Monday, 31 December 2018

Anne Boleyn's Spectral Coach in Essex ~ A New Year's Eve Haunting

Anne Boleyn's spectral coach makes an appearance on the roads around the former Runwell Hall, Wickford, Essex on New Year's Eve.

A Toby Carvery, The Thomas Kemble, on the site of Runwell Hall it is visited on 31 December by the ghost of a woman travelling by horse and carriage, it's said that she is met at the door by a phantom butler.

Visitor information:

The Thomas Kemble Toby Carvery restaurant and pub is on the site of Runwell Hall.

The Thomas Kemble
Runwell Rd
SS11 7QJ

Telephone: 01268 769 671

Friday, 28 December 2018

Ghosts of The Tay Bridge Disaster ~ a December Haunting

Beautiful Railway Bridge of the Silv'ry Tay!
Alas! I am very sorry to say
That ninety lives have been taken away 
On the last Sabbath day of 1879
Which will be remember'd for a very long time.

Sunday 28th December, during a violent storm, the railway bridge over the River Tay collapsed plunging the Wormit to Dundee train into the river. 

So the train mov'd slowly along the Bridge of Tay.
Until it was about midway,
Then the central girders with a crash gave way.
And down went the train and passengers into the Tay!
The Storm Fiend did loudly bray,
Beacuse ninet lives had been taken away,
On the last Sabbath day of 1879,
Which will be remember'd for a very long time.

 All lives were lost, it's believed there were up to 75 people on board but only 46 bodies were recovered. 

As soon as the catastrophe came to be known
The alarm from mouth to mouth was blown,
And the cry rang out all o'er the town,
Good Heavens! The Tay Bridge is blown down.
And a passenger train from Edinburgh,
Which fill'd all the peoples hearts with sorrow,
And made them for to turn pale.
Because none of the passengers were sav'd to tell the tale
How the disaster happen'd on the last Sabbath day of 1879,
Which will be remember'd for a very long time.

It's said that on the anniversary of the disaster the disaster is replayed at 7.15pm,  a ghost train crashes into the river amidst the screams of passengers. 

Poem: extracts from "The Tay Bridge Disaster"by William McGonagall,

Thursday, 27 December 2018

Haunted Marwell Hall ~ Jane Seymour and Anne Boleyn's connection to the legend of The Mistletoe Bride

The ghost of Jane Seymour is said to walk the corridors of Marwell Hall. It was home to one of her brother's, Sir Henry Seymour, and is believed to have been visited by Henry VIII several times. Local folk lore suggests that Henry and Jane married there shortly after the execution of Anne Boleyn but prior to their official 30th May wedding at Whitehall Palace.

Anne Boleyn is said to haunt the Yew Tree Walk seeking vengeance on Jane for stealing the King's affections.
Other ghostly activity at Marwell includes phantom footsteps, moving objects, voices, shadowy figures, the sound of heavy objects being moved and poltergeist activity.

Marwell Hall is one of several old English houses that lays claim to the Mistletoe Bride. The tale, popularised in the early 19th century By Thomas Bayly's Christmas ballad “The Mistletoe Bough”, tells of a game of hide and seek that goes horribly wrong. During a Christmastime game of hide and seek a young bride gets locked in an old chest. No one can find her and she dies in the chest, her body is found many years later. Other claimants to the Mistletoe Bride include Bramshill House in Hampshire, Castle Horneck in Cornwall, Berkshire's Basildon Grotto, Minster Lovell Hall in Oxfordshire, Exton Hall in Rutland, Norfolk's Brockdish Hall and Bawdrip Rectory in Somerset.

Visitor information:

The Marwell Hall Estate is owned and run by the registered charity Marwell Wildlife. The Hall sits in the centre of the wildlife park.
Marwell Wildlife is open everyday except Christmas Day and Boxing Day, Marwell Hall itself is available to hire for special functions.

Marwell Wildlife
Colden Common
SO21 1HJ

Telephone: 01962 770 549


Wednesday, 26 December 2018

The Ghost of Anne Boleyn at Hever Castle

Anne Boleyn's family moved to Hever Castle, Kent in 1505, Anne spent her childhood at Hever and continued to visit throughout her life. In 1528 Henry VIII's love letters to Anne were sent to Hever.
Anne Boleyn is said to haunt the area under the old oak tree where Henry courted her.

Her ghost also visits Hever at Christmas time. Local legend tells that the ghost of Anne Boleyn can be seen on Christmas Eve walking in the grounds across a wooden bridge over the River Eden. Some say that she stops on the bridge to drop a sprig of holly into the water below.

In the late 19th century Ada Coralie Meade Waldo, wife of the famous ornithologist Edmund Gustavus Meade Waldo who owned Hever at that time, complained that the ghost of Anne Boleyn made Hever Castle unpleasant. The Meade Waldo's didn't live at Hever and eventually sold it to William Waldorf Astor.

In recent years photographs taken by visitors to Hever castle have feature orbs and other unusual images which the photographers think may be the ghost of Anne Boleyn. Liam Archer published a book about his 2009 visit to Hever containing photographs that he believes to be of Anne Boleyn's ghost.

In 2013 Kent News published a photograph, taken by medium Christine Hamlett, of an orb that appeared to be ascending a staircase. Christine wonders if it is Anne's spirit wandering Hever castle.
Another medium who visited Hever in 2013, Rob Gutro, immediately sensed the ghostly presence not of Anne but of her brother George Boleyn. Rob, who is an author of several books about communicating with spirits, believes that the spirit of George Boleyn still resides in Hever Castle.

