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80+ Haunted Places in Essex (Updated 2017)

80+ Haunted Places in Essex (Updated 2017)

| On 15, Mar 2017

Table of Contents

 

Red Lion Hotel, Colchester

The 15th century Grade I listed Red Lion Hotel situated along Colchester’s High Street is probably the most infamous hotel in the town.

It’s said to be haunted by not one but three ghosts!

The ghost of a small boy, a monk and a lady called Alice Catherine Millar are said to haunt the Red Lion…

Terrified witnesses have been reporting seeing the ghostly apparition of Alice Catherine Millar as far back as the 1800s.

Alice was believed to been a chambermaid who worked at the Red Lion.

In 1638, she was said to have been brutally murdered by her lover in the hotel.

One of the past owners of the Red Lion was so frightened that the stories of the hotel being haunted by Alice’s ghost would affect trade that he bricked up her old room to try and stop her haunting the building.

Unfortunately for him it didn’t work…

Her ghost is still seen to this very day in the hotel!

Both guests and members of staff have witnessed her ghostly apparition in the hotel’s kitchen and in rooms 5, 6 and 10.

Her ghost has even been seen by terrified witnesses to disappearing through one of the walls where the old bricked up doorway to her room was once situated.

The assistant manager of the hotel on one occasion even saw her sitting in an old rocking chair rocking backwards and forwards before disappearing.

Other hotel members of staff have been frightened by hearing Alice whispering or even talking to them.

Having their hair pulled by an unseen entity is regularly reported by scared guests staying at the Red Lion.

An unknown woman’s voice was once mysteriously recorded on a video tape shot in one of the hotels rooms by a shocked guest.

Another ghostly apparition seen at the Red Lion is that of a hooded monk…

He’s often witnessed in the early hours of the morning walking along the hotel’s corridors.

Sometimes he magically appears in the Red Lion’s reception area.

He’s sad story dates back a few centuries.

It’s said that he was in charge of some children when a bad fire broke out in the hotel.

He perished in the fire whilst trying to save the children!

And last but by no means least, the final ghost believed to haunt this historic hotel is that of a small boy…

It’s normally children who witness the ghostly apparition of this little boy.

They often see him in the Parliament Restaurant which was once the old Banqueting Hall.

The little boy’s ghost has even been caught on camera by shocked guest when they have taken photos in the Parliament Restaurant!

Click Here to Stay in the Red Lion Hotel

 

The Cross Keys Hotel

Cross Keys Hotel, Saffron Walden

The 15th century timber-framed Cross Keys Hotel on the corner of King Street and High Street in Saffron Walden is said to be haunted by a Cromwellian soldier.

Members of staff and visitors alike have heard unexplained phantom footsteps walking up and down the corridors of the hotel.

It’s been reported that on every Christmas Eve the soldier’s ghostly apparition is seen running down the dead end passageway of the hotel only to disappear into thin air when he reaches the end!

The Cromwellian soldier is not the only ghost to haunt the hotel…

A ghostly woman who’s rumoured to be the mistress of Oliver Cromwell is said to haunt one of the upstairs bedrooms of the Cross Keys too.

Click Here to Stay in the Cross Keys Hotel

 

Sun Inn, Dedham, Essex

The Sun Inn, Dedham

In the High Street of Dedham there’s a splendid old 15th century coaching inn called the Sun Inn.

As with most old coaching inns in England it has a ghostly tale to tell!

Legend says that centuries ago a local girl called Elsa once worked at the Sun Inn.

She was accused of witchcraft and killed!

It’s said that she was the last woman in Essex to be executed under the Witchcraft Act.

Her weeping ghostly apparition has been seen throughout the Sun Inn by frightened witnesses.

Her spirit has also been reported to walk along the corridors of the coaching inn in the wee hours of the night.

In 2002, two startled witnesses saw Elsa walking past the pub dressed in a dark cape and carrying a bundle…

Some say that when Elsa appears, it’s a sign that a disaster is about to happen!

Click Here to Stay in the Sun Inn

 

The Mistley Thorn Hotel Mistley Essex

Mistley Thorn Hotel, Mistley

The Mistley Thorn Hotel which is located along the High Street in Mistley is said to be haunted.

The ghosts are said to be the Witchfinder General Matthew Hopkins, a serving girl who once worked at the hotel and it’s said that she’s been seen walking along the Thorns corridors and a young boy who it’s said was killed at the rear of the building during a fight which ended up with him being pushed under a moving cart and being trampled to death.

Click Here to Stay in the Mistley Thorn Hotel

 

Coggeshall

If you’re near the woods of Coggeshall Abbey, listen very carefully…

You may just hear a cheerful woodsman whistling in the distance whilst he chops wood!

So what’s so eerie about that then?

Well it’s the ghost of Robin the Woodcutter and locals have been hearing him chop wood since the 1600s!

Robin was a respected local tradesman.

He once carved a beautiful piece of work called The Angel of the Christmas Mysteries…

And, he’s said to haunt the woods and grounds of the Abbey!

His ghostly apparition has been seen strolling along a stream which the locals now call… Robin’s Brook!

Robin isn’t the only ghost to haunt Coggeshall Abbey…

People have seen a ghostly apparition of a wrinkled monk!

He’s been seen walking through the Abbey grounds and along the lanes heading towards the Blackwater River with a lit taper in his hands.

Close to Marks Hall Old Rectory, there’s an old building called Cradle House.

It’s here that terrified witnesses have seen a floating procession of phantom white monks.

Some believe that Cradle House was a secret meeting place for the monks of Coggeshall Abbey… to me it seems that they still like the place!

There are three old buildings in Coggeshall with a spooky tale to tell…

The first is the 15th century White Hart Hotel which is said to be haunted by an unnamed ghost…

He or she has been witnessed in the older parts of the hotel, in particular the guest lounge area!

A former old inn in Church Street, which is now a house, is reported to be haunted by a poltergeist.

You see, the owners discovered a secret room in the 1960s and there’s been poltergeist activity happening within the house ever since.

A strange eerie mist suddenly appearing at the bottom of the stairs, a rotten smell and doors violently opening and closing on their own are just some of the paranormal activities reported to have happened in the house since the secret room was opened up!

Guild House on Market End is said to be haunted by a ghost of an old man who’s been seen standing at the foot of the bed in one of the bedrooms.

Unexplained balls of light have also been seen drifting around the attic room from the road by independent witnesses.

It’s believed that Coggeshall is located where two ley lines cross and it’s these ley lines which are responsible for large amount of paranormal activity happening in the town.

But, this charming town also has a more unpleasant side to its past.

East Street was once called Gallows Street, St Peter’s Road was known as Dead Lane and local legend says that a set of gallows were located at the Tollgate crossing.

So, is it the ley lines or the past public hangings which are responsible for the paranormal activity happening in Coggeshall?

Click Here to Stay in the White Hart Hotel

 

The Secret Nuclear Bunker Bungalow

Kelvedon Hatch Secret Nuclear Bunker, Kelvedon Hatch

The bunker was once a very secret place but today it’s a tourist attraction and is opened to the public for most of the year…

So, it’s not so secret anymore!

The bunker was originally built in 1952/53 as an air defence station but then became a Home Office Regional Seat of Government and then a Regional Government Head Quarters or RGHQ until the 1990s.

Heavens forbid, but if there was a nuclear strike upon the UK, the RGHQs were responsible for government operations and helping whoever was left alive after the nuclear strike.

After the 1990s, the threat of a nuclear attack upon the UK diminished and the bunker was decommissioned and sold back to the original family who had owned the land in the 1950s.

Upon arrival, you access the bunker by entering a run of the mill looking bungalow which is nestled amongst some trees.

The bunker is actually 125 feet underground and you enter it by an eerie tunnel from the bungalow.

There are three underground floors to the bunker which is designed to be able to house up to six hundred people…

Although, I personally wouldn’t like to be down there with that many people!

The bunker is well equipped with its own air conditioning, heating and water supply.

It was designed to keep its inhabitants protected for up to three months until the radiation levels in the outside world were safe enough to venture out in.

Now you may be thinking that the bunker isn’t an ancient monument or an old coaching inn and thank God it was never used for its intended purpose…

So, how in hell can it be haunted then?

Well, there’s couple of theories why it’s so active.

First, it’s believed that the bunker was built close to a Bronze Age site and also a Roman burial site.

Some believe that these ancient sites were disturbed when the bunker was constructed and this may be just one of the causes to some of the paranormal activity which takes place within its walls.

The second theory is that of the missing foreman.

The walls of the bunker are solid concrete and there’s a story that when the walls were being constructed the foreman’s hat was found floating on wet concrete and the foreman was never seen again.

Some say that he was accidently buried alive within the concrete walls!

Could he be one of the ghosts in the bunker?

Although it was never used for its intended purpose, in its heyday the bunker was a busy place with military personnel being posted underground for up to two weeks at a time… especially in its early years!

Some believe that the bunker ghosts are indeed dedicated military personnel returning from the grave to once again keep the place operational in case of a nuclear strike.

Several ghostly apparitions have been seen regularly deep underground within the concrete walls of the bunker.

A spooky grey figure has been seen wondering from room to room.

Terrified witnesses have strangely described the ghostly figure as an unusually tall elderly lady.

You may not be surprised when I tell you that ghosts of military personnel are a common sight.

One is of an RAF officer and the other is of a uniformed woman who shouts at scared witnesses to leave immediately.

The sick bay is one of the bunker’s more active rooms.

Frightened witnesses have seen dark shadows moving around the room… some believe that it’s a malevolent presence!

Other paranormal activity which has been reported from the haunted nuclear bunker includes stone throwing, loud crashes, banging, growling noises, rotten smells and strange lights and mists suddenly appearing!

 

Harwich Redoubt Fort

Harwich Redoubt Fort, Harwich

One of the most common apparitions to be witnessed by visitors to Harwich Redoubt Fort is that of a headless soldier.

It’s said that a tragic accident happened when a cable attached to a heavy cannon snapped and decapitated a nearby soldier!

Since that shocking event, a gruesome vision of a headless soldier with his severed head tucked under his arm has been seen wandering around the grounds of the fort.

The headless soldier is not the only ghost to be seen at the Redoubt.

Visitors have seen an apparition of a shabby looking man and shadowy figures have been witnessed peering through the fort’s windows.

Another frequent paranormal event which tends to involve people visiting in the lower casements of the fort is the feeling of ghostly hands touching them.

A lot of audio paranormal activity also seems to occur at the Harwich Redoubt Fort.

Mysterious noises, unexplained footsteps, low mumblings, eerie whistling and distant voices have all been heard at the fort.

One common ghostly sound heard by the staff of the Redoubt is that of a women’s voice talking!

 

Borley Church, Borley, Essex, England

Borley Church, Borley

Borley Rectory was once called the most haunted place in England!

The Rectory was burnt down in 1939 and the ruins demolished in 1944, but that was not the end of the hauntings at Borley…

Apparitions of nuns and monks are still seen at Borley Church and at the site where Borley Rectory once stood!

 

Treasure Holt, Clacton-on-Sea

Treasure Holt is located on the edge of the Holland Marshes.

Today it’s easy to get to but in bygone days it was quite an isolated location only accessible by horse and cart or on foot!

If you turned up at Treasure Holt today, you’ll find a small garden centre and a private home.

For a majority of its life the house was actually a coaching inn.

The building is very old… it dates back to 1138 when it was first called Perles or the Pearls Farm.

Between 1645 and 1832, the area of Clacton-on-Sea was notorious for smugglers.

Treasure Holt, with its isolated location, became the number one hang-out for the local smugglers and with them its history becomes a little darker!

At the beginning of the 1600s, Treasure Holt was used by the smugglers to hide themselves and their contraband.

The unscrupulous couple who owned the inn at this time were more than happy to help the smugglers.

In fact they were more than hospitable… they even gave permission for escape tunnels to be dug from the inn!

The smugglers, as a thank you present for their hospitality, gave them a percentage of their loot.

The innkeeper and his wife got up to some terrible acts during their residency at Treasure Holt.

