They say seeing is believing, so for the best chance of a ghostly encounter why not become a ghost hunter for the night and explore some of the UK’s most haunted hotspots.
We’ve picked out four National Trust sites for real thrill seekers, each with it’s own tales of mystery and hauntings. So try something different this Halloween, pack your torch, ecto-goggles and proton packs and explore an actual haunted house… Who you gonna call?
The first site on our list is Norfolk’s Fellbrigg Hall where in the dusty gloom of its gothic library, the ghost of bibliophile William Windham III is said to appear. William perished in an attempt to rescue his precious books from the blaze consuming the library. Now, legend has it, he can be summoned when the right combination of books are placed on his library chair. Book a tour and see if you can summon the dead.
If he isn’t to be found reading in his favourite chair, you may cross paths with William ‘Mad’ Windham in the woods surrounding Fellbrigg Hall. Terrified witnesses have reported sightings of a phantom coach careering at break-neck speed through the trees, accompanied by a spectral wind that disappears as suddenly as it rose. By all accounts, William was known in life as ‘a bit of a character’ and would race his coach for fun through his grounds. That’s one way to ease a restless spirit…
The next site is home not to one but to a whole army of spectres. Martindale, a young engineer was working in the cellars of Treasurer’s House in Yorkshire. Suddenly, the eerie blast of a trumpet echoed around him and to his horror, the call was followed by the top of a soldier’s helmet, emerging from the wall. Behind the trumpet player appeared the ghosts of a horse and around twenty legionnaires, armed with lances, short swords and shields. Later excavations around the site unearthed the remains of Roman soldiers dressed exactly as Martindale described… Dare you walk the shadows where these lost souls still wander? Enter at your own risk.
Chartwell was home to Sir Winston Churchill who had his own spooky stories to tell of the house. He once wrote of a night when he had been painting, copying a portrait of his Father, when a strange feeling crept over him. On turning, he beheld his Father, as he remembered him in his prime, sitting in his red leather armchair. After striking a match to light a cigar, his father’s spectre vanished into thin air. Pay this historic site a visit and who knows, you may catch the whiff of a freshly lit cigar, which many have reported on their tour.
The final stop on our tour of haunted National Trust sites is also the darkest and most mysterious: Ham House, Britain’s most haunted. This mansion in Surrey was once home to the fiery Duchess of Lauderdale who married into her riches after the death of her first husband. When the Duke died, she was forced to sell her precious belongings. She ended her days in poverty writing: ‘I am a prisoner now in my beloved Ham House, and I will never leave’. To this day it is said that the Duchess still wanders the corridors of Ham House.
The mystery of the mansion runs deeper. Years later the six year old daughter of the butler at Ham was awoken in the dead of night by the sounds of scratching. In the dark, she saw an old woman, crouching on the floor and scratching the wall. The woman suddenly moved to the end of the child’s bed and stared at her with soulless eyes. When the child screamed, the woman disappeared but on investigating the wall a cache was found. Concealed within were papers that proved Elizabeth had murdered her first husband in that very room so she could marry the Duke. Staff at the Ham still murmur “Good Afternoon your Ladyship” before entering.
Scary movies and trick-or-treating are all very well but nothing beats the real thing on Halloween. Believer or not, these spine chilling tours will leave you wondering and full of stories to tell. Take an outing to one of our selected National Trust sites and discover their secrets for yourself, you never know what you might discover.