Haunted Kent: Places to Visit this Halloween
Halloween is just around the corner, and with it comes the perfect time to look at some of the scariest places to visit this spooky season. The UK is internationally known for its hauntings; locations like Pendle Hill, and even the Tower of London being known worldwide for their paranormal activity. However, in this blog we explore a bit closer to home, looking at some of the most haunted places in Kent.
Known for being the most famous (and haunted) village in Kent, Pluckley has previously earned a Guinness World Record for its hauntings and spiritual activity. Merely a ten minute drive from our own Weavers Park development, and sixteen from Langton Gardens, the village is perfect for a local visit. Whether or not you stay to explore the ‘screaming woods’ or try and catch sight of one of the twelve ghosts is up to you. The village itself is old, with history embedded in the walls of a grade 1 listed church, old manor house, and the tall woodland.
The recorded ghosts currently include a highwayman, a phantom coach and horses, a Gypsy woman who drowned, the miller, the hanging body of a schoolmaster, a colonel who also hanged himself, a man who drowned in clay at the brickworks, a Lady of the Rose Court, said to have poisoned herself, The Red Lady, and The White Lady. Stories claim ‘The White Lady’ to have been buried inside seven coffins and then an oak sarcophagus, her spirit lingering in St Nicholas’s Church.
Canterbury Cathedral is one of the most famous places of worship in England, forming part of a World Heritage Site. Founded in 597 the cathedral has survived fires, martyrs, and a lot of rebuilding in its several thousand-year life.
Arguably, the Cathedral is best known for being the location of Thomas Beckets murder, and also said to be haunted by his ghost. There are even documented images from as early as the 1910s claiming to have captured his apparition. In the city centre there is a water pump along Sun Street that was known for the red water it produced. Many people claimed to be the blood of the famous martyr.
Another rumoured ghost in the Cathedral is the spirit of Nell Cook who was buried alive under the Dark Entry as a punishment for poisoning her unfaithful employer. She is said to wander late on Friday nights, another woman in white wandering though the pews of a church in Kent.
In Herne Bay, along the ‘Saxon Shore’, stands two towers belonging to an old haunted medieval church. The church itself was built on top of one of the earliest Roman forts constructed against the Saxons over a thousand years ago. Later, it became the site of an Anglo-Saxon monastery before becoming the parish church for Reculver.
The English Heritage site attracts many amateur ghost hunters to its ruins, where multiple sightings of hooded figures floating above ground between the twin towers have been recorded. Excavations on the site yielded the discovery of ten infant burials that date back to the Roman period. These are claimed to have been ritualistic sacrifices, the cries of a wailing baby said to haunt the towers. Reports have also included sightings of a monk, an old woman, galloping horses, Roman sentries and even sounds of a sword fight along the cliff.
The towers are sometimes referred to as the ‘Two Sisters’, after two nuns from Faversham Abbey set off on a pilgrimage to the Broadstairs shrine. Off the coast they became grounded on a sandbank and one of the sisters passed away from exposure, another lonely spirit inhabiting the church ruins.
On the outskirts of London, the Chislehurst caves creates a sprawling network of 22 miles worth of interconnecting tunnels. From the mid-13th to early 19th centuries the ‘caves’ were created to mine flint and lime-burning chalk. In the second world war the caves were used to house an air raid shelter that hosted up to 15,000 people. Big enough to have its own hospital and chapel inside, the underground maze holds its fair share of ghosts and lingering echoes.
Perhaps best known for stories of mist forming into a woman near one of its infamous pools, these haunted caves have had visitors feeling spooked for years. The ‘Woman in White’ is said to have been killed by her husband in the water back in the 1800s. A story only fortified by the discovery of a woman’s remains there in the 40s. In previous years there was a challenge that anyone who spent a whole night in the caves would win £5. A competition that came to an end in the 80s after a tour guide had an unexpected, but serious seizure down in the darkness.
Another spirit known to haunt the caves is a young girl who reportedly died during a partial cave collapse in 1939. Her laughter is said to be heard echoing down the winding hallways. Being featured in episodes of Merlin, Most Haunted, and Doctor Who, the caves are well known and documented, the myths of their depths old and immortalised.
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