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Weird Norfolk

Two eye-witness accounts of the Hethersett Faines –“I thought it was two boys, one on the other’s shoulders playing a prank, but then I realised it wasn’t…”

We’ve all heard of Casper the Friendly Ghost: but did you know that Norfolk boasted its own sociable spirit in Harleston?

Most of us are aware that a witch’s familiar is often a cat – but less of us know the story behind Great Yarmouth’s Kitty Witches.

If you go down to the woods today, you may have a grim surprise…Listen out for the ghost of a murderer left hanging in a gibbet in Bacton Woods.

Accused of murdering children and entertaining evil spirits, the case against Ellen Garrison looked bleak: but perhaps Witchfinder General Matthew Hopkins had met his match in a Norfolk woman.

It has stood as a sentinel for centuries, a lonely, lichen-covered reminder of a frozen past when sabre-toothed tigers and woolly mammoths roamed the plains of East Anglia.

They seemed like sisters of mercy, but the nuns at Marham were anything but – the ghostly tale of Sister Barbara, whose ghost is seen on gliding on a West Norfolk hill.

It sounds like a dark fairytale: a demon locked away in a tall turret, hidden from view – at Acle’s St Edmund church, fear was once written on the walls.

A talisman to protect against witches or an invitation to the Devil? The story behind the strange ‘witch brick’ found at Earlham Hall.

The drowned drummer boy who paid with his life after skating on thin ice all in the name of love, a Weird Norfolk Valentine that will touch all but the coldest of hearts

The poltergeist who plagued a village near Downham Market council house and a cautionary tale about receiving visitors during an exorcism.

Norfolk used to boast the devil’s hoof print in King’s Lynn, said to be a remainder of his thwarted attempts to steal souls after arriving to the town by ship.

If you go down to the woods in Brooke...do you know why the ghost of a shrieking woman has been spotted between the trees?

The ghostly light shed by a skeleton buried beneath the road at East Runton floats close to a cornmill whose cap was used by fishermen to guide them home.

A trail of lights in the sky that has fascinated stargazers the world over have been spotted above North Norfolk.

A fireball spotted by several stargazers in the skies over Norfolk has been described as a “white-hot star”.

It’s a tale as old as time: neighbours falling out over a petty dispute – but in this Norfolk case, it ended with an enchanted cow and an accusation of witchcraft.

If only this stone could speak: the stories it could tell. Merton’s gigantic boulder has – according to legend – been the scene of at least one orgy and may hold the key to Armageddon.

They are windows into a former bone house where thousands of skeletons were stored in piles – right next to Norwich Cathedral and in a former sixth form common room.

A New Year’s Eve ghost story from Ranworth with a moral: lead a terrible life and the Devil will come knocking for you and steal you away.

Don’t wear bright clothes or strong-smelling perfume, listen for knocking and shrieking and try and sniff out bad body odour: just a normal day trip for the Weird Norfolk team.

A chest filled with gold and thrown to the bottom of a Norfolk pond and a battle with the Devil to claim the treasure – there could only be one winner.

It’s a shaggy dog story for dark nights that ends in tragedy: when a driver hit a large, ghostly black dog on the edge of the Brecks, it burst into flames and within days, the man was dead…

Today we settle down to be entertained by real-life tragedies on television, and lap up true crime podcasts. But our fascination with murder is nothing new.

The tall tale of a Norfolk village that bred Giants, one of whom joined Greatest Showman PT Barnum in his cabinet of human curiosities and who married a Giantess, was exhibited as a marvel of nature and who ended his days buried close to a witch.

For centuries a holy well brought crowds and wealth to what is now a field opposite Burnham Market primary school writes Rowan Mantell

The lore and legends about the existence of secret underground passages that criss-cross Norfolk have fascinated generations – one such tunnel is said to have once been under Ingham church’s altar.

It’s little surprise that so many air force bases are said to be haunted if you think about the number of men in the prime of their lives who never returned from wartime sorties and whose bodies never received a proper burial – can you hear one on this chilling recording?

Our final live recording of 2019 is hosted by The Merchant’s House.

More evidence has been received about the Wildman of Watton, Bigfoot of the Forest, the Beast of the A1075, whatever you choose to call the creature that many have seen stalking through the trees near Thetford: Weird Norfolk talked to the woman compiling their stories.

