The South East of England, consisting of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, East Sussex, Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, Kent, Oxfordshire, Surrey and West Sussex. Its coastline along the English Channel meant that the region played strategic importance during the First and Second World Wars. In fact, during WWII much of the Battle of Britain was fought in this region.
The South East is the most populated region in the UK, and with some man people living, dying and working here, it's no surprise that the region has its fair share of ghost stories to tell. Below are the 20 locations in the region that are most famous for their paranormal activity.
For over forty years Chartwell House was home to the former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and it is him who was the first to report a strange encounter in the country house near the town of Westerham.
Churchill said that he had been in his studio copying a portrait of his father when suddenly he became aware of an odd sensation, looking around he saw his father sitting in his red leather upright armchair.
The library in the University of Oxford is said to be haunted by the headless ghost of Archbishop William Laud, who was beheaded in 1645 following impeachment by the Long Parliament. His ghost is said to disturb the peace of the library by kicking his severed head along the library floor. Others have reported hearing the sound of disembodied footsteps in the long reading room, which was built by Laud in the 17th Century and is known as the Laudian Library.
This building may not be as old and historic as others on this list, but still the multiplex cinema is reported to be a paranormal hotspot. The building stands in a retail park in Bedford on the site of a former priory and is said to be haunted by the ghostly figure of a monk. The unexplained hooded figure has been spotted in several of the screen and in an area of the foyer. The ghost has be blamed for sudden drops in temperature and disembodied sounds including footsteps.
The A229 runs through Kent along the path of a former Roman road. Three motorists were killed at Blue Bell Hill on the A229 in 1965 and ever since there have been reports of ghosts who match the description of those involved in the accident. The ghost of a lone female dressed in white has been seen on the road near the Lower Bell pub, it claimed that she has been picked up on many occasions, only to vanish from the car during the journey. Some of the stories involve a purse or bag being all that remains in the car after the woman vanished.
In 1974, a local bricklayer, Maurice Goodenough turned himself into the local police station after hitting a young girl on the road with his car. He told Rochester Police that he had left her at the roadside wrapped in a blanket, but when officers returned to the scene, the girl had disappeared, and despite an extensive search of the area, the girl was never found.
There are also stories of drivers passing straight through female apparitions on the road without any injury or damage to the vehicle.
All Saints Church has a couple of notable spirits, those of Sir Charles Thomas Stanford and Lady Ellen Stanford.
One of the oldest recorded hauntings took place in 1956 when two local boys were ghost hunting in the graveyard, when they saw a dark hooded figure amongst the grave stones.
In the 1970s during a midnight mass on Christmas Eve, some of the congregation noticed a pale, sick-looking woman in one of the pews. She was so ill that someone approached her to offer help, but as they did she disappeared into thin air right in front of their eyes.
Others have reported seeing an apparition emerging from the south side of the building before disappearing somewhere in the churchyard. And passers-by claimed to have seen two women in medieval clothing pass through the tombs on the west side of the churchyard.
It's no surprise that St. Nicholas Church has a few ghost stories associated to it, as it's situated in Pluckley, which is said to be the most haunted village in the UK.
Locals have reported seeing lights coming from the church's windows late at night when no one is there. The ghost of a local miller is also said to haunt the churchyard in search of a lost love.
There's also the spirits of Lady Dering and the Lady in Red, a ghost who searches the churchyard for her lost baby.
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The Kenton Theatre in Henley-On-Thames has been known for decades as one of England's most haunted stages, with an unwanted spirit has been blamed for breaking mirrors and turning lights on and off. Since it was first built in 1805, the building has been a school, a church hall and a clinic for soldiers, but since the 1960s when it reopened as a theatre, the paranormal activity seems to have intensified.
Many of these reports feature around the town's most infamous past residents, Mary Blandy. After poisoning her father by putting arsenic in his tea in 1751, Mary was convicted and hanged for murder, but in the century since her death people all over Henley have claimed to see her ghost.
In 1969, the Kenton Theatre played host to a run of performances of The Hanging Wood, that tells for story of the life and death of Mary Blandy. During the show's rehearsals, cast members reported seeing a phantom woman dressed in grey at the back of the venue, a shadow figure lurking in the staging rigging, and a teacup rising from a table before dropping and smashing.
This church in Hampshire has a famous ghost, that of Florence Nightingale, who is said to roam the church and its grounds.
Once a year, at midnight on 31st December, a phantom coach travels along the lane outside the church, pulled by four ghostly horses.
Other visitors have reported seeing an apparition in military clothing, it's believed he is Colonel William Morton who once lived near to the church.
