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Re: berkshire ghosts


Faringdon

The ghost of Hampden Pye haunts the Churchyard. It was seen by his mother as she entered her coach. He had married beneath his station, to a beautiful peasant girl from the village. This was undertaken without his mother’s consent, a ‘woman of inexorable severity’ and she most certainly did not approve. He left England to go to the Spanish Wars upon her insistence. His expedition was led by Sir George Rooke in 1702, but Hampden’s head was carried off by a shot. His spectre carried his head under his arm, but was finally laid to rest by an eminent vicar with bell, book an candle at a point on the Radcot Road. Read the full story.

The Bell Inn has a resident ghost. A monk-like apparition, regularly sighted by guests, probably dates from the time when the building was a hostelry for the monks of Beaulieu Abbey. They had a monastic grange on the outskirts of the town.

In the early 1960s, Oriel Cottage, on the Wicklesham Road, was the scene of many disturbing ghostly noises. Rumblings and bangings kept the Wheeler family awake at night and the children refused to sleep upstairs. A mysterious shadow was sometimes seen and an inexplicable cold draught felt around the feet. The phenomena were thought to be caused by a former tenant who had committed suicide in the house. Fortunately, they ceased after a service of exorcism undertaken by Canon Christopher Harman.

Finchampstead

A poltergeist played tricks in a cottage called ‘The Forge’ at Finchampstead in 1926 and experts, who travelled down from London to observe the furniture and books being hurled about, went away little the wiser. The locals refused to believe this was caused by a dear old lady, who once lived there, as it seemed so very unlike her. Read the full story.

A little old lady frequents the lounge bar at the Queen’s Oak, often sitting in her favourite seat by the bar. A séance undertaken some years ago indicated that she was the grandmother of a small boy who had lived somewhere in the local area.

Ginge

In the early 20th century, Ginge Manor had an unenviable reputation as a haunted house. Though it seems to have been rarely seen. Local tradition holds that it was the spirit of one of two brothers, named Butt or Tubb, who was killed in a fratricidal quarrel. Lord Ernle, the owner, once had a dream which appeared to feature the two men sitting round a large oak table in a stone flagged kitchen. One was a huge burly chap and the other thin and wiry. They argued furiously until, just as his Lordship felt sure that one was about to murder the other, he suddenly woke up!

Grazeley

In the Old Bell Inn, after rebuilding had taken place, the landlord and his wife were disturbed by noises in the bar like hammering and furniture being shifted. They later found that chairs had been moved out of position. This occurring repeatedly, their scared children were taken at night by a neighbour. A bag of old coins was eventually found amongst thatch from the former roof, stacked in the yard. The landlady put some of the coins in a desk which she found she could not open again and, afraid, she gave it away. The rest of the hoard was distributed amongst customers and the disturbances terminated.

Greenham

In the 1970s, a Swindon railway worker accompanied his father to the Newbury Races. Having little interest in horse racing, he spent the day watching the trains on the nearby track. He was delighted to see that one of them was his favourite engine, the ‘Western Princess’ which he had understood to have been taken out of service. Back in Wiltshire, he discovered from a colleague that his initial instincts were correct. The engine was being broken up at the exact time that it had been seen near Newbury!

Grove

In 1969, one of the hangars at the old airfield was used by the Atomic Energy authority as an irradiation plant. On several occasions, employees working on the night shift heard the sound of a group of chattering voices in the hangar, outside the office. Yet there was no-one there. Later it was discovered that an American serviceman had hanged himself in the hangar during the Second World War. Were the ghostly voices those of his shocked discoverers?



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Sep/20/2007, 11:19 am Link to this post Send Email to MaTTsWoRld   Send PM to MaTTsWoRld Blog
 
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Re: berkshire ghosts


Hampstead Norris

The ghost of ‘Old Tanner’ strolls around the church in his knee-breeches.

Another supposed ghost in the churchyard once frightened many of the locals by raising up its head to a gigantic height and uttering unearthly noises. Someone braver than the rest called its bluff and found it to be nothing worse than a large white turkey-cock!

Harehatch

Despite being converted to a bedroom, the old dining-room of an old Georgian House in this roadside village was given to appearances of a large dinner party in full swing. The diners, in Edwardian dress, actually noticed one witness and looked at her in horror before disappearing.

Hermitage

Within the Iron Age earthworks known as Grimsbury Castle or Devil’s Bury, is a folly called Grimbury Tower, an octagonal brick structure with battlements and a pyramidal roof. One of the upper rooms is said to be haunted and has an ‘ineradicable bloodstain’ on the wall.

Hoe Benham

The lane outside a certain cottage in this hamlet was haunted by a strange apparition seen by a number of locals in the early 20th century. The owners of the cottage claimed it was a large white pig with a big snout. Others, something like a sheep, 2½ft tall and 5ft long with glowing eyes. Some people reported it to be black, at first appearing like a dog and then a donkey. It disappeared before observers’ eyes. Farm labourers saw white shapes bobbing about over the heads of the horses which pulled their cart at the same spot. The cottage owners later felt an overwhelming evil presence in the lane and heard an unearthly scream. Whatever the spirit was, the locals believed it to be connected with an 18th century farmer, named King, who owned land bordering the lane and had committed suicide nearby. His farm stood midway between the Halfway Inn, on A4, and Hoe Benham.

Holyport

A lady who worked in a modern office here was once confronted by a spectral legal gentleman, dressed in a black jacket. He appeared in the middle of the day for no apparent reason, but inspired the witness to press on with and win a legal case she was involved in.

Lynden Manor had a bedroom door that would always open at night no matter how firmly closed in the day-time. A ghostly figure was once seen standing in the same doorway.

Hungerford

The riverside is said to be haunted by the spirit of a lady in white.

Hurley

Ladye Place in Hurley, once part of the old priory, has long been said to be haunted by a mysterious grey lady. She is supposed to be Queen Edith, wife of King Edward the Confessor and sister of King Harold II. According to a document from the reign of Richard II, she was buried at Hurley priory, part of which lies below Ladye Place. Colonel Rivers-Moore excavated the priory between 1924 & 1944 in order to find her tomb. He did not succeed. However, as the excavations increased, so did the hauntings of Ladye Place - by Black Monks. At least three were seen in the cellars by numerous people, another walked around the old cloisters with folded arms. They were supposed by the locals to be guarding their hidden treasure; but when the excavators finally ceased, so did the hauntings.