Linger too long in an isolated place while twilight falls and you risk a visit from the elusive Hikey Sprites, the curious creatures that creep from the shadows at night and which serve as a timely warning to keep walking towards the light, the Boggarts of the Norfolk folklore world.

This week we are hosted by Biddy’s Tearoom in Norwich, where we hear all sorts of strange and spooky tales.

Cor blimey – did the Devil jump at the chance of taking ownership of a slice of Corpusty real estate when human bones were denied a Christian burial?

This week’s Weird Norfolk is a cautionary tale about being careful what you wish for.

This week we tiptoe over the border to Suffolk to have a chat with local historian and paranormal expert, Ivan Bunn

Weird Norfolk has put together a Weird Walk for King’s Lynn as part of the Norfolk Walking and Cycling Festival, which returns this October and will see a host of events which celebrate the county with an exciting range of events for all ages, abilities and interests. Find a dragon’s tongue, one of Norfolk’s most haunted houses, the place where a witch’s heart bounced to the river and far more on a walk that highlights Lynn’s weirder side.

Ghosthunters believe they may have caught paranormal activity on camera in a Norfolk café after an ornament ‘inexplicably’ fell from a shelf.

How stones in Norfolk were thought to be an insurance policy against catching the plague in medieval times (Spoiler: they didn’t work).

The Thetford railway bridge ghost that returned to set the record straight and clear his name

The phantom black dog of Buxton that foretold the death of a loved one and why it’s best to be cautious when visiting rural churchyards in Norfolk at twilight...

To marry one woman accused of witchcraft is misfortunate, to marry two is plain suspicious.

Dragons, demons, monks and artists haunt lonely, lovely St Benet’s Abbey - and there’s just time for a free guided tour before the dark days of winter.

We often complain that we’re stuck in the middle of nowhere when we find ourselves lost in unfamiliar surroundings. But what happens when you want to be stuck in the middle of Nowhere but you just can’t find it? Weird Norfolk go looking for the Nowheres in the county.

Whistle and he’ll come to you: at a church in Norfolk, it’s said that Satan can be summoned by a strange ritual. Weird Norfolk find out what it takes to see the Devil in Swanton Morley.

A family hoping for a holiday packed with sun, sea and sandcastles in Great Yarmouth were surprised to find a guest had already taken up residence in the caravan they had been renting for four days - an invisible entity which made it perfectly clear it wanted them to leave.

They are the pebble-hunter’s Holy Grail, the all-seeing eyes that protect us from nightmares and witches. Weird Norfolk looks at witch stones – the pebbles with holes all the way through them – and finds out the folklore that surrounds them

The Witch of Loddon, the biting imps and her daughter Mary, who escaped a pact with Satan in order to marry her Lucky Chance – and it happened less than 150 years ago…

From the Black Shuck to an oak tree grown from a witch buried there, a new book celebrates the county’s weird and wonderful folklore.

This Norfolk building boasts not one ghost but almost 40 – from lost boys waiting for a father who never returns to a young woman who fell in love with the wrong man, a poltergeist and even the ghosts of some pub drinkers.

It’s a ripple in a field which hides a stupendous secret - here, between two ugly electricity pylons on the fringes of Norwich there once stood an incredible treasure: Norfolk’s answer to Stonehenge.

The legend of Fiddler’s Hill tells the story of an ill-fated violinist who decided to investigate a ghostly monk who would emerge each night from a tunnel running between Binham and Walsingham – it didn’t end well for him.

Norwich Ghost Walks are set to haunt the city once more as they return with three new storytellers taking over from The Shadowcaster who has “been sent on a dark quest”.

It’s a ripple in a field which hides a stupendous secret – here, between two ugly electricity pylons on the fringes of Norwich there once stood an incredible treasure: Norfolk’s answer to Stonehenge.

In a village whose name suggests restful sleep, something terrifying yet oddly familiar prowled the streets: White Shuck of Great Snoring.

For centuries humans have debated whether alien lifeforms exist. One man has been sure that they do for more than 40 years, even creating a community of UFO enthusiasts in East Anglia.

Reporter MARC BETTS went to meet Tony Buckingham.

