Read if you dare! Nine of Norfolk's spookiest stories

Weird Norfolk: The old man of Hopton. Pictured: Night closes in on the A12 where a Lowestoft police

The old man of Hopton is one of Norfolk's many chilling encounters. - Credit: Archant

From ghosts haunting rugs to an old man that haunts the highways and byways of our coastline - Norfolk is one of the most haunted places in the UK.

With Halloween almost upon us, here are nine terrifying legends that are sure to give you goosebumps!

Castle Rising Castle: The magnificent Norman castle near King's Lynn, and one-time home of Queen Isa

Castle Rising Castle: The magnificent Norman castle near King's Lynn, and one-time home of Queen Isabella, the notorious 'She-Wolf of France'. - Credit: IAN BURT

She-Wolf of Castle Rising

Castle Rising, located close to King's Lynn, was built during the 12th century.

The castle is renowned for serving as the home of Queen Isabella who lived there between 1330 and 1358 and it is said her spirit still wanders through portions of the keep today.


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Queen Isabella, who was married to (and supposedly involved in the death of) King Edward II bought Castle Rising in 1330 and lived there for 25 years.

While the ruins of the castle are still standing, it is best to visit in the daylight as the evil queen’s cackling laughter is said by some to still be heard around the grounds.

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While Queen Isabella had a number of nicknames such as Isabella the Fair, her most famous moniker is “The She-Wolf of France”.

Some believe that the queen has the ability to become a wolf and roam around the castle's grounds.

Hunstanton Hall Rug Ghost

Hunstanton Hall was the ancestral home of the Le Strange family, one of the most powerful Norfolk families in the 15th and 16th centuries.

A fire destroyed the majority of the hall in 1853 before being decimated again almost a century later in 1951.

However, one of its more unusual tales goes back further to the 1700's when Armine Styleman owned the grounds.

Armine loved a particular Persian rug so much that on her deathbed in 1768 she said that if anything happened to the rug, then she would return from the grave.

After her death, the rug was cut up into several pieces and given to nearby villages.

Subsequently, Armine's spirit is said to have burst into a furious rage and began to haunt the hall until her rug was restored, which it eventually was.

According to legend, the haunting stopped soon after, however, many still believe Armine to wander the area.

Devil's Alley in King's Lynn. Picture: IAN BURT

Devil's Alley in King's Lynn. Picture: IAN BURT - Credit: Archant

Devil's Alley, King's Lynn

King's Lynn is home to Devil's Alley, where legend has it that the Devil himself was spotted by a priest that cornered him in the street.

The priest banished him back to the netherworld with prayers and holy water, which infuriated the devil and saw him stamp his foot in rage with such force that it left an imprint and a reminder of the chaos he could cause.

While the alley remains, the footprint has long since disappeared, a victim of modern roadworks which have seen the cobbles resurfaced. 

Thetford Warren Lodge. Picture: Sonya Duncan

Thetford Warren Lodge. Picture: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Eastern Daily Press � 2015

Thetford Warren Lodge

Believed to have been built in the 1400s, Thetford Warren Lodge protected gamekeepers and hunting parties against armed poachers.

It is said the lodge is home to a white ghostly rabbit that can be seen in the doorway and sometimes has red glowing eyes. It is considered an omen of death to anyone who lays eyes on it.

Legend also says that a figure with a strange, two-dimensional face can be seen gibbering horribly and terrifying witnesses as it wanders the area close to the lodge and an eerie face has been reported looking out from the first floor window of the building, even though it no longer has any floors.

Blickling Hall. Picture: Danielle Booden

Blickling Hall - Credit: Danielle Booden

Blickling Hall

King Henry VIII's second wife Anne Boleyn is said to haunt her ancestral home on the anniversary of her execution.

Once the clock strikes midnight, her ghost appears in a coach drawn by a headless horseman, with her own head on her lap.

According to the story, her father Sir Thomas is also said to haunt the grounds too.

Weird Norfolk: The old man of Hopton. Pictured: Night closes in on the A12 where a Lowestoft police

The old man of Hopton is one of Norfolk's many chilling encounters. - Credit: Archant

The old man of Hopton

In 1980, PC Frank Colby who had been a member of the British Transport Police for 29 years was driving along the Hopton Bypass towards Lowestoft with his wife. As his car reached the southern section of the bypass, PC Colby saw what he thought to be a man crossing the dual carriageway in front of him.

At the time, Mr Colby described the figure as being 5'6, stocky in build and wearing a calf-length shapeless garment.

According to Mr Colby's account at the time: "Its head was hunched into its shoulders and appeared to have spiky hair. There appeared to be trousers on the legs and huge footwear. The boots were very large and the man appeared to be lifting them up as he plodded along."

East Somerton Church for Weird Norfolk.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

East Somerton Church, where a woman is said to have been buried alive. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

The witch of East Somerton

Built in the 15th century, only the tower and walls of the nave of St Mary's church remains.

Legend tells of a witch who was buried alive in the nave of the church by the villagers of East Somerton, and her wooden leg grew into a massive oak tree which destroyed the church. 

Today, the oak tree remains in the centre of the ruined church and visitors to the site should be warned that walking around the tree three times will release her spirit, or so the story goes.

Black Shuck haunts Norfolk folklore, a dark figure which stalking through the county since the 16th century.

Black Shuck is said to roam the Norfolk coastline. - Credit: Archant Library/Sam Robbins

Black Shuck

The Black Shuck haunts Norfolk folklore. 

According to reports, the famous dog varies in size and stature from that of simply a large dog to being the size of a calf or a horse.

Despite its many forms, it is often described as being a 'true manifestation of everyone's fear'.

Despite eyes like saucers or hot breath like a lick of fire, whether he foretells your impending death or is some kind of guardian spirit, whether he roams the coast or woodland, heath or roadside, one thing is for certain: he is not of this realm.

According to legend, on August 4 a large black dog burst through the doors of St Mary's Church in Bungay to a clap of thunder.

It ran up the nave, past a large congregation, killing a man and boy and causing the church steeple to collapse through the roof, before moving on to Blythburgh Church where it mauled and killed more people.

It is said that the black dog scours dark lanes and lonely footpath of the Suffolk coast where although his howling is loud, his footfalls do not make a sound.

The National Trust have restored the kitchen at Felbrigg Hall to show how it would look during a din

Felbrigg Hall is believed to be haunted by the ghost of William Windham III, the phantom bibliophile. - Credit: © ARCHANT NORFOLK PHOTOGRAPHIC

Felbrigg Hall

Felbrigg Hall is a 17th century country house that is believed to be haunted by the ghost of William Windham III, the phantom bibliophile. 

William is said to have risked his life around 200 years ago trying to rescue books after a fire broke out, only to succumb to his injuries a few weeks later.

It is said that he still visits his extensive library to read the books he didn't get the chance to when he was alive. Legend says that when an exact combination of books is placed on the library chair, his ghost will appear.

Be sure to find out more about these tales and many more by reading Weird Norfolk.

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