The Old Bell Inn is said to be the oldest pub in the country. It was the monastic guest-house and was certainly standing in 1135. Ghostly chanting is sometimes heard coming from a supposed tunnel behind the fireplace which links to the priory.

Hurst

The ‘Castle’ Restaurant, opposite the Church, has been a public house of many names over the years: the ‘Castle,’ the ‘Bunch of Grapes’ and the ‘Church House’. The latter reveals its original purpose for selling ecclesiastical ale; and the building is still owned by the Church. The so-called ‘coffin room’ was probably used as some kind of local mortuary and may be the cause of the mysterious sounds which are heard in the building from time to time. A young woman is said to have died there, but it may also be the ghost of a young boy who killed himself.

Molly Tape was a local who entered into a passionate love affair with a farmer named Dick Darval. Eventually, Dick rejected the poor girl and, in despair, she hanged herself in the lane between Hurst and the hamlet of Hinton. An old song about Dick indicates that Molly may have unsuccessfully tried her hand at witchcraft in order to win him back. Her scantily clad spirit still haunts the lane.



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Sep/21/2007, 8:48 am Link to this post Send Email to MaTTsWoRld   Send PM to MaTTsWoRld Blog
 
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Re: berkshire ghosts


Inkpen

The famous Combe Gibbet stands just within the parish boundary. It was only ever used once: to hang a local carrier and his lover, George Broomham & Dorothy Newman, who had murdered his wife and children by drowning them in ‘Murderers’ Pool’. Their unquiet spirits are still seen around the scene of their hilltop demise.

Kiln Green

Scarletts Farm is haunted by a man in a big hat whose face can never be seen. He walks around the stableyard. He dates from the time of the Civil War or the Restoration. Another ghost haunts nearby Scarletts Manor, which was used as some sort of military hospital during the Great War. A wounded soldier of this period materialises at times on the upper landing and stares into one of the present bedrooms.

Kintbury

The most well-known village ghost is that of Lieutenant Dexter. He asked to be buried with his sword beside him. This sword is said to rattle when people pass through the churchyard at night. Alternatively, the sword was buried with his wife, Mary Dexter.

In the parish church, the bell ringers once saw what they took to be a real-life person sitting in the front pew wearing a black cloak and dark wide-brimmed hat. He got up and walked into the vestry whereupon he immediately disappeared.

One house in the village has the ghost of a dark slim ‘lady in black’ who appears at the foot of the bed.

In the 1970s a young man was tragically killed in the village when he fell through stair banisters during an epileptic fit. Afterwards the sounds of the accident were heard to be repeated.

Three Gate Copse is in the northern part of the parish, not far from Wickham. On All Souls’ Night 1942, a Canadian training flight crashed into the woods there and the rear gunner was killed. Some years later, a local girl saw an eerie light appear 30ft up amongst the elm trees on the same spot, as she returned home one evening. It formed itself into the shape of a large man. Afterwards, she realised that it had been the anniversary of the crash and that she had seen the spirit of the Canadian airman.

Knowl Hill

The ‘Bird-in-the-Hand’ on the Bath Road does not look like an old building, although part of it is. Such pubs were particularly popular with local highwaymen in the 18th century. One of these men was celebrating a huge haul from a passing coach at the inn when he accidentally fell down the stairs and was killed. On occasion, his spirit is still seen around the pub.

Lambourn

Lambourn Place no longer stands, but the grounds were once haunted by the last of an ancient family who lived there named Hippisley. Henry Hippisley died in the late 19th century, having spent an infamous life oppressing the locals and defrauding charities. Some thought he had even killed one of his servants. Perhaps his spirit was repentant. It certainly had trouble finding peace.

Letcombe Regis

One morning in late July 1914, an old farmer in Letcombe reported to his family that he had not seen ‘the old man’ that morning. In surprise, they asked him what old man. So he explained. Each morning for nearly a week, as he had crossed the Letcombe Brook in the misty down to bring in the cows, he had met an old man who seemed to be wearing shining armour. Each morning, they saluted each other and went their separate ways. Then one morning, no man appeared, but as the farmer crossed the brook, he heard the thundering of many horses. To his surprise, the shallow waters of the stream churned up and stones were splashed as a huge invisible army crossed over. His children investigated the story and were told by the previous tenant that the same incident occurred immediately prior to the Boer War. The legend of the old man’s ghost had been well-known for he had also been seen before the Crimean War. Sadly no-one seems to have looked out for him in 1939.

The ‘combe’ of the River Lyd, that runs along the road between Letcombe Regis and Bassett, is haunted by a disappointed lover who drowned herself in the bubbling brook.

Littlewick Green

The present farmer of Feens Farm claim the ghostly ‘Dog of Feens’ is black, but the foresters on Ashley Hill claim it is white and traditionally it is known as the ‘White Dog of Feens’. It appears between the woods by Chalkpit Farm and the entrance to the Feens Farm, on the Bath Road, and seems to have been a Roman hunting dog with ears and tail cut short. It howls to warn people of the approach of the ghost of Dorcas Noble.

Dorcas Noble was a local woman from a reputable family who became betrothed to one of the Neville boys from Billingbear Park. However, when a rival appeared on the scene, she unsuccessfully resorted to witchcraft in order to win him back. This move does not seem to have been popular for, soon afterward, she was murdered in the Green Lane, her head being practically severed from her body. Her damned spirit is condemned to lead one of the spectral wild hunts around Windsor Forest: a headless young woman in grey apparel.

There is also a very generally accepted tradition of the ghost of the White Lady, often confused with Dorcas. She who was supposed to haunt a set route, from Boundary Elm, down Green Lane and through the Green to Cold Harbour and Knowl Hill. In a house in Green Lane, she walks right through the sitting room. From reports of her clothing, when seen at Green Lane, she may have been a Vestal Virgin from the Roman Temple on Weycock Hill in Waltham St. Lawrence.

Another house on the Green was haunted by a small child called Nellie until dispelled by an exorcism.

