Paranormal Records and Tales
This page is dedicated to reporting paranormal tales, from both the archives and, more importantly, YOU. If you have a genuine paranormal tale to tell, no matter what, email it to us via our Contact Page and we guarantee we will publish it for you on this page. If you have pictures to include that would certainly be an added bonus. If you wish to remain anonymous, so be it - your wishes will be respected, although we shall keep your details for future reference. Should we get sufficient visitor tales we shall endeavour to get them published, naturally with your permission, when some arrangement will be reached regarding royalties.
The page has been split into two distinct sections, Tales from the Archives, which are already well documented tales, and Visitor Submitted Tales. Simply click on the tale you wish to read or scroll down the page until you reach it.
We are hoping this page will grow substantially in the near future, particularly with a tale or two submitted by YOU, in which case we may have to separate the two classes to ensure you don't wait too long for the page to load.
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Tales from the Archives
Borley Rectory, Borley, England - The Most Haunted House in Britain
Reverend Henry Bull was appointed rector of Borley in 1862. Borley Rectory, reputed to be the most haunted house in the UK, was built by Reverend Bull in the following year on a site where a Benedictine Monastery had once stood. The foundations contained underground tunnels and a complex of vaults.
The first recorded paranormal sightings at Borley occurred in 1885 when someone by the name of P. Shaw Jeffrey witnessed stone throwing and other poltergeist activity whilst visiting the Bulls. A former headmaster of the Colchester Royal Grammar School reported seeing a ghostly nun several times during this same year.
One particular legend tells of a nun from a local convent who fell in love with a monk from the monastery. They planned to elope with the aid of a friend of the monk who had agreed to drive a carriage in which they could make their escape. However, the plan had obviously been discovered because on the night in question, soon after making their getaway, they were captured by the elders of the monastery. According to the legend the coachman was beheaded, the monk was hanged and the nun was bricked up alive in the vaults.
Henry Bull died in the 'Blue Room' of the rectory 7 May 1892, and was succeeded by his son, also named Henry, but called Harry to avoid confusion. On 28 July 1900, three of Henry Bull's daughters reportedly saw a figure on a path to the rear of the rectory, which later became known as the Nuns Walk. They were joined by a fourth sister to greet the stranger, when the apparition disappeared. Harry also told of seeing the nun, together with the phantom coach in which she had eloped.
Thirty-five years later, on 9 June 1927 Harry also died in the Blue Room. Earlier, he had reported having 'communications with spirits', and that he would throw moth balls after his death. The rectory remained empty for several months after Harry's demise. During the autumn of that year, and while it was still empty, a local carpenter by the name of Fred Cartwright said he saw a nun by the gate on four separate occasions. She was also supposedly seen wandering around the rectory grounds dressed in grey, and there are reports of a monk and a nun walking across the grounds.
On 2 October 1928 Reverend Guy Eric Smith and his wife moved to Borley. During their occupancy of the rectory they apparently heard the loud ringing of the doorbell (with no-one at the door), saw small pebbles being thrown, heard footsteps, noticed keys had disappeared and lights being turned on. They also claimed to have seen a horse-drawn carriage coming through the gates of the rectory. The Smiths contacted the Daily Mirror in early June 1929, following which the newspaper sent a reporter named C.V. Wall to the rectory on 10th. This resulted in the first published report of paranormal activity. Wall listened to the tales of the Smiths, and noticed a 'mysterious light' in a window during his visit.
The Daily Mirror then approached the psychic investigator Harry Price, and on 12 June he arrived at the rectory accompanied by his secretary and the reporter. During his stay Price witnessed poltergeist activity, seeing stones and other objects being thrown across rooms. While holding a séance in the Blue Room he is said to have made contact with the spirit of Reverend Bull. Price returned for a second visit on 27 June when various phenomena were reported, such as continuous bell ringing and the appearance of a Catholic medallion and other articles. Wall later stated that he too had seen the nun.
In July 1929 the Smiths moved away from Borley. The rectory remained unoccupied until October 1930 when Reverend Lionel Foyster, his wife Marianne, and their daughter Adelaide moved in. This began the most famous period in poltergeist history, referred to by Harry Price as "the most extraordinary and best documented case of haunting in the annals of psychical research." More than 2000 poltergeist phenomena were experienced at the rectory between October 1930 and October 1935 while the Foysters were in occupancy. In later years, Marianne Foyster came up with explanations for how many of these paranormal events could have happened naturally. However there were certain phenomena that she could not explain, including various writings that appeared on walls, and slips of paper that mysteriously appeared out of nowhere.
During the first year of their occupancy, Lionel Foyster described many unexplained happenings including bell ringing and glass objects appearing from nowhere and being thrown to the floor. Books also appeared, and many items were thrown across rooms, including pebbles and an iron. Marianne was thrown out of bed several times. The Foysters lived in the rectory for 5 years.
After they left, Price was given the opportunity to further study the hauntings. He leased the rectory for a year, and advertised in The Times for "responsible persons of leisure and intelligence, intrepid, critical and unbiased." From the hundreds of applicants he chose 40 who would form a team of investigators spending a whole year in the abandoned building.
The lease began in June 1937 but very little activity was witnessed during this year-long study. The most common occurrence was the movement of objects from their recorded locations, and the sound of footsteps. A coat appeared mysteriously, but no sightings of the nun were made. Some witnesses felt a sudden chill outside the Blue Room, and certain parts of the house were consistently colder than others.
Price said, "Every person who has resided in the rectory since it was built in 1863, and virtually every person who has investigated the alleged miracles, has sworn to incidents that can only be described as paranormal."
After Price's group left the rectory, the house was purchased by Captain William Gregson and his family. This family was the last to live in the rectory. On 27 February 1939, Captain Gregson accidentally knocked over an oil lamp while unpacking some books in the library; the fire quickly took hold with the result that the rectory was gutted. Witnesses who watched the blaze reported seeing ghosts at the windows. Click on the image to the right to enlarge it and see the remains of Borley Rectory after the fire.
Harry Price took this opportunity to dig in the cellar of the house where he found a few fragile bones. These turned out to be the bones of a young woman, proof, he concluded, that there possibly was something to the story of the murdered nun.
What remained of Borley Rectory was eventually demolished in 1944.