A traveller staying the night at the inn was extremely lucky if he left in the morning with just a fewer amount of his possessions.

You see, a weary traveller was most welcomed at the old inn.

A big meal and a free pint of the pub’s very strong homebrew were waiting for him.

After the meal, the guest was plied with even more pints of the strong stuff until he succumbed and become drowsy.

The innkeeper would then kindly offer him a room for the night to rest his head.

Once asleep, the wife would rummage through his items and steal some of his belongings.

In the morning, if the hung-over guest asked the Innkeeper about his missing stuff, he would tell him that whilst drunk he had paid for the company of his wife.

Now, if the poor traveller was unlucky enough to wake up and catch the wife red handed, then the probability of him leaving Treasure Holt alive quickly diminished!

It’s believed that the innkeeper killed many an unlucky man and dumped their bodies in the forty foot deep well which is still beneath the inn today.

Luckily, a trapdoor and a concrete slab are now covering the opening to the well.

Thank God for health and safety!

Many years ago, the deep well was drained and dozens of human skeletons were discovered heaped in the bottom.

Furthermore, in 1928, builders found a skeleton of a man under the inn’s floorboards… it had an old buckle, a pipe and some old coins with it!

No one really knows who the skeleton of the man was but more intriguing is why he wasn’t dumped in the well together with the other murder victims.

With Treasure Holts murderous past, you probably won’t be surprised if I told you that the old inn has the odd ghost or two knocking about the place.

But what’s surprising, is that most of the ghosts witnessed at Treasure Holt seem to be harmless.

One of the more common apparitions to be seen at the inn is that of a monk!

It’s said that the innkeeper and his wife coerced the monk to steal from his priory and do other unlawful deeds for them.

He’s repeatedly seen in the grounds of Treasure Holt but funnily enough he’s often seen hovering about a foot in the air.

A common spectral sight in the old inn is that of a lady in a long crinoline dress that silently glides through the lounge and simple vanishes into thin air.

Another ghostly lady seen at the property is that of a blonde woman.

She’s mainly been witnessed sitting in front of the fireplace, but sometimes she’s seen outside riding a white phantom horse along the narrow lane.

It’s believed that she’s an unhappy former owner of the inn!

Some witnesses have even reported seeing the ghost of a cavalier inside Treasure Holt.

It’s not only the house which is said to be haunted…

The grounds and surrounding woodland are said to be just as spooky.

In the front yard, eerie gunshots are often heard in the dead of night.

It’s said that a ghostly skirmish takes place between warring phantom soldiers.

Another apparition that’s been seen is that of a ghostly mob chasing a scared man away from the house.

And finally, there’s the horrific apparition of a highwayman seen swinging from a nearby tree!

 

Shrieking Boy Wood, Thundersley

There’s a wood in Thundersley which the locals have nicknamed Shrieking Boy Wood!

Recently, children too young to know about the gruesome legend of the Shrieking Boy got the shock of their lives when they went to play in the woods.

Next to the entrance of the wood they witnessed the terrifying sight of a ghostly figure of a boy screaming at them!

Now, there are a few variations to the ghost story of the shrieking boy.

The first goes back to 1734.

And it goes something like this…

A woodsman was working with a young lad in the copse at the end of Kingsley Lane in Thundersley.

The boy was very lazy.

One day the youngster wasn’t pulling his weight which made the short tempered woodsman lose his rag.

In a fit of anger, he swung his sharp axe at the boy’s head resulting in decapitating him!

Panicking, he hid the lad’s corpse in a hollow tree in the woodland.

At first, he told anybody who asked after the boy that the youngster had run away because he didn’t want to work.

But, guilt got a hold of the woodsman.

He started to drink heavily in his local watering hole the White Hart.

Meanwhile, ghostly screams where being heard coming from the woods by passers-by.

Some locals even witnessed the shocking apparition of the boy next to the wood’s entrance shrieking at them!

Eventually, enough was enough…

The guilt ridden woodsman broke down in the pub.

He confessed to the White Hart’s locals that he murdered the boy and hid his body in a hollow tree!

Another version of this story is that a farm worker had a violent argument with a young boy which resulted in the tragic death of the youngster.

The farm worker then secretly buried the lifeless corpse of the boy.

From the time that the murder took place eerie screams would be heard coming from the woods.

The ghostly screams suddenly stopped when the drunken farm worker admitted killing the boy to the other drinkers in the White Hart.

Another version of this ghost story states that there was no murder…

The boy was in fact tragically knocked over and killed by a passing horse and carriage!

 

Layer Marney Tower, Essex

Layer Marney Tower, Nr. Colchester

It’s said that the ghost of Lord Marney is not too happy with how his beloved palace ended up looking… it’s not to his liking!

And, he shows his displeasure by haunting the tower.

It’s been said that an apparition of a man in full armour has been witness climbing the spiral staircase of one of the towers…

Sometimes he’s on foot, but bizarrely some witnesses have seen him climb up the staircase on horseback!

Away from the staircase, there’s another room in the tower which is supposed to be haunted.

Guests and staff alike have heard doors slam shut and have seen a cloaked figure outside the room.

Whether this is also Lord Marney’s ghost nobody knows!

The gardens and grounds of Layer Marney Tower are just as haunted as the main building.

An apparition of a distressed young woman in Victorian clothing has been seen in the grounds of the palace.

Witnesses say that she seems to be looking for someone or something.

Also a ghost of a former gardener has been seen in the same area of the young Victorian lady.

In fact, although the building dates back to the Tudor times, the majority of ghosts seen in the grounds are funnily enough wearing Victorian clothing.

In another part of the grounds there’s a big old barn which actually pre-dates the Tudor Tower.

This barn is believed to be very haunted…

Staff have seen apparitions of former workers still carrying out their daily activities here.

In fact, this is the barn where Stuart from Most Haunted had the lump of firewood thrown at him!

There’s been a lot of documented paranormal activity which has happened at the Tower…

One of the most talked about encounters was experienced by an Australian lady called Vivian Ray Ellis.

She lived at the palace for a couple of years but on her very first night there she got a rude awakening.

She woke up to feel an unearthly pressure on her chest and she saw her bedcovers being yanked off by an unknown force!

This paranormal activity carried on occurring for a couple of nights until she discovered that if she left her bedroom door open, then the ghostly event wouldn’t take place.

The east wing is known for its poltergeist activity.

You see, certain items have been seen to move and the staff at Layer Marney Tower have reported to have found objects stacked up upon each other when they’ve opened up in the morning!

As with the old barn in the grounds, the rest of Layer Marney Tower is reported to be haunted by apparitions of former workers.

It’s said that they seem to be carrying out their daily routines oblivious to their modern day surroundings.

 

Coalhouse Fort, East Tilbury, Essex, UK

Coalhouse Fort, East Tilbury

If you remember, during the Most Haunted investigation at Coalhouse Fort, the main paranormal action took place in the tunnels below the perimeter wall.

These tunnels are very active indeed…

People have been scared stiff by hearing creepy footsteps following them into the tunnels.

They’ve also reported the sounds of something heavy being dragged along the tunnel floor as well as ghostly voices and unexplained children’s laughter.

One night whilst repairing the tunnels, volunteers heard phantom voices echoing along the tunnel of men playing a ghostly game of poker!

Other visitors to the fort have seen strange apparitions and unearthly entities whilst they walked the dark tunnels.

Some witnesses have even seen dark figures walk towards them and then just simply vanish into thin air.

Others have described being touched by unseen hands whilst they walked in the dimly lit tunnels.

In fact, some have even sworn blind that they were roughly man-handled by some unknown force or forces!

You may be surprised to hear that the tunnels are not the only paranormally active place within the fort.

It’s said that the washrooms are haunted by an evil poltergeist nicknamed Harry.

Saying Harry doesn’t like people being in the washrooms… is an understatement!

Stones and light bulbs, and on some occasion’s even heavy chairs, have all been seen to be violently thrown across the room.

 

Gun at Tilbury Fort

Tilbury Fort, Tilbury

Maybe due to Tilbury Fort being an English Heritage property, there hasn’t been too many reported paranormal activity taking place at the fort when you compare it with its infamous neighbour Coalhouse Fort.

That’s not to say that it’s not haunted though…

It’s said that a shadowy ghostly figure seen at the fort is that of Queen Elizabeth I.

Locals also say that a ghostly soldier is seen patrolling along the walls of the fort at night only to vanish into thin air when you approach him.

Sticking to the soldier theme…

Sounds of phantom soldiers marching have been heard both at night and in the day coming from the parade ground.

As with Coalhouse Fort, Tilbury Fort has tunnels which are rumoured to be haunted…

Witnesses have seen a ghostly mist coming out of the walls and then start to eerily move along the tunnel corridor!

Whilst researching Tilbury Fort, I came across an interesting video on YouTube by Haunted Earth which claimed that the gunpowder room was haunted…

Chris Halton from Haunted Earth captured a spooky EVP in the gunpowder room which sounded like boys kill the boy!

He also claimed to contact the spirits of a Sargent Porter from the late 19th century and a person called Duffield in the room where the uniformed mannequins are on display.

 

The Worlds End Pub at Tilbury

The Worlds End Pub, Tilbury

Apart from the infamous Coalhouse Fort, Tilbury Fort has another haunted neighbour… The Worlds End pub!

The Worlds End pub was formerly the Ferry House, its believed to be haunted by a ghostly highwayman called Nick Nevison who was also known as Swift Nick.

Sometimes he’s seen leaning over a child’s bed in one of the pub’s upstairs rooms…

He’s also been rumoured to relight fires which have burned out!

 

St Peter’s Church , Alresford

St Peter’s Church , Alresford

The Grade II listed St Peter’s Church was built by Anfred de Staunton in 1320.

It tragically burnt down in 1971 and has been left as a ruin ever since.

There’s been a lot of local rumour as to who exactly set fire to the church, some say it was vandals, some say it was a local mentally ill man whilst other’s blame it on white witches.

The truth is… no really knows for certain who the culprit was or even what caused the fire!

I couldn’t find any legends, myths or stories of ghosts related to St Peter’s in particular.

But, I do know that paranormal teams like to visit the ruins and it’s said that they‘ve picked up evidence of spirits here.

It’s also said that the church has been used as a venue for white witches to perform rituals for decades…

The church is supposed to be of huge significance to white witches and in particular one grave.

I’m sorry… but I don’t know which grave this is!

After visiting the ruins of St Peter’s Church I can totally understand why ghost hunters perform vigils here…

I should think at night it could be quiet an eerie place!

 

The War Memorial at Thorpe-le-Soken

Thorpe-le-Soken

There’s a few ghost stories from Thorpe-le-Soken which I think you’ll like to hear.

The police station on Landermere Road is rumoured to be haunted by an ex-copper.

An apparition of an officer in an old-fashioned uniform is often witnessed in the old station.

But that’s not the only haunting at the police station.

On quiet nights unexplained eerie whispering voices can be heard coming from the empty cells!

Staying on Landermere Road, in the 1930s, a couple of teenagers were waiting for a bus when they saw a huge phantom misty ball bounce down the road and pass straight through them and carry on down the road.

There’s an old cottage near the war memorial which has a paranormal tale to tell.

It’s said that the children who once lived there witnessed a spooky man suddenly appear in their bedroom.

The strange thing about this ghostly man was that his legs and arms were bound in chains!

One note of caution, if you’re ever driving along Tan Lane then have your wits about you.

Some startled drivers have narrowly missed a man walking along the lane only to be shaken when they see him vanish in front of their very eyes.

Sometimes he’s accompanied by a phantom lady… nobody really knows who these ghostly pair are!

 

The Bell Inn, Thorpe-le-Soken

The Bell Inn, Thorpe-le-Soken

Along the Thorpe-le-Soken High Street there’s an impressive listed pub called The Bell…

Yep, you’ve guessed it… its haunted!

The Bell was originally a Guild Hall and a much larger structure but today that building has now been split into a pub and an adjacent cottage.