Lockinge

A guards officer, George Holford, had a startling vision while walking to Lockinge House where he was to dine with his uncle, Sir Robert Lloyd-Lindsay, came to the junction of the Oxford-Newbury road and Wantage-Wallingford road. On the crossing, he saw two men engaged in a fierce struggle, one stretched out on the ground and the other leaning over him in the act of stabbing. Captain Holford dashed forward and found himself entirely alone.

Long Wittenham

The village once had a most troublesome ghost which took eleven priests to lay it, eventually ordering it into the old monks’ fishpond, a stake marking the spot where it was pegged down. Some think this was the same spirit seen at the manor house. Read the full story.

A ghostly coach and four are heard galloping along by the old manor house. It foretold great misfortune and up to all the beginning of the 20th century travellers whistled or sang to drown out the sound of the coach when passing the manor.

A rather unusual ghost visited a 15th century house in the village, one night in 1981. An oval frame manifested itself in mid-air in the owner’s bedroom in which could clearly be seen the head and shoulders of an elderly Victorian lady. She wore “a very dark grey dress, with many pin-tucks leading from the neckline, which had a small stand-up collar with white frilling inside it…She had very straight dark hair, parted in the middle and scraped back, small alert grey eyes and a tight-pursed mouth. Her complexion was completely pale, with no colour in the cheeks”. The lady looked straight at the witness and seemed quite aware of her, but the latter felt no fear. Upon glancing away, the apparition vanished.

A thatched house in the village, situated opposite the farm buildings between the church and the main road and now turned into three cottages, was once occupied, about the beginning of the 19th century by a Mrs. Wernham, a sister of the first Squire Hayward of the Manor. Around 1810-15, mysterious rappings were heard frequently which gave rise to the idea that it was haunted. A religious service was held to exorcise the supposed ghostly visitor. Afterwards a niece who lived with the old lady confessed that she had made the noise with her elbow whilst sitting on the settle in the chimney corner.

Longworth

The village is haunted by the ghost of the ungodly Sir Harry Marten, known best for his shaky signature on the death warrant of King Charles I. He was a terrible chap, always drinking, gambling and fornicating. Despite this he was MP for Berkshire. He is said to have spent £1,000 a year. He still pays periodic visits to the manor.



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Sep/24/2007, 6:24 pm Link to this post Send Email to MaTTsWoRld   Send PM to MaTTsWoRld Blog
 
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Maidenhead

In 1969, an archaeological dig on the site of the old ‘Strande Castle’ revealed what appears to have been a Roman encampment of some sort. At the same time, the diggers seem to have disturbed two restless spirits, the the ghosts of a lady in a long robe and a small girl were reported on a number of occasions.

The ‘Hobgoblin’ pub is haunted by a friendly ghost named ‘Bob’. Read the full story.

Marcham

Round about 1899, occupants of a Marcham house were greatly upset by sounds as of a child crying. It occurred at all times, but mostly in the evenings after their own children had been put to bed. On anybody going upstairs to quieten the youngsters, these were usually found to be fast asleep. Some six years later, in a cavity under the stairs was found a bundled dress, wrapping the bones of a young child who had apparently died from violence. After Christian burial in the churchyard, the cryings ended. Read the full story.

Midgham

Button Court was supposed to be haunted by the ghost of the famous agriculturalist, Jethro Tull. He was thought to have burst a blood-vessel there and night. Since which his spirit would reappear and jump about. Unfortunately, it is well recorded that Tull died at Prosperous Farm in Hungerford.

Money Row Green

During the Second World War, the ghost of a grey lady and her baby was seen at the ‘White Hart’. Her appearances – usually at Christmas – were always preceded by unexplained knockings on the panelled walls and footsteps on the staircase.

Nearby has been seen a phantom horse, thought to be the racehorse ‘Kruger’ who was killed in a steeplechase at Hawthorn Hill (Bray) in 1901.

Newbury

The Market Place was the site of the old pillory where criminals would be forced to stand and be pelted with vegetables or worse, as well as abuse. In 1538, one Thomas Barrie, a resident of the Donnington Almshouses, faced just such a humiliation for allegedly spreading seditious rumours about King Henry VIII. He even had his ears nailed to the pillory and then chopped clean off. He died of fright and his ghost has been seen wandering about the spot ever since, moaning in agony.

Newbury had an early theatre, built in Pelican Lane in 1802. One of the actors fell deeply in love with his leading lady, but she spurned his advances in favour of another. In a fit of jealous rage, he stabbed her to death one evening after the curtain had fallen on their latest performance. Years later, the theatre became a private house. Residence reported their candle being suddenly blown out while ascending the stairs at night, then mysteriously relighting. When electricity was installed, the bulbs appeared to blow at the same spot, but were later found to be perfectly good. One couple even witnessed a ghostly stain of blood appear in the room below where the actress had been killed; yet in the morning it was gone. The building has since been demolished.

At No. 73 Northbrook Street, the rooms above what used to be Bateman’s the Opticians, across the alleyway from the Oxfam Shop, are haunted by a certain Dr. Watson who lived, had his surgery and died there in the late 19th century. He appeared on the, now demolished, stairs – an old gentleman, dressed in a black cape and top-hat, carrying a black bag and silver-topped cane – but in the rooms he only appears from the knees upwards, for the floors have been raised. He has also been seen walking silently in the street outside, while a non-existent piano is also sometimes heard from an upstairs room in the building.

The Waterside Youth & Community Centre was built on the site of an old non-conformist chapel and its graveyard. The builders were exposed to a number of bizarre goings-on, including large amounts of steel being neatly moved over night and ghostly taps on the shoulder. A previous centre had experienced similar poltergeist activity involving pots and pans and mysterious footsteps. The original chapel had been demolished because tormented souls whaled in the graveyard and the congregation deserted the place. It was at the spot that a so-called witch was dragged from the Kennet after having been murdered by Parliamentary forces during the Civil War!

The offices of the Newbury & Thatcham Standard in Bartholomew Street have been the scene of a number of ghostly phenomena. Strange scraping noises have been heard from the loft as well as tapping in the corridors late at night. Once a pen lifted itself into the air and across a room.

What used to be the Vyne Inn, on the Black Boys Bridge, is haunted by the ghost a stocky old man wearing a white frilly shirt and brown jerkin. He is believed to have been an long dead ostler who worked at the tavern.

The ghost of a Quaker lady is sometimes seen in Cheap Street in the late evening. The old Quaker burial ground was on the site of the bus station.