One visitor was treated to the sounds of a choir singing from within the church, but upon opening the door and stepping inside, they found the church was empty.
The Dolphin is an 18th century pub in the small seaside town on the West Sussex coast, Littlehampton, and it has a sinister history. The pub's current owner, Ellie Boiling, fell in love with the building after working there as a part-time chef in 1989, when the lease became available she snapped it up. Ellie has reported a whole array of paranormal activity, including loud unexplained bangs and disembodied laughter.
One of her guests staying in room two once asked to be moved late at night after witnessing someone walk through his closed door. Ellie moved the terrified guests up to room six, but in the morning found they had fled in the night. There's also the ghost of a little girl who's been nicknamed Dolly, who's said to take a liking to ladies with red hair, but there's one other spirit she's afraid off, who is believed to be called William.
Elvey Farm Hotel is situated in Pluckley, a place which holds the title as the most haunted village in England, and the hotel is said to contribute to that accolade. The farm is said to be haunted by the ghost of a farmer who shot himself, ever since his death people have reported hearing him whispering his final words "I will do it."
The hotel has played host to various paranormal investigation teams, including the cast of the television shows 'Most Haunted' and 'Ghost Hunters International'.
With such a dark past, it's no wonder that The Ostrich Inn in Colnbrook is said to be haunted. The pub has said to have been the site of no less that 60 murders, the most famous being those committed by a former landlord known as Jarman and his wife in the 17th century.
The couple were said to have made a tidy profit from their grim hobby and even had a trapdoor built into the floor of one of the guest rooms. With a specially hinged bed they would simply tip their sleeping victim into a vat of boiling water below.
Pluckey in Kent holds the title of the most haunted village in the UK, and the local woods, known as the Screaming woods, contribute to this claim. Witnesses have reported hearing screams coming from the woods at night, as well as hearing disembodied footsteps and seeing strange lights in the sky.
Some of the woods resident spooks include an 18th century colonel who committed suicide in the woods, the spirit of a highwayman who was executed in the woods, and the ghosts of many walkers who have gotten lost in the woods. The most recent disappearance was in 1998 when four students went into the woods in search of some strange lights they had seen, their bodies were never found.
The woods are said to have connections to satanic rituals, believed to be performed by a religious cult from the nearby village of Smarden. When a private investigator, Robert Collin, tried to get to the bottom of the cult in 1964, his investigation was cut short after his untimely death in a car accident.
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The oldest part of the Clock House was built in the 12th century, it connects via a supposedly haunted panelled corridor to the Georgian part of the house. At the back of the house is a Victorian extension, and to the side Elizabethan outbuildings.
The house was once an episode location for the 'Most Haunted' team, so clearly it has plenty of ghost stories to its name. We learnt in the episode that the current owner, Fred Batt, was followed home from the nightclub he owned by the spirit of Ruth Ellis, the last woman ever to be hanged in the UK.
In a corridor upstairs you can walk through one time of the year and you can smell roses, you walk through another time and you can smell lavender. In several rooms on the third floor there's an oppressive feeling. It is in these rooms where a couple of children died, apparently as a result of illness.
Other reported paranormal activity in the house includes the ghosts of two monks who have been seen in the ground floor corridor that joins the two parts of the house. On the upper floor ghostly footsteps have been regularly heard and a door opens and closes on its own. There's also said to be the ghost of a women wearing a bonnet.
Guests who have stayed at his house have told him they've woken up in the night, half opened their eyes and seen a figure stood near their bed wearing a distinctive hat, the type worn by a beadle. Little did his guests know that a beadle, a church official, used to live in the house.
The most haunted church in the UK is a Grade I listed building in Surry, with surviving parts of the structure that date back to the Middle Ages.
The most commonly reported ghost at the church is that of an old lady who is seen walking through the main entrance on the north side of the building at exactly 6 o'clock when the church bells are ringing. So clear is her apparition, that most witnesses don't realise they've seen a ghost until they too step into the church and find she's completely vanished, as her spirit is never seen within the building.
One of the oldest claims of paranormal activity dates back to World War II, when fire guards were stationed at the church. They claim to have heard the disembodied sounds of a group of men chanting in Latin and say they saw strange lights moving in the darkness around the church from the tower.
And it's from this tower that visitors have reported seeing the ghost of a lady in white throw herself. Nobody has been able to shed any light on the identity of this White Lady who is presumed to have died as a result of the fall.
More recently, a former priest reported hearing the unexplained sound of horses at the back of the church, could this be connected to claims that Oliver Cromwell once stabled his horses at the church?
