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Weird Norfolk Podcast

A haunted wood, a strange stone that bleeds and a host of legends that link it to a martyred Saint, a ruined nunnery and ritual sacrifices.

Why did the Swaffham gravestone twist itself away from what was buried underneath it?

Does the spirit of a murdered woman still roam the rooms of a shop on Magdalen Street, or has she finally found the peace she was denied in life?

Brograve Mill stands as a lonely sentinel on land once owned by a man said to have made a bargain with the Devil which he had no intention of honouring.

How do you solve a problem like Sister Barbara?

At the tail-end of the 1800s, a series of strange goings-on haunted Bumbler’s Farm in Shelfanger: doors opened and closed of their own accord, a towel roller in the kitchen spun violently as if powered by an unseen hand, ornaments in the parlour crashed to the ground and the ghostly figure of a woman was seen.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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

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

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 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.

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.

She’s been seen in the streets, houses and churches of Tombland, a grey lady who glides through walls and hides a terrible secret: when she was locked into a room with her plague victim parents, she ate their flesh to stay alive and met her end choking on their flesh.

This week we discuss the infamous red balloon ghost of Chapelfield Mall as well other hauntings in the shopping centre.

The ruins are spectacular and hint at a majesty long since claimed by time – but the broken walls of Bromholm Priory hide an even bigger secret: they once housed a holy relic said to be so powerful it could raise the dead.

It looked like any other council house in the row, a sturdily-built home, close to local amenities and perfect for a growing family – particularly one with an attendant poltergeist.

This week we discuss one of the most famous ghost pictures ever taken. The Brown Lady of Raynham Hall.

When churchyards yawn and hell itself breathes out contagion, the witching time of night is when the spectral woman appears, clad in red and seemingly tethered to the remains of a cross-stone which once towered over this lonely patch of Norfolk.

It’s a heartrending story which for generations has acted as a warning to warring siblings.

Let’s weave a Weird Norfolk Fairytale of our own: pull up a chair, huddle closer to the fire and let me begin with the curious tale of King Gurgunt and the Frozen Bear

Thetford Warren Lodge was built around the 1400s a few miles west of Thetford – probably at the bequest of the prior of Our Lady’s Priory who had Royal approval to hunt small game and was keen to protect his livelihood by constructing a defensive lodge which could repel poachers.

This week playwright Mark Finbow from the theatre company The Keeper’s Daughter joins us for a chat about his new production which is inspired by the Rendlesham incident (yes we know that is in Suffolk). We also have a chat about the mysterious Norfolk dim-out which happened just a month before Rendlesham...was it a coincidence or was it a cover-up?

He’s the invisible menace that terrified us as children. But is there more to the bogeyman than an imaginary behaviour monitor?

It’s a whole new take on the concept of a siren call that saw the tables turned on a mermaid lured to shore by the sweet singing of a Sheringham congregation.

South Lopham in Norfolk may not be able to boast a Fairy Godmother but it does lay claim to a Fairy Cow who apparently magically appeared during times of great hardship in the village and then disappeared when things improved.

Norwich City Council’s housing department was used to receiving requests from its tenants to move to another area, but the very unusual reason for wanting to leave caused a few eyebrows to raise: there was, claimed the family in question, an unwanted lodger at the city property – a resident poltergeist.

The legendary spectral hound Black Shuck. Picture: Sam Robbins

It’s one of East Anglia’s most enduring folk tales, that of a midnight black hell hound with eyes as red as glowing coals that roams the countryside and brings death to the door of anyone unfortunate to lock eyes with him.

In 1993, psychic researchers Sandra and Robin Foy joined forces with another husband and wife duo, mediums Diana and Allen Bennett, to form the Scole Experiment Group, with the intent purpose of trying to create a direct line of communication between the living and the dead.

It was a dazzling light show that bewitched astronomers watching the night sky above Norwich - but was it proof of life on other planets?

It was a clear night when the witness to this particular shaggy dog – or rather, shaggy beast – story which took place between Thetford and East Wretham.

This week we welcome our first ever guests, The Shadowcaster and The Silent Hand from Norwich Ghost Walks!

It had hung above the bar of a Norfolk pub for 60 years but reports of illness, discord and misfortune surrounded the goat’s head of Strumpshaw.

The floating figure appeared just before the witching hour, an almost transparent apparition that appeared to climb invisible stairs before melting into the darkness before the eyes of a horrified woman walking home along Sandy Lane in Dereham after a night out with friends.

It is the vanishing village that just can’t stay silent, a forgotten parish from the Norfolk coast that was swallowed by the sea, the county’s own Atlantis just a stone’s throw from the famous Cromer Pier.

In our second Weird Norfolk podcast we pay a hauntingly good visit to Baconsthorpe Castle, near Holt, which is home to a spectral sentry.

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