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The Golden Fleece Inn, York, England
The Golden Fleece, an old inn in York, England, has a very conspicuous large golden fleece hanging above the entrance. It has a 'free house' pub on the ground floor and four guest bedrooms above. The inn is reputedly the most haunted public house in York, and is one of the oldest coaching inns in that ancient city. The Golden Fleece is mentioned in the city archives as long ago as 1503 when it was owned by the Merchant Adventurers who were responsible for the wool trade.
Although the building has undergone several structural changes over the years, essentially it has remained the same. One noticeable major change is that the front was once a big open archway, the pub itself being accessed down an alleyway which is now the corridor to the back of the pub; this archway can still be seen in the brickwork (click on the image to the right for a better view). The inn is reputedly built on stilts, i.e. lacking any real foundations and being propped up by the buildings on either side, which could explain some of the strange angles and slopes in the floors and ceilings!
Despite its narrow frontage, the building goes back a long way, with a front bar, a corridor (containing staircases and toilets) leading to a second bar. Beyond that is an outside space with tables for dining. There are also further dining spaces upstairs, in an old-fashioned room supposedly complete with a set of armour.
This renowned inn can be found on 'The Pavement' (not literally on the pavement, but a street of that name) in the centre of York, directly opposite the historic Shambles, often called Europe's best preserved medieval street (see the image to the left). The Shambles was mentioned in the Domesday Book, and therefore has been in existence for longer than 900 years. In 1983, the Golden Fleece was designated a grade II listed building by English Heritage.
It is said that in times gone by the cellars of the Golden Fleece were used to store the bodies of the unfortunate people who had been hung at Bale Hill until someone came to claim them. Bale Hill has always been mentioned as such in tales relating to the Golden Fleece, but during our own research we could find no actual reference to Bale Hill although we have come across Baile/Baille Hill, which was the site of one of two castles built by William the Conqueror, the other being where Clifford's Tower now stands. Baile Hill, now known as Bishopsgate, is just outside the city walls to the south of the city centre close to the south bank of the River Ouse (it is actually to the west at this point), so it is quite possible that this is the Bale Hill to which everyone refers.
The rear yard of the inn is named after Lady Alice Peckett whose husband John, a former Lord Mayor of York, once owned the premises. Lady Peckett's Yard runs south-east from Pavement and is connected to Fossgate by a lane at right angles. The earlier names of these lanes may have been Bacus gail (the north west to south east lane) and Trichour gail (the one leading to Fossgate), first recorded in 1312 and 1301 respectively and meaning Bake-house and Cheat's Lane. One of these may also have been called Osmond Lane in 1410.
There are supposedly at least five resident spirits (although up to fifteen have been reported), the most commonly seen being Lady Peckett (numerous guests have reported seeing her ghost walking through walls and wandering along corridors and staircases in the early hours). There is a ghost called 'One Eyed Jack' (a man in a 16th/17th century red coat armed with a pistol), and a Victorian boy who was trampled to death by horses frequents the upper room. Another is a WWII airman who fell to his death from a window onto the pavement below after 'over-indulging'. After his demise, he took up residence as a non-paying guest and is said to wander the inn waking guests who are brave enough to sleep there, by touching them. He's joined by a grumpy old man, also regularly seen in the bottom bar. A little girl comes and goes in the kitchen, and other apparitions are often seen moving furniture. Roman soldiers have also been observed in the cellar.
York is reputed to be an extremely haunted city, so it is no surprise that one of its oldest pubs is 'haunted'. The Golden Fleece’s reputation for its ghostly residents attracted the ‘Most Haunted’ TV crew who visited the inn in 2005 to try to make contact with them. The results of their investigation were shown in Series 6, Episode 5 of that show.
After seeing this, you may well feel a strong desire to spend a night there yourself. But have you really got the nerve, or are you secretly hoping it will already be fully booked months in advance by people just like you? Decide for yourself which city in the United Kingdom is genuinely the most haunted by booking a room at The Golden Fleece. I live approximately 40 miles from York, but have no affiliation or connection with this establishment -- I am simply interested in your experience, which will be reported on this site if you so desire (you can remain anonymous if you wish).
My Night at the Golden FleeceAs a part of my 70th birthday treat, my wife booked a room at this famous inn for the night of Saturday, 3 September 2016. This was some time after my birthday in July, but she had no alternative because despite trying in early June to book for mid July, all rooms were fully booked up to this date. It is worth noting that the prices nowadays are substantially more than those shown on the board above to the right! The Golden Fleece has four guest rooms: The Shambles; St Catherine's; Lady Peckett's Yard and The Minster Suite. We had booked The Shambles Room (on the first/second floor) almost directly opposite the famous street after which the room is named.
It was pouring with rain when we arrived at York railway station (we decided to travel the short distance by train as opposed to try to park overnight in the city), and after making our way to the Golden Fleece we realised we had arrived much earlier than intended. We introduced ourselves, said, "Hello," to the resident skeleton sat in his permanent place at the bar, and left our bags at the inn on the assurance that they would be taken to our room when it was ready, before wandering around York in the continuing downpour! Upon our return several damp hours later (despite having bought new umbrellas and sheltering in a local hostelry while we ate an enjoyable lunch), we were shown to our room (see below for pictures of the room - click on each image to enlarge it). Although it was clean to an extent, it was definitely not what you would expect in a more salubrious establishment.
Upon booking the room, my wife had also reserved a table for dinner for approximately 8 p.m. that evening, but by the time we sat down we found the choices on the menu to be very limited. We had commented on how full the bars were, but failed to notice how the kitchen staff and waitresses had been kept busy probably because people were coming in to dine as an excuse to shelter from the rain. As a consequence, on this occasion we certainly couldn't recommend dining there on a Saturday evening, although, in all fairness, we had lunched there on one of our previous trips to York, and that we certainly could have recommended, even though we couldn't sit in the beer garden because of -- guess what -- the rain!
Following our disappointing meal and a few more drinks, we retired to bed up a rickety staircase. We found the bed to be serviceable, but not particularly comfortable -- it was an old four-poster (see below), with a mattress that was probably older than the bed. Nevertheless, my wife fell asleep quickly while I listened for strange noises before eventually dropping off.
