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Ghosts & Hauntings

Don’t Believe In Ghosts? These Chilling Stories Might Just Change Your Mind: Five Writers Reveal Their Own Spooky Encounters

Don't Believe In Ghosts? These Chilling Stories Might Just Change Your Mind: Five Writers Reveal Their Own Spooky Encounters 86

Comedian Jennifer Saunders sent a few shivers down spines recently — and exposed herself to ridicule — when she confessed that she believes in ghosts. She even detailed a visitation from her dead grandmother. Yet it would appear that the sensible mother-of-three is not alone in her belief of the afterlife. It is estimated that half of us are similarly convinced. Here, five writers confess their own very spooky encounters …

The hotel poltergeist

Tamasin Day-Lewis 

Tamasin Day Lewis believes a converted stable house was haunted

Tamasin Day Lewis believes a converted stable house was haunted


One summer in the early 1970s, I’d travelled ahead of my family to work in the bar of the Old Head Hotel in County Mayo, which is where we holidayed each year.

Along with several girls working as maids, waitresses or front of house, I was billeted in what was known as The Annexe, a converted stable behind the kitchen.

These days, Health & Safety would call it uninhabitable, but our excitement at being away from home and hitching into the local dances each night went a long way towards helping us ignore the damp and mould.

What we encountered that year, though, has remained with us to this day — and the five of us, who still meet up in Mayo in summer, often talk about it.

The Annexe had a room that had been locked up for years, but that summer it had been opened up and redecorated for a girl called Ann.

One night on returning from the local hop, three or four of us heard noises of furniture being pulled around and loud voices. But Ann was the only person there, and when we went into her room she was fast asleep.

From then on, strange happenings that we couldn’t understand  occurred regularly.

Ann always left her clock on her locker, but would wake up and find it had moved to her dressing table.

One day, she woke up and found the leg of her pyjamas was burnt.

It wasn’t just night-time activity either. I could enter the building and hear voices during the day — but there was no one there.

Talking to my friend Maureen recently, who was one of the girls working with me that summer and also staying in The Annexe, she recalled going back one afternoon to wash her hair. ‘I had to run out of the place because it was so shockingly noisy, with furniture being pulled across the room,’ she told me.

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Spooky encounters: It is estimated that half of the British public believes in the afterlife


Spooky encounters: It is estimated that half of the British public believes in the afterlife


Jennifer Saunders revealed she believes in ghosts, and even detailed a visit by her dead grandmother

Jennifer Saunders revealed she believes in ghosts, and even detailed a visit by her dead grandmother


Soon after, Ann swapped rooms to a bedroom in the hotel. She thought it was us who were playing tricks on her and moving her clothes around — though none of us ever did.

I was then given Ann’s room, and can distinctly remember waking up and finding cups that I’d left in one place had moved to another. And I remember a rank smell of damp that I have never smelt anywhere else.

Maureen also recalled visiting a local lady who’d worked there before us.

‘She was very upset when she heard that room had been opened up,’ she told me. ‘She was very keen it should be locked up again and very alarmed when we told her about the burnt pyjamas.’
I lasted a week in the room before I, too, asked to be moved into the hotel. That was the only summer

The Annexe was lived in.

Were we suggestible? Did we believe in poltergeists?

I think it would be fair to say that none of us had ever thought or dreamt we would experience these strange events, and our open-mindedness today is entirely based on our inexplicable experience — and the fact that we are certain it happened.

My haunted family home

Hannah Betts

Hannah Betts' new home outside Birmingham boasted three spectres: a woman who paced the ground floor, an aged doctor forever racing up the stairs searching for a dying grandson, and the victim of a confrontation that had spilled over into murder

Hannah Betts’ new home outside Birmingham boasted three spectres: a woman who paced the ground floor, an aged doctor forever racing up the stairs searching for a dying grandson, and the victim of a confrontation that had spilled over into murder


I consider myself a sceptical atheist, yet spooks inveigled their way into my life in a way that made their existence impossible to deny — much as I and my family wished  we could.

