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Presenter told of living in haunted home


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TV presenter Paul O’Grady, who has passed on aged 67, once told of living in a haunted house and seeing UFOs.

PAUL O’GRADY “I do like ghost hunting.” (Photo Steve Punter)  
PAUL O’GRADY “I do like ghost hunting.”
(Photo Steve Punter)

Born in Merseyside, in early adulthood he held various jobs including clerical work, being a barman and an accountant in an abattoir.

In the evenings, Paul honed his skill as a stand-up comedian at local venues. He first appeared as his female persona Lily Savage at a gay pub in Camden, NW London, in 1978.

With quick retorts and a razor-sharp wit, Lily soon became an icon of the 1980s. In the following decade, Lily frequently appeared on TV.

Paul was given his own chat show as Lily Savage in 1997 and later that year won acclaim as the host of the revived game show Blankety Blank, which ran until 2002.

Deciding that it was time to be himself, Paul retired Lily in 2004. As host of The Paul O’Grady Show on ITV and for a time on Channel 4, he co-starred with one of his pet dogs. The first canine star was Buster, a fluffy Shih Tzu-Bichon Frise cross, and later Olga, a Cairn Terrier.

Paul picked up various accolades including a TV BAFTA, a British Comedy Award and a National Television Award. He was made an MBE in 2008 for services to entertainment.

In recent years, Paul won a huge following for a TV series which featured him with pets at Battersea Dogs and Cats Home. At the time of writing, a tribute fund for the home set up in Paul’s honour had reached almost £250,000.

On the day of his passing, DJ Pete Price said he was a “lovely, kind man” who would be “with Cilla and Barbara (Windsor)” with whom he was “great mates.”

Singer Cilla Black passed in 2015. Three years later Paul told reporters that her spirit form had been visiting him, so he learned how to send her away.

“I’ve been exorcising ghosts,” he said. “I’ve actually been exorcising our Cilla. I’m glad I’ve done it. I loved doing the exorcising ghosts thing. It was a thrill.”

Asked about an afterlife and how he would like to be remembered, Paul said, “I don’t care because I won’t be there.”

      YYvette Fielding. The co-presenter of TV’s 'Most Haunted' called the comedian her “paranormal partner.”
Yvette Fielding, co-presenter of TV’s
'Most Haunted' called Paul O’Grady her
“paranormal partner.”             
(Photo: Most Haunted)

On the subject of God, he was non-committal, commenting “Do I believe in God Oh dear, I don’t know. “Some people believe blindly… I really can’t answer that question. I’d like to say I believe in God.

“Some days I do, some days I don’t, although these days I think if I went to confession you’d probably need a team of priests working through the night with an exorcist thrown in there somewhere along the line.”

Paul enjoyed a close friendship with paranormal investigator Yvette Fielding. The co-presenter of TV’s Most Haunted called the comedian her “paranormal partner.” Paul was a guest on several episodes of the ghost-hunting show.

After news of Paul’s passing broke, Yvette took to social media and posted “I’m devastated. He was a unique, lovely soul. We had good laughs and many screams together. See you up there Paul.”

Higgypop.com said “His fearless spirit and quick wit made him a memorable part of episodes he appeared in and spawned some classic quotes.

“While investigating the infamous 30 East Drive in Pontefract, the comedian addressed the sinister black monk that is said to haunt the property and told it ‘Come on, lift the table now. You call yourself a poltergeist You’re a disgrace to the forces of evil!’”

In 2021, Paul joined Yvette on her radio podcast Paranormal Activity to talk about his experiences.

“I have to be honest,” he said. “I do like ghost hunting. There’s a couple of reasons to see if there’s really an afterlife, to see if there is anything, and two for the sheer fun of it. I do like running around in the dark screaming.”

Paul revealed that his farmhouse in Kent was haunted. After he first moved in, “people used to say they could smell perfume. I couldn’t; I never smelled it.

“About two years later, I got up one night, went downstairs for a drink and smelled it on the stairs. It hit me.

“This is the weird bit. I went to lunch two years ago and the girl who was sitting next to me was a friend of one of the relations of the lady who lived in this house.

“The girl had a message for me. She said, ‘Ask Paul does he smell the perfume’ I went ‘What Yes, I can.’ She said, ‘It’s by Jean Patou or somebody’.”

Paul went online and bought a vintage bottle of the perfume called Joy, “to see if it smelled the same, and it did.”

PAUL O’GRADY “These strange light formations are in the sky and we don’t know what they are.”  
PAUL O’GRADY “These strange light
formations are in the sky and we don’t
know what they are.”

Later in the interview, Paul said he would love to return to Earth as a poltergeist. “I can’t wait,” he added. “You’ll be in your kitchen, a plate will go flying and you’ll know it’s me.”

Three years ago, Paul told listeners of his Radio 2 show that he had seen an object hovering above his orchard, which he thought might be a UFO.

“We’ve got ’em in Kent,” he said. “I’m serious – over Folkestone, Dungeness and Hythe.

“I’ve seen them. I’m not the only one. I’ve got witnesses, so I’m not going out of my mind. These strange light formations are in the sky and we don’t know what they are.

“The Army say it’s not them sending flares up, so we don’t know. I’m just terrified of waking up one night and there’s this thing at the bottom of my bed like ET.

“You don’t know do you It’s like I’m taking the dog round the orchard and I’ll look up and there are these weird lights. I’m being observed at 2.00 am.”


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