Dark arts

I stumbled across this article a while ago — curiously, in the ‘Arts and Exhibitions’ section of an on-line London newspaper. It concerns Mario Lautier Vella, an artist, who claims he lives in a haunted house.

My bedroom was always icy cold and there was always an edge to that room. The summer I first saw the ghost was in my lounge while I was painting. I was working on a project about my family’s ghost stories and maybe somehow, something had been attracted by this… Then the noises began. The hall floorboards would creak, footsteps would go up and down the stairs and I would hear a lot of strange knocking. It used to keep me up at night as it sounded like I was being burgled. After about four months it got very active and my fear turned to irritation. It was only after my neighbours downstairs told me that they were also hearing noises in my flat that I said something. We invited a medium around to cleanse the house but the activity continues to this day, albeit not so frequently.

Mario has made the ghostly activity a major theme of his artistic work, which — coupled with the fact that he hasn’t moved out — suggests he’s not too disturbed by the experiences.

It struck me, however, that this could be an example of a ghost being manufactured as much as witnessed. With regard to the phenomena themselves, we have a glimpsed figure (probably in the peripheral vision), and assorted noises. There’s nothing in the article on what was done to trace the sighting and noises to any other source (e.g. possible misperception, plumbing, rodents) — and voila! A ‘ghost’ is created! Then all we need to do is to hold a few seances, call in a few mediums, and before we know it:

We discovered there were five presences and I know about four of them, but I’ve only seen one. One spirit we call the lady of the house and even now when a friend comes round the lights flicker as she’s formed an attachment to him. I have this very strange relationship with them all.

It may be a strange relationship, but Mario seems quite happy with his resident spirits, and the inspiration they provide for his work. If he weren’t so comfortable with having them around, however, I wonder if he wouldn’t be inclined to see if he could trace the noises and his sighting to any other sources…