9 Haunted Places in Norfolk
Stewart | On 03, Mar 2017
Castle Rising, Castle Rising
Castle Rising was built in 1138 by William d’Aubigny II.
The castle remained within the family until 1243 when Hugh d’Aubigny died childless and the castle was passed onto Roger de Montalt.
The castle then stayed within the Montalt family until Robert Montalt sold it to the Crown in 1327.
At that time, England was controlled by Roger Mortimer and Queen Isabella of France who was ruling as regent for her young son Edward III.
Isabella briefly fell from power after her son Edward toppled Mortimer in 1330 but later enjoyed the status of being the King’s mother.
Edward granted her several royal castles including Castle Rising which she used as one of her main residences until her death in 1358.
Local legend says that at the end of Isabella life she became insane and died alone.
The upper floors of Castle Rising are said to be haunted by her mad ghost.
Shocked visitors to the castle have reported hearing Isabella’s hysterical screams and manic laughter coming from the upper floors of the castle.
Local villagers have also reported hearing her ghostly cries and mad laughter coming from the castle on quiet nights!
Today, the castle is run by English Heritage and is well worth a visit.
Chris Halton from Haunted Earth visited the castle and produced an interesting video about Castle Rising which you can view on YouTube.
Whilst filming Chris’s team mate Sean Kim was left alone in the castle where he heard some ghostly goings-on…
He could hear a man talking on the upper floor of the building and phantom footsteps walking across the wooden floorboards.
But upon investigating he couldn’t find anybody else in the castle.
At the end of the day’s shooting the Haunted Earth team concluded that the Keep forebuilding is the most active area within the castle.
They heard a ghostly woman’s voice and an unexplained tapping on the window.
Plus they smelt a strong smell of tobacco and Sean was touch by unknown entity.
Thetford Priory, Thetford
You probably won’t be surprised if I told you that Thetford Priory is said to be haunted by ghostly monks!
Back in 1937, visitors to the priory ruins heard phantom monks reading, chanting and singing in Latin.
In the summer of 1992, a group of teenagers whilst walking through the priory grounds heard the clicking of keys and then witnessed an apparition of a monk run past them!
The most famous Thetford Priory sighting happened to Christian Jensen-Romer, Axel Johnston, Darren Lorking and David Aukett in 1987…
In fact, they relayed their terrifying tale in the Ghosthunters documentary called Ripples in Time.
Which you can view on YouTube here…
Christian has written a detailed post on his blog about his paranormal experiences of that night.
You can read his account below or on his website at this link…
“It was 1987 and I was at a wargames meeting with four friends, all aged about the same as me – I was the youngest at just about to turn 18. We were driving through a town called Thetford in Norfolk, England, when one of us needed the loo badly, so we turned in to a cul-de-sac off the flyover which runs through the middle of town, looking for an alley or something for a call of nature!
At the end of the lane we stumbled across one of those delightful secrets English medieval towns spring on you – flanked by modern housing estates we found a medieval Priory, laying in ruins, built of the local flint stone and clad in ivy. A sign in the car park informed us that it was Thetford Priory, a victim of Henry VIII’s Dissolution of the Monasteries in the mid-C16th.
Well we were not that enthralled by this (we were from Bury St Edmunds with its beautiful monastery ruins), but we wandered through the evening light – it was about 8-8.30pm on a warm August day, (August 8th 1987) which in England means it is still light, day in fact – and eventually found a secluded part of the ruins, where the urgent business could be undertaken behind a bush. As the other chaps gathered we turned to look at the ruins one last time.
It was then we became aware of a joker wearing a black sheet over his head, pretending to be a ghost. I think it was Darren who saw him first, and remarked on this guy in a very light hearted tone – he was looking at us from a first storey (that one above the ground) window, and was obviously watching us. Now if you imagine someone whose skill at Halloween costume making seems to go as far as throwing a bed sheet over his head, well that is what we saw – at least that is what I think I saw!
Darren, being the most headstrong of us said ‘let’s scare him!’ and charged forwards, towards the facade of the building, which has one large arch and a smaller one in which there was a staircase up to the room we had seen the chap in. As I followed, partly to restrain Darren, partly in a spirit of Scooby Doo ‘and I’ve of gotten away with it if it wasn’t for you pesky kids’ I’m not sure what I was thinking.
And then we saw him coming down the stairs – the sheet billowed out like a woman in a ball gown, and there were three dark spots on his stomach area. At least that’s what I saw, and as I was running – well I was not the most observant. We threw ourselves up the staircase at the guy, who was now well within reach, halfway down the stairs; which is why our impact with the flint wall at the back of the room came as a surprise. No stairs existed.