Now the ghost who is said to haunt The Bell is an interesting one…

She’s believed to be a beautiful bigamist called Kitty Canham!

Back in the mid 1700s, Kitty was married to Alexander Gough who was the vicar of St Michael’s Church.

One day Kitty disappeared and it later came to light that she had left and married a wealthy businessman called Lord Dalmeny.

Technically, she was still a vicar’s wife and married to Alexander Gough!

Kitty and Lord Dalmeny ended up living in Italy but in 1752 she became terminally ill.

Kitty last wish was to be buried in Thorpe-le-Soken…

She’s now buried in the parish churchyard and it’s said that both her husbands attended the funeral!

It’s said that many of the paranormal activity which happens in the Bell today are due to Kitty.

In 1972, a guest staying in Room 6 of the pub awoke to find the room’s heavy wardrobe had been moved and the spare bed looked like it had been slept in.

In fact, many people have reported feeling a presence watching them whilst they are in Room 6.

Her ghost has been seen walking through doors and many minor spooky pranks which occur in the pub are blamed on her.

In 1999, a fire swept through the pub destroying most of the building and attached cottage.

The strange thing is… the painting of Kitty that hung on the pub’s wall was totally undamaged by the fire!

 

14th Century House, Fobbing

Fobbing

There’s a TV series called Living with the Dead which investigates hauntings in family homes around the UK.

The team is made up of the mediums Johnnie Fiori and Ian Lawman, who you may recognise from appearing in some of the Most Haunted episodes, plus the historian Hallie Rubenhold and the paranormal researcher Stephen Griffiths.

Well, in one episode called The Ghosts of Fobbing they visited a pretty 14th century house in the village.

This house was said to be haunted by quite a few ghosts!

The owners reported phenomena such as knocking on doors, doors opening, doorbell ringing and seeing shadowy figures.

From their experiences they believed that there were three ghosts present in the house…

A young boy, a lady with dark hair and a Victorian looking lady with blonde hair called Sarah!

Well the Living with the Dead team discovered the spirits of a young nine year old boy called John who died in a fire in the house, a woman called Sarah who they believed may have been a witch and an unpleasant man called Ishmael.

By the end of the episode the troubled spirits were cleansed from the house and the owners seem happy!

I also found another short piece about a haunting in Fobbing in a TV series called Extreme Ghost Stories…

It’s in the 4th episode of the series if you want to check it out.

This time it was a haunting in a modern house in the village.

It seemed to affect the eldest son of the family the most but all of the family and the eldest son’s girlfriend witnessed an apparition of a man in dark clothing and boots within the house…

Especially the youngest boy who described the ghost as being very solid looking!

 

14th Century House, Fobbing

Fisher’s Farm, Fobbing

Along Fobbing’s High Road there a quaint thatched building dating back to the 1400s called Fisher’s Farm.

Yep, you guessed it… its haunted!

Sudden temperature drops have been recorded in the building.

Visitors have even had eerie conversations with a ghostly man who’s said to haunt one of the bedrooms.

Unexplained footsteps and the front door opening and closing on its own have been reported at the Peasant’s Croft by the residents.

The ancient Roman vineyard behind the Peasant’s Croft has also had its fair share of paranormal activity.

Rattling chains, people being pushed and white misty figures have all been experienced in the area!

 

St Michael’s Church, Fobbing

Fobbing’s 14th century St Michael’s Church was used in the past by British soldiers as a look out for invading French and Dutch ships.

But they were not the only ones to use the church in the village for their activities!

In this part of Essex the church is renowned for its historic association with smugglers.

In fact there’s believed to be smugglers tunnels actually under the church.

There’s an urban legend associated with St Michael’s Church of a French pirate whose body is buried against the walls of the churchyard.

And it’s said that his grave would glow on very dark nights!

It’s also reported that sometimes his ghost is witnessed looking down at his own grave.

 

All Saints Church, Feering

All Saints Church, Feering

The 13th century All Saints Church in Feering is associated with an intriguing ghost!

A disturbing ghostly apparition of a man in period uniform holding a bloody stomach wound is often seen by terrified witnesses next to the wall near the pulpit of the church.

So who exactly is this wounded spirit?

Many believe that it’s the ghost of a soldier called John Hardman.

John Hardman was believed to be a soldier in the Anglo-Zulu war of 1879. This was a bloody war between the British Empire and the Zulu Kingdom in South Africa.

John Hardman was said to have been killed in the war.

And, it’s rumoured that his body was returned to England to be buried at Feering’s All Saints Church.

Now, the intriguing fact about John is that there’s no gravestone in the churchyard which bears his name.

Furthermore, there’s no record of a John Hardman fighting in the Anglo-Zulu war of 1879!

But, a soldier called John Harman did fight and die in the disastrous British defeat by the Zulus at the Battle of Isandhlwana Hill.

The Battle of Isandhlwana Hill was the first major encounter in the Anglo–Zulu War.

So maybe over the years the name Harman has changed into Hardman in this ghostly tale?

No one really knows for certain whom the ghost of the soldier grabbing his stomach wound really is…

But maybe it is John Harman?

 

All Saints Church, Cressing, Essex

Cressing Church

Now, if you’re in the Feering area then you may want to visit the 12th century parish church at Cressing too.

The village of Cressing is just a 15 minute drive west of Feering.

You see, the lovely Grade I Parish Church of All Saints in the village has a ghostly tale which I think you’ll find interesting…

Back in the cold winter of 1949 startled locals reported hearing a congregation merrily singing away to an organ within the church.

So what was so strange about that?

Well, the church was locked up, empty and dark… nobody should have been inside at the time!

The church authorities investigated but could not come up with any feasible reason to why the locals heard a congregation singing in the building.

This ghostly phenomenon regularly occurred throughout that winter of 1949.

But funnily enough… the phantom congregation has never been heard singing again since that cold winter!

 

St Annes Castle Inn

St Annes Castle Inn, Great Leighs

At the junction of Main Road and Boreham Road in Great Leighs is a pub called the St Anne’s Castle Inn… it claims to be the oldest licensed premises in England!

The pub was actually mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086… so it’s pretty old!

The timber framework of the pub dates back hundreds of years.

But to look at the pub from the outside you would never think that it was that old.

This is due to a fire in the 1500s which destroyed the thatched roof and look of the pub.

In the cellar of the pub are the remains of tunnels which are said to be linked to the nearby church and Leez Priory.

Poltergeist activity has been reported regularly at St Anne’s Castle.

The pub is reported to be haunted by many ghosts…

There’s believed to be the ghosts of a blonde curly haired girl and a little boy, a lady in a wedding dress called Elizabeth, a man who sits in the bar smoking his pipe and a ghostly cat!

These ghosts are all said to be benign.

But there are reports of darker spirits lurking within the old pub…

In the 19th century a gentleman called George Harry Benfield lived at the Old School House within the village.

He was hung in 1875 for murdering his wife and son!

You see, he found out that his first born son Thomas was in fact his brother’s child.

Enraged by his findings, he brutally reacted…

He killed his wife and son by tightening a length of rope around their necks with a piece of wood until their necks snapped!

His evil spirit is believed to haunt the old pub.

Mediums visiting St Anne’s Castle have also picked up upon the spirits of not so Christian monks plus a huntsman from the 1300s who’s believed to have practiced the dark arts!

Over the years, paranormal groups, the BBC and the famous ghost hunter Harry Price have all investigated the old inn.

One infamous ghost associated with Great Leighs and the St Anne’s Castle Inn is that of Anne Hughes…

Anne was burnt at the stake and buried in Great Leighs!

 

Great Leighs Church

Scrapfaggot Green, Great Leighs

Scrapfaggot is said to be an old Essex word for a witch or a hag.

Many people believe that witches were executed by being burnt at the stake.

In reality, hanging was the most common punishment for witchcraft.

Legend says that in 1621 Anne Hughes was executed for not only practising witchcraft but also for murdering her husband.

Murdering her husband was classed as petty treason in those days…

This is why she was burnt at the stake and not hung for witchcraft!

Locals believe that Anne Hughes was buried at the Scrapfaggot Green crossroads.

It’s said that she was burnt at the stake and her remains buried at the spot of her execution.

Then a large boulder was place over her burial spot to stop her spirit from rising again.

During the Second World War Americans soldiers were based at Great Leighs.

The Americans widened some of the country lanes around Great Leighs so that their large military vehicles could drive along them unhindered.

It’s said that whilst widening one of the lanes, an American bulldozer dislodged the large boulder covering Anne Hughes grave.

Apparently all hell broke loose soon afterwards!

First, in the early hours of the morning, the bell of St Mary the Virgin Church started to ring out all by itself.

Then the church clock started to chime at unusual times.

Plus it began losing time… which it had never done before!

Farmers reported livestock behaving strangely.

Haystacks were mysteriously knocked over in the middle of the night.

And villagers started to report objects within their own homes being moved around by unknown hands.

The famous ghost hunter Harry Price was sent to investigate the spooky goings-on in the village.

What he suggested wasn’t rocket science.

Put the boulder back to its rightful place over the witch’s grave!

It was replaced at midnight on the 11th October 1944.

And all the paranormal activity stopped.

Now, just outside the car park of St Anne’s Castle Inn there’s a small boulder which the locals call the witch’s stone.

They say it suddenly appeared there in 1945.

Many believed it was once the boulder which covered Anne Hughes’ grave.

But to me… it looks a little light to keep a witch’s spirit from rising!

 
The Beehive Pub, Great Waltham

The Beehive, Great Waltham

If you ever visit the Beehive pub in Great Waltham you may suddenly hear the sound of breaking glass.

You see, the pub is believed to have a poltergeist which just loves to break glasses and cause disruption with both the staff and punters alike.

The owners and staff at the pub have nicknamed their mischievous residential poltergeist… Old Ruffy!

But Old Ruffy isn’t the only ghost to reside at the Beehive…

An apparition of a ghostly grey cat is often witnessed running up and down the pub’s hallways freaking witnesses out by disappearing through walls.

 
The Rose and Crown Pub, Great Waltham

The Rose and Crown, Great Waltham

The Beehive isn’t the only pub in Great Waltham to report poltergeist activity happening within its walls…

In the 1980s, the Rose and Crown pub had the builders in to update it.

During the conversion, the builders reported a series of strange unexplained ghostly noises coming from different locations within the pub.

They were constantly annoyed by their tools being moved from one room to another by unknown hands.

The funny thing is…

All the poltergeist activity ceased once the builders had completed the work.

To this day, the owners have never reported any paranormal activity taking place within the property!

 

Langley Manor, Great Waltham

Langley Manor is a grand privately owned red brick building located in the deer park at Great Waltham.

The manor is very old, it dates back hundreds of years and naturally it has a couple of ghostly tales to tell…

The first is the eerie legend of a young girl who strangely disappeared from the estate never to be seen again.

Bizarrely, she was said to have been kidnapped by a ghostly apparition!

Another strange eerie story associated with the old manor house happened back in 1623…

The owner of Langley Manor, Sir Charles Lee, his first wife tragically died giving birth to their baby daughter.

The daughter was brought up by Sir Charles Lee’s deceased wife’s sister Lady Everard.

The girl and her aunt both lived happily together at Langley Manor.

One night the daughter was suddenly awoken by an apparition of a woman in her bedroom.

The ghostly apparition told the daughter that she was in fact her dead mother.

She proceeded to tell her that she was looking forward to being with her the next day… when the daughter will die!

The next day the frightened daughter told her aunt about her ghostly visit from her dead mother and the disturbing premonition she foretold.

Erring on the side of caution, the aunt sent for the local surgeon and physician.

Both examined the daughter in great detail pronouncing her to be in perfect health.

The daughter, still concerned about the ghostly premonition asked for a chaplain to come to the manor.

The chaplain came to the house and read prayers with the daughter and all seemed well.

But, soon after midday the girl felt tired and decided to sit down in a comfy chair where she suddenly died…

Both the surgeon and physician tried to revive her but she was stone cold dead!

 

Braintree

There have been quite a few ghostly sightings along the highways and byways of Braintree.

