The Ghosts of Senate House is one part of a creative research project led by Sarah Sparkes. It serves as an archive for uncanny, apocryphal stories emanating from Senate House. These stories formed part of "a Magical library for the 21st Century" an archive of writings, recordings, artwork, artefacts, and other contributions, which was first shown at the University of London as part of The Bloomsbury Festival October 2011.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

John! There’s someone up there!

“John!  There’s someone up there!”  “If you go into the head end, right, and look at what’s happened. The lights get switched on!”
This was directed to John Stone the Building Services Technical Officer.  John was taking me on a tour of Senate House and we were at that time exploring the basement to investigate stories of lakes and wells rumoured to be located beneath the building (more on that later). 
The concerned voice came from inside a room in the out-of bounds section of the basement which is currently undergoing building works.  We entered the room and found a group of subcontractors on a break. The subcontractors explained to us that for the past six weeks or so, at each morning, the lights on the 12th and the 15th floors have come on by themselves. 
The 12th and 15th floors are used to store library books and the floors are secured at the end of every day by the library staff.  Presence detectors are installed on these floors; these are designed to turn the lights on if a large enough mass moves in front of their sensor beams. 
The lights come on at , but no one is there; this has obviously perplexed the night staff somewhat. One subcontractor was interested to find out what books were stored on those floors and I’m rather curious about this myself.
Senate House - if you're passing by at 3am, look up to the 12th and 15th floors to see the lights come on by themselves!

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