There was no floor in the room the figure had stood in. I struck my head, as did Darren. We were both nauseous, and I felt like I might vomit a few minutes later. There was also a distinct feeling of coldness, and I completely lost the plot.
What had the others seen? Well everyone agreed that there was a very real and very tangible staircase. They all also agreed that there was a figure, though David described it as a smoky mass – but if he did not think it was a joker in a sheet, why did he not challenge our statement before? Axel said it looked like a monk – but any shadow can look like a monk, hence the hundreds of spectral monks said to prowl English towns. Marcus later described the figure as like spiderman in a black costume.
Anyway on the way back we had a curious mix of nausea and extreme emotional reactions, along with a strong feeling of being cold, and a lot of shakiness. Eventually we got home (16 miles) and on the way David forbade us to discuss what we had seen. Only David had any previous belief in the paranormal, and he suggested we created independent signed testimony. . The statements were kept, and then compared – it was then that the fairly major differences in the description of the figure first came to light – apart from an agreement on the staircase, the figure being male, and wearing black, there was however a complete consensus on the order of events.
There was one more rather bizarre aspect to this sighting – as we left the Priory we had a sense the building was in somehow rebuilding itself, making its self more real, around us. Axel shouted ‘jump the walls – break its reality’. We missed that off the documentary – it sounded too sensational. Yet it was exactly what I felt, and evidently Axel too, and as I ran for the car I also felt as if with every step I was plunging deeper in to mud or wet sand – possibly a physiological response to extreme fear, the legs turn to jelly sensation.
At this point I had a major crisis of belief. At that point I was an absolute atheist materialist and advocate of scientific reductionism, despite my family’s firm belief in spooks etc, maybe because of it. The experience convinced me that people did see ‘ghosts’ – that experience is genuine. What those ghosts are – hallucinations, tricks of the light, abnormal mental phenomena, ESP, spirits of the dead, demons cavorting, whatever – I did not and still do not have sufficient data to judge. It just became obvious to me that people had profoundly unsettling experiences which were hard for those who had not been there to relate to, and which lead you to question your sanity, your place in the world, and what the heck really happened.”
Christian’s ghostly experience is surprisingly not that uncommon at Thetford Priory.
Many people have reported trying to speak to a figure that appears to be dressed up as a joke only to get a shock of their lives when the figure disappears into thin air!
One such pair was Margaret and her daughter who are locals to Thetford…
They were sitting on a bench in the priory grounds on a fine summer’s day when they witnessed a ghostly apparition of a monk with his head bent and his arms tucked into his habit slowly gliding by the old kitchen.
Like others, for that moment Margaret believed it was someone trying to scare them…
So she quickly ran to confront the figure only to discover that he had disappeared!
Now, one common theme amongst these ghostly stories is that they all happen in the summer.
So, if you want to witness the ghostly monks of Thetford Priory, why not pay a visit to these great ruins on a fine summers evening?
Thetford Warren Lodge, Thetford
A couple of miles west of Thetford along the B1107 there’s an interesting old stone and brick building called Thetford Warren Lodge.
It’s believed that the lodge dates back to the 1400s!
The Prior of Thetford had the lodge built to protect the gamekeeper and hunting parties against armed poachers.
Later in the 18th century, the lodge was used by the warreners to store and dry rabbit skins.
Now, there are a couple of eerie stories associated with the old lodge…
The first is a strange story with similarities to the Black Shuck legend of East Anglia.
There’s supposed to be a phantom white rabbit with large flaming red eyes which haunts the surrounding area of the lodge.
If you clap eyes on this devilish beast, well I’m afraid it’s curtains for you!
As the legend dictates, anyone who witnesses the ghostly white rabbit will have terrible misfortune brought upon them.
The other ghostly story associated with the old lodge is that of an apparition of a faceless man… probably a leper!
You see, it’s believed that in medieval times there was a leper colony in the countryside close to the lodge.
Well, today the area around the lodge is popular with dog walkers and runners.
And some of these unfortunate people have reported seeing a ghostly figure of a man with a weird eerie looking face.
He’s typically seen staring out of the first floor window of the lodge.
But, he’s also been seen around the building or actually leaving it.
On one occasion in July 2011, a ghoulish figure wearing blue and cream clothing was seen…
The terrified witness said he had no face, just black holes for his eyes and mouth!