A certain shop in the town, which used to be a school, has doors and windows which open of their own accord. A spectral child is also heard crying in a back room.

A ghostly gentleman has been reported in Newbury Broadway late at night.



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Sep/24/2007, 6:26 pm Link to this post Send Email to MaTTsWoRld   Send PM to MaTTsWoRld Blog
 
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Re: berkshire ghosts


Oakley Green

An old 16th century farmhouse here is only haunted when there are children in the house. The spirit is that of an Elizabethan nurse, devoted to the young. Her presence is felt when children are about and she keeps them free from cold by shutting all the windows.

New Lodge, at Braywoodside, is haunted by the ghost of an elderly man, thought to be the building’s Victorian builder, Baron Van de Weyer. In the drive outside has been seen a phantom coach drawn by white horses.

Old Windsor

At Rosemary Cottage, an innkeeper cut his wife’s throat and afterwards the cottage became haunted and footsteps were heard. Dogs would not go into the cottage until the priest came and exorcised the place.

An old lodge on Priest Hill was supposed to be haunted by a previous owner who had drowned himself in the nearby Thames. He had weighed his body down with a lawnmower. He would walk up the stairs and open one of the bedroom doors, making an awful lot of noise, almost every night. A young girl, supposedly called Sally, also used to arrive amongst a sweet perfume and sit on the end of one of the beds. Poltergeist activity included bedclothes being torn from the beds, objects being thrown and strange lights dancing across the walls (sometimes only visible to children). Mysterious footprints became burnt into a new linoleum floor and could never be removed.

Bennet House was haunted in the mid-1950s, mostly in the eastern part of the house. Particularly noticeable were numerous sorrowful noises, sometimes very loud. Taps turned on and windows opened all of their own accord; bedclothes were tugged at and strange footsteps were heard in the bare passages on the ground floor. One normally passive dog spent a restless night howling in the pantry. The phenomena all stopped after a short exorcism.

George’s IV’s mistress, Perdita Robinson, lived at Englefield Cottage with her daughter, Maria. The latter died, aged eighteen, in 1818 and her unhappy spirit is said to walk in the parish churchyard, where she is buried, at dawn and at dusk. Fear overcame one observer who saw her leaning against the graveyard wall wearing a large back hat; but, as he approached, she disappeared.

Padworth

Around the turn of the 20th century, a pair of mysterious yellow lights was often seen on the Padworth Road at certain times of night. They travelled quickly before disappearing amid an eerie silence. They are thought to be the echo of a long dead gig and pony.

Around the same time, Padworth House was haunted by the ghost of a man in armour, possibly a soldier wounded in a Civil War skirmish which occurred nearby. He would stand at the entrance to a particular bedroom, or the foot of the bed, staring at the occupant. Another story is told of how, about 1875, a portrait in the house, by Lely, of a ‘lady in yellow’ was being cleaned by a restorer when he complained bitterly that the lady’s ghost followed him down the corridors. He left forth with.

Two motorists, travelling home one night along the Bath Road, saw a woman dressed completely in cream at Lower Padworth, near Towney Bridge. She was walking along the side of the dual carriage-way with her head bowed. She wore a large hat, gloves and a dress with a fancy diamond shaped hem. Even her shoes were cream and the whole outfit appeared to date from the 1930's. They were both extremely surprised and couldn't understand where the lady had come from. When they looked in their mirror, she had gone. They were both quite shaken by the experience.

Pangbourne

Bere Court was the summer residence of the Abbots of Reading and the last abbot was arrested here immediately prior to his trial and execution. There are lots of stories told about the old house, particularly relating to the abbot’s secret subterranean rooms. The best bedroom was always said to be haunted by a ‘lady in blue’.

Pingewood

Searle's Farm is an ancient Tudor building marooned in the middle of the gravel pits in northern Burghfield. One particular room in the house is said to be where, having discovered she was pregnant, an unmarried serving girl committed suicide by throwing herself from the window during the 19th century. Even those who do not know the story will have a strange dream when staying in the room. The young girl appears, in a flowing white dress at the window, staring out over the surrounding countryside. The room is in darkness, but she is illuminated in a soft white light! Several visitors have born witness to this phenomenon; likewise to a similar light which is seen under the door to the same room when, within, there it is pitch black.

Pinkneys Green

There is a road to Cookham which goes through Pinkneys Green and across the Thicket towards Cookham Dean, the road branching off at what is known as Hangman’s Corner, once the site of a gibbet. One nine-year-old girl returned home to tell how the pony she had been riding had been ‘awful’ at the turning to Dean. She had no knowledge of the junction’s name, else she might have guessed the place’s reputation. All horses react this way when they pass Hangman’s Corner and wise riders make a detour which saves them much time in the end.

Purley

When Major & Mrs. Bradley first lived at Purley Hall, in 1961, the atmosphere was so oppressive that they arranged for a service of exorcism. This appears to have rid the building of a quarrelsome modern spirit, but left two more friendly characters. The Viceroy of India, Warren Hastings, had rented the building in the 18th century, while preparing his defence against alleged corruption charges. His acquittal seems to have led his spirit to favour Purley and he has been seen hurrying down the stairs, pulling on a pair of gauntlet gloves. There other ghost is of an old lady dressed in black panniered silk and a mob cap. One gentleman helping at a fete had occasion to enter the house and there saw the ghost of a highly-tanned lady who he took to be Mrs. Hastings. On returning to the same room, he found that the furnishings had completely changed! The traditional ‘grey lady’ (possibly a nun) who was said to exist in the early 20th century, but has since departed. It seems that so too has the sprit of the small child which was often heard crying in the bedroom above the dining room. In the 18th century, the house was owned by the Hawes family. The daughter of the house is supposed to have become pregnant by a philandering colonel and given birth to the child in this room, which soon died after being hidden in a cupboard.



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Radley

Monkish ghosts have been seen in the vicarage and the one-legged ghost of Admiral Boyer waddles up a staircase in Radley College, though no-one has yet heard him come down again.

Reading

Waltlington House is the oldest secular building in the town. It was built by the clothmaker, Samuel Watlington, in 1688. From 1794, it was the residence of Captain Edward Purvis. He fought in the Peninsular War (at Corunna) with the 4th Regiment of Foot; and, as an adjutant, trained the Berkshire Militia in Orts meadow near his home. He was often used to sit in his window, pigtailed in his red military jacket, smoking a pipe; and his ghost has been seen repeating this habit ever since. The attic is also avoided at night because of its oppressive atmosphere.

