Monday, 10 October 2011


Here is a TV report from Borders Television concerning paranormal activity at a notoriously haunted house, Muncaster Castle in Cumbria.

Muncaster Castle - Tom Fool

Muncaster Castle is one of the Britains most haunted buildings, scientists have been researching the ghosts of the Castle since 1992 and are still unable to explain some of the strange occurrences reported at the Castle.
Muncaster Castle is a privately owned Castle overlooking the Esk river, about a mile south of the west coast town of Ravenglass in Cumbria, England. The current owners the Pennington family have lived at Muncaster for at least 800 years. The Castle was built in the year 1258 on the foundations of a previous Roman settlement. Its original purpose was as a fortress to defend against the Scots, it was later used as an outpost protecting the trade routes from Carlisle. The oldest parts of the castle include the Great Hall and the 14th century Pele tower, a type of watch-tower fortification unique to the English-Scottish border region.
As with many historic buildings, it has been extended and refurbished with almost every era in history. The last of the building was done by the fourth Lord Muncaster in 1885 who commissioned the famous architect, Salvin. The castle contains a wealth of architectural features and artefact's from a wide span of English history, including a rare portrait of king Henry VI, an Elizabethan banqueting table, and also an impressive library containing approximately 6,000 books.
In recent years Muncaster Castle has been plagued by the paranormal, doors open and shut on their own accord and phantom footsteps echo through the corridors. Staff and visitors have often complained of their door handles being turned as if someone is attempting to enter the room, upon investigation there is no one there.
Muncaster's most famous ghost is that of Tom Fool (Tomas Skelton) he was the court Jester reputedly the last in England. Tom was by all accounts a dark character responsible for a number of deaths during his time at Muncaster. Tom would often be found under the chestnut tree, just outside the doors of the castle, and when travelers came by and asked the way to Ravenglass, if he didn't like the look of them, he would direct them down to the quick sands instead of over the ford. It is also said that under instruction from Sir William Pennington, Tom murdered a local carpenter decapitating him. The Carpenter had been having a secret affair with Sir Pennington's daughter Helwise, but Sir William found out and decided to put an end to it. Tom carried out the killing to keep favor with his master.
Tomas Skelton died around the year 1600, his portrait still hangs in the castle. One tourist to the castle had a frightening experience while standing looking at the portrait she said that she could plainly hear footsteps, on stone flooring, walking up behind her. When she turned to see who was approaching she realized that she was alone. The tourist was convinced the footsteps were on stone flooring, a claim which astonished staff and a local investigator who has been looking into the hauntings: When he interviewed her sometime after the experience, he pointed out that the stairs and corridor were, in fact, fully carpeted but she never realized this, even after the experience.
The present owners of Muncaster Castle, Phyllada and Patrick Gordon-Duff-Pennington, believe Tom still keeps a watchful eye on the castle, and occasionally gets up to more sinister mischief. The castle still has a special day called 'Tom Fool's day', which is a family fun day with various attractions.

Source: Ghost
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