When it comes to the paranormal, I am certainly a skeptic. Although, whilst plenty of unsolved phenomena exists, can it really be ruled out? I’ve always been intrigued by ghosts and haunted house stories and have been reading about alledged hauntings here where I live, in West Berkshire.
The ruins of Donnington Castle are located just a stones throw away from Newbury. It became a ruin during the English Civil War.
The gatehouse itself is said to be haunted by a ghost of a guard. Witnesses claim to have mistaken the guard for a guide in period dress.
Royalist ghosts from the English Civil War are often seen at the Castle.
Young campers once said that they saw an old Royalist soldier assaulting a women. After approaching the soldier and shouting ‘leave her alone’, both apparitions vanished.
Newbury Market Place
This area of Newbury Market Place was once the place where criminals were forced to stand in the stocks while being pelted with abuse and vegetables.
In 1538 a man named Thomas Barrie had his ears nailed to the stock and chopped off after he was accused of spreading seditious rumours about King Henry VIII.
He is said to have died of fright and since then several people claim to have seen his ear less ghost wandering around Market Street moaning in agony.
Market Street is also known to be a former Quaker burial sight and the ghost of a Quaker lady has been supposedly spotted roaming around Cheap Street by lots of people.
Walk five minutes down the road to Northbrook Street and you may also catch a glimpse of the ghost of Doctor Watson, dressed in black and carrying a small black bag.
There have been several reports of him walking around the road at night and disappearing suddenly.
Littlecote House is the third most haunted house in the country.
It’s all down to dastardly ‘Wild Will Darrell’ who owned Littlecote in the 1500s and who came to his grisly death when thrown from his horse at Darrell’s Stile in 1587.
There is also a ‘phantom mother’ who’s baby was murdered on a roaring open fire, allegedly by Wild Will, in the presence of a local blindfolded midwife who had just delivered the child from its masked mother.
A woman in blue has been see walking straight through a rope barrier on the house’s old staircase and the sound of a crying baby has been heard coming from the haunted bedroom.
Look out for the black dog you might see on the stairs as it may not be all it seems. Try to stroke it and your hand will pass straight through, apparently.
The River Pang in Tidmarsh
Down by the old rectory in Mill Lane, Tidmarsh, the spirit of a young boy has supposedly been spotted rising out of the misty River Pang at night on numerous occassions.
Witnesses say the boys face is distorted and bloated from the river water and his clothes are shredded, but according to reports he never makes a sound.
His is said to have slipped and drowned in the river years ago.
When Major & Mrs. Bradley first lived at Purley Hall, in 1961, the atmosphere was so oppressive that they arranged for a service of exorcism. This appears to have rid the building of a quarrelsome modern spirit, but left two more friendly characters.
The Viceroy of India, Warren Hastings, had rented the building in the 18th century, while preparing his defence against alleged corruption charges. His acquittal seems to have led his spirit to favour Purley and he has been seen hurrying down the stairs, pulling on a pair of gauntlet gloves.
The other ghost is of an old lady dressed in black panniered silk and a mob cap. One gentleman helping at a fete had occasion to enter the house and there saw the ghost of a highly-tanned lady who he took to be Mrs. Hastings.
On returning to the same room, he found that the furnishings had completely changed. The traditional ‘grey lady’ (possibly a nun) who was said to exist in the early 20th century, but has since departed.
So too has the spirit of a small child which was often heard crying in the bedroom above the dining room. In the 18th century, the house was owned by the Hawes family. The daughter of the house is supposed to have become pregnant by a philandering colonel and given birth to the child in this room, which soon died after being hidden in a cupboard.
An ancient Tudor building in the middle of the gravel pits in northern Burghfield.
One particular room in the house is said to be where, having discovered she was pregnant, an unmarried serving girl committed suicide by throwing herself from the window during the 19th century.
Even those who do not know the story will have a strange dream when staying in the room. The young girl appears, in a flowing white dress at the window, staring out over the surrounding countryside.
The room is in darkness, but she is illuminated in a soft white light. Several visitors have born witness to this phenomenon; likewise to a similar light which is seen under the door to the same room when, within, it is pitch black.
Do you believe in ghosts? Or, perhaps you have experienced something spooky yourself? Please feel free to share your ghostly experiences.