Recently an apparition of a man wearing a top hat was reported walking along an alleyway at Crouch Court in Braintree.

The ghostly apparition startled the witness when it slowly vanished into thin air!

Along the Witham Road there’s a former old convent.

In 2006 it was being refurbished.

Puzzled builders reported their tools were being moved around by unseen hands.

They started to get spooked when they heard phantom footsteps going up the convent’s staircase…

On one occasion a builder was left visibly shaken when he saw a ghostly apparition of a nun who seemed to be crying out in pain.

After this ghostly encounter he understandably walked of the site for good!

Now, if you drive along the Whethersford Road coming from Braintree there’s a quaint old cottage on your left called the Old Lodge…

It’s said that poltergeist activities has taken place here.

On two occasions in the 1920s ghostly apparitions of policemen have been witnessed at the cottage.

One apparition was in a modern uniform whilst the other was said to be wearing a Victorian uniform!

If you fancy going for a bike ride in the countryside near Faulkbourne Hall to the south of Braintree be very careful…

It’s said that a crazed phantom cyclist has been known to ride at real cyclists to try and knock them of their bikes!

The kamikaze phantom cyclist is described as a man from the 1800s wearing a billycock riding hat on an old fashioned bike.

The final Braintree road to be aware of is Stubbs Lane…

In 2009 a woman walking with her children along the lane witnessed a ghostly human shaped mist hovering above the roads surface!

 

King’s Head, Braintree

Locals at the King’s Head in Bradford Street have reported seeing a ghostly apparition of a man in dark grey watching them as they drink.

As soon as they look at him he startles them by vanishing into thin air!

They’ve nicknamed him Frank.

Frank is believed to be responsible for the pub’s paranormal activities.

The phantom footsteps that are heard on the second floor, the eerie shadows in the men’s toilets, the opening of doors and the switching off and on of the pub’s lights are all believed to be Frank’s doings!

 
Horse And Groom Pub, Braintree

The Horse and Groom, Braintree

The Horse and Groom in Rayne Road is said to be haunted.

Unexplained noises, weird smells and ghostly apparitions have been reported in the pub.

An apparition of a lady has been witnessed upstairs looking out of the window.

On another occasion, the same eerie spirit was seen leaving the premises and crossing the street outside.

The Horse and Groom has been investigated by both paranormal teams and mediums.

They’ve uncovered the spirits of a little girl called Eliza Piggin in the bar area, an old lady in the front bedroom and a man smoking a pipe in the cellar!

I must mention that there’s been some controversy surrounding some paranormal events which have taken place at the Horse and Groom…

In 2011, a psychic photographer visited the pub and took some photos of blurred figures that some people believed were ghosts.

You’ve may have seen these photos online!

Some sceptics claim that these strange spirit photographs are nothing more than a toy figure being held close to the camera lens when the photo was taken…

I’ll let you make up your own mind on them!

Just across the road to the Horse and Groom pub is an auto parts shop.

A paranormal team investigating the pub followed up on a hunch about the ghostly lady who haunts the front bedroom of the Horse and Groom…

You see, the ghostly lady has been seen to cross the road heading towards the auto parts shop.

So a team member asked the staff at the shop whether they had experienced anything strange whilst working at the store.

Well, their hunch was right!

The phantom lady had been witnessed many times entering the shop.

But, strangely she was always seen to exit the building via a wall…

Apparently, there was once a side door in the wall exactly where she had exited!

 
The Angel Inn

The Angel Inn, Broomfield, Chelmsford

On Main Road in the Broomfield area of Chelmsford there’s a nice old pub called the Angel Inn.

The 15th century building was originally a hall house.

From the 1700s onwards it became a coaching inn and is still run as an inn to this very day.

As you can imagine, a building with such a long history probably harbours a few ghosts!

Over the centuries the Angel Inn has been rumoured to be haunted.

But, it’s only very recently that the staff from the pub have been reporting paranormal activity taking place within its walls.

Many paranormal groups have investigated the inn coming to the conclusion that it is indeed haunted.

But, who are the spirits that haunt the Angel Inn?

Well, unfortunately the jury is still out on that one!

 

Chelmsford Prison, Chelmsford

You may be surprised to learn that not all the ghosts at the prison are ex-inmates or prison guards.

In fact, a couple of the most common apparitions to be witnessed are that of ghostly children and a lady in a crinoline dress and bonnet!

The ghost of the lady has been witnessed by startled prison officers at the double gates to the inner forecourt, in an outer office within the prison, on the stairs in G Wing and on a landing on A Wing.

The eerie sound of phantom children playing is commonly reported by both inmates and prison officers alike.

They seem to like to play their ghostly games on B and C Wing and also in the prison’s exercise yard.

It’s believed that the ghosts of the lady in the crinoline dress and the children date back to the Victorian period.

In the mid 1800’s it was common for prison wardens to live with their families within the prison complex.

The second governor of Chelmsford Prison was Captain Henry McGorrey.

He lived at the prison with his wife and children but unfortunately tragedy struck his family.

His seven year old son and twelve year old daughter both died from diphtheria.

Then his five year old daughter died from scarlet fever followed by his wife and ten year old daughter.

Some people believe that the ghostly lady in the crinoline dress and the playful phantom children are in fact the spirits of Captain Henry McGorrey’s wife and children!

Another apparition from the 1800s often witnessed at Chelmsford Prison is that of a Victorian prison warden carrying an old fashion lamp.

His been seen by prison officers on F Wing and on two landings on A Wing.

One of the inmates also witnessed him staring at him from within his cell!

The lady in the crinoline dress, the children and the Victorian prison warden are the most witnessed apparitions of the prison.

But, other ghostly apparitions have been reported too…

A ghost of a priest has been seen entering the kitchen from the staff room by a frightened prison warden.

An apparition of a spooky man wearing a hat and smelling of strong aftershave has been witnessed by a couple of prison officers on the night shift.

Also, shadowy figures have been witnessed on A Wing, in the Performance Management department, on E Wing and on the ground floor of the Old Hospital.

It’s also said that the ghost of the infamous 19th century hangman William Calcraft who carried out many hangings at the prison haunts it today!

Apart from the ghostly apparition being witnessed, a lot of poltergeist activity has also been reported within the Victorian prison.

Scared prison officers have reported plastic cups being kicked at them and being pushed up against walls by unseen entities.

Rubbish bins being mysteriously moved, lights being turned off and on, banging from empty cells, phantom footsteps, eerie whistles, unknown voices and temperature drops within cells have all been reported by the prison officers at Chelmsford Prison.

Even prison officers monitoring the CCTV system have reported seeing shadowy figures and orbs in the Health Care Centre and on E Wing.

It’s safe to say that Chelmsford Prison is a very active place!

 
Civic Theatre, Chelmsford

Chelmsford’s Civic Theatre, Chelmsford

Chelmsford’s Civic Theatre in Fairfield Road is said to be haunted by the spirit of a former technician who was sadly killed in nearby Duke Street…

Many visitors to the theatre are shocked when they’re told that the helpful man who guided them around the building was actually the residential ghost!

Another common paranormal activity which has been reported by spooked visitors is the ghostly sound of unexplained footsteps walking around the stage area.

Some people say they experience an oppressive feeling on the theatre’s balcony and on the stairs leading to the wardrobe and front of house office.

One weird apparition that is often witnessed by startled theatre goers is that of a spirit which takes the form of a white butterfly…

Funnily enough, this only happens during one show in Christmas week!

 
Chelmsford Railway Station

Chelmsford Railway Station, Chelmsford

In 1995 one of the hot water cylinders in a storeroom at Chelmsford Station was playing up and needed to be replaced.

A local plumber was asked to come into the station and install a new hot water cylinder.

When the plumber entered the storeroom he noticed it was totally empty all except a heavy old table with four chairs placed upside down upon it.

Whilst working on the new hot water cylinder the plumber got the fright of his life.

He heard an almighty crash behind him.

He quickly spun around to see what had caused all the commotion.

And he was shocked to find that the old table was now on its side with the chairs scattered all around the floor.

Also, there was no sign of anybody else having been in the room with him!

As you can imagine this really spooked him.

So much so, that he totally refused to work in the station storeroom alone.

You’ll be please to know that he managed to finish the job with the help of a fellow plumber.

And from then on, no further poltergeist activity ever took place!

 
Essex Radio, Chelmsford

BBC Essex, Chelmsford

On New London Road in Chelmsford there’s an old post office building which is now the home to the studio of BBC Essex Radio…

Well, it’s said that this old white building is haunted by several ghosts!

Both visitors and staff alike have reported strange things happening within the building.

In the 1990’s a paranormal team investigated the eerie building.

They came to the conclusion that it was haunted by no less than five spirits…

A teenage girl, a nine-year-old girl, a fifteen-year-old boy, an angry old man and an old lady!

 

Essex Regiment Museum, Chelmsford

Essex Regiment Museum in Oakland Park, Moulsham Street is believed to be haunted…

In the early hours of one quiet morning a witness reported hearing the unexplained laughter of a child followed by the violent slamming of doors!

 

Springfield Place, Chelmsford

Springfield Place and the churchyard next door are said to be haunted by a little weird ugly dwarf-like gnome.

Between 1864 and 1946 frightened visitors to Springfield Place reported being harassed by an unknown force.

Paranormal activity was also reported in the Blue Room with objects being flung off the shelves!

 
The Bear Inn, Stock

The Bear Inn, Stock

The four hundred year old Bear Inn is said to be haunted by a guy called Charlie, nicknamed the Spider!

Back in the 1800’s he worked at the inn as an ostler.

This meant he cared for the horses of the guests who were staying at the inn.

Well, it was said that he liked the odd pint or two or even three.

But only being a humble ostler he had limited amounts of funds to pay for he’s drinking habit!

So, as a side line, he took on the alter ego of Spider to entertain the punters at the pub in return for some loose change and a beer or two.

His spider act went something like this…

In each room of the Bear Inn was a huge fireplace with a large chimney.

He would take his pint of beer and disappear up the chimney in one of the pub’s rooms.

He would then drink his pint in peace in the bacon curing loft which was located at the junction of the chimneys in the roof.

Once he’d finished his pint, he would descend down a different chimney only to appear in the fireplace of another room resulting in startling the pub’s regulars!

Well, sometimes the drunken locals would play a little trick on him when he was up a chimney…

They would light a fire to smoke him out!

On one Christmas Eve, Charlie had done his disappearing act up a chimney with a pint of beer.

He was gone for some time and the bored locals decided to smoke him out.

Tragically, he never came down again…

It’s believed that he was overcome by fumes and died in the chimney.

Legend says that although the chimneys were swept many times, his body was never recovered.

And some say that his well-cured remains are still somewhere up there in one of the chimneys!

Well, I doubt if you’ll be surprised if I told you that he’s ghost is said to haunt the Bear Inn.

Witnesses have described seeing a ghostly apparition of a man dressed in white breeches and leather boots exiting the chimney.

Some have even seen him hanging upside down in one of the chimney’s large fireplaces.

Black footprints and sooty deposits mysteriously appearing on the pub’s carpet are just some of the paranormal happenings which are believed to be caused by his spirit.

Two ex-landlords of the Bear Inn have both witnessed his cheerful ghost describing him as likable!

 
The Grand Hall, Mountfitchet Castle

Stansted Mountfitchet Castle, Stansted Mountfitchet

The original Mountfitchet Castle was built after the Norman conquest of 1066 on the spot of an Iron Age Fort by Robert Gernon who was the Duke of Boulogne.

The Gernon family later changed their name to Mountfitchet, hence… Mountfitchet Castle!

Around 1215, King John wanted revenge on the rebel barons. He destroyed many castles belonging to them.

Sadly this included Mountfitchet Castle.

In the 1980s, a Norman ringwork and bailey fortification was reconstructed as a tourist attraction on the spot of the former Mountfitchet Castle.

So, as you can see, the castle grounds have a long history which in my opinion tends to lead to the odd ghost or two popping up…

And, Mountfitchet Castle is no exception!