It wasn't long before I awoke to some very strange, although not hair-raising noises. However, it turned out that these noises did not originate from a malevolent or even a benign spirit, but from an articulated lorry delivering goods to a Marks & Spencer store opposite; and very loud noises they were too. The driver seemed to take an age to manoeuvre it into a position from which he could reverse through some heavy metal shutters, which made a terribly loud grating/grinding noise when opening and closing! The old sash windows in the room did nothing to drown out the sound. Unfortunately, we experienced nothing out of the ordinary during the night, not even a significant drop in the temperature, much to my genuine disappointment. Maybe the noises from outside frightened the spirits away that particular night - if there were any.
We found the members of staff to be respectful and helpful, particularly the young lady waiting on tables the next morning. The full English breakfast was quite substantial, although the skeleton declined his. Maybe he wasn't hungry on this occasion, or perhaps he was suffering from a hangover. All-in-all, living just 40 miles from York, I would not have stayed at the Golden Fleece had it not been for watching the 'Most Haunted' TV program, and hoping to experience something 'new' about the paranormal. Please don't let my personal view put you off from visiting and staying overnight -- you may be lucky and have a completely different experience from mine.
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Speke Hall, Liverpool, England
Speke Hall is a wood-framed wattle-and-daub Tudor manor house in Speke, Liverpool, England. It is a Grade I listed building, one of the finest surviving examples of its kind, and is owned by the National Trust.
Construction of the current building began under Sir William Norris in 1530. During the turmoil of the Reformation the Norris’s were Roman Catholics so the house incorporated a priest hole and a special observation hole built into a chimney in a bedroom to allow the occupant to see anyone approaching the house to warn the priest that people were coming. There is also an eavesdrop (a small open hole under the eaves of the house) which allowed a servant to listen in on the conversations of people awaiting admission at the original front door.
In the 1730s Lady Mary inherited the house, becoming an important and desirable heiress. Later she married the notorious Lord Sidney Beauclerk. ‘Worthless Sidney’, as he was known, loved high living and excess so much that eventually he was forced to break the news to his wife that he had gambled away the family fortune.
Legend tells of Lady Mary, so overcome with anger, picked up her infant son from his cradle and threw him from the window into the moat below. She then went down into the Great Hall and committed suicide. Other reports suggest that Mary was so distraught after the loss of her son in this manner she followed him and threw herself out of the window too. Since then, her ghost has been seen in the Tapestry Room, gliding across the floor, before disappearing into the walls. Although this ghost has been witnessed, the story of Mary and her son may or may not be true, so the lady seen here may be the restless spirit of someone else entirely.
There are reputedly several ghosts that refuse to leave this stunning Tudor mansion. Dark shadows are often seen floating around the Great Hall, and the overwhelming sense of oppression is often felt by both staff and guests alike. A sudden feeling of nausea is also reported by people entering this room. The sound of children crying is also a frequent occurrence, even though the hall is empty.
Many of the spirits at Speke Hall don’t seem to be disturbed by the presence of the living, but at least one is not shy about making its contempt for visitors known. Many visitors have reported experiencing an uneasy feeling in the Blue Room, where the shadowy figure of a man has been seen by more than a few. This spirit has made a name for itself as being unpleasant and menacing, and has been heard telling guests to, “Get out!”
In the upper corridors, footsteps are often heard, endlessly walking in the dead of night when nobody is around.
Because the Norris family was so heavily involved with the Roman Catholic Church, priests were a frequent sight at the house. The ghost of a Catholic priest is still said to dwell within the walls of Speke Hall and appears as an almost solid being. Visitors to the home have also encountered the apparition of a Victorian gardener, still going about his work in the afterlife.
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The MacKenzie Poltergeist, Edinburgh, Scotland
The story takes place in the churchyard of Greyfriars church in the city of Edinburgh, Scotland. Many of you may have heard of this church, if not because of the poltergeist, then because of the famous little Skye terrier known as Greyfriars Bobby. This dog was utterly devoted to his master John Gray, who died of tuberculosis and was buried in the churchyard. For fourteen years, day in day out, Bobby 'mourned' at the grave of his master, only leaving for food on the sounding of the one o’clock gun.
However, we are not here to discuss the life of this remarkable dog or that of his master - there are already sufficient tales, books and films doing this very thing. So, to continue with the story of the MacKenzie Poltergeist a short lesson in history is essential – please bear with me if you are already familiar with it.
In 1638, during the reign of Charles I of England, thousands of Scottish Presbyterians, averse to the changes in religious practice he was imposing within the church, signed a National Covenant and began a religious crusade against him. These Scottish Presbyterians became known as Covenanters, their uprising culminating in the Civil Wars, during the second of which Charles I was tried for treason and executed. The monarchy was then abolished by Oliver Cromwell who became the Lord Protector of England, Scotland and Ireland until his death in 1658.
Shortly after Cromwell’s death, in 1660, Charles I’s son restored the monarchy and became Charles II. The National Covenant was declared illegal, but the Covenanters dissented and tried to restore their religious beliefs through three rebellions in 1666, 1679 and 1685. All three attempts were cruelly suppressed.
In 1679 a prison was built in the churchyard of Greyfriars church to house some 1200 Covenanters who were awaiting trial, with George MacKenzie (also the local Lord Advocate) in charge. MacKenzie became known as Bloody George MacKenzie for torturing thousands of Covenanters horrendously before sentencing them to death by ‘swinging from the gallows’, a sight from which he supposedly got great satisfaction and took immense delight. Once dead, the Covenanters were buried in vaults and tombs inside the Covenanters’ prison. Rather ironically, after MacKenzie’s death in 1691, he was buried in a vault which lies very close to the prison.
Nothing was heard of Bloody George for over three hundred years – in fact it was not until 1999 when a tramp, supposedly searching for shelter, crawled into MacKenzie’s tomb. He is reputed to have desecrated the tomb before falling through the floor and accidentally damaging some coffins inside another tomb when he landed on them. Finding himself surrounded by skulls and bones, he apparently ran away screaming from the scene bumping into a man walking his dog who also turned tail and ran. It is thought that it was this event that caused the ‘thing’, known as MacKenzie’s Poltergeist, to manifest after all this time, but it is not his own tomb that MacKenzie haunts, but rather one known as The Black Mausoleum in the final resting place of his victims – the prison itself.
