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  Do you believe in ghosts?

    If you do, you are not alone! I believe in ghosts, and all over Britain, there are places where, if you are lucky (or perhaps unlucky), you may see a ghost!!
  by Mary Denman
The tower of London
The Tower of London.... a very haunted place !
    Do ghosts really exist? There are lots of people who say that they do; and I am one of them.
     Many of Britain's ancient castles have ghosts. One of the most famous "haunted castles" in England is actually the Tower of London .
    During the Tower's long history, many men and women were thrown into its dark dungeons, or executed outside its gates! Among the most famous was Lady Jane Grey, Queen of England in the year 1554.
jane grey    Jane was just 17 when she became Queen, on July 9th 1554; however, at the same time another woman, Mary, thought that she ought to be Queen. Mary's supporters were stronger than Jane's, and within days Jane was sent to the Tower of London. On 19th July poor Jane had her head cut off outside the Tower!
    Since then, it is said that the ghost of Lady Jane Grey wanders through the rooms and corridors of the Tower of London.
    Other ghosts are not so famous. The village of Prestbury, in Gloucestershire, is reputed to be one of the most haunted villages in England.
    Many villagers have heard - and some say they have seen - the "headless horseman" who rides through the village on December 31st! People say that he was a soldier who fought in the English Civil War, in the 17th century.

    In the same village, in an old cottage, there is a ghost known as the "spinette player". Sometimes at night, people hear the sound of someone playing this old musical instrument. The music always comes from a room that is empty.
    These are just some of Britain's well-known ghosts; but there are lots of less-known ghosts too. I know; I have encountered one of them.

   My own  ghost story - The hands

ghostly hands
    Several years ago, I went to stay with some friends who lived in an old house in the country. I had not told them I was coming, and when I arrived, they already had other visitors.
    "Never mind," said my friend Ella. "You can sleep in the small guest room. We don't often use it, but you'll be all right for one night."
    As we said goodnight, Ella added. "Oh, and please, lock the door before you go to bed. Otherwise it may open by itself."
    Well I locked the door, lay down in bed, and went to sleep. During the night, I slept badly; I didn't really know if I was asleep or awake. But suddenly, I knew I was awake. Hands were touching my face. I tried to push them away, but there was nothing. I found the light switch, and put on the light. There was no one in the room.
    "It was just a dream," I thought. And I went back to sleep.
    When I woke up next morning, I got another surprise. The door, which I had shut and locked, was open! During breakfast, I told Ella about my strange dream, and about the open door.
    "You too!" she replied. "Yes, I know. that's why we don't often use that bedroom. It's the blind lady!"
    "What blind lady?" I asked.
    "Well, you see, many years ago, the people who lived here had a daughter who was blind. That was her bedroom. She died when she was about 30. And since then, she has kept coming back to her room. She always feels the sheets, before getting into bed. Several visitors have had the same experience..... But she was a lovely girl. She has never hurt anyone."
    I felt the skin on the back of my neck go cold.... Since then, I have always believed in ghosts!

all over: everywhere in - blind: unable to see - encountered: met - execute: decapitate, cut off a head - guest: invited person - haunted: inhabited by a ghost - never mind: no problem - otherwise: if you do not - reputed: said - ride: go on a horse - spinette: like a small piano - within days: in a few days

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Student Worksheet

Grammar practice - Irregular verbs - Interactive exercise - to be done on paper or on your computer

In the article you will find a lot of irregular verbs, used in the preterite (past) tense or as past
participles. Find them and complete the pink boxes below. Then complete your table by filling in the
yellow boxes, either by memory or by checking out the irregular verb tables.
Verb Preterite Past Participle Verb Preterite Past Participle
Become Lie
Cut Meet  
Feel Put
Fight Say
Find See
Get Send
Go Shut
Have Sleep
Hear Tell
Hurt Think
Know Throw
Keep Wake

Notes for teachers

For general techniques for using reading texts in class, see ► Reading texts - a model lesson plan

Grammar :
1. Irregular verbs : This article has been deliberately enriched with as many irregular verbs as possible. See irregular verbs
2. Passives: Note the two cases in which the past participle is used: a) with the present perfect, and b) with passives. Where ideas are expressed with passives, can your pupils rephrase them using active structures? This should oblige them to use the preterite in most cases. For example:    
Men and women were thrown into dungeons
they threw men and women...
Also note the structure Jane had her head cut off

Discussion, expression:  
Have students imagine an interview between the writer and a journalist. Or just discuss the question of ghosts. Do they really exist?

Copyright notice.
This resource is © copyright Linguapress  1998 - 2022    Originally published in Horizon magazine.
Teachers may print multiple copies of this complete document for use with their students


Linguapress intermediate English reading

Level - low Intermediate
IELTS Level :  4 - 5
Flesch-Kincaid  scores
Reading ease level:
87 - Fairly easy
Grade level:  3.7
Theme : Ghosts
Target readers : teenagers, adult learners

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Also available in French

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from Linguapress
Selected pages
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The legendary Mini Cooper
Short story - One foggy night
Sport: The story of football and rugby
Big red London buses
USA: Who was Buffalo Bill?
USA: Close encounters with a Twister  
More: More intermediate reading texts  
Advanced level reading :
Charles Babbage, the father of the computer
Who killed Martin Luther King?
The story of the jet plane
London's Notting Hill Carnival
More: More advanced reading texts  
Selected grammar pages
Verbs in English
Noun groups in English
Word order in English
Reported questions in English
Language and style 
Word stress in English
The short story of English

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