone. I found them at the same time that I found the missing tape - both happily living in the shower tray!

For all his mischievous ways, I really can't imagine life without him. I thought I'd lost him on my last move, and was really thrilled when the mischief started again, so we knew he was back! I really want him to come with us when we move - I really miss the little bugger when he's not around. We have always assumed that he's a small boy, not sure why, but I guess we'll never know - and I definitely do not want to stress him (do spirits feel stress?) by asking him to reveal himself or anything like that. Guess we're just a little bit sentimental:)

We've never seen him, and definitely never seen anything move - I have cats and a dog, and they are the only one's that seem to be aware when he is around, but don't react aggressively or scared - they just watch something make it's way around the room and settle back down to sleep when it seems to have gone.

Sorry, I've been rambling on, but to tell the truth, it's kind of nostalgic thinking back to all the things he's moved or hidden over the years. I just realised that Charlie is probably well over 100 years old as a spirit - my great aunt owned the house from some time in the 1920s and Charlie was already in residence when they moved in.

Don't be scared of your resident friend or angry with him/her - if Charlie takes something important (like my garter on the morning of my wedding to my 2nd husband) I just ask him nicely, tell him that what he's taken is very important and say please can I have it back. My garter came back about 10 minutes later, laying in the middle of the fridge!
Cherubim (14 stories) (245 posts)
5 years ago (2019-09-27)
Thank you very much for sharing your story. You've helped me more than you will ever know! I could have easily written this story as well, all these things happen to me too! I thank you because maybe I'm not as understanding as you are. 😐 I usually get frustrated or upset when my things vanish and show up months, even years later! I have no history or know anything about WHY these things happen to me? But from now on I will have more patience. ❤ Great story, I hope Charlie goes with you when you move again. 😉

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