Somerset is the location of the mythical vale of Avalon, which is said to be a legendary island featured in the Arthurian legend. The county is known for its connection with paganism, occult and the witches of the county didn't escape the infamous witch trials in the Middle Ages.
The county also has plenty of paranormal hotspots, below are the 10 most haunted locations in Somerset.
Yeovil Junction Railway Station was opened in 1860 on the London to Exeter line, it is said to be haunted by the ghost of a female station worked named Molly. It's thought that she work in the railway restaurant during the 1960s and died on one of the platforms. Ever since her ghost has been blamed when items are moved around and electrical devices seemingly switch themselves on and off.
Freezing Hill is one of the highest points between the cities of Bristol and Bath, it's marked with a line of 52 birch trees that were planted hundreds of years ago, no one knows who planted it and why. The hill was the site of a battle and is said to be haunted by several ghosts. They are seen wearing clothing which places them to the Civil War era.
Keynsham station is on the Great Western Main Line in that serves London Paddington, the station lies between Bath and Bristol is said to be haunted by a phantom locomotive. Railway staff and passengers say they have seen the train pass silently through the station on many occasions. Some have even said that the train's driver was visible in the cab with a concerned expression on his face.
The A30 snaked through Devon and Cornwall and stretch into Somerset, along part of its route between Chard and Crewkerne plenty of paranormal activity has been reported. Ghostly sightings include unusual and eerie lights, sounds and figures seen around Windwhistle Hill, an area with a dark history of highwaymen, smugglers and witchcraft.
One family reported see two people at the side of the road, one was standing and the other lying down. Fearing the someone had been injured, the driver slowed down, when all of a sudden the person standing stepped out into the road. The family noticed that there was something odd about the person, they had one foot on the grass verge, while the other was in the middle of the road. The family all agreed that there was no one who could possibly have legs that long.
An area of woodland, just outside of Bath, between Bathford and Bradford-on-Avon, that takes its name from a folly tower of the same name, which was built in the middle of the woods in 1848.
The woods are said to be haunted by a young girl called Sally who was murdered in the area, and it's claimed that the birds don't sing here. The A363 which runs through the woods is known as 'Sally in the Woods', and is said to have had more than its fair share of unexplained, fatal car accidents.
Drivers have reported hearing screams coming from the woods at night, others say they've seen a young girl run out into the road.
It's thought that Sally was a gypsy, who lived in a hut in the woods, and was believed by local children to be a witch. Some say Sally was locked up in the tower in the 18th century, without food and water, and was left to die.
A stretch of road running through Somerset is said to be haunted by a ghostly horseman who appears at various points along the A39 before disappearing. The reports date back many years, but there have been several documented reporting in recent years.
A horseman was seen galloping on the spot by a mother and daughter who were driving along the road in 1999, but the most recent report dates back to December 2019. Local news reported that a couple driving along the A39 from Street to Bridgwater late one night saw the figure just outside the village of Aschott. They described the ghost as "wearing a light sandy brown long jacket and a black hat." The apparition appeared to be pointing above their car from the opposite side of the road.
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Taunton Castle was built in the 12th century and stands on the site of fortification that have been protecting the county town for much longer. The castle has housed Taunton's museum for over 100 years and visitors have reported plenty of paranormal activity due to the building's bloody past.
In 1685, following the Monmouth Rebellion, the infamous Judge Jeffreys held the Taunton Assize in the castle's great hall. He found over 140 of the Duke of Monmouth's supported guilty of high treason and had them hung, drawn and quartered at the castle.
The great hall is the part of the castle that now houses Taunton museum and visitors have reported hearing the disembodied sound of soldiers' boots stomping across the floor. There's also been reports of a Civil War cavalier on the stairs and sightings of the ghost of Judge Jeffreys himself.
There's also reports of the ghost of a grey lady seen wandering the corridors 17th century style clothing and so many member of staff have witnessed poltergeist activity in the Somerset Room that many now refuse to enter.
Guests at the adjoining Castle Hotel have reported hearing the sound of ghostly violin music drifting in through their windows at night and no one knows where the sound is coming from.
The historic 17th century hotel is located on the main high street through the Somerset town of Chard, and is named after a type of crow that usually inhabits Britain's costal regions. With over 400 years of history in a part of the country that witnessed the Battle of Sedgemoor, one of the country's bloodiest battles. Not to mention the fact at times the building has been used as a school and a brothel, it's no wonder the building has so many tales to tell.
The paranormal activity at the hotel ranged from sightings of dark shadowy figures, a phantom knight in armour and even the sinister apparition of a man crouched down by the fire. It's believed this is the ghost of the infamous Judge Jeffreys, who allegedly stayed in the hotel while he held trials in the old court house down the road.
The hotel's bar is said to be one of the most paranormally active part of the building. Here there have been reports of poltergeist activity including glasses being thrown from the bar. It is here that the disembodied sound of coughing has also been heard and the ghosts of an old couple have been sharing a drink together.
The bedrooms are also said to be haunted, one of the rooms by the ghost of a man who was murdered there. Another of the rooms is said to be haunted by a young women named Elizabeth. She's said to have taken her own life in 1845 to avoid entering into a life of prostitution. In the attic, there have been reports of the apparition of a man who hanged himself.
The famous show caves are said to be haunted due to their colourful past, most famously its former, a resident witch.
She is said to have cursed a monk from nearby Glastonbury, he came to the caves in search of the witch in an attempt to break the curse. He splashed holy water on the cave walls, which is believed to have turned into the impressive stalagmites visitors can see in the caves today.
The grade II listed prison, also known as Cornhill was the oldest operating prison in the UK when it closed in 2013. At this time it was home to almost 200 inmates severing the final years of their life sentences.
Dating back to 1625, the prison has a pretty grim past. Originally men, women and children were packed into Shepton Mallet together, apparently in dreadful conditions. The cells held debtors, thieves, vagrants and people with mental health disorders. Poor amenities and primitive sanitation led to frequent outbreaks of ulcers, jaundice, asthma and venereal diseases.
Over the years there were plenty of deaths in this formidable prison, including murders, suicide, accidents and judicial executions. The total number of hangings at the prison is unknown, but some of the documented execution include a local man who battered a 10-year-old girl to death, a man who drowned his wife in the River Avon, and a man who cut his 37-year-old girlfriend's throat.
The body's of executed criminals weren't allowed to be buried in consecrated ground, so they were laid to rest in unmarked graves within the walls of the prison.
With almost 400 years of detaining murderers, violent criminals and notorious gangsters, plus a history of brutal executions, cruel punishments, suicides, and countless dead in unmarked graves within the prison walls, it's no wonder HMP Shepton Mallet is said to be the most haunted prison in the country.
The areas of the prison which are said to be the most active are the prison's eerie kitchens, the general's office, and the exercise yard, which is reportedly haunted by a former inmate, Captain Philip William Ryal, who climbed onto the roof of the prison and took his own life in 1914. Ever since his final words, "get back," have been heard echoing around the yard by inmates.
A cell in A Wing is reportedly haunted by a former inmate who was murdered here, while in B Wing visitors report the most negative energy in the whole of the three-acre site.
C Wing has a regular spook too in the former of a 'white lady', it's said she was wrongly convicted of murdering her fiancé, and sentenced to death in the 17th century. She's seen wearing her wedding dress, which she apparently wore in the condemned cell the night before her execution.
The prison is also said to be haunted by spirit of an American serviceman. He's been seen walking through walls in the prison in his uniform. He's thought to have been killed in the yard by a stray bullet from American army firing squad while overseeing an execution.