The grisly tale of Happisburgh Torso – the ghost of a sailor without legs and with a head trailing behind him on a thin strip of flesh – is one told next to roaring fires and on dark and stormy nights and which still has the power to terrify today. CAUTION: not for the faint-hearted!

This week is all about the wonderful Sarah Hare, wax effigies and blood poisoning.

If you go down to the woods today, you’re sure of a big surprise…

A ghostly town appears beneath a meadow, a thief is cursed and dogs die in suspicious circumstances.

The udderly terrifying tale of the ghost cows of Hethersett which once roamed the village, their saucer-eyes glowing in the dark.

It fell to earth during a storm on Halloween and marked the gateway from Norfolk to hell – was the Southery stone a visitor from outer space and why did naked women sit on it for good luck?

On the edge of Norwich city centre, a bombed-out church has been reduced to just its tower – but before tragedy hit St Bartholomew’s Church in Heigham, it was at the centre of a frenzied ghost hunt

Across the county, the sightings of the legendary big cat of Norfolk were once fairly common

A terrible end to a tragic life – staked through the heart and buried at a lonely crossroads in Norfolk after being accused of murdering her own daughter, poor Mary Turrell’s final resting place was close to a tree said to have grown from the stake that pinned a killer to the ground.

A picture that was haunted by the woman it captured and a chair that summoned the spirit of a flame-haired ghost if placed close to a fireplace: one house in Norfolk boasted them both.

This week we have an eyewitness account of the Grey Lady of Tombland. Bridget Pye joins us to share her strange encounter.

One of Norwich’s most colourful characters from the past, Father Ignatius was a preacher and a mystic who established a monastery in Elm Hill in 1863 – and can still be seen there today.

Theatres are well known for hosting plays and disappearing acts but “unexplained” shadow figures aren’t usually part of the script.

In Weird Norfolk’s history of mysteries, sightings of UFOs remain high on the list of unsolved phenomena. In the late 1970s, a flying saucer was spotted hovering above the rooftops of Dereham town centre – did it return, years later, for another visit?

“A customer stood by the till and said they felt someone, or something, touching their shoulder...” Has a shop in Brandon caught evidence of a ghost on CCTV?

It’s a lament said to travel across the centuries, a shriek that rips through time to tell the tale of a woman who loved and lost and whose spirit wanders in North Norfolk, restlessly searching for the baby murdered by her jealous husband.

The grinning skeletons found where Great Yarmouth Fire Station stands today and the whistling, faceless ghosts that haunted fire fighters who longed for late-night call-outs to escape the horror at their HQ.

Is the strange stone of Harleston named after a marauding Dane or a Danish king? Was it where land was given to locals or where locals were warned of an invasion? Weird Norfolk try to carve out the answer.

Lined up in a cell in Norwich Castle Museum’s dungeon, their lifeless faces may look eerily calm, but these ‘death heads’ were thought to hold the secret to identifying psychopaths. Weird Norfolk goes underground to discover the hidden history of Norfolk’s murderers.

The eerie tale of the Swaffham gravestone that moved of its own accord, the woman who lay beneath it and the reason why the stone may well have tried to make an escape bid from her.

A special tale for Easter: the storm-raising witch from King’s Lynn said to have used eggs to drown sailors

The team are at Norwich Cathedral again and this week we have a chat about the Lantern Man of Thurlton. Siofra becomes starstruck as Budge the cat drops by.

A new behind-the-scenes tour at Holkham Hall allows visitors to discover how life was lived upstairs and downstairs in the servants’ areas, attics and the cellars at Holkham Hall. Today, Weird Norfolk follows the tour guide up the winding staircase to the highest tower rooms and attics.

A Shaggy dog story - the tale of Black Shuck in Coltishall: “As big as a calf and noiseless as death”

A pact with the Devil, a midnight ritual and the sacrifice of a toad – it sounds like medieval witchcraft, but in fact it’s a ritual which took place in Norfolk within living memory. Weird Norfolk examine Norfolk’s amphibian witchcraft.

Standing as a signpost to a village that longer bustles, in a rhododendron clearing in the woods, Mark Goldsworthy’s timber carving shows the curious tale of the brave Bishop Beaver of Babingley.

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