Many visitors have reported witnessing a strange semi-transparent curtain drop in between the altar and congregation during services, this was followed by strange lights and shadowy figures, which were visible behind the curtain.
One visitor even witnessed a ghostly church service while the building was empty. The vision of a pre-reformation mass took place at the altar and lasted for several minutes, complete with Latin chanting, swinging thuribles and the scent of incense smoke. The vision came to a sudden end when the rector and church warden arrived.
Clapham Woods in West Sussex is one of the most active paranormal sites in the UK, it was the location of a spate of UFO sightings during the late 1960s and 1970s. This single area of Britain has more reports of weird goings on than anywhere else in Britain.
During the peak of the reports the woods, which were once used for rituals by a satanic cult, were said to have seen alien abduction, and be the base of alien aircraft that had come to Earth to collect chemical elements including sulphur.
People have reported UFOs in many forms, from a moon-sized light descending from the sky, to flying saucers hovering above the woods, as well as plenty of accounts of unexplained lights in the sky, many of which seemed to beam light down into the trees below.
The most notable event took place in 1967 and was witnessed by Paul Glover, a member of the British Phenomenon Research Group. He and a colleague saw a black boomerang-shaped craft moving across the sky while they were walking through the woods. This sighting was followed by a strange display of lights in the sky. They saw two bright lights, one of which released a small object, which travelled to the second and entered it.
The woods are a place of death, with four recorded cases of bodies being found in the woods, most of which were missing persons who were later found in the woods.
Windsor Castle dates back to the reign of William the Conqueror and is said to be home to many ghost, as well as plenty of monarchs throughout British history. The castle's library is said to be one of the most haunted in the UK
The notable ghosts that haunt the castle include that of King Charles I who haunts part of the castle. Elizabeth I haunts the royal library and has been spotted by many members of the royal family. The groans and dragging footsteps of King Henry VIII have also been heard around the castle, the face of King George III has also been seen peering out of the window in the room where he was often detained.
An area of the castle known as the Deanery is said to be haunted by the spirit of a young boy. The Norman tower is said to be haunted by a former Royalist prisoner. In the kitchen the ghost of a man with a horse has been seen who walk straight through a solid wall.
The long walk is also supposed to be haunted by the spirit of grenadier guard who killed himself here in the 1920s, he's been spotted at least twice since his death.
One of the most famous alleged photographs of a ghost was taken at St. Nicholas in 1940. The photo showed a semi-transparent priest kneeling in front of the altar. Over the years there has been a great deal of debate over whether this is genuine evidence of the paranormal, or nothing more than two photographs transposed, one on top of another.
Either way, this isn't the only strange goings on a the church, a female ghost is also said to haunt the church and is believed to be that of a nun. Her apparition has been seen and her footsteps heard in the church's bell tower.
Records show that a settlement has existed on the site of Dover Castle since Saxon times, it has a history of involvement in pirates, Napoleonic battles, and even housed a secret underground command centre in the Second World War.
The battlements are said to be haunted by a the ghost of a headless drummer boy who's believed to have been decapitated when he was attacked for the riches he was carrying while on an errand for his master. The castle is also said to be the home of a woman in red who has been spotted around the castle, as well as a cavalier.
The castle has a haunted underground area too. Below ground in the WWII tunnels, the ghost of many soldiers have been seen and their presence felt. Visitors have reported hearing disembodied voices, loud screams, and doors slamming, as well as experiencing sudden drops in temperature.
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The Hellfire Caves are a manmade network of chalk mines, which extend a quarter of a mile underground near the village of West Wycombe. The caves have a past of satanic rituals, worship and sacrifice, making them a terrifying place to visit today.
The Hellfire Caves are said to have many resident spooks, including the spirit of Benjamin Franklin, who was a regular visitor to the caves in the 18th century. Another apparition regularly spotted is that of Paul Whitehead, a former steward of the notorious Hellfire Club from which the caves take their name.
There's also the spirit of a young girl called Suki, she's said to have been tricked into meeting a man at the caves, the visit resulted in her murder.
The Mermaid Inn is a Grade II listed inn in Rye, it dates back to 1420 and has 16th-century additions in the Tudor style.
Guests have reported waking to find their clothes wet, others have seen the ghost of a man walking through a wall. There's also been reports of light anomalies, bottles and glasses have fallen and smashed of their own accord, and the ghost of a maid is said to haunt the pub. She was the girlfriend of a member of smuggling gang who used the pub's cellar, she was killed by the gang as they feared she knew too much and would expose them.
There's also the ghost of a lady who's been spotted wearing white while sitting in a chair next to a fireplace, the spirit of a man in period clothing, and the ghost of a man who died during a duel with another man in the building.