Chanctonbury Ring

Dominating the hilltop above the small village of Washington, which nestles gently in the South Downs National Park lies the ancient hill-fort of Chanctonbury Ring.

Commanding a strategic position from both a military and historical perspective, the hill-fort has had over the years many uses, including religious and sacrificial. There have also been numerous reports of Ghosts, Paranormal activity including levitation UFO’s and witchcraft.

The Beech trees found at Chanctonbury were the life long dream of a 20 year old young man named Charles Goring. When he decided to plant the trees on top of the Chanctonbury hill-fort there was a public outcry, for it was believed the trees would spoil the landscape and the majestic view of the beautiful South Downs. Charles Goring died in 1829, reaching the grand age of 85 years old and, fortunately, he witnessed many of his trees reach maturity despite the public opposition.

As the Beech trees grew thought the years their roots disturbed a previously undiscovered ruins of a Romano-British temple buried on the site. An excavation was conducted in the early 1900’s, the results of which showed the site to be that of a temple with a court, which had sunken into the soil.

Further excavations would reveal several finds of coins and other objects of worth dating back to Nero (54-68 AD) and Gratian (375-383 AD).  In addition to the Roman offering Anglo-Saxon coins have been also found, which suggests  the temple was of significant importance and of great spiritual value to both the early Romans and Saxons of Britain.

Ghosts, Witchcraft & the Supernatural

With this full and established history however comes many stories and tales of supernatural events that span the paranormal and supernatural realms. Chanctonbury Ring has become connected with ghosts, witchcraft, UFO’s, and paranormal forces. There have been several investigations in to the ring and one of the most informative came from the Ghost and Psychic Investigation Group.

In 1974 the Ghost and Psychic Investigation Group was formed in order further investigate the claims of supernatural and extraterrestrial phenomenon.

On the 24th August 1974 four members of the Ghost and Psychic Investigation Group, camped down for a night at Chanctonbury Ring, during the latter part of the evening a member of the group who walked through the centre of the Ring was lifted several feet off the ground by an unseen force.

Witnessed by the other members, the gentleman in question was heard crying out ‘No More! No More!’  and was obviously in considerable pain. After several seconds he was dropped to the ground landing injuring his back.

Over the past 50 years and more there have been an large number of UFO sightings reported.  In most cases the sightings of UFO’s are nothing more than unidentified lights in the sky. But one particular reported case stands out from the rest.

On  31st October 1972. At around 10.45 pm,  Mr. Simpson of Worthing, West Sussex was out walking up to the Chanctonbury Ring with two friends. As they approached the ring they saw what they thought were flames from a bonfire flickering among the trees on hill top. As they drew closer however the light faded out and out of the blue a  loud noise was heard by the group above them and, looking up they saw a dull red glow emanating from a large object hanging in the evening sky over the tree tops.

Further information on the above event can be found  at Chanctonbury Ring – Mysterious Britain

The Scole Experiment

At the beginning of 1993 four psychic researchers embarked on a series of experiments in the Norfolk village of Scole. The Scole Experiment is an extraordinary video, recording the results of a five-year investigation into life after death.

The events recorded were so astounding that senior members of the prestigious Society for Psychical Research asked to observe, test and record what took place.

Below is the video giving a unique insight in to the experiment and some of many strange and fascinating results and personal experiences to come out of these experiments in to the after life and the spirit world.

The Scole Experiments – The Afterlife Investigations – Movie Feature

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Borley Rectory. Essex

The strange unexplained phenomenon at Borley rectory during the 1920s and 1930s

The strange unexplained phenomenon at Borley rectory during the 1920s and 1930’s are probably among the most famous in England.

Built for the Reverend H.D.E Bull 1863, Borley was constructed on the site of a Benedictine Monastery. Both the Reverend Bull and his son Harry passed away in Borley’s ‘Blue room’ which was reported to be the most haunted spot in the house. Famously Harry Price leased the Rectory for a year so he could conduct his investigations with a team of researchers.

The results of his detailed and lengthy investigation were published in ‘The Most Haunted House in England’. In 1885, there were sightings of a ghostly nun at the rectory. She was believed to be the ghost of a 13th century Nun from a nearby convent who fell in forbidden love with a monk from the local monastery.

They paid a high price for their affair – the monk was hanged, and the Nun walled up inside the convent. In 1900, two sisters of the then owner Harry Bull, reportedly saw the Nun one day in the gardens. She has also appeared to many local people. A phantom coach and horses has also been seen in the vicinity of the Rectory. Mysterious footsteps, doorbells ringing have also been heard by visitors.