There is an atmosphere of great depression in one of the older bedrooms of the George Hotel. The ‘haunting’ does not appear to have an associated manifestation, but it may be related to Civil War times when troops were billeted there.

In the late 1960s, a four-roomed house in Oxford Street was haunted by the perfumed ghost of a grey-haired old lady. Although the children of the Morley family who lived there became too frightened to sleep upstairs, the ghost does not seem to have been malicious. Mrs. Morley often saw the spectral figure in the kitchen and elsewhere and Mr. Morley occasionally felt her presence, always accompanied by the strong smell of flowers. She is thought to have been a previous tenant, Mrs. Davies, who died in the house in 1961.

The Roebuck Hotel, on the A329 down by the Thames, is haunted by an old admiral who particularly favours the guest-room named after him. He re-arranges furniture, locks doors and windows and hammers on the walls. His footsteps also pace the corridors and the gravel outside, late at night. He is said to have died in the building, sometime in the 18th century, under mysterious circumstances, possibly involving fire.

The very vivid apparition of a Victorian lady used to be seen in the garden of a house on the Bath Road, since demolished. She was described by a witness as “a woman, very tall, dressed in a black dress, which just allowed the tips of her shoes to be seen. She wore a huge white apron, with a large bow at the back, and a white cap. In her hand, she carried a white swan­-necked jug, typically Victorian in character”. She used to walk to the edge of the garden, where she would hold up the jug and turn on an invisible tap, before returning towards the house.

No. 39 London Street was, for many years, the home of the London Street Bookshop. It was built on the site of an old Quaker meeting house which was much frequented by William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania. The ghost of a man in Quaker dress, locally thought to be Penn himself, as been often seen in the building, particularly on the stairs, in the attic and in a notoriously cold passageway. One medium claimed, however, that this was the spirit of a tenant, from the 1820s, named John Ascott or Ashcroft.

A shoemaker’s shop which once stood at the corner of London Street and South Street became quite famous in the 1870s for its hauntings.

A ghostly blue car has been seen driving along Berkeley Avenue. It has no lights and the engine makes no sound; but passes so close that the driver can be clearly seen: a good-looking red-haired lady with her piled high.

Remenham

The ghost of the infamous Mary Blandy is thought to haunt both the ‘Little Angel’ and the grounds of Park Place. She was a local thirty-two year old spinster from Henley: a pretty girl with a £10,000 dowry. When her father died suddenly in 1752, it was generally accepted in the town that she had poisoned him. They had argued because he would not allow her fiancé, the Hon. William Cranston, to enter their house. The two had been lovers for six years, often meeting along 'Miss Blandy's Walk' at Park Place; but Cranston was found to be already married with a child. It is said that he sent Mary some arsenic to administer to her father while he was ill. After the latter’s death, Miss Blandy was detained in her room; but, on finding the door open, she went for a walk around Henley. The townsfolk were not happy and chased her over the bridge into Berkshire where she took refuge with her friend, Mrs. Davis, the landlady of the ‘Little Angel’. After Mary was finally convicted, her last request was that, when she was hanged, for the sake of decency, she should not be hoisted too high! Ever since, her spirit has reappeared at their old rendezvous looking for the man who sent her to her death. Furthermore, the Bucknalls, once the innkeepers of the ‘Little Angel,’ still allege that for the first two and a half years of their tenure (since 1952) they had a ghost upstairs which tramped around slamming doors. Perhaps more easily associated with Mary were the eerie rappings at the front door and, on occasion, the spirit of an hysterical lady seen sitting on a couch.

Sometime at the end of the 18th century, a band of gipsies encamped around Park Place, close to the house, and made plans to burgle it. A young shepherd, however, learnt of their evil intentions and warned the residents. The gipsies, hearing that he had betrayed them, seized him at night and, having skinned him alive, left him in a dark ditch in the park, where he was found in a dying condition and just able to give information about his murderers. The ditch in which this cruel deed was perpetrated is, even to this day, appropriately planted with yew trees and his ghost is said to haunt this gloomy dell.

Riseley

There is a curious story connected with the Devil's Highway, the Roman Road from London to Silchester. Where the road passes through Riseley one night in the month of October the rumble of Chariots is heard.



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Re: berkshire ghosts


Sandhurst

The Duke’s Head was haunted by mysterious figures in one of the upstairs bedrooms during the 1920s. The atmosphere there was also found to be overly oppressive. Fifty years later, a phantom drinker was seen a number times in the bar: a small man in a black coat and trilby. The observers later discovered this was an old regular who had died quite recently.

A publicity photograph taken in Rackstraws’ Farm, now a restaurant, was found to have a ghostly skull clearly visible within an old fireplace, though there was nothing there at the time the picture was taken!

Shalford

An alley at Shalford is known as ‘Nun’s Walk’ because of the ghost which frequents the area.

Shaw

Mysterious blue lights have been seen from time to time in the attic and upper windows of Shaw House. And screams are sometimes heard at midnight coming from a tunnel supposedly leading Donnington Castle. This is alleged to be a miad from the house who was killed when the tunnel collapsed.

Shefford Woodlands

This tiny village was the home of old Mother Barnes, the midwife who was called to attend the birth of a noble child at a mysterious grand house, some eight miles away. Upon the child’s arrival, the Lord who blindfolded the old woman and brought her hence, cast the babe into the roaring fireplace! Later investigations revealed this to have been Wild Will Darrel, Lord of Littlecote Park (in adjoining Wiltshire). His family connections allowed him to escape a murder charge, but it is said that he was later killed in a fall when a vision of a burning baby frightened his horse. His mounted ghost, with severed head hanging gruesomely, still appears at the spot where he died. It has since become known as ‘Darrell’s Stile,’ at the point where the Hungerford-Wantage road crosses the old Ermine Street.

