As we have just passed the Hallowe'en and All Saints Day celebrations, this is an ideal time to discuss haunted Britain.
The UK has the most visitors of anywhere in the world in normal times (other than a pandemic such as in 2020). People go to see the historical sights that are part of our shared cultural heritage, to get that old world feeling and to visit those places which have an old world charm. The small villages are quaint and cozy and the countryside is uniquely beautiful.
The reality of the past is much different. There was much poverty, dirt and disease coupled with brutal murders, tortures and other grisly deaths. For these reasons, it was thought that many people would have unfinished business on the earth that they left behind due to sudden and unforeseen ends to their lives. The ghosts of these people are thought to continue to roam around the place where they were killed or was a special spot for them.
There are an abundance of places in the UK that are famous for ghost sightings today. I will discuss some of these below.
From people being murdered and sold to the medical school for experimentation to a very sordid past in a poverty stricken and disease filled area, Edinburgh has the ingredients for an infatuation with all things ghostly. There is also THE CASTLE on THE ROCK where people have lived since 850 AD (photo above). There have been wars fought there such as the Wars of Scottish Independence in the 14th Century and the Jacobite Rising in 1745. It has the reputation as the most besieged castle in Great Britain. Not surprisingly there are reports of being touched or pushed, sudden cold temperatures, the feelings of unseen beings being present, and apparitions being seen by staff and visitors alike. Another popular tourist attraction in Edinburgh is the ghost walk through the vaults where there were at first businesses but later these were taken over by very disreputable people and even body snatchers. You can even spend the night from midnight to dawn Thursday to Saturday nights during the Edinburgh Festival in August each year. Tourists have reported seeing or feeling strange activity in these underground caves.
Other places in Scotland include:
-In Glasgow at the Necropolis, there is still a rumour today that a vampire killed and ate two local boys. It is known as the Gorbal's vampire. This rumour comes from the 1950's when hundreds of children, armed with knives and sticks, were patrolling the graveyard after saying they heard the vampire
-At Crathes Castle there have been reports of the sighting of a green lady. This was even reported by Queen Victoria.
-St Andrew's Cathedral is haunted by two ghosts. One is a friendly monk who is seen on the stairs and the second is a beautiful lady in white. There have been reported sightings of her for over 200 years.
-At the field of Culloden, where the massacre of the Jacobites occurred, there are reports of cries, sword clashes and gunfire as well as a Highlander who is said to be heard saying 'defeated.'
-There have been many sightings of ghost figures at the Skaill House on the Orkneys which was built on a Pictish burial ground.
There are sightings at various spots in Wales, notably at Inns, small towns and castles such as the following:
-The Skirrid Mountain Inn in Monmouthshire is said to have been a court where 180 criminals were found guilty and hanged many years ago. The Inn sees ghostly visitors.
-The Newton House in Carmarthenshire was built in Medieval times on a site which has been known to have people on it for 2000 years. There was a murder here of Lady Cavendish who was strangled by a suitor. Films have been made here and a cameraman once felt an invisible pair of hands squeezing his throat in the very room where the murder is said to have happened. There have also been reports of lights switching on and off, muffled voices, cold spots and cigar smoke when no one was smoking.
-The Town Inn in Llanrhidian has had reports of the ghost of a coachman sitting in his favourite spot at a table ear the front window.
-In Rhossili, a small village in the Gower Peninsula, a mysterious couple in Edwardian dress is seen walking around. A phantom is also seen galloping across the sand who is said to be the spirit of Rev John Lucas who lived in the area long ago. In the rectory, an overnight visitor felt a sudden chill, heard footsteps and a mocking voice saying 'Why don't you turn around and look at me?'
-At Swansea Castle, there are sightings of a woman in blue.
-In Pennard Castle a shrieking banshee is frequently seen in the ruins there.
The Irish are well known for their beliefs in visits from people from their past and messages being sent from the beyond. Their stories and songs often feature ghosts and banshees.
One spot to visit is at Springhill in Londonderry where the ghost of Olivia roams a house where she died. She loved children and during the day her ghost can be often seen standing on the stairs and strange knocking noises are heard coming from the nursery.
There is SOOOOO much history in England and as such there are many places known for visits by past residents or those who suffered violent deaths. They are in many of the counties such as the following:
Pendle Hill at Lancaster Castle is a Hallowe'en spot due to the renowned 12 Pendle Witches who were hanged there in 1612.
Berry Pomeroy Castle is said to be the most haunted castle in Britain. There is said to be a blue lady who lures people and a white lady who haunts the dungeons.
At Buckland Abbey, Sir Francis Drake's ghost has been seen.
The blue boy is the famous ghost who haunts the Pink Room in the Chillingham Castle.
In the village of Pluckley, which has the reputation of being the most haunted village in Britain (according to the Guinness Book of Records), there have been 12 reported ghosts. Some of these reported ghosts are a highwayman, a phantom of an old woman and that of a school master.
At the Vyne, a National Trust property, there have been lots of stories from staff about hearing a man's voice and footsteps. One volunteer said that she was pushed. A mysterious woman in grey has been seen in the chapel.
Strange apparitions have been seen in Dunster Castle which include a man in green walking through and then disappears without a trace.
Anne Boleyn, who is thought to have been born at Blicking Hall, is said to appear headless every year on the anniversary of her death (May 19).
There is said to be a phantom in the library at Felbrigg Hall.
At Corfe Castle, Edward the Martyr was murdered on the order of his step-mother. Also there were 22 French prisoners starved to death in the prison there. It is said that a headless woman in white, who betrayed a royalist family who were living there, stalks the halls.
Borley Rectory is said to be the most haunted mansion in Britain. There are ghost stories about this place that stretch over 100 years. Apparitions are seen around the grounds as well.
Ham House is a really haunted mansion. In the 17th century, the occupant of the house, Elizabeth Murray Maitland, played both sides of the political divide, being friends with both Cromwell and Charles the second. She and her second husband lived there. People who volunteer at this National Trust property talk about an oppressed atmosphere on the main floor and a woman in black screaming from time to time.
The Treasurer's House in York is said to be haunted by ghosts of soldiers. A few years ago, a man was installing a central heating boiler and heard a sound of a trumpet and saw the top of a soldier's helmet emerging from the wall. He leapt from his ladder and then saw a horse and 20 soldiers going 2 x 2 carrying lances, round shields and swords. A curator said "Oh you have seen the Romans." It was found that there was a Roman road in the 4th Century under where the treasurer's house is. There was a dispute as the Romans were thought to have square shields but it was found that in the 4th Century, the Roman shields were round.
1. Highgate Cemetery
From the 1970's until 2013 there are reports of a Victorian dressed man floating through the park.
2. Hampton Court Palace
Catherine Howard and Jane Seymour, two of Henry the 8th's wives who died in the palace, are said to be seen walking in the courtyard and walking with a candle.
As you can see there are so many interesting places to visit if you are looking for a haunted place.
When we all can go travelling again these fabulous places can be visited
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