Thursday, April 23, 2020

Notes: Patricia Squires

Patricia Squires published only one book, The Ghost in the Mirror and Other Ghost Stories (London:  Frederick Muller, 1972).  A paperback edition appeared the following year, and a translation into French in 1975. Besides the uncredited cover illustration, there are chapter-heads to each of the stories, clearly by the same artist. (The style looks familiar, but I can't attach an artist's name to it. Anyone?) 

The book collects nine stories told to Squires by the people of Sussex, where she lived.  But these are not the usual hasty oral accounts of experiences with the supernatural, but crafted tales based on the folk stories. There is also a four page Introduction by the author in which she notes that she has been collecting ghost stories for twenty years.
Chapter-head to the third tale
I was looking for first-hand ghost stories--not the old ones that had been handed down from father to son, not those that were more likely the product of the imaginations of the local wits than genuine manifestations; but tales of inexplicable events, fully-documented and authentic. And, above all, they had to be unique, unusual.

The stories in this book are of that kind, and they cannot easily be refuted. They have been checked, double-checked, and cross checked.
 Squires also discusses her views on sensitives, ghosts and poltergeists, while scorning the confirmed sceptics who ridicule the supernatural.

The blurb about the author, printed on the rear flap of the dust-wrapper, states "Patricia Squires is married to the well-known occult writer E. Squires England and lives in Sussex." I don't know how "well-known" E. Squires England was as an occultist, but I can find only two short stories by him, "The Dancing Leaves" in London Mystery Selection no. 90 (1971) and "The Toll of Justice" in the same magazine two issues later (no. 92, 1972).

Of course both the "Squires" and "England" were adopted names.  Patricia Squires was born Sylvia Patricia Deegan at Yapton near Arundel, Sussex, on 18 September 1936, the daughter of George Richard Henry Deegan, a maintenance and decorating contractor, and his wife Lillian, nee Talbot. The girl switched her first and middle names and was thereafter known familiarly as Patricia.  She married Eric Ball (1926-1976) on 17 December 1955, and they had two daughters. I traced her up to 2009 when she was living in West Sussex, and presumably still is.


  1. The art style look similar to that of Edward Gorey but its not him. The art by Edward Gorey have thin and tight lines drawn together.

    Anyways I'm at a lost as to who the artist is.

  2. I didn't think of Gorey because he's American and the book was published in England, so the artist was probably English. Still no idea who, though!