I was 16 in the summer of 1987 when the Betts clan — Mum, Dad, my two brothers and sisters — moved to an elegant, three-storey, six-bedroom Victorian villa with a large garden just outside Birmingham.

According to local folklore, our new home boasted three spectres: a woman who paced the ground floor, an aged doctor forever racing up the stairs searching for a dying grandson, and the victim of a confrontation that had spilled over into murder.

There was even the traditional bloodstain on the stairs that could not be removed (now covered with carpet).

Oh, how we scoffed. And, yet, doors would shut of their own volition, footsteps could be heard. Every night at 4am, someone — something — would tear up the stairs, rattling and then thrusting open the doors in its wake (all of which required proper turning and forcing), until it reached the master bedroom, entering in an all-mighty, door-slamming storm.

We would return home to find taps turned on full-force. An oven on the top floor would have its rings switched to red hot, making the house’s attics crackle perilously with heat. After the second time, we had it disconnected. Yet still it happened again.

One night, the boarded-up fireplace in my room ripped open. Behind it, stuffed up the chimney, were old Victorian newspapers describing the house’s murder.

My mother started behaving oddly. We eldest and Nanny Williams, our beloved summer-holiday addition, quizzed her. She confessed that, unable to sleep at night, she had seen a ‘dead child’ clad in Victorian garb.

The most terrifying room in the house belonged to my little brother. That summer, he became mute, sunken-eyed.

Asked why, he sighed: ‘Every night, it’s the same. The lady with the big bottom [a bustle?] and the two men fighting over my bed, then one man hurts the other and the lady screams.’

From then on, he slept in my mother’s bedroom.

My grandmother was next to occupy his room —  then refused to ever again.

My mother braved it. Come morning, its door was locked. She refused to confide what had taken place, saying only that it was ‘something to do with time’. Somehow this was, and remains, the most horrifying thing I’d ever heard.

That room is still locked. We haven’t used it to this day.

Over time, events gradually petered out. I am told that this is standard. Ghosts act up with newcomers; but then they — and you — adjust.

I visited the house last weekend, almost 30 years on, to celebrate my 43rd birthday. All was quiet.
That said, our neighbour’s new cleaner recently told him that she would not be returning, having seen a woman walk through a wall straight into our living room.

I’ve always seen spirits

Santa Montefiore

Santa Montefiore's earliest memories are of seeing shadowy figures wandering around my bedroom at night

Santa Montefiore’s earliest memories are of seeing shadowy figures wandering around my bedroom at night


I have seen spirits since I was a child. My earliest memories are of seeing shadowy figures wandering around my bedroom at night. They seemed darker than the darkness, and appeared unaware of or certainly uninterested in me.

I’d watch them in terror, my heart racing, until I found the courage to reach out and switch on the light. At that moment they would disappear.

I never mentioned my nocturnal visitors to my parents. I imagine I thought everyone saw them — but subsequently I’ve learned I was the only one in the family who did.

The family house wasn’t haunted — I believe we are surrounded by the spirit world all the time. I see spirits in modern houses just as much as in old ones.

Not long ago, Miguel, a dear Argentine friend of mine, died in Buenos Aires of a brain tumour. The night I received the news, I decided to meditate — not with the intention of contacting him, but because I was sad I wanted to go somewhere peaceful. I went very deep and far away.

Suddenly, standing in front of me, dazzlingly bright, were three figures. The first was Natalie, Miguel’s first cousin, who had been killed in a canoeing accident 20 years before. The second was Miguel, and the third I knew to be his father — even though I had never met him.

The three of them were golden, smiling and radiating love. I held them there for a long time, savouring the sight of these dear friends, absorbing the feeling of joy they were communicating.

Then, in my head, I told Miguel that I wanted to share what I was seeing with his mother — that he was happy, and safe, and with people he loved.

He laughed and said, quite clearly: ‘She already knows.’

The next morning, I decided to make some calls to see if I could make sense of it all. I called my godfather, who’d spoken to Miguel’s mother the day her son died. He told me: ‘She said that she was happy to know that Miguel was now in spirit with Natalie and his father.’