Sherlock Row

A young girl from the days of the Civil War haunts Callins Bridge. She was the youngest of a coven of sisterly witches who had renounced the black arts and turned to the Christian faith. Although only about sixteen years of age, with a posy of flowers in her hands, the girl is said to wait for her lover, a Royalist soldier returning home on leave. She paces the approaches to the bridge in her long yellow and white dress and with dishevelled long black hair. This sad figure was murdered there by a group of Roundheads fleeing a nearby skirmish. If you follow the girl’s ghost, she will show you the graves of those killed in the clash.

Shinfield

A ghostly carriage is sometimes seen down Hollow Lane.

The spirit of a bearded man has been seen near the parish church.

Shrivenham

Around 1920-30, it was the custom of Miss Morse of the Old School Cottage (Watchfield) to fetch the milk, daily in the late afternoon, from a farm at Shrivenham. She was returning with her sisters from such an expedition in the dusk of a winter's afternoon. As they approached Maiden's Well, they saw a misty white figure close to them, carrying what appeared to be a lamp in each hand. They all saw this apparition, but were too startled to approach it. As they looked at it, it slowly vanished. Several other people in the village had seen the same thing from time to time. It was supposed to be the ghost of a man named Jefferies who used to work on the Squire's Barn premises and who drowned himself in a pond by Squirrel Copse years before.

Snelsmore Common

A lady viewing a house in this hamlet was once treated to the apparition of a group of men in Quaker style dress, though her husband saw nothing.

Sonning

The bridge is haunted by the ghost of a white hare. This was said to be the spirit of the corn and was unlucky if seen. Farmers would always cross the bridge in twos if it was late at night.

In 1396, the seven year old daughter of King Charles VI of France, Princess Isabella, married King Richard II of England. After his deposition in 1399, she was kept a prisoner at Sonning Bishop’s Palace in the charge of Richard Metford, Bishop of Salisbury, until 1400. In this year, the Earls of Huntingdon, Salisbury & Kent tried to put Richard back on the throne. The Queen was told so at Sonning, but it was not to be. Her ghost still haunts the lower regions of Holme Park where the palace stood and also the towpath beside the Thames where she once took her daily walk.

At one particular point, regularly as the clock strikes twelve, the ghost of a certain Miss Rich hops over the high irregular fence in Sonning Lane to gaze at her old‑home, Holme Park. She is seen to emerge from he shady lane and disappear over the paling ‑ rising gradually and sinking slowly ‑ always the same figure, dressed in the costume of the middle of the 19th century and with the self-same disposition and fluctuation of drapery - not a hair's breadth more or less. When the moonlight was strong the apparition appears semi-transparent.

South Ascot

A Victorian house in Brockenhurst Road has an oppressive atmosphere and the dog of a past occupant was terrified of something in the kitchen. Its door could never be kept shut. There are confused stories of a child dying in the building under mysterious circumstances.

A silent post-chaise drawn by two white horses has been seen in Woodlands Ride by two walkers and their terrified dog. It was driven by a man in a cravat and carried a lady wearing in a crinoline. A little white dog ran along behind. The same area is haunted by a ghostly man.

Southcote

Stories of hauntings at the magnificent old moated manor here were rife before the building was pulled down in the 1920s, though they seem to have been somewhat confused. Some say it was the ghost of a previous occupant, perhaps Sir George Cobb who drowned in the moat in 1762. In one version, the phantom is a headless wraith who walks at night. In another, the ghost is that of a friar. The most elaborate tale tells of a lady on a white horse crossing the drawbridge over the moat every night at midnight. The spirit actually appears to have been that of the Sir John Blagrave, the house’s builder. He died at Southcote in 1611 and his apparition was being seen there only fifty years later. Read the full story.

South Moreton

The ghost of William Field caused so much trouble at his farm, after he hanged himself in 1804, that about fifty years later, he was put to rest by a collection of eleven priests. Two villagers hid in the barn to observe the proceedings and luckily for them, when asked if the priests would give the spirit the ‘mice in the straw’ or the ‘cock on the dung-hill,’ they chose the latter. Read the full story.

Speen

Near the church is ‘Our Lady Well’ known locally as a wishing well. It is said that a ghost has been seen nearby.

Standen

The ghost of a ‘lovely white lady on horseback,’ all in white, rides around this hamlet. She crosses the main road, before shocked motorists, along a forgotten bridleway and disappears out of sight. The agriculturalist, Jethro Tull, died at Prosperous Farm here, but his ghost is inexplicably said to haunt Midgeham.

Stanford Dingley

The Boot Inn is reputedly haunted by a man who hanged himself in its orchard. Doors and draws are said to open and close mysteriously at times.

The old rectory is said to have a ghost.

A shrouded woman is said to walk in Jennet’s Wood at midnight.

Steventon

On the Hanney Road that leads to Steventon some phantom horses haunt the road. They appear galloping across the road and then suddenly disappear.

Streatley

In the last corrupt days of monasticism at Reading Abbey, one of the monks entered into an illicit affair with a sister from a nunnery near Streatley. The two would meet for wild nights of passion at the ‘Bull Inn’ in the village. Soon discovered, they were both slain on the spot and buried beneath two huge yew trees outside. On warm summer nights, they rise again and walk hand-in-hand through the pub garden.

An Elizabethan farmhouse, once Place Manor Farm, is haunted by a lady in white. She is supposed to be the ghost of a shepherd’s wife careering round the garden in her night-dress.

The riverside is haunted by the spirit of a large white cat which jumps out at pasers-by.

Stubbings

There is a local legend that a ‘phantom horseman’ all in white rides the forest lanes at night and disappears into Maidenhead Thicket with a thundering of hooves. Some say he is Dick Turpin, others Captain Hawkes; or perhaps it is Claude Duval who is said to haunt nearby Burchetts Green.

Sulhamstead Bannister

The ghost of a Victorian Lord of the Manor, Mortimer George Thoyts was seen in the old churchyard shortly after his death in 1870. The adjoining Meales Farm was once haunted by a ghostly figure who crossed the fields towards Brazenhead Farmhouse. It was thought to be the spirit of John Wickens, an 18th century farmer from Meales who married the daughter of the Brazenhead household. The ground floor of the latter house was also haunted by a ghost, that of a little woman in a white gown. Perhaps she was John’s wife.

Sulhamstead Abbots

The lower lane below the park at Sulhamstead House is said to be haunted by a headless figure, gender unknown.