Some believe that the figure isn’t a leper but in fact a ghostly warrener still protecting his rabbits or maybe even the spirit a murdered poacher…
Whoever this ghostly figure is, he’s often seen by terrified witnesses in the summer months.
The Lodge Hotel, Old Hunstanton
46 Old Hunstanton Road, Hunstanton PE36 6HX
The Lodge Hotel situated along the Old Hunstanton Road in Old Hunstanton is said to be haunted by a grey old lady.
Terrified witnesses at the hotel have witness her ghostly apparition pass through solid objects.
She also been seen wandering around the area outside the hotel.
The Bell Hotel, Thetford
The 15th century Grade II listed Bell Hotel on the corner of King Street and Bridge Street in Thetford is said to have the odd ghosts or two rattling around it.
The Bell Hotel is just a five minute walk away from the priory ruins in Thetford.
So you probably won’t be too surprised if I told you that one of the ghosts said to haunt the hotel is that of a hooded monk!
He’s often been witnessed in the main suite bedroom of the Bell.
But, this ghostly apparition isn’t the only one to be seen in this old 15th century hotel…
Elizabeth Radcliffe, or Betty as the locals like to call her, is said to haunt the Bell Hotel too.
She was a former landlady of the Bell who’s believed to have been viciously murdered by her lover in 1750.
She’s said to haunt room 10 and 12 in the hotel.
But strangely, she appears to terrified guests as a younger teenage version of herself.
And nobody really knows why!
The following paranormal activity has all been reported at the hotel…
The unexplainable smell of perfume, the sudden appearance of icy breath, the sound of phantom footsteps and the feeling of being watched!
Other ghostly apparitions which have been reported in the Bell include a pet dog lying in front of what would have been the old original fireplace in the bar and a pair of old-fashioned suede boots hanging through the pub’s ceiling.
RAF West Raynham, West Raynham
RAF West Raynham is a former RAF station which is located two miles west of the village of West Raynham.
It was opened in 1930 and was used during the Second World War by RAF Bomber Command who lost eighty six aircraft during the conflict.
The station was closed in 1996 and eventually sold in 2006.
Recently, planning permission has been granted for a solar farm to be built on the site.
Now if you’re a Most Haunted fan then you’ll know that the team did a seven night live investigation of RAF West Raynham called The Silent Town back in 2010 during a very cold week in January.
They investigated the Control Tower, the Armoury, Hangar 3, the Guard’s House, the Chapel, the Sergeant’s Mess, Base HQ, the Officer’s Mess and the Hospital.
And if you watched the live programs then you’ll remember that the whole sight is very active and a ghost hunter’s dream.
The Officer’s Mess is said to be haunted by a Polish pilot who was killed during the Second World War.
His ghostly apparition is mostly seen in Room 7 but has also been seen in the Dining Room.
On one occasion, an American Officer’s wife got the shock of her life when the ghostly Polish pilot walk straight through her and then disappeared through the wall of Room 7!
The social area of the Armoury is said to be haunted by a mechanic who sadly committed suicide in the building…
He’s ghostly apparition has been seen by terrified witnesses hanging from the rafters!
The Control Room is said to be haunted by a poltergeist who’s has been known to thrown objects at unwitting visitors.
A black shadowy figure who’s believed to be a murder victim is often witnessed in the Chapel…
The ghost is said to be very aggressive towards unwelcomed visitors of the base!
Scared witnesses have also reported seeing a green ghostly figure in the bar area of Sergeant’s Mess.
The Hospital, the Fire Station, Hanger 3, Base HQ and the Guard’s building have all had reports of paranormal activity taking place within them…
Terrified witnesses have heard eerie phantom screams coming from the hospital whilst many people have seem mysterious lights coming from the fire station when it should be empty.
It safe to say, that RAF West Raynham is one heck of an eerie place!
The Muckleburgh Collection, Weybourne
Many terrified witnesses have seen dark ghostly shadows moving around in the museum’s Diorama room.
Members of staff have reported the feeling of being watched by something or someone unknown…
These paranormal events are said to happen in both the daytime and at night!
During the war six ATS girls were tragically killed in an accident at the camp when a shell they were handling exploded killing them all instantly.
It’s now said that the spirit lights witnessed at night by the old pill box are caused by the ghosts of the six ATS girls.
The desk in the office which once belonged to the museum’s founder Berry Savory is said to be haunted.
You see, sudden temperature drops and cold spots are often felt around it!
It’s said that the museum’s resident dog won’t go anywhere near some of the reputed haunted areas within the museum especially Berry Savory desk.
In the Tank Hall phantom moans and groans have been heard in the dead of night coming from the military ambulance and the tanks.