You see, the family who own the castle have been putting up with poltergeist activity for many decades.

Shockingly, it’s said that the family’s young children were often moved and placed under tables by an unknown entity whilst they slept at night.

Since the opening of the castle to the public, reports of paranormal activity have gone through the roof…

Most of the activity takes place inside the Grand Hall located within the Inner Bailey and the office above the castle shop.

In 2010, a photograph of a ghostly apparition was taken inside the Grand Hall by a time delay camera set up after the night watchman commented of feeling uneasy whilst patrolling that area.

You can check out the ghostly photo on the castle’s website!

Temperature drops, eerie voices, the clashing of swords, spooky chanting and the sound of a medieval flute playing have all been reported in the vicinity of the Grand Hall.

A ghostly chainmail clad knight and a faceless cloaked monk have been witnessed by terrified staff and visitors.

The ghostly apparition of the knight tends to be seen in the late afternoon whilst the spooky monk has only been seen in the dead of night.

In the office above the castle shop, startled witnesses have seen a ghostly apparition of a man standing in the doorway.

The staff in the castle shop below have heard phantom footsteps stomping around in the office above their heads.

And, unexplained crashes and bangs have also been reported coming from the office when it was known to be empty!

It’s also been noticed that the castle’s animals tend to avoid the area between the church and the surgeon’s house.

Strangely enough, ghostly orbs have been reported in this area in the middle of the night!

 

Canvey Island

On mostly moonlit nights many shocked fisherman have reported seeing a ghostly apparition of a tall burly Viking standing on the mudflats at Canvey Point…

It’s said that he’s waiting to be picked up by a returning Viking ship.

His described as being six foot tall with a beard and a moustache wearing a wet leather jerkin, a steel helmet and knee length strapped gaiters.

He’s also said to be armed to the teeth with a short sword and battle axe!

In the 17th century a Dutchman called Cornelius Vermyden was responsible for making the marsh area of Canvey Island habitable.

Some of the island’s locals believe that the regularly seen ghostly apparition of a lonely Dutchman carrying a sack on his back is in fact Cornelius.

He’s mostly seen by terrified witnesses in the quieter northern parts of the island!

Local legend says that many years ago a lady tragically drowned on Canvey Island after her horse drawn carriage crashed into a lake.

And, as a result of this tragic event, it’s said that her ghost is often seen wandering the area around the lake.

The locals have nicknamed her… The Lady of the Lake!

The funny thing is that there may actually be some truth behind this sad ghost story.

You see, recently there was a clean-up of the lake and its surrounding area.

And guess what?

It’s said that the bones of two horses and parts of a wooden carriage were found in the bottom of the lake!

Like a lot of coastal areas in Essex, Canvey Island had its fair share of smugglers in the past.

One tale which was believed to have been created by the island’s smugglers to keep people away from where they hid their wares was the tale of the Black Man and the White Lady!

The Black Man was said to offer a price for your soul whilst the White Lady would try to tempt you to dance with her.

There used to be an old farm on Canvey Island called Knightswick Farm.

Unfortunately, the farm has now been demolished but it did have a ghostly tale to tell…

It’s said that a young girl who worked at the farm was one day standing on the porch of the farmhouse gazing across the surrounding fields.

She suddenly saw a nun walking across one of the muddy fields towards her.

Wondering why the nun was coming to the farm, she left the porch to go and greet her.

As she walked towards her she was totally shocked to see the ghostly nun slowly vanish into the ground!

Stunned witnesses have seen the ghostly apparition of a bride in her wedding dress walking down Harvest Road.

It’s said that her childhood sweetheart tragically died in an accident with a horse and cart just before they were going to get married.

Another marriage was quickly arranged for her by her elders.

But, she was so grief stricken by the death of her childhood sweetheart that she decided to committed suicide by throwing herself under a horse and cart.

It’s said, that at the time she was wearing the very same wedding dress in which she was going to wed her childhood sweetheart in!

 
Cressing Temple Barn

Cressing Temple, Cressing

In 1986, one of the members of staff at Cressing Temple witnessed a ghostly apparition of a bloodied Roman soldier in one of the fields next to the ancient barns…

He was described as looking very distressed, with a nasty head wound and looking for an escape route!

An archaeological dig took place in the gardens near the ancient barns.

It surprisingly unearthed the decapitated skeleton of a man in his mid-30s.

It’s believed that the skeleton dates back to the Romano-British era!

Could this be our Roman soldier ghost?

Another man-at-arms spirit which is said to haunt the grounds of Cressing Temple is that of a phantom knight.

Local legend says that he’s buried somewhere on the Cressing Temple estate!

In 2009, an interesting photograph which was taken in the middle of the night at a lake near Cressing Temple by a carp fisherman appeared on the internet.

It shows a ghostly mist near the edge of the lake which looks suspiciously like an apparition of a knight or knights on horseback!

In the 1970s and 1980s, scared witnesses saw the ghostly apparition of a cavalier in the 16th century farmhouse at Cressing Temple.

In the 1970s, he was seen at the top of the farmhouse’s stairs by the frightened young son of the Cressing Temple farm manager.

The upset boy described the ghostly apparition as wearing big boots, blue trousers and a big dark hat.

In the 1980s, a new farm manager with his family moved into the old farmhouse at Cressing Temple.

They too had some ghostly encounters!

They reported that the building felt very eerie.

And, on some occasions there would be an unexplained dramatic drop in temperature in the farmhouse bathroom.

Their three year old son didn’t like to be near the stairs by the bathroom.

Because, he saw a strange man with long dark hair on the stairs!

He described the man as carrying a powder horn and wearing a big floppy hat and dark trousers with a red strip down them.

The ghostly cavalier was further seen on many occasions in the farmhouse bedrooms and library.

Now, during the English Civil War, in 1677, Sir Thomas Davies bought the Cressing Temple estate.

A year later tragedy struck when his much loved eldest son Thomas Davies committed suicide by shooting himself!

Some say, that the ghostly cavalier at the Cressing Temple farmhouse is in fact the distressed spirit of the young Thomas Davies.

The ancient barns at Cressing Temple are said to be haunted by the ghost of a young ostler who was tragically kicked in the head by a spooked horse resulting in him dying instantly.

And last but not least, there’s the ghost of a man whose wife sadly died in a terrible fire on the Cressing Temple estate that happened over a hundred years ago.

He’s spirit is said to show its presence in the oak room of the old farmhouse by banging on the room’s oak panelling!

 

Brentwood

John Francis was a British soldier who witnessed the horrific aftermath of the massacre at Cawnpore in India in 1857.

During the massacre well over a hundred men, women and children were butchered…

To hide the evidence the rebel Indians threw their butchered body parts down a well!

John’s brother Terrance Francis was one of those poor victims.

John volunteered to be in a party of men whose job was to retrieve the body parts from the well.

It’s said that he came across the severed head of his brother whilst he was down the well!

As you can imagine this had a severe effect on his mental state of health…

On returning to Brentwood he was a broken man.

Before his death he cursed the people of Brentwood.

He vowed to come back and haunt them for their lack of compassion they showed for his brother and other servicemen in India!

During the 1950s and 60s a lot of the pubs in Brentwood were reporting poltergeist activity taking place within their walls…

Bottles being mysteriously smashed, furniture being moved, people being pushed or prodded by an unknown entity and doors opening and closing on their own accord were just some of the paranormal activities reported by the landlords of the pubs!

The pubs in question were the Seven Stars, the Fountain Head/Masons, the White Hart Inn/Sugar Hut, the Swan Inn, the New World Inn/De Rougemont Manor and the Golden Fleece.

Some locals said it was the spirit of John Francis causing all the mischief!

In 1921 Doctor Walker was visiting a pharmacist in Brentwood who kindly put him up for the night.

In the middle of the night the doctor was suddenly woken up by a ghostly apparition of man carrying a severed head!

A similar event happened to Donna Francis in 1987 whilst walking past a Building Society along the Brentwood High Street…

You see, she was terrified when she saw a horrific reflection in the Building Society window of a man carrying a severed head dripping blood on the pavement!

 

The Swan, Brentwood

The Swan in Brentwood High Street is said to be haunted by the ghost of a 19 year old lad called William Hunter…

In 1555, he was held there for two days before he was executed for his Protestant beliefs.

He was burnt at the stake!

Water taps being turned off and on by an unknown entity, doors being mysteriously unlocked and items being hidden are just some of the paranormal activity which takes place within the Swan pub.

It’s said that dogs entering the pub tend to get a little spooked too.

In 1963 the landlord’s daughter got freaked out when she saw a ghostly apparition of a man in a hat follow her mother across the landing.

A few years later a terrified daughter of another landlord refused to sleep in the pub anymore after witnessing paranormal events in the night.

 

The New World Inn, Brentwood

The previous landlady at the New World Inn, Mrs de Rougemont, is said to haunt Room 14 in the pub…

It’s said that on some nights you can hear a phantom party taking place somewhere in the pub!

 

The White Hart, Brentwood

The White Hart situated along Brentwood High Street is said to be haunted by a mischievous ghost…

You see, it likes to hid objects and frighten people by tapping them on the shoulder!

 

The Fountain Head, Brentwood

In 1969 the Fountain Head in Ingrave Road reported poltergeist activity happening within its walls.

Bottles of beer would explode on their own accord and furniture would be moved around by an unknown presence.

 

The Golden Fleece Inn, Brentwood

Terrified witnesses reported seeing a ghostly apparition of a monk at the Golden Fleece Inn on the London Road.

He would often appear as a reflection in one of the pub’s mirrors!

 

The Marygreen Moat House Hotel, Brentwood

The Marygreen Moat House Hotel is said to be haunted by a poltergeist.

It’s said that one of the bedroom doors would open and close on its own accord!

 
The Church of St Peter and St Paul

Church of St Peter and St Paul, St Osyth

Let me take you back to ‘The Dark Ages’ of Essex in the 7th century, 653 AD to be exact.

Osyth was the daughter of the first Christian king of East Anglia, Redwald.

She was engaged to Sighere, King of Essex.

Unfortunately for Sighere, once they got married she devoted herself to Christ and took a vow of chastity!

Sighere was a good sort, respecting her religious vows he gave her his village of Chich and built her a nunnery in which she became the abbess.

At this time in history it was common for Vikings to sail up the creeks of Eastern England to plunder and loot the locals.

One such Danish raiding party under the command of Inguar and Hubba sailed up the local creek and set upon the village of Chich.

And they weren’t so tolerant to Osyth’s beliefs.

They took her from her nunnery to the nearby Nun’s Wood where they ordered her to worship their gods.

Osyth out right refused.

Hubba’s reply was to swiftly… CUT HER HEAD OFF!

But that’s not the end of the story…

The legend states that she then picked up her severed head and walked to the nearby Church of St Peter and St Paul.

Knocking at the Church’s closed door she collapsed and fell dead dropping her severed head in the doorway.

Since this violent act it’s been said that every 7th October she’s seen walking through Nun’s Wood or the churchyard with her severed head in her hands!

 
St Oysth Priory Essex

St Osyth Priory, St Osyth

The Bishop of London Richard de Beauvays founded St Osyth Priory in 1121.

It became one of the great Augustinian Abbeys of Europe until Henry VIII dissolved it in 1539.

It’s been said that the ghost of St Osyth herself has been seen walking through the Priory grounds carrying her severed head in her hands!

But, there have been other reports of hauntings at this medieval priory too.

The Priory housed a convalescent home from 1948 for thirty plus years.

Joyce was a nurse who worked at the priory in the late 1970s.

One day she was called by the cleaning lady who told her ‘the carpet had been trying to throw her up against the wall’!

At first Joyce was puzzled.

But then she witnessed the carpet move violently which resulted in the cleaning lady being thrown against the wall.

Apparently, this had happened twice before to the poor old cleaning lady.

She subsequently left never to return to the Priory again.

This wasn’t the only paranormal event Joyce witnessed.

On another occasion she came across a person in the laundry room.