The poltergeist got the name MacKenzie’s Poltergeist as a result of the first reported activity which occurred at MacKenzies’s tomb. It is reputed that a woman who stooped down to look into his tomb was knocked backwards by an icy blast of air. Not long after, Edinburgh Council locked the gate to the tomb after many visitors complained of sweet, sickly smells coming from it, accompanied by feelings of intense cold. However, one tour operator applied for permission to conduct guided tours around the churchyard and the Black Mausoleum in particular. These are now a regular nightly occurrence with visitors claiming to have been grabbed, punched, pushed and shoved, scratched and thrown to the ground. It is alleged that several have actually been carried out of the tomb unconscious and many have reported cuts and bruises appearing on their hands, faces and necks even several days after a visit.
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Ye Olde Starre Inn, York, England
York is certainly not short of haunted pubs and inns, one of the reputedly most haunted of which is ‘Ye Olde Starre Inne’, at 40 Stonegate, a Grade II listed building; visitors cannot fail to notice the inn’s sign (dating from 1733), which hangs across Stonegate, directing them on through a narrow snicket to a courtyard, and finally the inn.
Formerly, the inn was accessible via its stable yard from where customers could easily see the building. In the 1730s the stable yard had buildings added; consequently, the access was narrowed leaving just a passage way to the inn, adversely affecting trade. The landlord at the time, Thomas Bulmer, decided to display a sign over nearby Stonegate directing people to the inn, and paid five shillings (25 pence) per year to those on whose premises the sign was hung. Originally smaller than it is today, Ye Olde Starre Inne was extended and refurbished over 30 years ago. Inside the entrance is a courtyard complete with a well; at one time this was the only source of fresh water for the whole locality.
This old coaching inn dates back to c. 1644, the year of the siege of York by the Roundheads, when it was first licensed. (The inn does have the longest continuous licence of any pub in York, and it claims to be the oldest).
Although the inn dates from 1644, its cellars are thought to be much older and are actually the focal point of its hauntings -- many people have reported hearing the screams of Royalist soldiers emanating from them. Historical records show that they were used as a makeshift hospital for the soldiers during the English Civil War. One of the resident ghosts is a Royalist officer, from the time of the English Civil War, complete with a beaver hat, doublet and smart breeches, who takes up an authoritative position.
Other paranormal activity linked to the inn includes an old lady dressed in black who is often seen descending a staircase (apparently only by children) from the upper floors, and two ghostly black cats who are seen around the bar area. Local legend says that the cats were bricked up while still alive inside a pillar standing between the door and the bar. There are several reports of visitors bringing their dogs into the bar only for them to growl and snarl at the pillar, one dog even managing to knock itself out after making a dash for the pillar! The practice of bricking up cats in a building is supposed to be a superstition which is found all across Yorkshire -- it is thought to protect a building against both fire and ill luck!
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St Botolph's Church, Boston, England
St Botolph's Church is a parish church in Boston, Lincolnshire, the second port in the country in the 13th century. The church is one of the largest parish churches in England, and has one of the tallest Mediaeval towers in the country. Its tower, 266 feet 9 inches (81.31 m) tall, has been nicknamed the ‘Boston Stump’ since its construction. It was long used as a landmark for sailors, and on a clear day can be seen from Norfolk. The nickname, Boston Stump or simply ‘The Stump’, is often used as a reference to the whole church building.
In the mid-1660s, The Stump was the scene of a tragic suicide. Sarah Preston lived in a cottage in the shadow of the church. One night, while her husband was away, she entertained a sailor who, unbeknown to her, was infected with the plague (the Black Death) after which she was blamed for propagating this terrible disease throughout the town resulting in over 400 deaths. Guilt ridden, Sarah climbed the 365 steps to the top of St Botolph's tower, and committed suicide by leaping from there.
Sarah's ghost can now be seen, (apparently, she is more active in September). to jump from the top of the tower only to disappear before reaching the ground.
Locals will also tell you that if you run around the church three times while the bells chime at midnight, a Grey Lady will appear.
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The Red Lion Hotel, Colchester, England
The Red Lion Hotel is a Grade I listed building and the oldest building in Colchester’s town centre; it was built in 1465, and to this day retains all of its original Tudor features, including ancient wooden beams throughout its rooms. It stands out on Colchester High Street, and very clearly isn't ashamed of its age.
The Red Lion has been an inn since it was built, so there has been no scarcity in the amount of people coming and going through its doors. As one of the oldest inns in Colchester, it’s no wonder the hotel is said to be home to several spirits, three of which are discussed further below. Some facts regarding the Red Lion are:
Sightings of Alice Cooper Millar & Other Spirits
The ghost said to be most often encountered by guests and staff at the inn is that of Alice Miller. She was a former chambermaid at the hotel who was murdered by her lover in 1638. Guests and staff have reported seeing Alice’s apparition mostly in rooms 5, 6, and 10. There have been reports of her ghost as far back as the 1800’s. She so terrified the owner of the inn back then, that he had the door to her old room bricked up (which may have been the room in which she was murdered). He had hoped that blocking the door to her old room would put a stop to the haunting, but it failed -- Alice continued to haunt the inn, and still does to this day. She is also seen in the kitchen as well as walking to her old room through the wall where her door was blocked up.
On one occasion, the assistant manager was asleep in his room when he was suddenly awoken in the middle of the night from what he said felt like a strong bolt of electricity through his body. As he gazed around the room, he saw an old rocking chair begin to rock back and forward, then to his amazement he witnessed a woman slowly appear on the chair. She then spoke to him and asked if he was alright. When he answered yes, she disappeared.
In addition to Alice Millar, an apparition of a small boy and that of a hooded monk have also been spotted throughout the hotel. The apparition of the small boy is seen mostly in the Parliament dining room. He is often reported by children, although it is said that he makes his presence felt by appearing in photos taken by the guests. The hooded monk is seen mainly during the early hours, often witnessed around reception and the corridors. He is believed to be the ghost of a monk who died in a fire at the inn while trying to save the lives of two children in his care.
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The Pied Bull, Chester, England
The Pied Bull Hotel is located at 57 Northgate Street, on the corner of King Street, Chester, Cheshire, England. It is recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a designated Grade II listed building, which dates from the 17th century, probably on the site of two mediaeval tenements. The front was partly renovated in the later part of the 17th century, and extended to the rear in the 19th. It is thought to be the Chester Inn described by George Borrow ((1803 - 1881), an English writer of novels and travel books), in Wild Wales.
