Here at Wholesale Clearance UK we have a range of ex-rental DVDs for sale such as Hunted starring Tommy Lee Jones and Benicio del Torro, and the creepy Cabin Fever from Eli Roth, which has been described as ‘scary as hell’ and ‘terrifying’ which totally piques my interest of course. The slant on Cabin Fever is that it’s about a virus that affects the water supply, rather than the more traditional monster in the cupboard type of story. That got me thinking about things that go bump in the night and where you can find the most haunted houses in Britain. So why not turn out the lights, grab a beer – and your teddy bear – have a read of these?
1. Borley Rectory, Essex
Picture this. It’s 1863 and there’s no electricity. The dead of night. Everyone asleep. Suddenly you hear the sound of footsteps in the hall. No-one is there and it is never explained. Then in 1900, the four daughters of the rector Henry Dawson Ellis Bull, think they see the ghost of a nun. It disappears as soon as they try to talk to it. Other people spot a phantom coach driven by two headless horsemen. In 1929 a package is found by the then owner, Mrs Smith, containing a young woman’s skull, and soon after this, the occupants of the rectory report the sounds of servant bells ringing, lights in windows and unexplained footsteps. Mrs Smith also spoke of seeing a horse-drawn carriage at night.
When the next set of owners (the Reverend Lionel Algernon Foyster, 1878–1945, and his wife Marianne) moved in, in 1930, they too reported strange incidents including bell-ringing, windows shattering, throwing of stones and bottles, wall-writing, and the locking of their daughter in a room with no key. An exorcism proved fruitless and in fact it later transpired that Marianne was having an affair with the lodger and used paranormal explanations to cover up her illicit liaisons. The Foysters left Borley in 1935 and the rectory burnt down in 1939 making it historically perhaps, one of the most haunted houses in Britain, or perhaps one of the biggest dupes?
2. Ancient Ram Inn, Gloucestershire
Often been referred to as the most haunted house in Britain, the Ancient Ram Inn located in the village of Wotton-under-Edge in Gloucestershire, is rumoured to have been the location for some extremely dark deeds, including child sacrifice, suicide, black magic rituals and criminal activity. Once owned by St Mary’s church nearby, the inn was built in 1145 and was used for housing slaves and workers. Rumour has it that the inn is located on a site of an ancient Pagan burial ground from over 5,000 years ago, but this does not seem to have been substantiated.
Legend has it that a witch was burned at the stake here, and her spirit is said to haunt the inn, specifically the room now called “The Witch’s Room”. The owner, John Humphries, has found evidence of Devil worship and ritual sacrifice in the inn, having discovered the skeletal remains of children just under the staircase, along with broken daggers. Humphries claims he has been attacked by spirits on a regular basis. Many visitors to the inn have described it as the ‘scariest place’ they’ve ever been to, with “The Bishop’s Inn” room the most scariest of all. Some visitors who have tried to spend the night there have ended up running for their lives and a plumber, apparently sober, claimed to see the ghost of a centurion on horseback walk straight through the wall. If you do ever decide to spend the night here, look out for the succubus that creeps into the beds of sleeping visitors.
3. Berry Pomeroy Castle, Devon
Set off the beaten track between Paignton and Totnes in South Devon, is the once glorious Berry Pomeroy Castle. Now owned by English Heritage, it was once a picturesque castle, sumptuously designed and decorated. Nowadays it is reported to be haunted by two ghosts.
The Blue Lady supposedly lures visitors to different parts of the ruin. Hers is a sad story. She is thought to have been the daughter of one of the Norman Lords of the castle who was raped by her father, who – in some versions of the tale then strangled the resulting baby in the castle. In other versions she strangled the child herself.
The other ghost of Berry Pomeroy is the White Lady. She haunts the dark dungeons, and the castle ramparts. It is claimed she has been seen beckoning to witnesses (including as recently as 1987). According to legend she is the spirit of Margaret Pomeroy, who was imprisoned in the dungeons by her sister Eleanor who was jealous of her beauty, and did not want to share the affections of one poor man. Margaret starved to death in the dungeons – a slow and painful death.
Even today, visitors report numerous ghostly sightings, strange lights, voices, cold spots and freak drafts.
4. The Cage, Osyth, Essex
Micky Rawlings claims to live in one of the most haunted houses in Britain. ‘The Cage’ in St Osyth, Essex is thought to be home to a number of poltergeists. Mickey takes a crucifix to bed with him every night. Owned by Vanessa Mitchell and now on the market, Vanessa herself left the house in 2012 after seeing a black shadowy figure standing over the cot of her infant son, Jesse.
The Cage has an interesting history. It was once a small prison that was in use until the early 1900s, and in the C16th thirteen (unlucky for some!) women were held there in chains, before taking away for execution. It is thought that it is one of these spirits that is still roaming the property. The sounds of children playing have been heard and Mickey says, “I was also growled at in the bathroom by something that sounded pretty angry. I actually felt the breath in my ear.”
Even the estate agents have noticed strange findings in their photos, and so Mickey is living there until Vanessa finds a new owner.