In Victorian times, a girl was run down by a cart and killed in the lane between Sulhamstead Abbots and Ufton Nervet. Since then, on November evenings, the sound of the invisible cart and horses has been heard coming up behind walkers near the spot where the accident happened.



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Re: berkshire ghosts


Sunningdale

A ghostly figure was seen by the occupant of ground floor flat in an old Victorian house in Sunningdale. It was mauve and fluorescent and glided across the floor. The pet dog in the room also saw the apparition and whimpered in its basket.

Doris Stainer, the sister of the film-star, Leslie Howard, ran the old Hurst Lodge school for girls. She lived in a house in the grounds and, after her death, her ghost in her blue cardigan, was seen sitting on her bed.

The actress, Diana Dors lived at Sunningdale and recorded a number of ghostly happenings at her house, ‘The Pavilion’. A man in grey was seen by one guest to enter his room and hide behind the door. Upon being reproached, the ghost stepped forth once more before disappearing. He was also seen by the visitor’s daughter and is thought to have been a previous occupant of the house, a pianist who committed suicide. In the same room, the bedclothes would often be found on the floor, despite it having been empty over night. There were mysterious knockings on doors and rooms in which dogs refused to stay. Ms. Dors believed the house to have been built upon some sort of monastic site, for she often heard the trudge of sandled feet and the celestial singing. Another guest actually saw a man in long robes and sandles.

Diana Dors’ widower, Alan Lake, bought Orchard Manor and his housekeeper claims to have seen the actress’s ghost there on a number of occasions. Mr. Lake also appeared to her after his own death.

Sunninghill

The Berystede Hotel is a grand mansion, built on the site of a previous home of the Standish family. The old house was burnt down on 27th October 1886 and Mrs. Standish’s French maid, Eliza Kleininger, was killed in the blaze. Her charred remains were discovered at the bottom of the servants’ stairs, amongst the sad remains of the jewellery box she had been trying to save. Her ghost – known as the ‘Lady in Blue’ – still walks around the replacement building, particularly under the main gable of the north side of the house, where the staircase was.

A much altered 18th century cottage in the village is apparently haunted by the ghost of a woman who crosses the drawing-room and disappears straight through a solid wall. One lady who lived in the house saw the mysterious woman, in the middle of the night, sitting at a table in the room before she dematerialised. At friend’s house, years later, she was certain that she met the same woman in real life!

At a point in Sunninghill Park, on a bridle path near the A332, several witnesses have reported hearing the clear sounds of heavy horses hooves approaching in the night. Yet nothing is ever seen.

Sutton Courtenay

Sutton Courtenay has several old legends about two characters who have become much confused. A ghoulish phantom which haunts Hell-corner is said to be Doctor Sherwood who rides a white horse at full pelt with an open razor in his hand seeking prospective victims. It seems somewhat more likely that this is really the evil Daniel Grimshaw who was executed for the murder of his young child in March 1825. He, however, who was usually associated with Hobbyhorse Road.

Swallowfield

A 15th century house in the village is haunted by an invisible presence which leaves an upstairs room and his heard to descend the staircase. Crossing another room, it stops at a cupboard where ‘scuffling’ occurs.

In 1719, Swallowfield Park was purchased by Governor Thomas ‘Diamond’ Pitt using the proceeds of his famous ‘Regent’ diamond (now in the Louvre Museum in Paris). He had swindled a poor African slave into giving up the stone, after the unfortunate man had managed to smuggle it out of the mine, hidden in an open wound. Pitt was afterwards harassed by the slave’s angry spirit, which manifested itself to him at Swallowfield. Today, the park is haunted by a cavalier who sits on the bridge over the River Blackwater at Twilight. One witness felt strange and eerie upon seeing the phantom and her dog would not pass. She was able to describe the man’s outfit in great detail: ‘high boots, a cloak and ruffles, and a large cavalier type hat with a feather plume’.

  



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Re: berkshire ghosts


Thatcham

The King’s Head is reputedly haunted by Miss Fremont, the landlady during the golden age of coaching in the 18th century. She appears in a grey silk dress, walking through walls in the first floor rooms.

“Mind my pie!” was the mysterious broad Berkshire voice which came out of nowhere in the larder of a farm in Thatcham, built on the site of a moated manor house. Later the witness’s mother saw a ghostly old woman in brown outside the house, though she was apparently invisible to everyone else.

The old driveway of Dunstan House, pulled down in 1802, was always said to be haunted by a ghostly carriage. Dogs have been known to freeze with terror here and a man dressed in old fashioned clothes has been observed. The area has now been built upon.

Some say Lady Bolingbroke also haunts Thatcham in her coach, much as she does Bucklebury.

Theale

The Thatcher’s Arms is said to be haunted.

Tidmarsh

The spirit of a little boy who was drowned in the River Pang is occasionally seen rising from the waters near the Rectory.

Tilehurst

Francis Kendrick was the Lady of the Manor of Calcot who fell in love with a poor lawyer named Benjamin Child. The only way she was able to gain his attention was to dress up in disguise and challenge him to a dual or marriage. The sensible man chose the latter option and the two lived very happily together. Sadly, Frances died after only a few years of marriage and her ghost has haunted the spot where the challenge took place ever since. This was in Prospect Park. Read the full story.

Twyford

Herne the Hunter’s ghost is said to have been seen riding through this area which once made up the very boundaries of Windsor Forest. Read the full story. One old gentleman seemed convinced that it was this same spirit which haunted his large house just outside the town. Although it was never seen and the only phenomenon noticed was that the ghost would never allow the bathroom door to be closed!

Ufton Nervet

Queer sounds like furniture being moved about have been heard at Ufton Rectory, as well as footsteps when there is no-one about.



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Wallingford

The ‘George’ Inn is a very ancient pub with many a story to tell. The best known is that surrounding the so-called ‘Tear-Drop Room’. This guest-bedroom is has a wall hand decorated all over with what are either tears or pears. It is said they were painted by a distraught landlord’s daughter who had been confined in the room for her own safety. The poor girl had gone completely round the bend, upon hearing of the murder of her lover. She apparently mixed soot from the fireplace with her tears and used her finger to draw the only shape she could think of on the wall. One hotel guest was woken in the night by a very life-like young woman with tears streaming down her face. She turned and disappeared into the tear-drop wall. The witness had no prior knowledge of the old story.

