In the second episode of The ParaPod with Ray Peacock and Barry Dodds, we learn about five of the ghosts that can be found at Chillingham Castle, which Barry describes as "very haunted." Barry, the believer tells us about the "blue boy" in the wall, the ghost of Lady Mary Berkeley, the gypsy who cursed anybody who steals from the castle, a ghost of a little girl in the great hall and the sightings of the ghost of John Sage.
The medieval castle in the village of Chillingham, was the seat of the Grey and Bennet families from the 15th century until the 1980s when it became the home of Sir Humphry Wakefield Bt. Sir Humphry has spent the last few decades restoring the Grade I listed castle.
Barry is right, the castle does have a reputation as being one of the most haunted castles in Britain and has played host to the 'Most Haunted' team as well as other paranormal television shows.
Sceptical Ray challenged Barry to list five of the most prevalent hauntings at Chillingham Castle, a haunted location Barry knows very well as he visited and investigated supernatural claims there himself.
5. The Curse Of The Spanish Gypsy
The Spanish gypsy who Sir Humphries encountered wasn't a fleeting glimpse or a shadowy figure, according to Sir Humphries, he met the woman and she said to him, "you live in a haunted home, I'm putting a curse on people who steal from you."
Barry told us in the podcast that Sir Humphries was already aware that ghost hunters and visitors to the castle liked to walk out with various bits and pieces as souvenirs, but after the gypsy cursed the thieves, the missing possession started getting sent back to the castle with those responsible saying "we took this home, we've had nothing but bad luck."
According to Barry, a picture of the Spanish gypsy can be found in the Still Room, which is now surrounded by "all the stuff that people have sent back to the castle that they've picked up and left with."
I think the actual story is that this woman is a witch, not a gypsy but Barry was right about her origins being Spanish.
4. Lady Mary Berkeley
Another ghost frequently sighted at the castle is Lady Mary Berkeley, according to Barry, she was in the castle with her husband and he ran off with her sister, she died of heartbreak in the Grey Apartment. There's now a painting of her in the room which guests have claimed to see her "come out of", other visitors to the castle say they have heard her grey dress rustling.
Ray is a little taken aback by this claim, "why is her dress rustling? why is her dress tangible? she's a ghost?" Barry, the ghost expert, explains, "because that's the noise she would have made when was alive, moving around."
But Ray isn't convinced, "in that case why do you not hear footsteps with every single ghost? why do you not hear them breathing? Why's it always rattling chains or a dress rustling?"
Barry says excitedly, "rattling chains, yeah, that's the prisoners in the torture chamber!" But Ray pushes for more of an explanation, "why are the chains ghosts as well? I understand the ones that were tortured and they died, fine. The chains didn't die and the chains, even if they had died, don't have spirits." Ray continues, "it's the same argument with her clothes, why are her clothes spirits now?"
Barry sticks to his beliefs, "that would have been the noise that was associated with her when she died," but Ray is having none of it, "so her clothes have died as well?"
3. The Ghost Of A Little Girl
Barry was excited to be able to provide photographic evidence of this next haunting, the ghost of a little girl caught on camera in the castle's great hall.
Showing the photo to Ray, Barry sets the scene, "this is a photo that's taken in the great hall, what you'll see is there's a big tapestry at the end of the room. Now there's two chairs next to the tapestry and in one of the chairs is the ghost of a little girl."
Ray fails to share in Barry's excitement, "that is not the ghost of a little girl," but Barry fails to pick up on Ray's scepticism, "can you see a little girl sat in that chair?"
Ray puts the final nail in the coffin of the ghostly girl, "no, i can see a shape that if you look really hard and tell yourself it's a girl, you can see it."
Unfortunately there is only one, very bad, low resolution image of this ghost but the photo above taken from ghoststudy.com
is the exact one which Barry showed to Ray to try to convince him that ghosts exist.
2. The Ghost Of John Sage
John Sage was a former soldier serving King Edward, but after taking a spear to his leg in battle with the Scots, he was forced to retreat from the frontline and took up the role of the castle's torture in its fully equipped dungeon.
The injury earned him the nickname Dragfoot and, according to Barry, he became some what a "local celebrity," but it was his sadistic and brutal formers of torture while interrogating prisoners that he is remembered for.
Because of it's location closed to the border, Scottish prisoners were brought to the castle where they had a torture chamber, which included an oubliette, a whole in the ground where prisoners with their limbs broken would be left forgotten, to die in agony.
At this point Ray asks Barry "what star rating is this castle?"
Barry glossed over this, more interested in the barbaric acts of torture which took place at Chillingham, he continues to tell Ray about caged prisoners, children being rolled around in wooden barrels lined with nails and hot coals being lit underneath people.
Sensing Barry was enjoying this far too much, Ray was forced to jump in at this point, "stop saying way to torture people, you're unbalanced," he added "when I asked you to bring a ghost story every week, I was thinking more like Casper."
Barry continued with his story, he says that the English were loosing to the Scots and getting worried, so they did a deal and released the prisoners but "John Sage wasn't happy, he wanted none of this." So, he told the locals when he was going to release them and when he did the English "jumped out and hacked them to death."
The Scots heard of Sage's plot and dragged him out of the castle and hung him from a tree outside the castle, but this wasn't the end for Sage. As he had become a local celebrity, the clearly twisted villagers all wanted a bit of him as a keepsake and hacked him up, taking his toes, tongue, genitals and even his gouged out eyes.
It's said that today visitors to the castle hear the ghost of Sage dragging his foot around the castle. However, beside the ghost stories, there seems to be no record of the existence of John Sage.
1. The Blue Boy
The most famous ghost of the castle is the "Blue Boy", it's said that guests see blue flashes of light above their beds or coming from within the castles walls. It turns out that these flashes are the ghost of a boy who was bricked up alive inside one of the walls.
During renovations at the castle the skeleton of a boy with blue clothes was found inside a three meter thick wall, the bones on his fingers were worn away from his attempts at scratching at the wall in a desperate bid for freedom.
Barry says, "they also found a lot of documents regarding the Spanish Inquisition... or something like that."
This ghost in particular is very well known to Barry, "there's an apartment called the Grey Apartment which I stay in. There's a fireplace in the bedroom," but Barry says it's not actually a working fireplace, it's the whole the workman went through when the Blue Boy was found.
Ray questions Barry's taste in accommodation, "and that's where you stay? you're insane, you essentially stay in a morgue, a ramshackle morgue."
Even after these five compelling stories, Ray isn't convinced and calls it all "brilliant marketing, exceptional marketing." Barry is confused but Ray explains that ghosts are what the castle's business is based on, "do you think people would go and stay there if it wasn't haunted? Come and stay at my castle, it's only got three sides."
Ray sums it up by saying that, "you'll soon find that a fool and his money are easily parted," to which Barry gives the perfect response of "I've been going there since I was 14."
Ray 2 - Barry 0
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