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It's not long till Halloween, and as Spooky Season gets underway with falling leaves, glowing pumpkins and tattered costumes, it's time to put a shiver in your step.
From Pendle Hill in Lancashire to Jamaica Inn in Cornwall, these frightening locations are not for the faint-hearted. Who knows what shadows still lurk in these ancient enclaves? (And once you've scared yourself stupid, there's bound to be a nearby pub to restore you with the right kind of Halloween spirit).
1 Pendle Hill, Lancashire
Renowned for its links to witchcraft and devil worshipping, Pendle Hill in Lancashire is home to ancient legends and unpleasant carryings-on.
This mysterious and scary space was home to the Pendle witches who were accused of ten murders back in the 17th century and were later executed. It’s said that visitors have noticed an intense feeling of anger when exploring the area - and frankly, who can blame the witches for being annoyed?
2 Jamaica Inn, Cornwall
Located in Cornwall, the Jamaica Inn is believed to be haunted by a highwayman and a murdered smuggler. Situated inside the inn, the bar is rumoured to be one of the building's most haunted areas and previous landlords have even heard footsteps believed to belong to a spirit who is returning to finish his drink.
Daphne Du Maurier's famous novel explored the smuggling rumours. Few came to a good end at the lonely moorside inn, and stories abound of spirits.
One of the most famous recent ghostly stories is that of the sound of horses and metal-wheeled carts moving around on gravel outside - but while there used to be gravel, since the 1950s, the courtyard has been cobbled.
3 Blickling Hall, Norfolk
Blickling Hall in Norfolk is thought to be the place where Henry VIII’s second wife Anne Boleyn was born - and it is said that every year on the anniversary of her execution, her headless ghost returns to the medieval manor. It's believed that Anne Boleyn’s father also haunts the hall.
On the 19th May, the anniversary of her execution, legend tells that a headless Anne Boleyn arrives at the house by horse and carriage, driven by an equally headless coachman. As her carriage leaves, she is said to wander the corridors until morning.
4 Berry Pomeroy Castle, Devon
Berry Pomeroy is said to be one of the most haunted castles in the UK. From the Blue Lady who wanders the dungeons to the White Lady who has been seen waving to visitors approaching the ruined castle, leaving them with a feeling of both fear and depression; this location is guaranteed to raise the hairs on the back of your neck.
Visitors have reported 'phantom shapes' and 'feelings of panic and nausea', while the kitchens are said to be haunted by a child ghost called Isabella, rumoured to be the illegitimate daughter of a Pomeroy noble and a servant, and murdered in a brutal attack.
Perhaps not the spot for a sunny picnic.
5 Dunster Castle, Somerset
This paranormal hotspot has had many reports of strange experiences, from ghostly appearances to spine tingling sensations. Visitors have even witnessed an eerie man in green walking through the castle only to disappear right in front of their eyes! It’s also been said that men’s voices and loud footsteps echo through the castle grounds.
According to The National Trust, "Many people have complained about a menacing, uncomfortable mood here – leading some visitors to ask directly whether anyone had been murdered there.
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In the stock room, displays fall over without any obvious reason. And unopened boxes have been found to have been ruined by a mysterious brown, sticky ‘gunge’...
"The remains of a seven foot tall prisoner were found manacled by the wrists and ankles along with several other skeletons in a deep dungeon beneath the Gatehouse. Dogs seem particularly troubled by some kind of sinister presence at this site and refuse to climb the steps near to where the bodies were found."
Not a nice day out for Muffin.
6 Llancaiach Fawr, Caerphilly
Named as one of the top ten most haunted places in the UK, Llancaiach Fawr is a Tudor mansion with a haunted history. Its supernatural activity regularly spooks visitors, with people reporting that they can hear children playing on the stairs and one boy spirit in particular known to mischievously tug at visitors’ sleeves and hair.
According to one ghost-hunting site, the kitchen is said to be haunted by a former resident of the house, who's still seen making food, footsteps thunder from the upper hall when nobody's there, and (shudder) a child's cradle is said to rock by itself.
Even the picture is frightening - so only visit if you're feeing bold.
7 Mary King’s Close, Edinburgh
Located in Old Town Edinburgh, the streets of Mary King’s Close have a frightening past. There are many stories to delve into at this horrifying hotspot but one in particular tells the tale of a little girl who lost her life to the plague and was in search of a doll that she had misplaced; it is said that her presence can be felt when visiting.
Now, visitors rather creepily leave her gifts of toys, which are piled up in the place thought to be her room. Fellow ghosts include a portly soldier, and a mysterious chimney that scratches anyone who reaches inside.
Although that could be ghostly pigeons.
8 Croft Castle, West Midlands
Croft Castle, also known as the most haunted house in the Midlands, is home to seven spooky spectres. There have been many reports of unsettling sightings including a seven-foot figure of a man lurking the grounds. Visitors have also heard the sound of a baby crying when exploring the haunted fortress.
It's said to be roamed by the ghost of Most famous is the giant of a man, clad in leather, and said to be the ghost of Owain Glyn Dwr himself. The Arch Bishop of Sydney, saw him in the early 20th Century. History doesn't relate whether the Arch Bishop had enjoyed a nightcap or two, of course.
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