With the third national coronavirus lockdown due to end, on April 12 the government will relax the 'stay local' message, which means that for the first time in months we can get out and visit some of our favourite creepy and fascinating haunted locations.
Like a lot of people, you might be hoping to make up for lost time and visit as many famous paranormal
hotspots as you can this summer, so to help you out we've put together a list of six spooky places that are famous for their ghost stories in the West Midlands.
Where possible with tried to pick open air locations and tourist attractions that will be allowed to open under the relaxed guidelines.
Stratford-upon-Avon is most famous as the birthplace of playwright, William Shakespeare, but the historic town is also said to be one of the most haunted in England. Stratford-Upon-Avon lies at the northern tip of the Cotswold countrysidem a town unspoilt by time and a place that inspired the greatest love story ever told.
The town is the spiritual home of poetry, romance and mystery and it has plenty of haunted locations where you might even encounter the ghost of the famous bard himself.
The haunted locations include Ettington Park Hotel, Hall's Croft, and the Shakespeare Hotel - a stunning 4-star Tudor hotel located right in the heart of Stratford. Anne Hathaway's cottage is said to have a sinister presence in one of the upstairs bedrooms and passers-by have seen what they believe to be the ghost of a female through one of the upstairs windows.
Even the bank of the Avon that flows through the town has ghost stories associated with it. It was here that Olive Bennet walked her last steps, before being found strangled on the bed of the river, weighed down by a grave stone stolen from the local church. Her killer was never found. The area is known for its paranormal activity, with ghosts
being sighted on the water as well as on the towpath.
Perhaps the most haunted property in the town is the Tudor World Museum, housed in one of the oldest structures in the town. Visitors have reported seeing phantom soldiers standing on the stairs and a ghostly French maid seen wandering the darkened corridors. People have also reported being pushed and grabbed on the stairs by an unseen force.
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Cannock Chase in Staffordshire is a former Royal forest with a history of paranormal activity. The most famous ghost, known as the Lady of the Chase, has been witnessed by many visitors to the area. She's been described as tall and slim, with large, dark, hypnotic eyes. The wood is also home to sightings of children with black eyes, some believe them to be the victims of murderer Raymond Leslie Morris.
As well as these ghostly apparitions, walkers have also reported seeing strange lights and UFOs through the trees. But what makes Cannock Chase really creepy is its array of strange animals.
There's the legend of a big cat, a large black panther-like animal, which has been seen countless times in the area. There's also a demonic dog that comes out at night, it's said to have pointed ears and glowing eyes. Could this be the same creature that others have described as looking like a werewolf?
The ruins of the castle stand in the town of Dudley, fortification on this site dates back to 1071 following the Norman invasion in 1066. The castle is said to be home to many spirits including the Grey Lady who is believed to be the ghost of Dorothy Beaumont, who once lived in the castle and died there following complications after giving birth to her daughter. Her ghost is most often reported at the castle's keep in the form of unexplained sounds, and icy blasts of air which are often accompanied by a strange blue mist.
However, the most haunted part of the castle is the chapel undercroft, where you'll find a stone coffin which is said to have once help the body of one of the castle's most infamous residents, John Somery. His ghost has been spotted as disembodied legs beside the coffin. Others have reported feeling him tug at their clothing as they walk through this part of the castle.
Like Dover Castle, Dudley also has the ghost of a drummer boy who was said to have been killed by a stray bullet during the Civil War. He's mostly heard at night beating out drum rolls as if in battle. People have also reported seeing dark shadowy figures, hearing strange sounds throughout the castle, and even witnessed a chair flipping over during a paranormal investigation.
There's been a prison on the site since 1793, however the building as it currently stands was built in 1877. The prison has seen thousands of prisoners come and go over the years, including women up until 1922. The prison walls have witnessed many deaths over the years, including, murders, and inmates taking their own lives, so many suicides in fact that an enquiry was opened after three inmates hanged themselves over a period of just two weeks.
The prison's A-wing is said to be the most haunted, perhaps due to its dark history of suicides resulting in sad, angry souls being trapped between this world and the next. Most of those who took their own live did so on A-wing, at one point there was one a week.
Plenty of judicial execution were also carried out at the prison. In 1885 five prisoners were hanged in a single day. The hanging room was used until 1961, and was then converted into a group session room. This is said to be a very active area, possibly due to its location next to the condemned cell and with the mortuary is underneath it.
When the prison was in operation, some officers refused to work in C Wing alone at night, they've reported being pushed down stairs, hearing doors slamming, noises like moving all around them, and footsteps. It's said the atmosphere can change in the blink of an eye.
It is believed that one of the female prisoners has refused to leave, she has been seen dressed in a grey uniform many times walking the upper levels. She walks from cell 3 toward the execution room.
The Black Country Living opened in 1978, much of the site is said to be haunted included the school house. The museum celebrates the Black Country's important role in the industrial revolution as one of the greatest iron producers in the world. Most of the buildings on the site have been rebuilt here having been moved brick by brick from across the area.
Visitors and staff have reported a wide range of paranormal activity at the museum, including strange nosies, the sound of footsteps, and the voices of children in the old school house. The site is said to be home to four apparitions.
The school made it into celebrity ghost hunter, Yvette Fielding's ten scariest moments from the television show 'Most Haunted'. Her and her team investigated the school building in 2015. At one point, Yvette her husband Karl Beattie were given the fright of their lives when they carried out a vigil in a pitch black classroom. The pair experienced furniture moving in front of their eyes and even the bench they were sat on moved beneath them.
Yvette spoke about her experience after shooting the episode, "it was extraordinary. I was scared but at the same time mesmerised. That is a very active place that is haunted. However, it was not negative. It's my belief they're children who simply want to play."
The castle as it stands today was built in 1068, but settlements on the site date back more than 150 years before this. The castle saw its fair share of battles, it was attacked in 1264, besieged in 1642 and damage by fire in 1871. And of course with an interesting history comes interesting spooks.
Probably the castle's best known ghost is that of Sir Fulke Greville, who is said to haunt the tower. Greville is a former resident of the castle who was murdered within the castle's walls in 1628 by a servant. There's also said to be a negative entity that resides in the dungeon, poltergeist activity has been witnessed, as well as extreme temperature changes, light anomalies, and the sensation of being physically pushed or grabbed.
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