The terrifying sounds of a man screaming have been heard coming from the back of the empty ambulance.
The Russian T34 tank is also said to be haunted, it’s often heard cooling down even though it hasn’t been started up for a long time.
Severe temperature drops have also been reported to take place in and around the tank.
Last but by no means least…
Spooked witnesses have heard eerie footsteps walking down the corridor towards the museum’s office!
Cromer Pier, Cromer
The historic Grade II listed Cromer pier is home to the Pavilion Theatre and the Cromer Lifeboat Station.
It’s believed that there was a pier in Cromer as far back as 1391…
Although in those days it was more likely to be used as a jetty!
Now, there’ve been a few piers over the centuries at Cromer.
The 1822 cast iron pier was totally destroyed in a severe storm whilst the wooden pier which replaced it was damage beyond repair by being hit by a careless coal boat.
The current pier dates back to 1902.
The Pavilion Theatre situated at the end of the pier is well known locally for being very haunted.
The theatre is said to be haunted by an Irish impresario called Dick Condon.
Many performers at the theatre have been totally freaked out when they’ve witnessed his ghostly apparition appear on stage next to them whilst they’re performing!
Visitors and members of staff alike have also witnessed the ghostly apparition of a man in a tall black hat and an ashen face man with jet black hair.
Frightened members of staff have also reported poltergeist activity at the Pavilion.
They’ve witnessed objects being move on their own accord and bottles and glasses being mysteriously smashed by an unknown force in the bar area.
In one of the theatre’s corridors terrified witnesses have reported hearing the eerie sounds of a phantom man and on another occasion a ghostly woman laughing and singing.
It was said that the old lifeboat shed on the pier was once haunted by the spirits of past lifeboatmen.
It’s now believed that the ghostly lifeboatmen have migrated to the theatre its surrounding area.
Some shocked visitors to the pier have reported seeing the ghostly apparitions of scrawny medieval looking figures walking along the pier in clothing made out of rags and sackcloth!
Many people believe that they’re the spirits from the lost town of Shipden which is now under the sea just off the coast of Cromer.
Local legend states that the bell from Shipden long lost church can be heard ringing a warning sign when a severe storm is coming.
Visitors to the pier have been scared witless after hearing the sound of ghostly cries coming from the sea…
Some say that there’re the tragic cries from long lost sailors!
In 2009, the Most Haunted team felt that Cromer Pier was so haunted that it warranted an investigation.
The resulting episode was a really good one which I recommend you watch if you haven’t already!
On Yvette’s walkabout with the medium Patrick Matthews, Patrick picked up on a spirit of a lady called Elizabeth from the 1920s who witnessed a murder on the stage.
Apparently, the accidental murder took place during a play, probably Macbeth, where an unknown actress was strangled to death!
Back stage, Yvette had a spirit mimic her singing whilst out on the pier Patrick saw phantom ships out at sea and the vision of a castle and some land…
The team deducted it must be associated with the long lost town of Shipden!
During the night investigation, Yvette saw an apparition of a man in the corridor behind the stage whilst Stuart and Karl were physically affected by something unknown in the stage area.
The Augustine Steward House, Norwich
In the middle of the Tombland area of Norwich you’ll find a house which was built by Augustine Steward in 1549.
In 1578 the house was overrun by the plague.
And it was thought that everybody in the house had perished.
So the bailiffs came and sealed up the premises.
It was standard procedure to lock up plague buildings from the outside, never venturing within and then paint red crosses on the outside as a warning to others to stay away.
This was done by the bailiffs with the Augustine Steward House.
Weeks later the bailiff returned with the pitmen to clear the house of the plagued bodies.
They notice that many of the bodies had bite marks on the limbs as though somebody had been trying to eat the flesh!
Then they discovered the body of one of the young daughters of the house but strangely she showed no sign of plague…
It looked like she had died by choking to death on a piece of meat.
But it soon dawned on them what horror had taken place.
The daughter must have been locked in when the bailiff sealed up the house.
And, close to starvation, she was forced to eat the flesh from her dead relative’s plague-ridden bodies only to choke to death in the process!
It’s now said the Augustine Steward House is haunted by the young girl.
Her ghostly apparition has been seen by many witnesses either in the house, in the next-door Samson and Hercules House or in the Tombland Alleyway.
She’s said to be wearing ragged grey clothes so her apparition is now referred to as the Lady in Grey!
David Chisnell (2005) Haunted Norwich. The History Press
Frank Meeres (2010) Paranormal Norfolk. Amberley