Although centuries old, Chester’s Pied Bull remains one of the most popular and respected pubs in the city. It used to be a coaching inn where guests would stay as a ‘stop off point’ when travelling up and down the country. A handmade wooden staircase was installed in the pub almost 500 years ago, and is still there today, but eerily that’s not the only thing from the past that lurks in the Pied Bull.
According to the legend, the ghost of a man named John Davies haunts the premises. In 1690, John was on his way down to the cellar, carrying an empty jug and a knife, to fetch some beer, when he slipped on the stone steps and landed at the bottom with the knife firmly in his stomach. The cellar has been a focal point for many paranormal rumours over the years, with some staff refusing to go down there.
John still occasionally makes his presence known in the cellar, and in 2008 when the pub was the focus of ‘Whines and Spirits’, a show about haunted UK pubs, the landlord said, “I was in the office working when I thought someone had come in. I went up to get something from an open drawer in the filing cabinet but not only was it closed, it was locked as well. It doesn’t really bother me at all, except for the cellar. It is the one place in the pub that gives you the creeps."
A couple staying at the pub decided to take some photographs of their room. When they developed the film later, they discovered an image, supposedly of John’s wife, standing by the fireplace with a blue misty human size shape beside her. This might have meant nothing to the couple if not for the legendary tale of the hotel’s most famous ‘ghost’, John Davies.
But John isn't the only ghost to have been found in The Pied Bull. Current staff have never heard John, but they have seen a man in the cellar reading a paper. They also report seeing a young woman dressed as a Victorian chambermaid in the upstairs bedrooms.
A stableman who fell asleep in the stables attached to the pub burnt to death in the fire caused by his lit pipe. He still makes his presence felt in the ground floor rooms, explains Mary Ann Cameron, the author of Chester: A City of Ghosts.
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The R101 Airship
Eileen Garrett (1893-1970) was reputedly one of the best trance mediums of her time in Britain. She first contacted the National Laboratory of Psychical Research (NLPR) at the time of the Stella C experiments in 1923 as a sitter. Stella C (Stella Cranshaw) was a British nurse and medium of whom Harry price said, "... one of the very few physical mediums through whom, during the past fifty years, convincing positive results have been obtained under good conditions of control."
Eileen had had spontaneous experiences before but chose to ignore them until Mrs. Kelway Bamber persuaded her to develop her gifts. James Hewat McKenzie (British College of Psychic Science) took her under his wing and within four years she had developed her powers to a remarkable degree. Eileen Garrett's regular control was an Arab by the name of Uvani.
The scene is the premises of the NLPR, two days after the explosion of the R101 airship near the French town of Beauvais, on October 7 1930. During a sitting at which Mr Harry Price (founder and honorary director of the NLPR of London and former foreign research officer of the American Society for Psychical Research), Mr Ian Coster and Miss Ethel Beenbarn were present, a man claiming to be Flight Lieutenant H. Carmichael Irwin, the Captain of the doomed airship, suddenly possessed the entranced Mrs. Garrett who was hoping to contact the late Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. He announced his presence before giving a highly detailed technical account as to how and why the airship had crashed, implicating a peer of the realm.
This account of the disaster was written down and a copy submitted to the Air Ministry. The information was later checked by a member of that same Ministry (in an unofficial capacity) and found to be amazingly accurate – 70% being absolutely correct and another 20% most likely. However, news of the séance was withheld until after the public inquiry into the disaster had taken place. In his book, The Tragedy of the R101, Edward Frank Spanner, the well-known naval architect and marine engineer, reached the same conclusions.
A detailed report on the final trials and flight of the R101 airship can be read by visiting The Airship Heritage Trust. A significant part of the Report of the Court of Inquiry reads:
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44 Penny Lane
44 Penny Lane, Liverpool, England
Penny Lane is said to be named after the Liverpool merchant, slave ship owner and anti-abolitionist, James Penny, although the city's International Slavery Museum stated in June 2020 that there is no historical evidence linking Penny Lane to him.
The street was immortalised in the Beatles song of the same name, and has since become a site of pilgrimage for fans of ‘The Fab Four’, although that could possibly be said for the whole of Liverpool. We all know Penny Lane has a barber showing photographs, and on the corner is a banker with a motorcar, but a poltergeist? That’s news to most of us!
As delightful as Paul McCartney made Penny Lane sound in the song, the street has a dark history and number 44 Penny Lane is the site of one of the most disturbing hauntings. It is said to be home to at least two spirits, one of which is clearly malevolent. Those familiar with the history of Penny Lane will tell you that Number 44 became home to a particularly aggressive poltergeist during the Victorian period, and that the ghost does not seem to have left the premises.
A printing shop was set up at the address during the 1970s, and the daily influx of new people did little to sooth the spirit’s anger. The premises were investigated during this period after neighbours complained of an unrelenting racket which began every night after the owners of the shop had gone home. Investigators failed to find a logical explanation for the activity, which only strengthened the rumours that the site was home to a violent spirit.
Passers-by have also claimed to have seen the spirit of a little girl with long blonde hair standing in the window of 44 Penny Lane, playing with her hair as she stares at the people on the street. Her identity is unknown, which is probably one of several reasons why she wasn’t among the colourful characters the Beatles sang about.
Poltergeist activity continued over the years. When horses couldn’t carry their loads or the beer was sour, the ’witch’ of Penny Lane was always to blame. By the time the 1930s came around, Number 44 was the centre of the poltergeist activity. Residents and neighbours reported hearing loud thumps, and floorboards would shake violently -- it got so bad that its residents fled from the house.
During World War II and the years following, the poltergeist fell quiet but returned in 1955 in the form of a blonde girl. She is always seen in the upper floor of Number 44, brushing her hair. She has manifested in front of crowds, sometimes even in broad daylight. The spirit of the young girl and the poltergeist activity vanished once more until 1971 when it returned full force.
The Penny Lane Poltergeist has been quiet in recent years, but with its predictable cycles of activity and hibernation, it’s sure to appear again sometime soon. Do you think the poltergeist might be a fan of the Beatles?