Poltergeist phenomena have also been experienced and recorded at the haunted building. Smashed glasses and stone throwing, mysterious writing on the walls and people being thrown from their beds by an unearthly force have all been reported. In 1939 Borley was destroyed by a fire and the ruin was finally demolished completely in 1944.

70 plus years on and Borley Rectory in Essex is once again hitting the public imagination,  specifically Ashley Thorpe’s who will be realeasing in 2012, his film The true story of ‘Borley Rectory – The Most Haunted House in England’. based upon the incidents and recorded expereinces of the renowed psychic investigator Harry Price.

Borley Rectory Teaser Trailer from Ashley Thorpe on Vimeo.

Frendraught House. Aberdeen

Mysterious Fire at Frendraught House Aberdeen

The Ghost of Frendraught House – a fire that killed several members of one fraction.

Frendraught House lies about 6 miles (9 kilometres) to the east of Huntly in the centre  of the extensive Bognie estates. Its foundations date back to 1203, though additions were made to it as recently as the 1840’s. It’s main bulk – containing the inner walls is around 9 feet (2.7 metres) thick – was built between the 14th and 17th centuries when it was both a home and a fortress to the Crichton family.

During those three centuries the Crichtons, along with their cousins and neighbours the Gordons and Leslies, controlled the north-east of Scotland. They were often in embroiled in bloody feuds and disagreements.

In the spring of 1630 Frendraught was occupied by Sir James Crichton. He had made a good political marriage to Lady Elizabeth Gordon, eldest daughter of the Earl of Sutherland, and she took an active part in her husband’s continual disputes. As one Victorian commentator put it, she played a role somewhere between that of Medusa and Lady MacBeth.

The 1630 dispute over boundary lands was between Sir James Crichton and Gordon, Laird of Rothiemary. Sir James settled it in typical fashion by shooting Gorgdon dead. The Marquis of Huntly, the local High Sheriff who was himself a Gordon closely related to both sides, fined Sir James heavily. This ‘blood money’ was paid to the young John Gordon, the new Laird of Rothiemary, and honour seemed satisfied.

By midsummer, however, Sir James was fighting again, this time with Leslie of Pitcaple. Matters came to a head when Crichton shot Leslie through the arm with an arrow. Again the Marquis of Huntly heard the case and this time ruling in favour of Sir James. The wounded Leslie rode off in a fury, openly swearing revenge on the house of Crichtons. Sir James therefore took the precautions of assembling an armed party to escort him back to Frendraught. Surprisingly this armed party included young John Gordon of Rothiemary as well as the Marquis of Huntly’s son John Melgum Viscount Aboyne. The party arrived in the dusk of an October afternoon. Lady Crichton, perhaps relived to see her husband home safe and well, pressed  even the unloved Gordon kin to stay the night. The guests were put in the old tower.

Lor Melgum was given a room separated from the upper story by a wooden staircase. John Gordon of Rothiemary was on the second floor, and the other guests and servants were above him. Spalding a contemporary chronicler , tells what happened: ‘ About midnight that dolours tower took fire in so sudden and furious manner, and in one clap, that noble Viscount, the Laird of Rothiemary, English Will, Colonel Ivat and others, servants, were cruelly burned and tormented to death’

Death by Design

An event of this magnitude cast shadows far beyond north-east Scotland, and the Privy Council in Edinburgh became involved, setting up a commission of bishops and neutral peers to investigate. The commission sat at Frendraught House on the 13th April 1631. The Bishops merely declared that the ‘fire could not have happened accidentally but designedly.’ There the mystery of the fire remains unsolved to his very day. However, local opinion of the time laid the blame squarely on Lady  Frendraught. An anonymous ballad written a few months after the fire said of Rothiemary’s final moments.

When he stood at the wire window
Most doleful to be seen
He did espy the Lady Frendraught
Who stood upon the green.
And mercy, mercy Lady Frendraught
Will ye not sink with sin
For first your husband kilt my farther
And now ye burn his son.
Oh, then it spake Lady Frendraught
And loudly did she cry
It was great pity for Lord John
But none for Rothiemary
But the keys are sunk in deep
draw well, Ye cannot get away.

To the Marquis of Huntly there was only one way to avenge the death of his son. Laying aside his High Sheriff’s impartiality, he recruited a small army of highlanders and raided Frendraught, carrying off 60 cattle and several dozen sheep.

Crichton appealed to Edinburgh, and the privy council came down in his favour. Huntly was fined and Sir James received damages.

