South Yorkshire Times, October 27th, 1951
In Mexborough, Denaby and Conisbrough
Of course, we ought to wait until “Hamlet” or “Macbeth” are televised before writing this. Shakespearian ghosts flitting across the screen would provide the right sort of company for the technical television “ghosts” which are appearing to some viewers in this district.
Some parts of Mexborough, one or two areas in Conisbrough, and Denaby, and certain areas in Swinton and Wath, are receiving these less classical ghosts. A television ghost is a shadow appearing slightly behind and to the side of a picture or signal projected on to the screen. Nearly all of them in this district have only been apparent since Holme Moss started transmitting. They are caused mainly by reflection of signals by hills or large buildings. A trade expert explained “ghosting” to a “South Yorkshire Times” reporter on Monday. Signals sent out from Holme Moss, he said, are shown normally on the screen. At the same time signals will continue beyond the viewers house and perhaps be reflected back again by a hill or building beyond or to the side of the house. The time lag caused by the extra trouble results in a second picture, perhaps only very faint being thrown on the screen gen to the right of the original image.
It is possible, by calculation, to judge how far from the receiving screen the reflecting object may be. The general rule is that for every mile away from the home screen the shadow or ghost will appear as about the thickness of a tenth of the receiving screen’s width. These ghosts can be “exorcised.” Generally, it is a case of changing the position of the aerial. Most trouble comes from sets receiving Holme Moss signals with a Sutton Coldfield aerial. Often a better signal is received if the aerial is changed round completely and, on the few occasions where the ghost is stronger than the actual picture, aerials can be adjusted so as to pick up the reflected signals mainly, instead of those transmitted from the Birmingham or Huddersfield stations.
One of the worst “haunted” spots in the area is the higher part of Mexborough – in the Adwick Road – Harlington Road area. There the reflecting agent is the Roman Terrace hill and the rising contours around it. Slight interference can be caused in the higher part of Conisbrough where reflections are sent on to the sets from the Conisbrough Park Hills and in Denaby, Conisbrough Craggs can cause some trouble.
These ghosts can be caused by gasometers – such as at Burcroft (Conisbrough) and Swinton, but these occur only at certain times when the gasometer is rising. On the other hand, there have been suggestions that another agent is the new Mexborough power station whose chimneys might be acting as reflectors. This, also, was possible, said the expert but the only houses to be affected would be those very near the station. And three viewers in Doncaster Road, Mexborough, right opposite the chimneys have been spectre- free. The ghosts in the Harlington Road, have been, however, fairly faint. The majority of viewers have been untroubled but the majority have noticed just a faint shadow which has persisted for much of the programme.
One man had a series of half a dozen pictures all the same and standing in line. He adjusted the set’s brilliance control and has been without “ghosts” since. Another viewer, quite near, has also found that the persistent shadow can be minimised by controlling the amount of light on the screen. In Byron Road the ghost was almost like an old friend. After a few programmes the viewers had got quite used to it. Some viewers described it as a shadow but the most popular description was “halo.”