She asked if they had permission to be there and they just simply vanished into thin air right in front of her!

She later discovered that other people had seen an apparition of a monk walk through the laundry room wall.

In fact, one of the more famous of the Priory’s apparitions being witnessed at night is that of a white monk carrying a lighted candle.

Not surprisingly apparitions of monks tend to be the flavour of the day at the priory.

Patients at the Priory’s convalescent home witness a group of monks walking through an archway near to where the monks’ graveyard was located…

Apparently, there were no living monks on the premises at that time!

 

Walter Linnett’s Cottage, Bradwell-on-Sea

Walter Linnett was a professional wildfowler who lived in Bradwell-on-Sea at the turn of the century.

He made his living from shooting wildfowl.

He lived in a tiny cottage on the edge of the saltmarsh about 100 meters from the chapel of St Peter-on-the-Wall.

The cottage was originally built in 1798 by the Admiralty in order to house two naval officers whose job was to man a nearby signalling station.

When the Napoleonic wars ended the signalling station was closed down and it’s thought that the Linnett family then moved into the cottage.

Generations of the family lived at the cottage until 1958 when sadly Walter Linnett died at the grand old age of 80.

The cottage is now owned by the RSPB.

They use it as a base and overnight accommodation for their bird watching members.

Some of these bird watchers have reported to have seen a ghostly figure peering through the cottage windows at them…

And, some of them have even been woken up by a spooky apparition of man standing over them.

Many believe that this man is Walter Linnett… and his not too happy with outsiders scaring his precious birds!

 
St Peter-on-the-Wall

The Chapel of St Peter-on-the-Wall, Bradwell-on-Sea

The chapel of St Peter-on-the-Wall is believed to be over 1400 years old!

Back in Roman times the Roman Forts of the Saxon Shore were built to prevent raids from Norsemen…

And the chapel of St Peter-on-the-Wall was built from the remains of the Roman Shore fort Othona.

The chapel was constructed to similar designs used by early Coptic Christians in far flung places such as Syria and Egypt.

Between 1700 and 1850 it’s believed that the chapel was used by smugglers to hide their wares from prying eyes…

In fact, some of the ghosts stories are thought to have actually been spread by the smugglers to keep the revenue men and nosey people away from the chapel!

In more recent times, believe it or not, the chapel was used as a cow barn.

In 1920 it was then re-consecrated and opened to the general public as a place of worship.

It’s said that the chapel is haunted…

Local people have seen unexplainable lights at night shining from within the building and ghostly figures walking around outside.

Now to me this ghost story sounds more than likely to have something to do with the smugglers!

But there’s Roman ghostly tales from chapel of St Peter-on-the-Wall too…

You see, apparitions of Roman soldiers having been witnessed marching along the old Roman road which leads to the chapel.

And there’s also been sightings of an apparition of a Roman on horseback riding within the area of the old Roman Shore Fort!

 
The White Hart

The White Hart, West Mersea

There’s an old 13th century pub in West Mersea near the Church of St Peter and St Paul called the White Hart.

Well… it’s haunted!

An apparition of a lady wearing a blue velvet gown and holding a blue velvet muff is often seen at the inn.

She’s believed to be the wife of General D’Wit and is said to be looking for him…

You see, he liked a tipple or two in the pub after hours!

Upstairs in the White Hart is supposed to be haunted by a honeymooning couple.

Their tragic story goes something like this…

About a century ago they spent a night at the inn and in the morning they left by pony and trap.

Unfortunately, whilst they were crossing the causeway a nasty wind blew up which spooked the horse and they were thrown into the cold water where they were both tragically drowned!

There’s one more haunting at the White Hart… and this time it’s less tragic!

You see, it’s believed that the cellar is haunted by a big Labrador that once belonged to Leo Smith who was a former landlord of the White Hart.

 
The Strood, Mersea Island, Essex

Mersea Island

In Roman times Mersea Island was a Roman outpost…

You see, it wasn’t too far from the very important Roman settlement of Colchester.

Today, you can still see evidence of the Roman occupation on Mersea Island.

There are the remains of a Roman building known as the Wheel Tomb in the garden of a private house close to the Church of St Peter and St Paul in West Mersea.

The ancient causeway connecting the island is the only way on and off the island.

An apparition of a Roman centurion has been regularly seen crossing The Strood by frightened locals.

Sometimes he’s been illuminated by car headlights, whilst other times he’s just heard marching close by…

In fact, locals have reported the terrifying sound of men fighting with swords and men marching next to heavy carts along the causeway… even when it’s supposed to be flooded!

Some locals have even seen the ghostly centurion near the ancient Romano-British barrow.

Whoever was buried in the burrow must have been very important… maybe the centurion is guarding them?

One common theme amongst these ghostly sightings is that they normally happen in the autumn around October time.

So, if you’re going to pay a visit to The Strood, it’s best to go in October.

You never know… you just might bump into a ghostly Roman centurion!

 
Walton Pier

Walton Pier, Walton-on-the-Naze

Did you know Walton-on-the-Naze has a half mile long pier called Walton Pier?

It’s true… the first pier was built in 1830 for landing passengers and goods from steamers.

In 1880 the pier was badly damaged by a severe storm.

But all was not lost…

In 1895 a replacement pier with an electric tramway was built by the Walton-on-the-Naze Hotel and Pier Company.

Today Walton Pier is still in use, it has great amusements and fun-fair rides which are very popular with visitors to the town.

It’s said that one such startled visitor whilst alone on the pier had a spooky conversation with a phantom fisherman who disappeared into thin air!

It has also been reported that the promenade to the west of Walton Pier is haunted too.

It’s been said that frightened witnesses have seen half a dozen ghostly apparitions of figures walking along the promenade…

Maybe they’re happy past visitors from a bygone age who just didn’t want to leave their beloved Walton-on-the-Naze!

 
Naze Tower

The Naze Tower, Walton-on-the-Naze

Walton-on-the-Naze has a prominent historic landmark called The Naze Tower…

The Grade II* tower dates back to 1720 and was built by Trinity House as a navigational tower.

Since then it has been used as a lookout tower in both the Napoleonic and First World Wars.

During the Second World War it was used as a radar station…

And, it’s claimed that during this time a terrified soldier ran out of the tower screaming that he had seen a ghost!

The officer in charge at the time is said to have covered up the incident.

And as far as I know, no paranormal investigation group has ever investigated the tower due to it being a privately owned building.

Scattered around the Naze area are old pillboxes left over from the Second World War…

Some witnesses claim that these pillboxes are haunted!

It’s said that ghostly figures in trench coats have been seen near the old pillboxes and the eerie sound of loading weapons and disembodied voices have been heard from within them.

 
St Mary's Church, Great Baddow, Essex, UK

St Mary’s Church, Great Baddow

St Mary’s church and the surrounding buildings in Great Baddow are supposed to have mysterious secret tunnels beneath them.

It’s believed that these concealed tunnels lead to the haunted 17th century White Horse pub and two other nearby old buildings.

A ghostly apparition of a monk has been witness in the church by frighten visitors.

He’s been seen to eerily glide down the aisle and quickly exiting the church by the west side door of the building.

Some of the locals believe that his ghostly presence is somehow linked to the mysterious secret tunnels!

Apart from the monk, another common apparition seen at the church is that of phantom Civil War soldiers standing outside the building watching it.

 
The White Horse Pub, Great Baddow, Essex, UK

The White Horse, Great Baddow

The White Horse pub which is close to St Mary’s church is said to be haunted by two ghosts.

Many years ago there was a little farm near Duffield Road in Great Baddow.

Well, the workers on this farm worshipped at St Mary’s church.

And, after the church service they would go across the road and have a drink in the White Horse pub.

On one December day there was a violent alcohol fuelled argument between the farm workers and the church bell ringers.

Resulting in one of the workers killing a church bell ringer on the stairs of the pub!

During the murder, somehow the worker broke his leg.

He fled the scene and managed to hobble to the top of the St Mary’s church tower to hide.

But whilst he was trying to hide he tripped over some loose bell rope and plunged to his death over the tower’s battlements!

It’s now said that both the murderer and his victim haunt the stairwell of the White Horse.

So, if you ever visit the White Horse pub around the 20th December, you may just hear ghostly phantom footsteps coming down the stairs to greet you!

 

Little Baddow

If you look on a map of Little Baddow you’ll notice a lot of places named after Grace such as Grace’s Walk, Graces Lane and Graces Farm.

So who exactly was Grace?

Well, it’s said that Grace was a young woman who tragically drowned in the local river around the turn of the 19th/20th century.

Locals say that she now haunts the river’s towpath and bridge!

In fact, in 2001 a young couple who moored their houseboat on the river were disturbed in the middle of the night by something spooky.

They heard phantom footsteps and gravel being thrown onto their boat’s roof.

Expecting local teenagers to be the culprits, they jumped out of their boat to challenge them only to find the towpath and surrounding area totally empty and eerily quiet!

They were so frightened by their spooky experience that they decided to move their boat further down the river… even though it was pitch dark and difficult to navigate!

Another tragic story associate with Little Baddow is that of Lady Alice who was a child bride to Sir Henry Mildmay.

Sadly Lady Alice drowned herself in Sandon Brook near Grace’s Walk in 1616.

It’s said that she killed herself because of her husband’s relentless abuse…

And now it’s believed that the ghost of this unhappy lady haunts Grace’s Walk to this very day!

 
Tilty Abbey Ruins

Tilty Abbey, Tilty

Just a little drive from Thaxted is a small village called Tilty.

Tilty was once the location of an important medieval abbey.

Unfortunately, apart for a stone wall and a couple of overgrown ponds, there’s not too much of this grand medieval abbey left.

Except the ghost of a headless monk that is!

You see, back in 1215 King John’s soldiers ransack the abbey, the nearby church and killed a couple of monks for good measures.

It’s now believed that one of these poor monks haunts the abbey site in the form of a ghostly headless figure!

The strange thing is…

In the 1940’s a decapitated skeleton of a man was found in the grounds of the old abbey!

 
John Webb’s Mill, Thaxted

Lowes Mill (John Webb’s Mill), Thaxted

In Thaxted there’s an old windmill which dates back to 1804.

Some call it Lowes Mill whilst others call it John Webb’s Mill after the guy who built it.

Well, you know what I’m going to say now… yep, it’s haunted!

And the good news is that it’s opened to the public as a rural museum so you can have a look around it if you wish.

The team at the windmill have a few spooky tales to tell.

They’ve heard phantom footsteps and bangs coming from the upper floors of the windmill after closing hours when the building is supposed to be empty!

Ghostly shadows have been seen by the staff and on one of the floors visitors feel they are being watched by something unearthly.

The mill’s owners are open-minded when it comes to investigations by paranormal groups.

Interestingly, past investigations have uncovered the spirits of children, phantom voices, eerie lights and bone chilling cold spots!

 
The Old Alms House Cottages in Thaxted

Thaxted

A few years ago, a driver was heading into Thaxted along the Walden Road.

She slowed down to let an old elderly couple cross the road in front of her.

To her amazement, they simply vanished into thin air right in front of her eyes!

Another good ghost story from Thaxted concerns a local farmer.

At Gibbets Cross he witnessed the horrifying vision of a headless horseman trotting past him on a phantom white horse!

When you visit Thaxted you can’t help but to notice the cathedral like medieval church.

In fact, it’s often referred to as the Cathedral of Essex!

Well, close to the church there are some old alms house cottages built in the past to help home the poor and elderly of Thaxted.

And, it’s near these old cottages and in the churchyard that ghostly corpse lights have been witnessed eerily floating around in the dead of night.

 
The Maltings, Saffron Walden, Essex

The Maltings, Saffron Walden

The Maltings is the oldest inhabited building in Saffron Walden… it’s over 600 years old!

As the name suggests it’s an old malt house where cereal grain was converted into malt.

The building has been renovated and today I think it is now a private home.

But, it was once owned by the Youth Hostel Association and run as a youth hostel.

During this time a few paranormal research groups carried out vigils here and they discovered that the old building had a few ghosts within its walls.

