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WEIRD NORFOLK: The haunted house opposite Caister cemetery “I was absolutely terrified…we all saw the ghosts…”

PUBLISHED: 18:00 26 September 2020

Gravestones along a wall of the western section in the church cemetery at Caister.

Picture: James Bass

Gravestones along a wall of the western section in the church cemetery at Caister. Picture: James Bass

“They’re here…” Poltergeist activity at Caister-on-Sea: “We’d come home to cracks in family photographs…I was terrified”

Phantom footsteps on the stairs, the ghost of a little girl, cracks appearing in the glass of framed family photographs and the discovery of strange objects from the past: a family got more than they’d bargained for when they moved to Caister-on-Sea.

Think of a typical haunted house and you may bring to mind a Victorian manor house in an isolated location surrounded by overgrown brambles and boasting creaking doors, attics, cellars and a convenient legend that keeps locals away. What probably doesn’t come to mind is a family home built in the 1970s close to a busy coastal road and surrounded by similar homes as far as the eye can see. But it was one such relatively-modern home that a family of five moved to in 2001 – there were five in the household, a mother, father, grandmother and two children aged nine and 14…and then there were the ghosts.

View of  Caister.
Viewed from the top of Caister Church.(Holy Trinity)

Picture: James BassView of Caister. Viewed from the top of Caister Church.(Holy Trinity) Picture: James Bass

“We could only manage living there for 18 months,” one of the residents, who was nine when she lived in the detached Caister house which was opposite the village’s cemetery and near to Caister Holiday Camp.

“Everyone saw the ghosts there. One was a little girl and one was a very broad, tall man. He wasn’t vey nice at all in any way, shape or form.

“My Mum saw the little girl on many occasions and I saw her once and the man once. We had the feeling that the little girl might have been trying to tell us her story about what he’d done to her.”

When the family sat in their lounge together, they would be plagued by strange noises such as footsteps running up and down the stairs, people moving furniture in upstairs rooms and things crashing to the floor.

“My Dad never believed in ghosts – and then he saw the little girl and he said we had to move as soon as possible,” the woman added.

During their difficult stay at their new home next to the sea, the family found themselves under attack from invisible enemies.

“We’d come home to cracks formed in the glass in framed family photographs and our house absolutely trashed – my room was the worst, my whole wardrobe was emptied on the floor and my duvet and pillows thrown on the landing,” said the woman, who shared her story with Weird Norfolk.

“All doors and windows were locked and there was no sign of forced entry from intruders – this happened regularly. Nothing was taken, but we sometimes found random objects around the house that weren’t ours.

“One I remember well: it looked like a Victorian fire poker.”

The family dog would bark and snarl at corners of the house and the temperature would regularly drop until there was a marked chill in the air.

“If we had candles lit they would be put out if we’d leave the room. We were raised as Catholics and my Nan who moved in with us begged us to have the house blessed,” said the woman.

The only person in the household who wasn’t terrified of the ghosts was the witness’s brother, who was 14 when he lived in the house, which we are not identifying as it still a family home today.

“I was terrified,” she said, “my parents were out playing bingo one Friday night and I literally left the house and ran all the way to the bingo hall because I couldn’t stay in that house without them there.

“It didn’t even scare my brother, it was more me. It was me that always heard the activity when alone and felt the coldness. He never did.”

Some paranormal experts believe that poltergeist activity can be connected to one person whose energy it feeds from: particularly young people, particularly adolescents. One of the most common triggers for this kind of activity is said to be children in their early teens which, believers claim, can be channeled by spirits and used to create havoc. The witness said that after the family left the home, just under two years after moving in, they felt the spirit of the little girl had moved with them.

“We felt like the little girl was trying to tell us her story, she followed us into our next house – luckily the man didn’t. Since I moved out I haven’t felt her or seen her for about two years now, which is sad.

“It feels weird, but I didn’t mind her following us as she was nice and I felt she needed to tell us something. I feel something bad happened to her.”

Caister has a long history of ghost sightings…

In Mackenzie Walcott’s East Coast of England, from the Thames to the Tweed, the clergyman writes about Caister Castle.

“The peasants believe that at midnight yearly, a dark coach drawn up by headless horses, rolls into the dark courtyard and carries away some unearthly passengers, a superstition like that of the black headless dog of Mundesley, which scares travellers by night on the lonely coast-side,” he wrote in 1861. It was believed that if you saw the hell-wain, or wagon from hell, as it went on its journey to collect souls, it warned of imminent death to oneself of a close relative. The legend is that the so-called Death Coach cannot return to Hell if it is empty.

One of Caister-on-Sea’s holiday parks boasts its own ghost in the reception area. ‘Mary’ is believed to have been a nurse during the Great War and has been seen wandering around in a long grey dress searching for her long lost soldier love...

Ghosts have also been seen along the Caister bypass: in October 2010 two drivers who were driving on opposite sides of the road saw the same ghost at the same time, a spectral soldier marching along the middle of the road. Both drivers, without seeing what the other was doing, braked suddenly and left their cars to investigate.

* Have you lived in a haunted house? Let the Weird Norfolk team know.

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