10 Most Famous Ghostly Nun Hauntings
This article is more than five years old and was last updated in March 2019.
It is a common belief amongst ghost hunters that the spirits of nuns continue their work in the afterlife as guardians of the living. Perhaps that is why there have been so many reports of nuns haunting the sites of former convents and religious locations across the UK.
Valak, the terrifying demon nun from 'The Conjuring' movies series returns to the big screen in her own spin-off feature, 'The Nun' in September. So, we thought it would be a good time to take a look at some other allegedly real ghostly nuns. Here are the ten most terrifying and most famous...
10. Colchester Castle, Colchester
Photo: © George Gastin
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Colchester Castle was built to protect against Scandinavian attacks from the sea, part of the castle was once a chapel, and it's believed that this maybe why a headless nun has been reported here, as well as hearing disembodied cries.
English preacher, James Parnell was imprisoned in the castle on charges of blasphemy, he eventually dying in captivity. His ghost is the most commonly sighted at the castle, especially in the dungeon.
9. Bellairs Avenue, Bedford
Photo: © Paul Gillett
Witnesses have reported seeing a nun walking towards them in the middle of Bellairs Avenue. It's claimed that as a car passed, the nun vanished into thin air. The figure of the nun was spotted a few weeks later in similar circumstances on nearby Dowty Avenue.
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8. Charnock Hall, Preston
Charnock Hall stands at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac in the outskirts of Preston and has been the location of plenty of supernatural activity, including appliances that switch themselves on. Paranormal researchers who have investigated the house have reported getting locked inside the bathroom and seeing one of their faces transform into that of an unknown nun.
In the 17th century, Robert Charnock, a Catholic priest lived here in the house, it was around this time that Catholicism was frowned upon and many services were conducted here in secrecy. The current owners and past residents have also witnessed dark shadowy figures, that look remarkably like priests.
7. Ballycastle, County Antrim
Photo: © horslips5
A local legend says if you walk around Julia McQuillan's grave in Ballycastle seven times clockwise, seven times anticlockwise and then place your hand through the hole in her unusual holestone cross the grave, you will summon her ghost, known as "the Black Nun".
Julia was a recluse who lived and died at the nearby Bonamargy Friary during the 1600s. She became known after sharing seven prophesies, but these predictions have been lost over time. It's said that she also still haunts the ruins of Bonamargy Friary.
6. Covent Garden, London
As the name suggests, the popular shopping district in London was formerly the site of a convent. It was called Convent Garden and was owned by the Benedictines of Westminster. The area is now better known for its many theatres and entertainment venues, and one famous actor reported a ghostly encounter with a nun in the area.
Before getting his big break, Bob Hoskins was working in a warehouse in the market. He was sent down to the basement to mend a fuse. While alone in the darkness he had the strange feeling that someone was watching him. After completing the repair he looked up and came face to face with a mysterious cluster of lights in the perfect shape of a woman's face. Bob said, "I was down in the cellar at the time when, on the wall, appeared a woman's face. She was wearing a nun's habit and reaching out to me with upwardly turned hands. She spoke but I couldn’t tell what she said."
5. Prestatyn, Wales
Photo: © David Purchase
The ghost of a nun wearing white and reading a bible has been seen walking along the promenade near the north Wales town of Prestatyn. She's known as the White Lady of Prestatyn and has been described as wearing a flowing white dress. She's most often see taking a leisurely stroll between Rhyl and Prestatyn, often near the Nova gardens.
One witness who saw the apparition described her experience to the BBC, "I went on holiday to Prestatyn in a caravan place called Lido caravan park, and I was strolling down the promenade at about sundown with my mother and sisters and we saw a white/blue transparent figure walking up and down the beach turning and looking at us every few feet. We were proper scared and the figure seemed to have their nose buried in a book. It was really scary and once we had gone to the end of the promenade and back the figure had gone."
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4. Delapré Abbey, Northampton
Delapré Abbey is a former monastery in Northampton, with up to 20 nuns living in the building at any one time, until it was closed in 1538, during the dissolution of the monasteries. The spirit of the Blue Lady has been seen floating down one of the corridors, she's thought to be one of the nuns, perhaps on her way up to the chapel.
This is just one of the abbey's resident spooks, other sightings include the ghosts of soldiers. In 1460, the Battle of Northampton between the Yorkist and the Lancastrians took place in the ground of Delapré to the north of the abbey. Since then many have reported hearing the ghostly battle cries in the dead of night, and the ghost of soldiers marching have been heard many times.
3. Carr House, West Yorkshire
Carr House in West Yorkshire is part of Kirklees Hall, a building which sits on the foundations of a nunnery which dates back to the 12th century.
The original building was constructed and occupied by cistercian nuns but was demolished due to King Henry VIII's disillusion of monasteries between 1536 and 1541. The estate was purchased by John Armitage in 1565 and he erected the hall as we see it today.
The building is said to be plagued by strange noises, objects disappearing, cold spots, poltergeist activity, and full apparitions, and most notably a grey lady. It's believed that she is one of the original nuns, she has been seen walking the upper floors and in the library.
2. Arno's Manor, Bristol
The hotel in Bristol was originally a private home, complete with its own chapel, which was run by nuns from a local school. The story goes that one of the nuns fell pregnant and took her own life and the other nuns bricked her up in an alcove to try to keep the scandal under wraps.
During the Second World War the hotel was damaged by a bomb, when workmen started repairs they came across the nun's remains and apparently, to avoid any delay to their work, hid the bones elsewhere.
Since then, a ghostly figure described as a nun wearing brown has been reported, most frequently in room 160. Others have reported hearing a soft female voice calling them by name.
1. Borley Rectory, Essex
Although the large Gothic-style rectory was demolished in 1944 after being damaged in a fire, the story of one of its ghosts, that of a nun, is still very well known and retold to this day.
The house stood in Essex and for several decades, held the title of the most haunted house in Great Britain. The house was said to have been a hotbed for paranormal activity, including unexplained footsteps and a phantom coach driven by two headless horsemen.
There's also the ghost of a nun, who was often spotted at twilight in the grounds. The house was situated near a Benedictine monastery and it's said that one of the monks found himself in a forbidden relationship with a nun from a nearby convent. After their affair was discovered, the monk was executed and the nun bricked up alive in the convent walls.
The original resident of the rectory, Reverend Henry Dawson Ellis Bull, reported seeing the ghost of the nun about 40 meters from the house. He tried to talk to her, but as he approached the nun, she vanished.
Watch The Official Trailer For 'The Nun'
'The Nun' is in cinemas from September 6th and serves as a spin-off to the hugely popular Conjuring series. We first met Valak, the Demon Nun in 'Annabelle: Creation' and she was the demon at the centre of the Enfield haunting in 'The Conjuring 2'.
This movie was given the green light after the terrifying nun proved to be the perfect horror antagonist with audiences. This makes Valak the second character from the franchise to get her own feature film, after Annabelle the cursed doll in 2014.
The events of this film take place long before 'Annabelle: Creation', making this the first movie in the film series chronologically.
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