I believe the three of them came through to me to confirm her belief. That message was for her.
Nowadays, I often see spirits — at night and when I meditate. I no longer find them frightening: I find it reassuring to know that we survive death.
(Santa Montefiore’s Secrets Of The Lighthouse is out in paperback on April 23, Simon & Schuster.)

Visit from dead lover

Wendy Leigh

Wendy Leigh saw the great love of her 20's after he died

Wendy Leigh saw the great love of her 20’s after he died


I’ve never believed in ghosts, but three years ago I had an earth-shattering manifestation of the ghost of a dead former lover.

His name was Richard, he was 6ft 2in, with bright blue eyes, dark hair and a smile that could warm an Arctic winter.

Sadly, he died suddenly of a heart attack when he was just 66. He had been the great love of my 20s, but circumstances had separated us. Then, by a strange and dramatic stroke of fate, we met again through work over three years ago.

Despite the mega-watt attraction that still flared between us, reality was against us. He was married, and I, too, was committed elsewhere.

So we had an affair. A series of beautiful, secret encounters,  rippling with love, sensuality and spirituality, which carried on until the tragic day I learned of  his death.

Devastated, I locked myself into my office and, with the glamorous Cartier fountain pen he had given me for my last birthday, just wrote his name over and over again.

Then the phone rang in the living room, so I stopped writing, screwed the top back on the pen, left it on my desk and went next door to answer the telephone.

After an intense 20-minute conversation with a dear friend — one of the very few in whom I’d confided about Richard — I decided to go for a walk. But just as I shut the front door, I heard Richard’s voice telling me to go back into my office.

In a trance, I did. And there, on my desk, was my Cartier pen, with the top I’d screwed on so tightly on the other side of my desk, far removed from the pen.

I went into shock. As I did, there was an almighty explosion and every bulb in my office chandelier went black and died.

At that moment, from afar, I heard Richard’s voice saying the words he’d said to me on our last encounter, just days before he died.

‘I love you, and thank you for being my Indian summer. I never thought this would ever happen to me again.’ And nor did I think I would ever be haunted by a ghost — but I was.

Deathbed apparition

Essie Fox

Essie Fox suddenly became aware of a golden aurora surrounding her dead stepfather's head

Essie Fox suddenly became aware of a golden aurora surrounding her dead stepfather’s head


As a writer of Victorian novels that have a definite Gothic twist, I’ve often been asked if I draw upon any personal events regarding ‘ghosts’ which are then included in my work.

I have had experiences that might be considered ‘supernatural’, but whether this is a real force, or an internal manifestation of extreme emotions such as grief, well, I am in two minds about such things.

But there is one event very clear in mind from the time of the death of my step-father — a man who had loved me as his own and for whom I had the greatest affection.

I was 28 when he died, and although not with him at that sad time, I did visit his body later that day, when he lay in the chapel of rest at St Michael’s Hospice in Herefordshire. His body lay in a dimly lit room with a single candle burning. My sister and I sat at either side of the bed, while my husband stood at the end.

What I saw next is quite hard to describe. This was a moment of acute loss, and admittedly I was in a state of shock, but suddenly I became aware of a golden aura of light shining around my stepfather’s head.

It did not feel strange at all — in fact it was comforting — but I didn’t think to say anything to the others in the room at the time.

It was only when we were driving away in the car that my sister said: ‘I know you’re going to think me mad, but did you see that yellow light shining around Dad’s body?’

My husband said ‘No’. But I felt such a sense of relief to think that I was not alone — that I’d not imagined that golden glow.

This is a personal story. Perhaps it should remain that way. However, I would be intrigued to know if anyone else has experienced such a phenomenon as this.

I have done a little research on the matter and have read accounts of nurses on hospital wards witnessing a golden glow around a body just before a death, but not continuing afterwards.

I do wonder if science could offer an answer — explaining that the glow we saw that day had a physical, chemical explanation and was only visible that day due to the darkened state of the room.

Either way, it was an astonishing thing, and remains a cherished memory. My stepfather was a very good man. If anyone deserved a halo, then it was surely him.



