3 Haunted Places in Dorchester
Stewart | On 09, Nov 2017
The Wessex Royale Hotel
The Wessex Royale Hotel is an old Georgian coaching inn which dates back to 1756.
It has a reputation for being haunted by a woman wearing a bonnet and a dark coloured long dress.
Terrified witnesses have seen her ghostly apparition from outside the hotel staring out of a ground floor window!
Two staff members were cleaning the lounge one day when suddenly they heard a man say in a foreign accent ‘he murdered me here’.
They both swung around a saw a ghostly apparition of a tall thick-set man standing by the fireplace.
He had dark hair, tanned face and was scruffily dressed in leather with an apron.
The man was staring angrily at the women but then he slowly faded into thin air at which the ladies fled the lounge.
A guest once reported seeing a flash of light, a book fall of a bedside cabinet by its own accord, heard loud banging on her bedroom door and had her bedsheet pulled back during the last night she stayed at the hotel.
The Old Crown Court and Cells
You’ll find the historic Old Crown Court and cells situated along High West Street.
The Thomas Hardwick designed Grade I listed building dates back to 1797 when the originally Shire Hall building was re-built.
The courtroom is famous for being the place of the trial of the Tolpuddle Martyrs in 1834.
This was a significant moment in the history of the trade union movement!
The Old Crown Court and cells building is reputed to be haunted.
A paranormal group which investigated it in 2006 reported hearing phantom footsteps, eerie breathing, feeling cold and hot spots, witnessing spectral lights, seeing a door open on its own accord and feeling that they were being watched.
A former staff member reported that he would often seeing a ghostly apparition of a man open and close doors in the cell area of the building.
He also said that he heard men’s voices in the courtroom and the sound of jangling keys in the holding area outside the cells.
On one occasion he even saw a very bright light hovering over the dock for about thirty seconds before it disappeared into thin air.
A visitor who attended one of the tours of the building reported that when she was at the back of the tour group she felt somebody invisible bump into her, then later drop their keys and finally let out a large groan!
The Dorset County Museum
You’ll find the Dorset County Museum located also on High West Street.
The neo-Gothic style building dates back to 1881.
It was built on the site of a former pub called the George Inn and was specifically designed to house the museum.
The museum is well-known for its archives of Thomas Hardy’s works and fossils from the Jurassic Coast.
The building also has a few ghostly tales to tell.
Whilst working late one night, a member of staff heard the sounds of a sobbing woman coming from all around her.
It freaked her out so much that she had to leave the building!
In the museum there’s a display area which houses Thomas Hardy’s former study from his Max Gate House which includes his desk and chair.
Visitors to the museum have reported seeing an apparition of a man sitting in the chair.
The ghostly figure looked so much like Thomas Hardy that one of the visitors who witnessed the apparition actually thought it was a very life-like display mannequin of the author!
Julie Harwood (2008) Haunted Dorchester. The History Press