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The Treasurer's House, York, England
York is reputedly Europe’s most haunted city, and has many tales to tell, one such being about the Roman Legionnaires who often visit the Treasurer’s House. This house was built in 1419 over an old Roman road, close to York Minster, as a home for the treasurer of the Minster. It remained in this capacity until 1547, after which it passed through a number of private owners. In 1720 the building was divided in two, separating Gray's Court from the current Treasurer's House. But the house is not all that it seems. Its size and splendour surprise its visitors – as does a well known ghost story.
One morning in 1953, an apprentice plumber named Harry Martindale was busily installing a new central heating system in the cellars of the Treasurer’s House when he heard the sound of a horn in the distance. This became progressively louder until a horse suddenly appeared through the brick wall, apparently ridden by a dishevelled Roman soldier. The rider was followed by several more soldiers all dressed in green tunics and plumed helmets. According to Harry’s story, the foot soldiers seemed to be walking on their knees as their lower legs and feet were nowhere to be seen.
The ghostly soldiers then walked into a recently excavated area, an old Roman road known as the Via Decumana, which had been buried more than a foot below the surface.
Harry scrambled upstairs, to what he hoped was safety, where he found the curator of the Treasurer’s House, who reportedly said to him, “You’ve seen the Roman soldiers, haven’t you?”
This was not the first time that these ghostly visitors had been seen.
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Glamis Castle, Glamis, Angus, Scotland
Since being built in the 14th century, Glamis Castle has earned the reputation of being one of the most haunted places in Scotland; the turreted fortress hides many dark family secrets. It was built by the Bowes-Lyons family, and is now the home of the Earl and Countess of Strathmore and Kinghorne. It is open to the public.
Glamis was the childhood home of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, wife of King George VI, who is supposed to have seen some of the ghosts herself. Indeed, some of the rooms associated with her have spooky tales, including the ghost of a young servant who was once badly treated, which appears outside her bedroom. When it comes to ghost stories and horrible history, Glamis Castle boasts a veritable pick ‘n mix. From the ‘human toad’ to the ‘tongueless’ woman, Glamis Castle hides some dark secrets. For example, there’s a room called the Hangman’s Chamber, believed to be where a butler once hanged himself, and then of course, there’s the Monster of Glamis, the Grey Lady, the Tongueless Woman and Earl Beardie.
In the family’s absence, Glamis was left in the care of a factor, and it was to this factor that in 1790 a young Walter Scott applied to spend a night in one of its rooms. He became the first of several writers to note the castle’s oppressive atmosphere. "I must own," he wrote in an account published in 1830, "as I heard door after door shut … I began to consider myself as too far from the living and somewhat too near to the dead." The great novelist also reported that Glamis was said to hide a secret room.
The Glamis Monster
Within half a century of Scott's visit, rumours began to circulate that this hidden chamber concealed a captive -- a prisoner who had been there all of his life. By the 1840s, reports claimed the chamber concealed a 'monster' who was believed to have been a member of the Bowes-Lyon family. He was the rightful heir to the title and property, but was 'so unpresentable' that it was necessary to keep him out of sight and thus out of possession.
Various researchers insist the prisoner was Thomas Bowes-Lyon, a son of Lord Glamis and his wife (who were the great-great grandparents of the current Queen). Official records show that this child died on the day he was born, October 21 1821, but there are those who say this was not the case. Some accounts rather unsympathetically refer to the 'monster' as 'a human toad' and a 'flabby egg'.
A detailed description emerged early in the 1960s, when the writer James Wentworth-Day spent time at Glamis while writing a history of the Bowes-Lyon family. From the then-Earl and his relatives, Wentworth-Day heard the legend that the monster – the heir – was "a creature fearful to behold … a deformed caricature of humanity … his chest an enormous barrel, hairy as a doormat, his head ran straight into his shoulders and his arms and legs were toy-like". And yet, however warped and twisted his body, the child had to be reared to manhood, kept safe and occasionally exercised on the castle parapets, out of sight, a job supposedly given to the factor. The monster's suite of rooms were said to have been bricked-up after his death, thereafter which he was said to haunt the battlements and grounds.
There’s also a tale that guests staying in the castle once hung towels from the window of every room in a bid to find the monster’s bricked-up suite. However, when they stood outside and looked at the castle, several windows were apparently towel-less.
The Tongueless Woman
Another spirit of Glamis is the ghost of the woman with no tongue, or the 'tongueless woman'. This chilling apparition has apparently been seen wandering around the grounds pointing to her badly wounded face, blood spilling from her mouth. She has also been seen looking out from a barred window within the castle. The story goes that she was a serving maid who stumbled on a terrible secret, known only to the incumbent Earl, and when she threatened to expose it, the Earl ordered guards to cut out her tongue and then killed her.
The Grey Lady
The Grey Lady of Glamis haunts the family chapel and the clock tower of the castle. She is believed to be Lady Glamis (Janet Douglas), burned at the stake in 1537 for being a supposed witch. She was accused of poisoning her first husband John Lyon, but she was cleared of the crime and thus free to marry her second husband Archibald Campbell of Skipness. However, in July 1537 she was further accused of planning to poison King James V of Scotland along with her brothers, who were part of several conspiracies against the King. Although the allegations were clearly false, she was sent to Edinburgh Castle dungeon. James could not find any evidence to convict her, so he tortured her family and servants in a bid to 'discover the truth'. Janet was later convicted and burned at the stake on July 17 1537 at Castle Hill, Edinburgh.
One of the more infamous ghosts of Glamis Castle is that of Alexander Lindsay, 4th Earl of Crawford, also known as Earl Beardie, whose presence has been seen, heard, and felt all around the castle. He was supposedly a cruel and twisted man who drank heavily. It is alleged that he once had a black servant stripped naked and forced to run around in the grounds for his and the other Earls' entertainment. This 'entertainment' was actually a hunt, and the poor man was chased down by Earl Beardie and his guests along with their hunting dogs, which, after catching their prey, tore him apart.
The legend goes that Earl Beardie was visiting the castle one Sunday night and upon returning to his room, he was shouting in a drunken rage for someone to play cards with him. Nobody wanted to take him up on his offer on a Sabbath, so he raged that he would play with the devil himself. Shortly after this utterance, there was a knock at the door and a tall gentleman in a long dark coat appeared, offering to play cards. The two men retired to a room and slammed the door shut. A great deal of swearing and shouting could be heard coming from the room. One of the servants apparently looked through the keyhole to see what all the commotion was about and found himself blinded in one eye by a bright beam of light.