In Room 5 at the same inn, several guests are reported to have seen the ghosts of two young children standing by the Wash Basin.

The cellars have also produced the phenomenon known as ‘instant replay’ or ‘delayed echo’. After having replaced all the bungs in the beer-barrels one night, the barman locked the cellar door, only to hear, from the other side, the sound of the bungs being tapped again.

Warfield

Colonel John Walsh of Warfield Park is recorded to have shot a highwayman on Ascot Heath on his way home and thought nothing more of it than of shooting crows. His ghost pursues his mistress, Rachel’s ghost down Jock’s Lane. This lady had drowned herself, in the lake in the park which was later named after her, because John had moved on to a new lady-friend. She is often seen wandering through Warfield Park amongst the park homes of today.

In 1874, the local villagers had somehow got it into their heads that the well-loved Lady Ormathwaite of Warfield Park was being mistreated by her husband; and they set about organising the rustic revenge of a ‘tin-canning’. A large group gathered together and marched along Forest Road up to the park, banging saucepans and making a great hullabaloo in order to embarrass his Lordship into repentance. They were quickly chased away, but on the night of every 28th October, their spectral procession appears to re-enact these extraordinary events near the ‘Plough & Harrow’. They are led by a club-footed boy in a bright-red military-style tunic, banging a drum and accompanied by his pet monkey!

The ‘Yorkshire Rose’ Restaurant is claimed to stand on the site of a medieval hostel run by a small group of monks for pilgrims travelling through Windsor Forest. This is remembered in nearby Priory Road. The ghostly presence in the building is, not surprisingly, a cowled figure all in black. Mystical chanting has been heard in more recent years.

Wargrave

The ‘Bull’ at Wargrave was, for nine years, the home of the Gibbs family. Almost every year, at about the time of the Henley Regatta, they would hear crying coming from ‘Room 2’ at night. It was only after hearing this a number of times that they discovered the reason. The villagers revealed an old story that, in the 1820s, a former landlord had discovered that his wife was having an affair behind his back. He immediately threw her out on the street, forbidding her to return or see her young child. She died of a broken heart soon afterward, and her spirit returns every year on the anniversary of her ejection, sobbing as she packs her bags.

The Thames, behind the ‘George & Dragon,’ was once the site of a small ferry. In the winter of 1878, the Thames froze over and this became a popular spot for skating. A Captain Markham insisted that the ferryman take him and his sister across the river so they could join in. Reluctantly he agreed and, helped by his young daughter, he undertook the trip. But disaster struck and the ferry sank. The adults just managed to make it to the banks, but the little girl was drowned. Her spirit later was seen walking along the riverside path behind the old inn.

Lord Barrymore’s ghost haunts Barrymore House which more or less rebuilt in the High Street. He was a famous 18th century gambler, practical joker and theatre goer. In 1791, he even built a theatre in this tiny Berkshire village. Joking to the last, Barrymore’s ghost hides door keys and tries to push visitors down the stairs. He has a companion in the spirit of a lady in a grey silk dress. The swhooshing of her skirts are heard as she materialises amongst the distinct smell of lavender. Dogs will not go upstairs in the house.

The ghost of a ‘lady in white’ walks in Gaunt Cottage and through the wall to the adjoining building. This may be the Saxon Queen Emma who, tradition holds, had a place on the site. Read the Full Story.

Wargrave Manor is allegedly haunted. “Strange things happen in the night”.

Warren Row

In the long past, Bowsey Hill had an uncanny reputation, due possibly to its remoteness, and it was a favourite spot for the country folk to localise traditions of various kinds. Among these, one was prevalent around Reading to the effect that on the other side of the hill was the abode of lost souls. It was supposed to be the Clapham Junction of the Underworld and, the night a person died, their spirit would come here for judgement as to whether they would go up to heaven or down to hell. Anyone travelling there could ask the spirit one last question before it departed, and it would be compelled to answer truthfully. About 1825, a certain old inhabitant, who had an unenviable reputation in the village of Sonning, died early one summer morning. The same evening a labourer returning from his work at Charvil Farm and hearing the event, exclaimed "Ah, 'tis no more than I expected for I saw him go over the top of Bowsey Hill as I was going to work this morning". Its reputation had advantages and many a felon fleeing from the hands of justice is said to have secured temporary immunity in its haunted thickets.

Wash Common

The Falkland Memorial at the junction of Essex Street and Andover Road commemorates that Lord Falkland who lost his life in the First Battle of Newbury. His body was carried to Falkland Farm, now Falkland Garth, and local legend says that his ghost still haunts the place: a short man wearing black who disappears very quickly after being seen. Dogs will not sleep in the kitchen.

Water Oakley

The Victorian Gothic mansion of Oakley Court is well-known to cinema goers as St. Trinian’s School and both Dracula and Frankenstein’s Castle, for it stands next to Bray Studios, home of Hammer Horror. It was used by the French Resistance during the War, but those employed there complained of all manner of ghostly phenomena. In the 1950s, the place was left derelict for many years. The atmosphere around the building apparently became so oppressive that it caused a number of people to commit suicide in the Thames.

Welford

The ghost of the Lord of the Manor – probably one of the Archers or Eyres – gave so much trouble to the people of this village that, finally, they were forced to call in twelve priests to lay him to rest. He would only depart if given the two mice under the straw. Luckily for two locals hiding under the bales, the ministers offered him the two cocks in the roost instead. Read the full story.

West Hanney

A charming little thatched cottage, Bankside, is haunted by a ghost dressed in 16th century costume. He is six feet tall, looks about forty years old and has blonde hair. He wears white breeches, white hose and a white shirt. Across his waist (diagonally from his shoulder) he has a blue sash, which was probably used to hold his sword. He looks as if he has just come back from a war. Although he does no harm to anybody, many weird things happen through him. Sweets, biscuits and other such things may disappear only to be found in another place. Also milk bottle tops and other such things will suddenly fly across the room. Another eerie thing that happens in that house is that sometimes at night the stairs will creak one after another as though there is someone climbing them. Whenever he is there, visible or otherwise, there is an icy cold feeling.

West Hendred

There a few reports of the village ghost: a man killed in a road accident. Two sisters driving at night once saw a man in a cap and overcoat rush in front of the path of their car. Horrified, the driver braked and awaited the crash, but none came and the man had disappeared.



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