It’s believed that most of the building is haunted but the two most active rooms are said to be the sack hoist room and the cellar!

It’s said that a ghostly little girl has been heard crying in the sack hoist room and shadowy figures have been seen in the spooky cellar.

 

RAF Little Walden, Saffron Walden

North of Saffron Walden there used to be a former Second World War airfield called RAF Little Walden.

It was opened in 1944 and was used by both the RAF and USAAF.

It closed in 1958 and today it’s just left as agricultural land.

There’s a couple of ghostly tales associated with this old airfield.

Where the old runway was once located terrified witnesses have seen a ball of fire rolling along the ground.

When they got a closer look they were horrified to discover that the ball of fire was in fact an apparition of an RAF pilot on fire!

The other spooky tale associated with RAF Little Walden happen on the B1052.

This B road runs through where the airfield was once located and literally in parts follows one of the old runways!

In November 1993 a woman was driving along the B1052 when suddenly a ghost of an American pilot manifested in the back of her car.

She later discovered that he was in fact the pilot of an ill-fated USAAF plane which crashed fifty years earlier at the very same spot where she had the ghostly encounter.

 
The Old Sun Inn, Saffron Walden, Essex

Saffron Walden

During the 17th century, Saffron Walden was a strong puritan area and during the English Civil War it became a New Model Army headquarter.

Now, you wouldn’t be surprised if I told you that some of the hauntings in Saffron Walden have a Civil War theme to them!

If you’ve ever visited the building of the Old Sun Inn in Saffron Walden you may’ve felt uneasy.

Don’t worry as you’re not alone, other visitors to the building have also reported feeling uneasy when entering it.

The uneasy feeling is blamed on the ghost of a Cromwellian soldier.

He’s been blamed for eerie banging noises coming from the walls and for furniture being moved about.

On the odd occasion his ghostly apparition has even been seen in the older parts of the building!

The Cross Keys Hotel on the corner of King Street and High Street in the town is also believed to be haunted by a Cromwellian soldier…

In this case, visitors and staff alike have heard phantom footsteps marching up and down the passageway of the hotel.

Some even say that every Christmas Eve his ghost is seen running down the dead end passageway where he then just simply vanishes into thin air!

But, he’s not the only spooky spirit to haunt the hotel…

It’s said that a ghostly women haunts one of the upstairs bedrooms.

And, it’s alleged that she was Cromwell’s mistress!

The ghost of Cromwell’s mistress at the Cross Keys Hotel isn’t the only female ghost of Saffron Walden!

You see, there’s an old building in the High Street called Hill House.

Well, Hill House is supposed to be haunted by the ghost of a young maid called Nelly Ketteridge!

She once worked at the house in 1845.

Tragically, on a bitterly cold January night she froze to death in a snowstorm on her way home from work.

It’s said that Nelly lets you know that she’s present by suddenly creating freezing cold draughts around you!

There’s yet another female ghost story dating back to 2002 in Saffron Walden.

It was the strange sighting of an apparition of a lady who was seen walking over the bridge on South Road.

So what’s strange about that then?

Well, the weird thing about this ghost was that she was over 9 feet tall but diminished in height as she walked towards the startled witnesses…

They were so frightened that they fled in terror!

 
The Anchor Inn, Canewdon

Anchor Inn, Canewdon

There’s a pub in the centre of Canewdon called the Anchor Inn…

Yes, it’s haunted but not by the ghosts of witches which Canewdon is infamous for!

The smell of unexplained perfume, a baby crying, flying TV remotes and kitchen knives have all been witnessed by both staff and visitors alike.

The paranormal activity is believed to come from the ghost of a young woman called Sarah.

Sarah’s story goes something like this…

Back in the 1500s she became pregnant as a result of an affair with a local wealthy landowner.

The landowner’s wife found out about the affair and the pregnancy and by all accounts she wasn’t too happy!

She ordered her husband to lock Sarah up out of sight in a building which later became the Anchor Inn.

Shockingly, after having the baby… Sarah was murdered!

So you probably understand why it’s believed that Sarah still haunts the Anchor Inn to this very day.

 

Basildon

If you’ve never heard about the legend of the Black Shuck then let me quickly fill you in…

In East Anglian folklore the Black Shuck is a name given to a giant ghostly black dog which is said to roam around the landscape.

The name Shuck is believed to either come from an Old English word meaning Demon or from the word shucky meaning shaggy.

Some believe that sighting the Black Shuck is an omen of death.

Whilst others believe that it’s more of a protective animal accompanying you in difficult situations.

Those who know a thing or two about the Black Shuck legend naturally associate it with the countryside and coastlines of Norfolk and Suffolk…

But surprisingly there’s also been a couple of phantom black dog encounters in of all places Basildon!

The first happen in 1988 to a group of teenagers who were playing in the churchyard of St Michael’s Church on Pitsea Mount.

The kids were playing on the north side of the church near a grave which is ominously nickname The Witches Grave…

Out of nowhere, two massive strange looking black dogs with red glowing eyes appeared and started to growl menacingly at the frighten teenagers.

The kids naturally backed off but strangely the dogs just seemed to disappeared as quickly as they appeared!

The other Basildon Black Shuck encounter happened in 1995.

Again it was with a group of teenagers but this time it was at St Nicholas Church in the Laindon area of Basildon.

A large group of the local kids had congregated at the church.

They were larking about like teenagers do.

A smaller group of girls broke away from the main crowd.

They sat down in a nearby field for a chat and a giggle.

Suddenly they heard an almighty screaming noise coming from the bushes near them.

They thought it was a rabbit coming to an unfortunate end by a fox.

A couple of moments later, on the rise above the field, they witnessed a huge black dog or wolf like creature with massive glowing eyes…

It was staring down at them whilst emitting an unearthly growl!

The girls, with all good intentions of not panicking, slowly got up to back away from the terrifying creature in a calm manner.

But fright got the hold of them…

And, mass hysteria descended upon them.

They fled the scene without a glance backwards leaving the menacing black creature way behind them on the ridge!

 
Holy Cross Church, Basildon

Holy Cross Church, Basildon

One of the more famous Basildon ghost story is that of the red monk of the Holy Cross Church.

In 1964 terrified witnesses were reporting that they’ve been scared witless by the apparition of a monk dressed in red robes!

The ghostly monk was seen floating across Church Road.

He then headed for the churchyard of the Holy Cross Church where he just simply disappeared.

After these ghostly sightings the phantom red monk of the Holy Cross Church became legendary in Basildon.

Unfortunately, in 2004 a group of local jokers held their hands up.

They admitted that they played a ghostly prank by projecting an image of the phantom monk onto the early morning fog!

But, this is not the end to ghostly goings on at Church Road.

There’s two more hauntings witnessed along this road.

The first is that of a ghost of a young girl who’s believed to be a victim of a horse and cart accident.

And the other is that of a violent ghost who likes to pick people up and toss them over the nearest hedge!

 

St Margaret’s Church, Bowers Gifford

There’s was a paranormal event which happened in Bowers Gifford’s St Margaret’s Church which shocked the local parishioners.

You see, one day they were praying in silence when suddenly the organ started to play.

But unnervingly there was no organist present!

This ghostly performance hasn’t been repeated since.

But spooked drivers have reported electrical problems suddenly affecting their cars whilst heading down the lane towards the church on dark nights.

 
Hadleigh Castle

Hadleigh Castle

There have been myths and stories over the centuries suggesting that Hadleigh Castle is haunted by a demented woman.

Locals have often reported hearing a woman crying and wailing amongst the ruins in the dead of night!

They believe that the woman haunting the castle is the woman in white.

There’s a local story about a Castle farm milkmaid called Sally.

Early one morning she stumbled upon a ghostly woman who ordered her to come to the castle ruins at midnight.

Sally was pretty shaken by her weird encounter with the ghostly woman.

Fearing the worst she understandably never went to the spooky rendezvous… she was too scared!

Unfortunately, the next morning she bumped into the ghostly woman again.

The old hag was not too happy with her.

She was so angry with the milkmaid for not meeting her that she smashed her around the head so hard that poor Sally nearly dislocated her neck.

After the ghostly violent assault Sally was cruelly known by the locals as Wry-Neck Sal!

Do you know about the Black Shuck legend?

Well, in East Anglian folklore the Black Shuck is a massive ghostly black dog with glowing eyes that roams around the countryside.

Some say that the sighting of the Black Shuck is an omen of death.

Whilst others believe that it’s more of a protective animal guarding you whilst you travel.

Hadleigh Castle has had quite a few sightings of this massive black creature…

One sighting of the Black Shuck was by a couple of dog walkers who notice a massive black creature when their own dog started to behave oddly…

The Shuck was in a field below them but they didn’t realise the huge size of the animal until it disturbed some nearby cattle…

It was the size of a cow!

In the 1980s a group of kids where playing at the south-east tower of the castle when a giant black dog crept out of an adjacent field towards them.

They described the dog as massive with red glowing eyes and foaming at the mouth!

Apparently it growled and snarled at them but never physically attack them.

The children fled and the police were called to search for a dangerous rabid black dog…

But, no such dog was ever found!

I’m afraid that this disturbing story doesn’t have a happy ending…

It’s said that all the children who witnessed the Black Shuck later suffered from terrible illnesses or worst, they died tragically in accidents!

 
Moot Hall, Maldon

Moot Hall, Maldon

Along Maldon’s High Street there’s a historic 15th century listed building called Moot Hall.

Locals say it’s plagued by a poltergeist!

Just in case you’re wondering…

The word ‘Moot’ is a Saxon word which means a place of assembly.

So you won’t be too surprised if I told you that the hall has been used for centuries by Maldon’s local authorities to do their stuff!

In the beginning, Moot Hall was actually built as a residential building by Sir Robert D’Arcy in around about 1435.

But since then the building has gone through many changes…

In 1576 the corporation of Maldon bought the building and converted it from a private dwelling to a moot hall.

A Bailiff’s gaol was constructed on the first floor.

Whilst on the second a courtroom with a meeting chamber was created.

By 1863 the Moot Hall had expanded even more.

The ground floor now served as Maldon’s police station with its own prison cells and exercise yard!

Today the Town Council still own the hall but it’s managed by The Friends of the Moot Hall as a living museum and an events venue.

Locals believed that Moot Hall is haunted and judging from the buildings past they just might be right!

Some of Moot Hall’s tour guides don’t like to be left in the building on their own.

In the past they’ve witnessed shadowy figures, heard unexplained footsteps and felt that they were being watched by an unknown presence!

Some people believe that Moot Hall has a poltergeist.

Doors violently slamming shut, loud banging noises and disembodied voices have all been heard coming from the Hall’s upper floors.

And what’s more…

A ghostly apparition of a figure has even been seen walking across the exercise yard!

 
King's Head Centre, Maldon

King’s Head Centre, Maldon

Just opposite the Moot Hall in Maldon there’s a building called the King’s Head Centre.

Well this building used to be the King’s Head pub and it has a few ghostly tales to tell.

It’s believed that back in 1946 a poltergeist was present at the King’s Head!

In the dead of night phantom footsteps were often heard running up and down the stairs and along the pub’s hallway.

It’s said that the poltergeist moved objects from room to room and even terrified people by locking doors behind them!

What’s more…

They never really discovered the true story behind the haunting of the poltergeist at the King’s Head pub!

 
Old Railway Station, Maldon

Maldon’s Old Railway Station

Maldon has an impressive old Jacobean style Victorian Railway Station.

Unfortunately it closed its doors to passengers many moons ago.

All except one lonely figure that is!

Before the Maldon line was closed a ghostly apparition of a white lady was often seen on Platform 2 making an eerie groaning noise.

It’s said that any late-night passengers catching the last train home would get a ghostly chill of their lives.

As the temperature on Platform 2 would suddenly plummet denoting the spirits presence!

After the line was closed in the 1960s the Victorian station was left to fall into disrepair.

In the 1980s the station was brought back to life and turned into a restaurant.

Staff and punters alike would often complain about the sudden icy temperature drops.