5. Ham House, Richmond
It looks like a normal staircase, but numerous visitors to C17th Ham House in Richmond have been subject to a short, sharp, shove by a ghost if they linger in the third step of the Great Stairs for too long. Often described as one of the most haunted houses in Britain, this National Trust property is thought to be haunted by the Duchess of Lauderdale, along with an incredible 30 other spirits. Visitors have also reported the smell of the Duchess’s rose perfume and her husband John’s pipe tobacco. The Duchess is obviously an impatient soul, as many visitors have claimed to have been pushed if they dawdle too long while looking at portraits.
6. Arundel Castle, Sussex
Arundel Castle has many notable ghosts. These include the first Earl of Arundel, who built the castle, and is said to haunt the Castle’s Keep. Ghost number 2 is a young woman took her own life by jumping to her death from one of the towers because she was grief stricken over a failed love affair – she is often spotted as a figure dressed all in white.
Meanwhile the ‘Blue Man’ haunts the library, and has done since the 1630s. Like many ghosts he is thought to be a Cavalier. There are also reports of a white owl like bird. The legend suggests that if the white bird is seen fluttering in one of the windows, it is an imminent warning of a death of a Castle resident or someone related to the Castle.
Other ghosts of note include a servant boy who was beaten to death, who supposedly haunts the kitchen area and can be seen dutifully scrubbing pots and pans. I could do with that sort of ghost myself.
7. Chillingham Castle, Northumberland
The aptly named Chillingham Castle was built in the twelfth century and is popular among visitors thanks to its numerous ghosts and apparitions. Among Chillingham’s alumni are a ‘blue boy’, a tortured child, the ghost of Lady Mary and a spooky Royal procession. It stands to reason that rumours abound about Chillingham, it can list in its past 8 executions and justifiably perhaps, those executed are still thought to haunt the castle today. Well, you would, wouldn’t you?
8. Blue Bell Hill in Kent
Not actually a haunted house as such, but many drivers have fallen foul to this spirit. Along the A229 it is possible to meet a female phantom hitchhiker. Numerous drivers have stopped to pick up a female hitchhiker, only for her to suddenly vanish from the passenger seat. There’s a similar version of this ghost story in Ulleskelf, North Yorkshire.
9. 50 Berkeley Square, London
50 Berkeley Square is reputed to be the most haunted house in London, a reputation that was sealed by inclusion in Charles Harper’s book Haunted Houses, published in 1913. There was a time, when the now seemingly ordinary house was run down and uncared for. Harper describes how, “soap, paint, and whitewash were unused for years, and grime clung to brickwork and Windows alike. The area was choked with wasted hand-bills, wisps of straw, and all the accumulations that speedily made a derelict London house. The very picture of misery; and every passing stranger stopped the first errand-boy, and asked various questions, to which the answer was, generally, “‘aunted ‘ouse,”; or, if the question happened to be “Who lives there?” the obvious reply was “Ghostesses…”
50 Berkeley Square was once the home of former Prime Minister George Canning, until his death in 1827. It was then leased by a Miss Curzon, who lived in it up to her death at the ripe old age of 90. The next tenant was a Mr Myers who bought the house to do it up as he was due to be married but his bride to be jilted him and he became a recluse, moving into one room at the top of the house and letting the rest go to wreck and ruin. Eventually he died and another family moved in. They complained about a ‘musty smell’. When their maid went to prepare a room for the elder girl’s fiancé, a Captain Kentfield, screams were heard. The maid was found collapsed, muttering “don’t let it touch me.” She died in hospital the next day.
Captain Kentfield, in his wisdom, decided he would spend the night in the room but within 30 minutes of retiring, more terrible screams were heard and then a gun shot. Captain Kentfield was found dead, his face twisted in terror. Hearing these tales another man offered to spend the night in the room and issued instructions that ‘in the dead of night if he were to ring the bell once they were to take no notice as he might simply be a little nervous without due cause. But if he were to ring twice, then they must come immediately to him.’
You can guess the rest. At midnight they heard one bell, and then soon after the bell began to ring constantly. He was found in convulsions of terror and died soon after, thus cementing 50 Berkeley Square’s reputation as one of the most haunted houses in Britain.
10. Tower of London, London
It stands to reason that the Tower of London is one of the most haunted houses in Britain. Here’s a quick list of just some of the people who have died here in miserable circumstances:
• Henry VI of England was murdered in the Wakefield Tower “in the hour before midnight” on 21 May 1471, as he knelt at prayer.
• Lady Jane Grey
• Thomas Becket
• Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury
• The Princes in the Tower – the poor lost nephews of Richard III
• Sir Walter Raleigh, frequently seen near the walls of the Bloody Tower
• Catherine Howard (wife of Henry VIII) has been seen running down the hallway screaming for help
• Queen Anne Boleyn, another of Henry VIII’s hapless wives, is buried under the Chapel’s altar and there have been reports of her headless body walking throughout the corridors
• The White Tower is thought to be haunted by the White Lady who has been seen waving at groups of schoolchildren. Beware her perfume – it has made numerous Tower guards physically ill.
Over to you
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