Despite their vindication by the Privy Council, both Sir James and his Lady seemed changed by the terrible fire. Three years afterwards he gave a silver chalice, said to have been one of 11 brought north by Mary Queen of Scots, to nearby kirk at Forgue. Today the chalice, the oldest know piece of hallmarked silver in Scotland, lies in a bank vault at Huntly.

Lady Frendraught, took her three daughters and went to live as a recluse at Kinnairdy on the River Deveron. Born a Catholic she was excommunicated  when she signed the Solemn League and Covenant supporting the Presbyterian-ism. Turning back to her old faith, she was rebuffed ‘I refuse absolutely to see her’ wrote Father Blackhall, ‘because she was suspected to be guilty of the death of Lord Abboyne…’ When she died, it was without benefit of clergy, on an unrecorded date. She was buried with her husband in an unmarked grave.

Recent Times

‘According to local opinion and the direct testimony of tenants, guests Frendraught is haunted by Lady Elizabeth Crichton, who is bound there because of her guilt. The recorded sightings of a ‘dark woman in white dress’ at Frendraught go back at least to the 18th century when a Victorian clergyman-writer claimed that the ghost had been seen in the house and among the great beeches around it.

The first modern sightings on record occurred in 1938 when the house stood empty and locked The Late William Thomas, former manager of Glendronough Distillary on the borders of the Bognie estate was in his early teens at the time. One autumn afternoon he was out shooting crows behind the house. Looking up, he saw a pale face surrounded by dark hair, watching him from a window overlooking the courtyard. He called a keeper who also saw the ‘intruder’. Armed with their shotguns, the two broke in through the kitchen window and made their way through the house, searching from top to bottom. There was nobody there, and no sign of forcible entry but their own.

Nearly 10 years later, Mrs Yvonne Morrision encountered the ghost. It was October 28th I remember the date because my husband was away with the Canadian reserve Army and left the day before. I was completely alone in the kitchens in the basement of the house, the oldest part. Suddenly in the silence I heard footsteps coming down the staircase from the top of the house. I was terrified, but something made me go to the bottom of the stairs where they eventually entered the kitchen. I peered up into the darkness and remember thinking very strongly ‘Well, come on then, if you exist show yourself’ I may have even spoken this aloud. The sound of the footsteps stopped at the top of the stairs kitchen stairs and i saw and heard nothing else.

The footsteps were to heavy and clear to be that of a mouse or rat, in fact Mrs Morrison claimed that rats had never been seen in the building. ‘I knew all the creaks and groans of the old place It was none of these.’

Twice the Morrisions had guest who cut short their visits because of mysterious disturbances. On both occasions the guests were level headed people. One was an old army colleague who had been in the thick of the fighting with Mr Morrision during the Italian campaign. In both cases the stories of the separate guests matched in every detail despite that both sets of guests had never met. Mrs Morrision explains.
‘It was quite funny at first. The guests were a bit embarrassed and it became clear as they thought that my husband and I had a furious fight during the night. When we pointed out that the walls between to the two bedrooms was at least 8 feet (2.4 metres) thick and totally soundproof, they became alarmed. They said that they heard the most dreadful cries for help, with the sound of crashing, like heavy furniture being moved thrown about, and screams. They had been too terrified to investigate.

Several guests and subsequent tenants at Frendraught had described seeing a dark lady in white dress edged and decorated in gold. She was usually standing or walking on the main staircase or the back of the stairs.

Bell Lane, Enfield. London

Phantom Coach of Bell Lane, Enfield London - Hanging Judge jeffery's

Does the spectral coach of evil Judge Jeffrey’s recount its journey through Bell Lane in Enfield London?

Popular local story tells of the Phantom Coach of Enfield, which by all accounts, the ghostly coach travels silently down bell lane and suddenly vanishes into thin air, whilst being drawn by a team of ghostly black horses.

If the reports are to be considered factual, the coach belonged to the evil Judge Jeffrey’s, also known at the time as ‘Hanging Judge Jeffrey’s’ circa 1600’s who, it’s also speculated rides inside the ghostly coach. Interestingly enough Judge Jeffrey’s is known as Hanging Judge Jeffrey’s because of the punishment of death by hanging, he saw fit to hand out at the trials of the supporters of the Duke of Monmouth.

Seen a couple of times in the twentieth century, the ghostly passengers are said to be quite clear and distinct. A 14 year old boy who was cycling down Bell Lane during the 1940’s has said to have passed through the apparition.

The reports of the coach, however, have been commonplace for many years and it would appear sightings of it are usually observed at dusk or at night.

More information on this case can be read at the Blog of David Farrant