Ghosts & Hauntings

The ghost of a deceased guy walked on the water: an eyewitness filmed him

The ghost of a deceased guy walked on the water: an eyewitness filmed him 99

The incident took place in the province of Davao del Norte (Philippines), where a resident, seeing a drowning dog, rushed to save him. The dog was pulled out to a safe place, but the man himself was pulled into the depths. Everything that happened was recorded on camera by a woman named Chanel.

When Dondon (that was the guy’s name) went to the bottom, one eyewitness immediately called for rescuers. While the brigade was doing their job, it became clear that the man was already dead. They searched for his body for several hours. What is surprising in the story is that suddenly a silhouette of a man came to the camera, he appeared right above the water. Chanel, who records the video, believed it was the spirit of Dondon.

During the video recording, the eyewitness did not expect to see anything like this, because she does not really believe in ghosts. The entity had obvious human features, so it definitely had a spirit. For several hours they searched for the body of the drowned man and pulled it out with an excavator.

It’s pretty creepy to look at the tape. According to an eyewitness, goosebumps ran over her, especially after seeing the spirit. It should be noted that not all users believe in the authenticity of the video. Some people think that the footage may well have special effects. Chanel refutes any such claims: the video is original. She understands the doubts of people, because the shots are really ‘out of this world’.

Special skills and abilities are required to distinguish the edited video from the original. Of course, hardly anyone will devote time to study the presented video. We can only hope that the woman did not actually use editing software.

The footage confirms the existence of the human soul and gives hope that life after death does not end.

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Ghosts & Hauntings

Reality show to be filmed in medieval “haunted castle” in Wales

Reality show to be filmed in medieval "haunted castle" in Wales 100

British celebrities will take part in a reality show at the medieval castle of Grich in the city-county of Conwy (Wales), which, according to legend, is full of ghosts. It is reported by The Sun.

According to data from open sources, the castle was built in 1283-1289 by order of Edward I of England. For four years one and a half thousand people erected the fortress and walls. The castle is surrounded by a stone wall with round towers and loopholes. 

According to local residents, the ghost of the previous owner, Countess Dandonald, who died in 1924, wanders around the castle. According to legend, the woman’s spirit is angry because her husband took the valuables out of here. 

About ten years ago, a mysterious silhouette appeared in the photo, which was noticed on the first floor of the castle in the former banquet hall. In addition, it is rumored that objects are moving mysteriously in the castle. Also, fans of everything mystical believe that there you can meet the ghosts of gamekeepers and a maid who died after falling from a horse.

The creators of the reality survival show I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here! Became interested in the legends of the ancient castle, in which celebrities perform creepy tasks. 

The producers are delighted with Greich Castle. It is planned to spend almost 1 million pounds and six weeks to prepare the location for filming.

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Ghosts & Hauntings

Loftus Hall is the most famous haunted house

Loftus Hall is the most famous haunted house 101

Almost any house built 150 years ago is tempting to think of ghosts. Of course, if it was not restored beyond recognition. But a special pleasure is to visit, or at least look at photographs of a house in which ghosts are definitely found. Well, exactly: in the opinion of its owners and those who live nearby.

Loftus Hall is one of those. Even if, in the opinion of the locals, ghosts were not found in it, they would be worth inventing again – this is how the atmosphere of this gloomy house located on the windswept and washed by waves of the Hook Peninsula in the Irish County of Wexford has to do this.

But, before we tell you what is so paranormal in this Loftus Hall, we suggest that you familiarize yourself with real historical events related to the house. Moreover, they are worthy of attention without any devilry.

Photo # 2 - Loftus Hall: Ireland's Most Famous Haunted House

We can say that the history of the house began in 1135, when the Norman knight, Raymond Le Gros, landed on the peninsula. To assimilate faster, the knight renamed himself the more familiar to the Irish ear by the name Redmond.

The castle, built by the knight, stood for two centuries, until in 1350 the descendants of Redmond built a new house in its place. It is interesting that they were building right during the Black Death – a plague pandemic that arrived in Ireland by ship from Bristol a year earlier. The new house, Redmond Hall, was named.

