13 of the most haunting places to visit in Norfolk this Halloween
- Credit: Eastern Counties Newspapers
With Halloween just around the corner, what else might be waiting out there? Venture with us into the realms of ghosts, spirits and phantoms
THROUGH KING'S LYNN
The Weird Norfolk team has put together a wonderfully weird walk around King's Lynn. It takes intrepid explorers past an exorcist's house, two ghosts who died on their (separate) wedding days, and True's Yard - with its astonishing 38 ghosts including a poltergeist and lost boys waiting for their father, who never returned. Find out about the Lynn women accused of being witches too, including one who was supposed to have caused a storm at sea which killed 13 men - by stirring a pan of boiling eggs. And venture down Devil's Alley, if you dare. Download the walk at www.visitnorfolk.co.uk/weirdnorfolk
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WITH THE GHOSTS OF NORWICH
The infamous Norwich Halloween Ghost Walks re-enact some of the city's spookiest stories nightly from October 29 to November 2.The Halloween Specials begin at the Cow Tower car park beside the Adam and Eve. Tickets £10 plus booking fee. Booking essential at www.ghostwalksnorwich.co.uk
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THE NORFOLK COASTAL PATH PAST STIFFKEY
If you are still out as dusk begins to creep across the lonely expanses of the north Norfolk saltmarshes it is easy to imagine the horror of getting lost as the tide turns and seawater oozes up the slippery channels. Spare a thought for young Nancy who disappeared while searching for cockles near Stiffkey. Villagers launched boats in the flooded marshes as they searched for her, but all that was found was poor Nancy's dead body. Ever since, on foggy nights, people have reported hearing her screams and glimpsing her ghost.
The headless ghost of Henry VIII's tragic wife, Anne Boleyn, is said to return to her birthplace on the anniversary of her execution every May 19. As night falls the ghost, cradling her severed head, is seen in a coach driven by a headless horseman. As it arrives at the door of the hall, it vanishes. That same night the ghost of Anne's father, Sir Thomas Boleyn, cursed for allowing not just one, but two of his children to be executed, is condemned to try and cross 12 bridges before the first cock crows. This story has him frantically racing across bridges in Blickling, Aylsham, Burgh, Buxton, Coltishall, Oxnead and Wroxham. www.nationaltrust.org.uk
The magnificent castle in the village named for it, near King's Lynn, is a reminder of our glorious, and gruesome, history.
A Queen of England, known as the She Wolf of France, lived at Castle Rising in the mid 14th century. Queen Isabella and her lover had brought an army from the continent to depose her husband, Edward II, and many believe she ordered his murder too. She then reigned on behalf of her young son, Edward III, until he took back control. Stories passed down through the generations suggest that after her lover was executed she went mad with loneliness and grief and ever since visitors have reported ghostly cries, strange mists, unexplained footsteps, a shadowy grey figure and even the howls of a wolf haunting the ancient castle. www.castlerising.co.uk
The ruins of this fortified and moated manor house have a hauntingly beautiful setting. Isolated Baconsthorpe Castle, near Holt, once home to the Heydon family, is also said to be home to a ghostly soldier, idly throwing stones into the waters of the moat. www.english-heritage.org.uk
Tales of the terrifying devil dog, Black Shuck, come from across East Anglia, but one of his favourite haunts is Coltishall Bridge. The dog, as big as a calf and black as the night, with huge fiery red eyes, is believed to be an omen of death. The story of this prowling, howling beast dates back to Viking times and persists into modern times, with several reports of the hell hound roaming through the village.
ACROSS POTTER HEIGHAM BRIDGE
Once a year, at midnight on May 31, a coach, driven by a skeleton, is said to career across Potter Heigham bridge, carrying new bride Lady Evelyn to her doom. The tragic story begins with her mother asking a witch for a love potion to make a wealthy bachelor fall in love with Evelyn. The witch agrees, in return for one wish. The potion works, the couple marry in Norwich and are driving towards their wedding feast when a skeleton hijacks the coach, sets it on fire and drives it into the water below. That was the witch's one wish.
THE ACLE STRAIGHT
The infamous Acle Straight, between Acle and Yarmouth, has seen many terrible crashes. But some drivers have spoken of colliding with unearthly vehicles and figures rather than all-too-real cars. There have been reports of people, and even a phantom horse and cart, looming up and passing straight through cars as horrified drivers attempt to avert a tragedy.
DISS BY VERVE
The hotel, which dates back to 1655, is said to be haunted by a woman known as the White Lady of Scole who was murdered by her jealous husband after he accused her of having an affair with a highwayman who was also staying at the hotel. Despite her violent death, Emma is said to be a friendly ghost. King Charles II also stayed at the recently refurbished historic hotel, which used to be called the Scole Inn. www.vervediss.co.uk
THE MAIDS HEAD, NORWICH.
The ghost said to haunt the oldest hotel in the country has been dubbed the Lady in Grey. This was where the palace of the first Norman Bishop of Norwich, Herbert de Losinga, once stood, and so the Maid's Head can claim to be on a site which has been continuously used for hospitality for almost 1,000 years. Some say it also hosts the ghost of a hotel maid who has wandered the oldest part of the building for centuries, leaving the scent of lavender behind her. www.maidsheadhotel.co.uk
THE BELL HOTEL, THETFORD
Believed to be one of the most haunted places in the country, the Bell is so renowned for its ghosts that it regularly hosts ghost tours. One spirit is thought to be a murdered 19th century landlady who was pushed from a bedroom window. Staff have reported children playing in empty rooms, rattling keys in the night and the ghost of a hooded monk. www.greeneking-pubs.co.uk
A black monk is said to haunt the churchyard at night, emerging from a tunnel which once linked Binham with Walsingham. The haunting strains of a violin have also been heard coming from the tunnel at midnight - played by a musician who was trapped trapped inside when a great storm blew up and the entrance collapsed. A mysterious black-hooded monk has also been seen in the part of the old priory which is now the village parish church.
Today the much-loved coastal parish church, with the tallest church tower in Norfolk, is at the heart of its thriving community. However, it was in such a state of disrepair, before Cromer became a fashionable seaside resort, that it was virtually in ruins. And the ghost of a murdered child, dressed in white, was said to appear at night. As the small figure emerged from the ground, blood trickled from an ugly cut across his throat and soaked his clothes before he sank back beneath the earth.
A much more comforting phantom has been photographed in Worstead church. A woman visiting in the 1970s was feeling unwell and sat in a pew, praying for recovery, while her husband son explored. Months later they developed the pictures and saw the figure of woman in white, sitting behind her. The family returned the following year and when they showed their picture to the vicar, he told them the village legend of a ghostly healer. The village pub has since been renamed The White Lady in her honour.
In the library of Felbrigg Hall the ghost of William Windham III is said to appear when an exact combination of books is placed on a particular table. He died in 1809 after being terribly burned trying to rescue a friend's precious books from a fire. www.nationaltrust.org.uk
For more on many of these ghosts, and a whole host of other hauntings, read more Weird Norfolk stories at ww.edp24.co.uk
And if you have your own spooky story, the Weird Norfolk team would love to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org