Weird Norfolk: The ghosts of North Walsham

Weird Norfolk - North Walsham. Town sign.Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Weird Norfolk - North Walsham. Town sign.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

As ghostly goings-on go, North Walsham can boast a host of hauntings.

The quiet north Norfolk town has superfluous spectres and spooks considering its size, perhaps they prefer gliding along the twisty, windy roads or being a stone's throw from the sea, perhaps the town itself is a magnet for those who cannot rest in the afterlife – whatever the reason, we have an embarrassment of ghosts in North Walsham for your entertainment today.

There's a ghoul who witnesses have said looks as if he's wearing the Devil's rollerskates, so fast is he, who flashes by what used to be called The High Walks (which is now close to Scarborough Hill, possibly Yarmouth Road) wearing an old-fashioned cloak which billows in his slipstream – some say this elevated path was created to protect townspeople from the cloaked and booted skating dandy.

Next on the ghastly ghoul list is a phantom who liked company. A newspaper report in the Eastern Daily Press noted that the woman appeared on Long Common Road – no longer in North Walsham – and was so realistic that at first, no one questioned whether she was from this world or another.

'Then one night a party of young men were walking home from North Walsham when one of them realised that a woman of 40 or so was walking with them. She was wearing old-fashioned clothes, and as there was almost a full moon they could pick out various details of her appearance,' the piece read.

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'The man who had seen her first and nudged his brother, said she came out of nowhere, and if anyone had offered him a thousand pounds he couldn't have spoken a word. They all saw her; she walked almost the length of the common with them and then disappeared.

'They were reluctant to mention the lady because it happened on a Saturday night and they admitted to having had a pint or two. Apparently the lady played the same trick on several other people, and in the end she had to be accepted as a 'regular'. It seems she does the same thing still, but what is strange is that she did it when the oldest inhabitant's father was a boy.'

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Next is a shrieking Hannah Whitepost, a ghost who is linked to North Walsham although further investigation suggests she may actually appear in White Post Lane in nearby Hanworth, where the common land – according to the North Walsham and District Community Archive group on Facebook, thank you – is known as 'Hannah's Common'.

'She is a somewhat neurotic, if not permanently hysterical female,' said the EDP, 'she is seen to cross the road three times in the same direction and utters three bloodcurdling shrieks.'

At the market place, a young woman dressed in ragged clothes, little more than a child and pitifully thin with straggly hair is spotted in dark corners and in the direction of Furze Hill, a further two ghosts have been seen, one near the site of the old Hagg Farm, another on Furze Hill itself.

At Hag Loke, presumably close to the farm, a woman has been seen: 'She, it seems, is sweet and wistful, and was involved with murder, though whether victim or otherwise not even the oldest inhabitant can remember,' said the EDP.

And on Furze Hill itself, densely covered in trees and next to an old quarry, the most frightening ghost of all can be seen at the dead of night: '…a thoroughly nasty piece of work - not that anyone has ever had a good look at him, he is far too nippy for that, but, by Jiminy, his reputation…'

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