The mystery man is reported to have been the devil, who, having won the Earl's soul in a game of cards, condemned him to play until Doomsday for daring to play cards on the Sabbath. Sounds such as shouting, stomping feet, banging doors and swearing are all reported to come from the west tower of the castle – the alleged site of the card game.
Reports of children wakening in the middle of the night only to see a dark figure looming over their beds have been noted. There have also been reports of residents and guests spotting a bearded man wandering the castle, and others have described being touched by the spectre itself.
The Hanged Butler
The Hangman’s Chamber is never used these days -- it is said to be haunted by the ghost of a butler who hanged himself there.
The African Servant Boy
The ghost of a little African boy has been witnessed sitting on the stone seat by the door of the Queen Mother’s bedroom on several occasions. He is thought to be the ghost of a servant who was treated unkindly at Glamis in the middle of the 18th century. This mischievous lad is reputed to trip up passers-by outside the Queen Mother's bedroom, and people who have slept in a small dressing room off the main bedroom have often felt their bedclothes being pulled off. The bedroom has now been converted into a bathroom.
The Haunted Cup
Be wary if you take a drink from the Lion Cup in the castle. This silver vessel, in the shape of a lion, holds nearly a whole bottle of wine, and visitors were often made to drain the cup in one go before they left the building. There’s a shadowy tradition that the cup has brought bad luck to the castle and its resident family, though no-one knows from where it originated or why it has such a sinister reputation.
The Deadly Stream
The River Dean is little more than a burn or stream, but locals called it the ‘Dowie’ Dean, meaning ‘doleful’ or ‘sinister’. A popular rhyme once proclaimed that this river took a human life each year, “The Dowie Dean, it runs its leane [alone], and ilka year it taks eane’.” Another version says that it took a life one year, then spared a life the next year.
A third version insisted that the Dean only killed someone by drowning once every seven years.
The Haunted Chamber
This legend dates back to 1486 when members of the Ogilvy clan sought shelter from Lord Glamis; their enemies, the Lindsays, were in pursuit. Lord Glamis admitted them to the castle and told them to hide in a chamber, but what the Ogilvys didn’t realise was that Lord Glamis was in fact great friends with the Lindsay clan and having locked them in the chamber, he left them to die without food or drink. A few years later, the Earl of Strathmore was disturbed by noises coming from the walled-up chamber and broke in to investigate the cause. Inside he discovered piles of skeletons which lay twisted and contorted in the last agonies of starvation -- some are even thought to have died in the act of eating the flesh of their relatives. Even today, the chamber is thought to exude a strong sense of uneasiness.
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Visitor Submitted Tales
The Red Barn Murder, Polstead, England --- submitted by 'bj' of YorkshireN.B. Although this tale can be found in several archives relating to the paranormal, I thought it appropriate to publish it in this section as the writer actually went to this location to discover what happened. His tale follows:
As a young army apprentice in the early 1960s, as part of an initiative test, another apprentice (Don L) and I were given 48 hours to find our way from and to where we were stationed in Hampshire via the village of Polstead in Suffolk, to discover all we could about 'The Red Barn Murder'. We set off on a Friday afternoon clutching several maps and a couple of cookhouse sandwiches. Hitchhiking was easy back then, particularly wearing uniform, and by late evening we had reached Bury St. Edmunds. We scrounged bed and breakfast from the local constabulary, sleeping in an unlocked cell, and the next morning set off to cover the last few miles to Polstead. This is an account of what we discovered:
William Corder, the son of a Suffolk farmer was running a 300 acre farm in Polstead with his mother, his father and brothers having passed away. On part of his land known as Barnfield Hill he had a barn, a large wooden construction with outbuildings.
In 1826, at the age of 23, William started seeing a local girl by the name of Maria Marten, who was 24 at the time. She was the daughter of the local mole catcher, and was reported to have been an attractive young woman. They would meet regularly in the Red Barn to conduct their affair. In 1827 Maria gave birth to William's child, a son, and hoped this would persuade him to marry her. However, at just one month old the baby died from unknown causes, although it was later suggested that it may have been killed by either Corder or Maria, or perhaps both, for they put out a story saying they had taken the child's body to Sudbury for burial. It has been shown that this was not true, no record of the child's burial ever being found.
Shortly after the child's death, Corder apparently consented to marry Maria. In the presence of her stepmother, he asked Maria to dress herself in male clothing, supposedly to avoid being noticed, and said he would take her to Ipswich where they would marry, arranging to meet her in the Red Barn. That was the last time Maria was seen alive.
William disappeared for a time but eventually returned to Polstead, telling Maria's family that she was staying in Ipswich. But Corder soon left Polstead again as more and more awkward questions were asked. He continued to give excuses as to why Maria had not contacted her family, and wrote to her father telling him they had moved to the Isle of Wight.
Maria's stepmother then began to 'dream' that Maria was dead and that her body was hidden in the Red Barn (so-called because of its half red clay-tiled roof, which can be seen to the left of the main door in the sketch - the rest of the roof was thatched). On 19 April 1828 she persuaded her husband to go to the barn, where he found a recently disturbed area. Digging on this spot he discovered the remains of a body in a sack. The body was partially dressed in male attire and already decomposing but he recognised it instantly as that of his daughter.
The alarm was raised and the hunt for Corder began. He was quickly tracked down to a house in Ealing Road, Brentford on Sunday 27 April, where he was running a female boarding house with his wife, whom he had recently married after she answered an advert he had placed in a shop in Fleet Street.
Corder was taken back to Suffolk and an inquest was held at the 'Cock Inn' in Polstead. At his trial Corder confessed to the crime, although he stated in his defence that he and Maria were arguing about the dead child, and in the heat of the argument a scuffle had broken out during which his gun went off accidentally. However, according to some reports, the judge at his trial said he took Maria's life by shooting her before stabbing her and finally strangling her with a handkerchief.
