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Ghostwatch: The Halloween Hoax That Changed The Language Of Television

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Many of the 11 million who saw Ghostwatch were children. Sarah Greene went on Blue Peter the following week to reassure young viewers that she was unharmed. Five days after the programme’s transmission, an 18-year-old boy with learning difficulties, Martin Denham, hanged himself, having fallen into what his stepfather described as a trance. He had become obsessed with Ghostwatch and was convinced that there were ghosts in the water pipes of his Nottingham home. In November 1993, a year after the programme’s one-off airing, two doctors from a child psychiatry unit in Coventry, Dawn Simons and Walter Silveira, submitted an article to the British Medical Journal (BMJ) recording the first cases of post-traumatic stress disorder caused by a television programme. Two ten-year-old boys had been referred to them. One was admitted to an inpatients unit for eight weeks; he would bang his head in an attempt to free himself from thoughts of Ghostwatch and its evil spirit, “Pipes”… (READ MORE)


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