Second Hand Suite

Client:          Brenda Forbes    (a pseudonym)


Location:      West of Scotland

Team:          Interview by Innes Smith


Brenda Forbes is a 61-year-old woman who lives alone in a property she moved into seven years ago. She has had no anomalous experiences prior to purchasing a second hand suite four years ago. Despite getting rid of the furniture she still isn’t ‘comfortable in this house’. She has sought intervention from a local psychic ~ who claimed that there was spiritistic phenomena happening. She mentions a variety of phenomena and states that one friend heard the chair make a noise.

Brenda Forbes also detailed a variety of health & personal problems.

Telephone Interview:

Innes Smith contacted the client on Tuesday the 27th of May. The conversation lasted for approximately one hour. The client was given two possible interpretations of the events happening to her [without endorsing either], but was advised to continue with her medical treatment. She was also advised to seek some kind of intervention [non-psychic] regarding her family issues and feelings of isolation.


Brenda Forbes moved into her current property in December 2001 due to ‘medical reasons’. The client states that she has back problems and has been medically retired for 12/13 years.  Prior to purchasing a second hand leather suite from a shop called ‘Home from Home’ in 2004, she has had had no anomalous experiences. According to the client the suite made ‘cracking sounds’ and ‘the dogs wouldn’t go near it’. Within a few months she had got rid of the suite, but not before seeking intervention from a Priest and a local Psychic. Despite the absence of the furniture, the client states that she ‘feels that someone’s still here. Someone’s overtaking me’.

The Phenomena

  1. The Chair. A second hand leather suite bought in the Autumn or Winter of 2004, and only kept for 4 or 5 months, made ‘cracking’ and ‘creaking’ sounds. The client states that the sounds were ‘like when you move (sit) in it’. ‘You’d hear it, but when you went near it, went in (sounds stopped)’. The client states that her friend Christine heard the noises and her two ‘wee dogs’ wouldn’t go near it.


  1. Sensation of Presence. The client states ‘since I got rid of that suite, I feel someone is watching me. I feel a presence in the house’. She has ‘asked it to go – nicely’. The sensation of presence can be felt ‘4 or 5 times a week – happens anytime’.


  1. Odours. Brenda Forbes says she can smell tobacco – ‘Condorbar tobacco – my father’s tobacco’ and also ‘her Mother’s perfume’. This doesn’t happen often, but when it does the client says it ‘scares the living daylights out of me’.


  1. Objects being moved. Ornaments are ‘turned right round’; ‘wee leprechauns & memorial eggs’. This does not happen often.


  1. White Feathers blowing in Hallway. The client thought this significant despite acknowledging that her ‘door is always open’ to allow access for her 2 dogs.

Intervention Sought

While the client still had the suite she called in a retired Priest from St.Patrick’s to bless the house. The problems continued. Then she visited a ‘wee Psychic shop’ in the local town. Through this business she contacted a local Psychic. The Psychic came to her property and did not charge for his services. He made the following statements: that her ‘Mum, Dad & Step-Dad are in the house arguing over money’; that her house had more ‘spirits’ – ‘infact you’ve got 3 or 4 more’; and made several statements regarding the client’s health which she felt were accurate.


The client listed several health problems: back problems; a slipped disc; hip problems; a hole in the heart; Diverticulitis (a bowel complaint); low blood pressure; fatigue & depression.

To compound her medical conditions, she was ‘knocked down’ in the winter of 2007 and since then the client states – ‘I’ve just gone to bits’. The client now has low blood pressure and frequently faints.

The client is on several medications: painkillers, sleeping pills, heart drugs & tranquilizers.

The client states that she does not take any drugs recreationally.

Currently the client is seeing a Psychiatrist once every 3 months.

Personal Issues

Brenda Forbes acknowledges that she is stressed and became quite emotional when volunteering the following information.

She had a ‘big family fall out’ with her sister over a relatively small sum of money.

She has not spoken with her daughter, nor seen her grandchild for 10 years, due to an argument over drugs. Apparently her daughter was taking MDMA (ecstasy). The Mother’s disapproval caused a rift between them both and she has not seen her daughter since.

The client still keeps in touch with her son, however, he now lives in the south of England.

What the Client Wants

Brenda Forbes made the following statements: ‘I feel as if someone has put a curse on me’; ‘I’m alone – I’ve got depression’; ‘my brain goes haywire’ & ‘there is someone in this house’. Evidently the client feels that there is an unwelcome presence in her property that she wants rid of, but made more general statements about her isolation and feelings of helplessness.

What was said to the Client

It was explained to the client that the best course of action would be to continue with her medical treatment – and the SSPR would in no way contradict the advice or counsel of a health professional. However, it was suggested that maybe the client needed additional counselling or intervention regarding her feelings of isolation – and some kind of social activity or occupational therapy should be sought.

Regarding her family problems, she was advised to contact Social Work – as Family Mediation can assist in such matters.

In response to her account of paranormal phenomena – it was stated that it could all be down to stress, or that stress could be a catalyst in activating the phenomena. Either way, she should concentrate on practical steps on tackling her stress and general sense of wellbeing, rather than seeking any further ‘paranormal assistance’.

A ‘Spiritualist Perspective’ was offered in response to the client’s account of smelling her parents’ particular odours. That it could be seen as a comforting experience to be surrounded by one’s parents, rather than a frightening experience. The client was asked if she would find it comforting to be surrounded by her parents – she said it would. This new perspective on this particular experience seemed to be welcomed by the client.

The interview ended with Innes Smith exchanging telephone numbers with the client and inviting her to call if anything novel occurred.

The client has not contacted the SSPR since.

The Scottish Society for Psychical Research
This report has been anonymised. Names & details have been changed.
Permission to photocopy/use for education. Not for resale or profit.
Copyright the author.