Poltergeist activity has been recorded in the Long Gallery which is also said to be haunted by a horse and rider.

The ghost of an unknown man has been seen in one of the bedrooms and the ghost of Humphrey, a local farmer, appears in the grounds where he was murdered.

Visitor Information:

Hever Castle is open to the public, please see website for details.

Hever Castle & Gardens

Telephone: 01732 865 224


Sunday, 26 August 2018

Hannath Hall

Hannath Hall, a private dwelling in Tydd Gote near Wisbech has a long history of paranormal activity. It's an Elizabethan manor house, formerly known as Sparrow's Nest until purchased by Josepth Hannath in 1812.

Legend tells that when Joseph's wife died he became deranged and refused to allow the body to leave the house. For two months Joseph Hannath kept his wife's body in her bedroom and insisted that her meals were taken to her. 

One poor maid was driven to suicide by this madness and it's believed to be her ghost that has been seen walking the corridors of the house.

Eventually Joseph allowed his wife to be buried, under a chestnut tree in the garden. But some say that thereafter no-one could sleep in the bedroom where the body had been kept.

Fast forward to 1957 when a Peterborough journalist has car troubles near Hannath Hall. The then owners, Derek and Catherine Page (Derek Page went on to become the MP for Kings Lynn) invite him in and inevitably end up talking about the strange goings on in the house. The journalist duly reports these to The Society for Psychical Research which initiates an investigation by the Cambridge University Society for Psychical Research.

Several members of the CUSPR, including Tony Cornell and Alan Gould, investigated the property over a period of a few years. They experienced groans, rapping noises, the sound of footsteps and items being thrown across rooms. As well as witnessing a chair flying past them the investigators found themselves bolted into a room when a toasting fork embedded itself into the lock on the door.

In 1959 Cornell and Gould held a seance in the haunted bedroom with a non-professional medium. The spirit of Eliza Cullen (or Culler) was contacted, she claimed to have buried her dead baby in the garden but no evidence of this or of the existence of an Eliza could be proven.

Also during 1959 Catherine Page saw the figure of a small fair haired boy on two occasions whilst she was in the living room. Cornell and Gould concluded that they were witnessing poltergeist activity within the house, the case of the Hannath Hall Poltergeist is well documented with the reports, case notes etc being held in the care of the SPR. 

Eventually things calmed down and paranormal activities ceased.

As a footnote in 2009 a young lady called Alice living in Hannath Hall told people on the Fortean Times forum that her step-brother had been sleeping in the so called haunted bedroom for some 10 years and had not been bothered by any hauntings. 


Saturday, 25 August 2018

The ghosts of Nunnington Hall, North Yorkshire

Strange things happen in 17th Century Nunnington Hall situated on the banks of the River Rye in North Yorkshire. Now owned and managed by The National Trust a member of staff has assured me that Nunnington Hall is indeed haunted although not in a scary fashion. She found upon entering the building in the morning that lights, which she personally switched off, had been turned on and locked doors open.

Lilette de Foucauld, a young French woman staying at Nunnington during the 1930's would probably not have agreed with my source. She found her sleep disturbed in the Panelled Room by something coming out of the wall over her bed. Moving to another bedroom restored her sleep!

Visiting members of the public have commented on the feeling of something brushing against their legs at the top of the staircase. This is believed to be the ghost of a pet dog who plunged to it's death through the staircase railings.

Visitors have also reported a smell of pipe smoke, glimpses of a hurrying figure and the distant sound of a party. 

Even the garden is haunted by a lady taking a walk along the pathways. 

But perhaps Nunnington Hall's most famous ghost is that of The Proud Lady of Nunnington whose ghost is seen, and the rustling of her gown heard, walking throughout the house.

The Proud Lady of Nunnington was the second wife of the owner of Nunnington Hall, one could call her a wicked stepmother as she disliked her stepson so much that, upon the demise of her husband, she had him locked in the attic. But her own son was very fond of his step brother and often visited the attic to play with his older brother.

One night the older boy managed to escape from Nunnington, probably with the aid of one of the servants. This left the younger lad distraught at the loss of his playmate, he moped around the house watching from the upstairs windows in hope of his brother's return. Sadly, he must have glimpsed what he believed to be his brother in the distance because he leaned too far out of one of the windows and fell to his death.

There after, until her death, The Proud Lady of Nunnington, mad with grief, wandered the house for hours at a time. Her ghost still does.

Image: © Copyright Carol Walker and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Friday, 24 August 2018

A Stonehenge Haunting ~ Britain's oldest ghosts

It must be quite un-nerving to find oneself lost, with dusk approaching, amongst the Bronze Age barrows of  Kings Barrows Ridge slightly less than a mile away from the standing stones of Stonehenge. A feeling of relief would surely be felt upon seeing lights in the distance, assuming them to be shining from somewhere one could find assistance.

How strange then to realize that the lights are actually coming towards you. Even stranger to discover that the lights are flaming torches being carried by Druids. 

It's the 1950's and one would assume that a sort of re-enactment had been stumbled upon. Or maybe these are "modern day" druids processing to some sort of religious ceremony. You desperately want to find your way home but you don't want to be seen by this strange group so you hide behind a tree until they have passed by then follow silently in their wake.

At last you're back on familiar territory, no longer lost and still not wishing to be seen you hurry along a well known short cut but cannot resist one last look at the strange procession. Turning, mesmerized, you watch the lights go out as one by one the hooded figures disappear into thin air.