Friday, 5 October 2012


Author: Chris Halton

There are many places in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland that lay claim to being the `most haunted`.

Indeed for many, Pluckley village in Kent is a favourite haunt for paranormal investigators and is `officially` - according to Guinness World Records, `the most haunted village in England`. But in truth the appellation is less subjective and more personal in preference. After all, how can any of us truthfully say that one town or village is more or less active spiritually than another?

Pluckley - England`s Most Haunted Village?
To be able to claim one over another, you would be in a very tiny minority to say you have visited them all. But of course, the minority is so small that I have never met a living soul who can claim this achievement.
So generally speaking, most of us are drawn to one place because of what others believe and have shared. As a filmmaker and investigator of the paranormal, I have travelled across England and Ireland filming activity wherever it has occurred.

Leap Castle, Eire
My most favourite location is undoubtedly Leap Castle in the Irish Republic. My experiences in the `Bloody Chapel` were to say very interesting. I heard a person dragging something across the ground towards me, and was impressioned to believe that it was a person with a club foot.
I later discovered through my friend and cameraman on that night, Jason Figgis, that a young girl with a clubfoot is said to haunt the chapel. Two other investigators alone in the chapel actually fled when they heard a disembodied female voice call out.

 I later left a camcorder to run on its own and over a 20 minute period it picked up the sounds of a wooden door being repeatedly bolted and unbolted, and the sound of people walking around inside.

Chris Halton with Leap owner, Sean Ryan
I also left a K2 EMF to run on it`s own, and in full view of the camcorder, but despite all that was happening around the camera, it failed to react and indicate activity.
The wooden door that was in situ was incapable of making any of the noises caught on cam, and I certainly do not recall the door having bolts or a latch that could have contributed the noises captured.

Apart from that, I always felt a menacing unpleasantness following me around, and earlier during the day whilst enjoying the owner Sean Ryan`s hospitality, I clearly heard a deep growl from behind me. A strange experience indeed, and of course, Leap is regarded as Europe`s most haunted castle.

The Prince Rupert Hotel, Shrewsbury
Watching recently an episode of `Great British Ghosts` which focussed on (amongst others) The Prince Rupert Hotel in Shrewsbury, I was intrigued by the frequency of hauntings there.

The part of the hotel where much activity occurs was originally a private dwelling once occupied by Prince Rupert, the grandson of King James I, and dating from the 1150`s.

There are allegedly over 500 reported ghostly incidents in the town of Shrewsbury, and the Prince Rupert has many reported sightings.

Room 6 of the hotel which is now a conference suite is said to be haunted by the spirit of a jilted bride who hung herself on her wedding night, Witnesses have seen her hanging form, and the room is renowned for low level poltergeist activity.

Room 7 apparently has a similar ghost of a young man who killed himself after his girlfriend left him for another man.

Pillows have also been taken from guests and some of the guests themselves have even captured the apparitions on camera. Follow this link - `Ghostly Cavalier?`

Apart from the hotel, Shrewsbury hosts a number of haunted places. These include the Victorian railway station - which is reputedly haunted by a local coal merchant who was killed at the station when a roof laden with snow collapsed on to him. Locals believe he can still be seen making his way to platform 3, as he did on that fateful day in 1887.

Shrewsbury Castle
Shrewsbury Castle - although not the original structure, apparently hosts a particularly evil spirit in the form of `Bloudie (Bloody)  Jack` who was the castle keeper in the 12th century.
`Bloudie Jack` was an early reported serial killer, and had murdered at least 8 young women before he was sighted by a young woman who caught him dragging the bloodied body of her sister across the drawbridge.
For his crimes he was hung, drawn and quartered, and his ghost has been seen on many occasions across the years. No doubt still looking for young female victims.

The stories do not end here however, even nearby St. Alkmund's church hosts the ghost of a 15th century steeplejack who fell to his death on a wager to climb the church tower. His ghost has been seen carrying out his ill-fated late night dare.

And lastly, a local inn, `The Dun Cow` dating from the 11th century also has a history of hauntings. Two of which are reputedly a monk and a Cavalier murdered in the Inn`s stables.

The Dun Cow, Shrewsbury
A curious tale ends this article at `The Dun Cow`.
In 1980 a former landlady, a Mrs Hayes was awakened in the middle of the night by a hooded figure of a monk whose habit was decorated in patches of bright colours.
He appeared to be fascinated by Mrs Hayes baby, and was leaning over her cot studying her.
He then disappeared, to appear 2 years later and again before the now little girl who reported being woken by the same monk in her room. Again the ghost was witnessed also by Mrs Hayes although many other guests also report seeing him and other spirits, some of whom have been seen walking through walls.

Here is a video from `Great British Ghosts` where the presenter, Michaela Strachan visits The Prince Rupert.

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