Photo # 3 - Loftus Hall: Ireland's Most Famous Haunted House
Photo: Shutterstock

Three centuries later, in 1650, the house became the site of one of the fiercest sieges of the Irish Uprising. The owner of the house, 68-year-old Alexander Redmond, with his two sons, a couple of local activists and a tailor who happened to be in the house at an unfortunate time, barricaded himself and bravely repulsed the attack of almost 90 British for several days. 

In all fairness, most of these Englishmen have crawled into neighboring villages, indulging in robbery and violence, instead of laying siege to an impregnable home.

The attack was repulsed with the help of the Irish forces arrived in time, which attacked the British under the cover of a thick fog, which in time fell on the Hoek Peninsula.

According to local chronicles, Alexander repelled several more attacks. When the British nevertheless conquered Ireland in general, and Redmond Hall in particular, Cromwell even let Alexander die in peace in his own house – for his courage.

Photo # 4 - Loftus Hall: Ireland's Most Famous Haunted House

Well, after the death of Redmond, his relatives were evicted from the house and soon the house was sold to a family of Englishmen named Loftus, who live nearby. 

Subsequently, the Redmond repeatedly tried to sue Loftus Hall back, but to no avail. But as compensation, they were given land in the neighborhood.

The Loftuses moved rapidly up the court stairs. If in the 18th century the head of the family was called Baron Loftus of Loftus Hall, then already in 1800 the title of Marquis of Eli was created especially for the Loftus.

Actually, the 4th Marquess of Ely gave the modern look to Loftus Hall. A major renovation was undertaken by the Marquis in the second half of the 19th century: he very much hoped that Queen Victoria would come to visit. After all, the Marquis’s mother was her maid of honor!

Photo # 5 - Loftus Hall: Ireland's Most Famous Haunted House

The Queen never came. But the 4th Marquis of Ely became the owner of a luxurious house with such unprecedented conveniences as flush toilets at that time. And, alas, the owner of huge debts. Soon the house had to be sold and its wanderings began among different owners.

In 1917, the house was sold to the monastery order of the Sisters of Providence. In 1983, the house was converted into a hotel. Well, in the early 2000s, it was acquired by the Quickly family. In 2020, it became known that the house was again put up for sale. Moreover, Quickly emphasize that they will not choose a new owner, but “the house will choose him.” And that’s why…

The story of how the devil sailed to Loftus Hall and what happened after his visit dates back to the 19th century. It sounds like this.

On a cold rainy night, a dark-robed rider rode up to Loftus Hall on a dark horse. He said that his ship was caught in a storm and had to dock in a nearby bay. The Loftuses were away, the family of their distant relatives, the Tottenham, lived in the house. They sheltered the rider and offered him shelter and bread.

Photo # 6 - Loftus Hall: Ireland's Most Famous Haunted House

Tottenham’s daughter, young Anna, immediately fell in love with a mysterious stranger. A couple of days later, in the evening, everyone sat down to play cards. During the game, Anna dropped the map and, bending down to pick it up, saw that the stranger had cloven hooves instead of legs.

The stranger realized that he had been discovered. He immediately soared up, surrounded by devilish flames – and, as expected, made a huge hole in the roof.

It would seem that the devil is expelled, you can live on. But Anna, after the disappearance of the stranger, became not herself. She went crazy by leaps and bounds. The family, frightened by this development of affairs, locked the girl in her favorite sewing room.

There Anna sat, almost motionless, clasping her knees with her hands and soon died. 

According to another version of the legend, before her death, she managed to give birth to a child – that is, the devil did not lose time during two days in the house. 

Anna was not buried in an ordinary coffin: they could not straighten her and buried her in a sitting position, in which she spent the last months of her life.

Since then, according to numerous testimonies of guests and owners of the house, ghosts of a girl have been walking around the house. And the house itself has become a place of attraction for lovers of everything paranormal and creepy – excursions, especially popular on Halloween, are regularly conducted in Loftus Hall.

If you consider yourself a mystic, but do not have the opportunity to visit Loftus Hall yet, we recommend watching the gothic horror film The Lodgers 2017. It is filmed entirely in the luxe and eerie interiors of Loftus Hall, and has received excellent critical reviews. Here’s the trailer:

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