With thousands of onlookers present, on 11 August 1828, just three days after the trial, William Corder was hanged, after which his body was taken to the Shire Hall where the public were allowed to view it. His head and face were then shaved prior to sending the body to the County Hospital for dissection, another well attended event by all accounts. A death mask was taken and parts of the body preserved; the scalp, with just one ear attached, and the death mask can be found in the museum to this day.
Many people wondered if Maria's stepmother had actually dreamed her dreams of where the body could be found, or whether they were fabricated to seek revenge on Corder. It seems a coincidence that she began 'dreaming' just a few days after Corder married Mary Moore, the wife with whom he was living in Ealing Road when he was caught. The stepmother was only one year older than Maria, and it was rumoured that she was having an affair with Corder which was the reason why Maria had to be disposed of. It is speculated that after hearing of his marriage, she decided to spill the beans by 'dreaming' that her stepdaughter had been murdered.
So, was Maria's body found simply because a woman wanted revenge on her lover, or was it truly a message from beyond the grave? Hell hath no fury ................. so they say!
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An Adoring Wife's Return - submitted by AnonThis tale has been submitted by a visitor to the site who wishes to remain anonymous. What I can tell you is that his wife had recently died, but had already returned to him on a couple of occasions, 'proving' to him - in his own words - that in the 'afterlife' we exist as 'pure energy with intelligence'; prior to this he was firmly convinced that there was no afterlife. Where you see xxxx this is where his wife's name has been omitted. He was living and working in Germany at the time; his story reads:
Please let me explain that our bedroom is absolutely pitch-black when the shutters are down over the window, even in daylight, a fact that can be borne out by family and friends who have visited us in Germany, so there is no way that this experience can be attributed to a trick of the light, and I certainly was not hallucinating.
At ten minutes past six on Monday 25th March 1991 I was awoken to see a strip of bright yellow light, which stretched from the floor to the ceiling, on the wall to the foot of the bed, and which was probably between eight and ten inches wide. I found this odd because every other sign I had been shown had appeared on the wall to the right of the bed. This strip of light was in fact two strips in different shades of 'yellow', one slightly lighter than the other. As usual nothing happened until I sat up in bed, something I now believe xxxx makes me do to ensure that I know I’m not dreaming whatever she shows me.
As I watched, the bottom of this strip moved towards the top very quickly, compressing itself into a square of brilliant, almost white light, as bright as the sun but nowhere near as intense to look at. The ‘dividing line’ between the two shades of yellow formed a black star in the centre of the square. This image then 'flew' across the ceiling. I thought it was going to travel down the wall behind me, but it stopped directly above my head, something it would not have been able to do in a straight line had it appeared on the same wall as the previous signs. It stayed in this position above me for about five or ten seconds or so, then disappeared.
I was obviously very surprised, amazed even, to see such a happening, so much so that I forgot to count the points on the star. Consequently I said aloud, "xxxx, do that again please darling, I didn't count the points on the star." I assumed she had gone, so you can understand my surprise and delight when I saw the two strips of yellow light reappear in exactly the same position and the whole process repeated. This time, instead of being transfixed by the bright light forming a square, I took note of what was happening inside the square, and distinctly watched a pentagram take shape. It was truly fascinating how it happened. The 'line' separating the two shades of yellow seemed to be squirming like snakes in a snake-pit as it was compressed and forced into this symbol. The whole process probably took less than 10 seconds, but watching the formation of the pentagram was just like watching in slow motion; I could see every movement of the 'line' as it took shape. I followed it again across the ceiling until, for a second time, it stopped directly above my head. During the short time it stayed there I was so dumb-struck that I didn't even thank xxxx, or attempt to communicate with her, much to my regret because she was obviously hearing what I said, the proof being the fact she had repeated this phenomenon.
My own interpretation at the time of this happening was that xxxx was telling me that she had left this earth (the light moving from the floor to the ceiling), she was now in 'her heaven' (the intense bright light), and that from now on she would be around to protect me (the upright pentagram directly above my head). Well, I'm still alive to write about it!
N.B. A further note from the author in March 2017 reads: "... and still am some 26 years later. Thank you so much for reporting my private experience on your excellent site."
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An Apport or not? --- submitted by the author of this site!This is a true tale of what I can only describe as an apport of something I had lost. On Thursday, 2 Aug 2007, I was working in a village about 8 miles from where I live. Upon finishing work, I walked back to my car, about 15 – 20 metres from my final delivery. I pulled some items out of my left-hand trouser pocket to place in my jacket pocket when I got back to the car. The only other thing I ever carry in this pocket is a spare car key, and this is simply because I can no longer afford the expense of replacing a window each time I lock my keys in the car – a favourite trick of mine.
I thought I heard something fall to the ground with a sort of 'tinny' sound. Thinking it might be a coin I looked around but saw nothing and then realising that it couldn’t have been a coin, because I never carry any in that pocket, forgot all about it. On arriving home I went through the ritual of emptying my pockets and leaving the items piled in the usual spot ready for work the next morning.
On refilling my pockets early the next morning, Friday, I realised that my spare car key was nowhere to be seen. I hunted around for it, searching the area around where I had ‘supposedly placed’ it the day before. One very close spot where it might have fallen is on a dining chair upon which we tend to leave the newspapers and television magazine. I removed these and shook them, but to no avail.
I decided to return to the place where I heard the sound of something falling to the ground the day before to look for the key, but it was nowhere in sight. On returning home some time later I ordered another from the car dealership as it is a coded key and cannot be cut by a cobbler. In the meantime I do not know how many times the TV magazine had been looked at – particularly by the kids!
On Saturday, 4 August 2007, I left for work early as usual. My wife put the old papers and TV magazine out for recycling when she got up, before going shopping. Upon her return this week’s TV magazine ended up on this same chair. I don’t know how often it had been moved during the day, but at 5 p.m. she asked me at what time we could watch the news on BBC 1. I checked the magazine and told her it was at a quarter past five.
It so happened that other things cropped up, and we never got to watch the news, but just after half past six my wife was talking on the phone and walked past the chair - something made her glance down. What did she see lying there? MY LOST KEY! Was this the work of some benevolent spirit or my Guardian Angel? You won’t convince me otherwise. I’m quite sure it must have been returned in this manner, because the items on that chair had been changed and moved on numerous occasions during the two days that it had been missing.
That reminds me; I must call the car dealership on Monday morning and cancel the order for that new key!
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