With its many orchards, allotments and open green spaces, Kent more than justifies its unofficial title of ‘the Garden of England’. However, there is another reason why some people are drawn to the region – as well as being England’s garden, Kent is one of the country’s most haunted counties.
If you have an interest in the paranormal and would like the chance to find out more, then going to look for a brand new property in Kent could be a good idea. Here are just a few of the reasons why the county has become famous among ghost enthusiasts.
Beneath Chislehurst, on the outer fringes of south-east London, lie a series of dark passageways that have fascinated and terrified visitors for many years. The caves, which are entirely manmade, run to more than 20 miles in length and were hewn by hand from chalk and flint.
The first mention of the caves is found in records dated circa 1250, with historians believing they were used as mines until the 1830s. They also functioned as a large air raid shelter during the bombing of London in the second world war.
Many local people believe the caves are haunted, with countless scary experiences reported over the years. Some visitors have recounted seeing the ghosts of children, with the sound of crying or youngsters playing echoing from the walls. Others have been spooked by hearing footsteps, voices and sudden screams in the dark.
One of the most famous legends of the caves concerns a lady in white, who has been seen ‘floating’ across what is known as the haunted pool. A section of the caves is open to small groups of visitors, although you must be accompanied by a guide.
Pluckley is known as the most haunted village in England, a title it received from Guinness World Records in 1989. At the time, 12 different ghosts were believed to inhabit the area, although some locals have said there are even more.
Located near Ashford, Pluckley is also an extremely picturesque and unspoilt village – qualities that made it an ideal filming location for ITV’s drama series The Darling Buds of May in the early 1990s. However, it is the many sightings of paranormal activity that continue to attract the majority of visitors.
Such is the village’s reputation that a large number of ghost enthusiasts and thrill-seekers now visit Pluckley from around the UK each Halloween. The most famous ghosts include the highwayman and the watercress woman, who is said to haunt the area around Pinnock Bridge. This figure is reputedly the ghost of an old gypsy woman who burnt to death after she fell asleep while smoking a pipe.
Theatre Royal, Chatham
The Theatre Royal in Chatham has stood unoccupied on the town’s high street since it closed in 1955. The previously grand building is now earmarked for demolition, although the mischievous spirits that have made it their home may have other ideas.
A large amount of ghostly activity was reported when restoration work began on the structure in the 1980s, with several apparitions said to haunt the theatre. Witnesses have reported seeing a spectral figure in most parts of the building, as well as experiencing the strong smell of tobacco in the auditorium.