Some terrified witnesses even saw a white ghostly mist form near the restaurant’s toilets!

Today, the old railway station is sadly surrounded by a busy industrial estate and is no longer run as a restaurant.

 

Beeleigh Abbey, Maldon

Just outside Maldon there’s an idyllic spot next to the River Chelmer.

This is the location of Beeleigh Abbey and some believe that it’s haunted!

Beeleigh Abbey is an old building, it was first built as a monastery for the White Canons and dates back to 1180.

In its time the abbey was a must do destination for pilgrimages.

You see, Saint Roger Niger of Beeleigh had his heart buried at the abbey… after he’d died of course!

In 1540 Henry VIII kindly spared the abbey from being dissolved and granted it to Sir John Gate, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.

During the 18th century the abbey was used by all accounts as a public house!

But unfortunately it then slowly fell into disrepair until 1912 when it was bought and restored by Captain F W Grantham.

In 1943 Beeleigh was then bought by William Foyle, the owner of the famous Foyles bookshop chain.

Today, Beeleigh Abbey is a private home and is generally closed to the public.

But on certain days in the summer the gardens of the abbey are opened to the public to have a look around!

Beeleigh Abbey is rumoured to have couple of ghosts.

The infamous ghost is that of a hooded figure.

This apparition has been seen standing in the corner of the James room by terrified witnesses!

There are a couple of theories being bandied about to who exactly this ghostly hooded figure is.

The first theory is that it’s a monk who used to be a resident at the abbey.

And the second is that it’s the ghost of Sir John Gate.

You see, Sir John owned the abbey in 1537 but was beheaded in 1553 at the Tower of London for being involved in a plot to put Lady Jane Grey on the throne.

It’s said that his screams of anguish can be heard echoing around the abbey on certain still nights!

Poltergeist activity has also been reported at Beeleigh.

Witnesses have been scared stiff by what they’ve experienced.

Trap doors have been opened and banged shut by an unknown force and beds have been violently shaken whilst the sleepy occupants have been laying in them!

 
St Andrew's Church, Hatfield Peverel

Hatfield Peverel

There was once a priory at Hatfield Peverel which it’s believed was founded by the Saxon wife of Ranulph Peverel… Maud Ingelrica!

It’s said that Ingelrica was the mistress of William the Conqueror in her early years.

To make amends for her sins she founded a college of secular canons dedicated to St Mary Magdalene.

Her son William later converted the college into to a Benedictine Priory.

Today, all that’s left of the original priory is the nave which is part of St Andrew’s Church in Hatfield Peverel.

One interesting legend says that the Devil vowed to take Ingelrica soul whether she was buried in the church or outside it.

Ingeniously, it’s said that Ingelrica beat the Devil by being buried inside the actual wall of the church!

If you ever visit St Andrews Church at Hatfield Peverel, check out the 13th century effigy which lies on the window sill of the north wall… it’s Maud Ingelrica!

Hatfield Peverel is infamous for a spontaneously combusting phantom dog which haunted the driveway of the Shaen family’s home between 1770 and 1858.

It was known locally as Shaen’s Shaggy Dog!

The creature was said to be massive with large glaring eyes.

It was known to haunt the B1137 between Crix Corner and the bottom of the hill as you approach Hatfield Peverel.

Local legend says that the Devil dog would spontaneously combust when made angry.

One infamous story was that of a local farmer who stupidly lashed out at the Shuck whilst passing on his horse-drawn cart.

The cart, the horse and the farmer were all instantly incinerated!

If you’re worried about driving along the B1137 just in case you bump into the Devil Dog, there’s no need to be…

The dog hasn’t been seen since the 1950s!

It’s said that Shuck was last seen spontaneously combusting after it saw a car for the first time.

 

Vinehurst House, Hatfield Peverel

Along The Street in Hatfield Peverel there’s one of the village’s oldest houses.

It’s called Vinehurst House and it dates back to 1350!

Well, according to a previous owner of the house it’s said to be haunted by two ghosts.

One ghost is supposed to be good and the other evil!

The good ghost is called Silas and is said to be friendly.

Whilst the other unnamed ghost is said to be evil.

The evil ghost is believed to cause a chilling unnerving feeling in the old house… it also upsets the poor family dog!

 

The William Boosey, Hatfield Peverel

If you head further along The Street you’ll come to a nice old pub called the William Boosey.

Yep you’ve guessed it… it’s said to be haunted!

Staff and locals believe the pub is haunted by three spirits.

One of which can be a real problem…

You see, it likes to sneak up behind the staff and give them a good old ghostly shove in the back!

 
Town Hall, Witham

Witham Town Hall

There’s an old Roman road which runs through Witham… today it’s called Newland Street!

Along Newland Street there was once an old 14th century coaching inn called the George Inn.

Apparently in the 17th century the George Inn got a really bad reputation.

But the funny thing is, it was later converted into a bank and then in 1993 it was bought by Witham Town Council who made it into a Town Hall!

With its history of being a coaching inn with a bad reputation for many years you probably wouldn’t be too surprised if I told you that the Town Hall is rumoured to be haunted.

But not by ghostly drunks from the past but by young innocent children!

Today, part of the old Town Hall building has been made into a Heritage and Tourist Information Centre.

And it’s on the ground floor corridor between the Tourist Information Centre and function room that phantom children voices are often heard by the shocked members of staff.

One startled member of staff even witnessed a ghostly arm protruding from a side corridor!

 

Spring Lodge, Witham

On Powers Hall End road in Witham there’s a community centre called Spring Lodge.

The centre was opened in 1973.

It consists of a nursery, a main hall, a reception area, a bar and five meeting rooms all surrounding another hall which was once an ancient 16th century barn.

The old barn is not only the hub of the community centre but it also believed to be the hub for the majority of paranormal activity which takes place at Spring Lodge.

Frightened members of staff have often seen the top half of a dark ghostly figure resembling a monk floating along the centre’s hallways!

It’s believed that the old barn was once connected to St Nicholas Church on Chipping Hill by underground tunnels.

Maybe this is why the spirit of the phantom monk is seen at the centre?

The centre is also believed to be haunted by a child spirit.

Stunned members of staff have often witnessed a ghostly figure of a small child throughout the centre.

The child’s apparition has even been seen in the rafters of the old barn!

On one occasion a stunned member of staff reported coming into the nursery room first thing in the morning to find all the toys strewn around the place as though children had just been playing with them moments before.

When in fact the room had been locked all night!

 
Hockley Church

St Peter and St Paul’s Church, Hockley

St Peter and St Paul’s Church is located in Church Road in Hockley…

There’s a ghostly tale associated with Hockley Church which involves of all things a stage-coach crashing into a tree just outside the church.

It’s said that the coach driver and his lady passenger both tragically die in the accident.

And from then on an eerie phantom stage-coach has been seen outside the church!

Witnesses to this ghostly apparition say they see the phantom stage-coach with all four horses come to a halt…

Then the phantom lady in white passenger gives them an eerie wave.

The ghostly stage-coach then pulls away only to tragically crash nearby!

 

Hockley Railway Station

Hockley railway station is said to be haunted by the ghost of a teenage girl.

One cold December night a railway employee witnessed a ghostly apparition of a distressed crying teenage girl run to the top of the footbridge at Hockley station.

She then shockingly proceeded to jump off the bridge…

But before she hit the ground she totally disappeared into thin air!

The sad story of the suicide teenage girl is said to date back to the 1960s when on one New Year’s Eve a distraught young girl committed suicide at the station when she discovered her boyfriend with another girl.

 
Marlborough Head, Rochford

Marlborough Head Inn, Rochford

Rochford is famous for having a lot of pubs in such a small area… it’s great for pub crawls!

A desperate manager of one of these watering holes called in a paranormal investigation group to check his pub out.

You see, himself and his members of staff had been encountering a lot of disturbing paranormal activity within their pub.

His pub, the Marlborough Head Inn situated in Rochford’s West Street was experiencing cold spots in the bar area, heavy phantom footsteps and unexplained crashes and bangs coming from an empty upstairs room!

 

Rochford Maternity Hospital

Rochford once had a maternity hospital.

Unfortunately most of the old hospital has now been demolished with new housing being built on the site.

A small saving grace was that a new Rochford hospital was built in 2009 to treat patients with mental health issues in a small area of the old hospital’s grounds.

The old hospital was said to have a residential ghost.

Back in 1923 shocked nurses started to witness a ghostly apparition of a nurse in an old style uniform walking up and down the corridors of the old hospital late at night.

The ghost was nicknamed Matilda by the hospital’s nurses.

And on some occasion…

The patients even reported that they’ve spoken to her but had got no reply!

 

Old House, Rochford

Along Rochford’s South Street there’s a Grade I listed building belonging to Rochford District Council called the Old House.

The timber framed Main Hall part of the Old House dates back to the 13th century!

The locals say that this house is haunted, very haunted…

In fact, it’s rumoured that there may be up to six ghosts in Rochford’s Old House.

A paranormal investigation which was covered by the local rag claimed that the spirits in the Old House are a Puritan woman, an Edwardian child, a maid, a medieval man and a little Victorian girl!

The Chief Executive office seems to have a residential ghost all of its own…

The spirit is said to be that of an elderly man who likes to sit in one of the chairs.

He’s been witnessed in the office by terrified cleaning staff and the Chief Executive himself!

 

Ingatestone Railway Station

There must be something about the railway line at Ingatestone because there’s a couple of strange ghostly tales associated with it…

The first dates back to the 1980s when a young couple waiting for a train at Ingatestone Railway Station heard phantom footsteps climb the stairs of the station’s footbridge, cross the bridge and then descend the stairs on the other side of the railway line and eerily walk down the platform!

The other bizarre paranormal tale associated with the railway line at Ingatestone actually took place one night on a commuter train between Shenfield and Ingatestone…

In 2006 a freaked out commuter reported seeing a ghostly hand appear from behind him and start moving around violently close to his head.

Turning around to see who the hand belong to he was shocked to discover just a white middle aged man asleep in the train seat behind him.

He was so shocked because the ghostly hand he’d witnessed was Asian…

And not the hand belonging to a white middle aged man!

 

The Star Inn, Ingatestone

The Star Inn which is situated along the High Street in Ingatestone has a couple of paranormal tales associated with it.

It said to be haunted by the spirit of a small spotted black dog that is believed to have died at the pub back in 1914.

Over the years the ghostly apparition of the little dog has been seen many times by the locals.

Generally it seems to be harmless.

Although sometimes it tries to block people from walking down the pavement!

In 1956 two sisters staying at the Star Inn left the pub in quite a hurry in the middle of the night due to some unsettling paranormal activity they had witnessed.

You see they couldn’t sleep because their room’s lights kept on being turned on and off by an unknown presence.

Also, this same spooky entity kept on opening and closing their bedroom door!

 

Ingatestone Hall, Ingatestone

Ingatestone Hall is a Grade I listed 16th-century manor house with three wings.

There are some interesting facts about Ingatestone Hall.

Queen Elizabeth I stayed for several nights at the hall in 1561, it has a couple of priest holes, it’s been used in a couple of television series such as Lovejoy and Bleak House and of course it’s haunted!

It’s said that there’s a couple of famous ghosts which haunt Ingatestone Hall.

The first being Sir William Petre.

The ghostly apparition of Sir William Petre has been witnessed by frightened caretakers walking around Ingatestone Hall.

The second ghost that’s believed to haunt Ingatestone Hall is the sister of Lady Jane Grey, Lady Katherine Grey!

She spent two years under the custody of Sir William Petre at Ingatestone Hall for marrying the Earl of Hertford without seeking the consent of Queen Elizabeth…

The Queen wasn’t too pleased with her!

Lady Katherine Grey’s apparition is reported to walk the grounds of Ingatestone Hall.

 
Bibliography
Carmel King (2009) Haunted Essex. The History Press
Dee Gordon (2012) Haunted Southend. The History Press
Jason Day (2011) Paranormal Essex. The History Press
Jason Day (2012) Haunted Chelmsford. The History Press