Pluckley, England's Most Haunted Village - The ParaPod Series 1, Episode 9 Review
Photo: © David Anstiss
Barry Dodds invited Ray Peacock and the entire ParaPod audience to climb aboard his ghost taxi as he takes us on a virtual tour of Puckley, England's most haunted village. But how convincing will Barry's research of the small village in Kent be?
Barry, begins his tour by welcoming us to "Barry's ghost taxi," he then goes on to give his introduction, "I'm the driver, I'm taking you on a virtual drive around Pluckley."
According to Barry, Guinness World Records named Pluckley as the most haunted village in England in 1989, skeptical Ray asked, "what did they base that on? Did someone from Guinness go down and count all the ghosts?"
Barry answered, "must have done, yeah." But Ray wasn't having then, "no, it'll be based on reports." Barry tried to defend the paranormal hotspot, but Ray got impatient, "tell me about your stupid village..."
Barry stops his virtual taxi and announces, "our first destination is fright corner or Frith Corner." He tells us that there was a highway man who was killed by a sword in the 18th century here, "I think he was French going on the name. Robert DuBois." Apparently, people see a black shadow there.
"Next stop," said Barry, "Maltman's Hill." Barry tell us the story of this supernatural landmark, in 1997 some locals were driving there car here when suddenly, the sound of horses hooves running along cobble street filled the vehicle. "That's a ghost coach seen going round," Barry told us before resuming the tour, "we're off again..."
At Crossroads Bridge Barry tells us that a misty figure has been spotted sat on the bridge. Some say it is the ghost of a gypsy who used to sell watercress. Barry says, "she'd been picking some watercress, she'd had a gin and she had a pipe I don't know why, and she lit the pipe and she burst into flames because of the gin."
Ray wanted to know what year this was, Barry's answer "when was gin popular?" Which didn't really help. "Anyway, don't worry about that," Barry told Ray, "keep your seatbelt on. We're moving on..."
"There's a ruined windmill here, a man called Dicky Buss owned it in the 1930s, he closed in down," Barry told us and explains that in in 1939 it was destroyed by fire. Now people see the ghost of a miller around the windmill, and when people see his ghost it's a sign a storm is coming.
Dicky Buss Lane
"Now let's go to Dicky Buss Lane," where Barry says a school master from Smarden committed suicide. According to Barry, he hanged himself from a tree some time after World War I, "the tree's gone now but people still see a body hanging in the air."
"We're off to Park Wood," said driver Barry from the front of his virtual taxi. At the next stop he says, there's a ghost of a Colonel seen here, "I don't know much about him."
Ray says, "what I like is you've lost interest in this at the same rate, or perhaps a little bit behind me. This is an awful ghost tour."
Photo: © Stephen Nunney
St. Nicholas Chruch
Barry continued, "right, I'm taking you to St Nicholas now" where he told us about the ghost of Lady Dering, "she died in the 11 hundreds. She's seen walking around the church yard looking for a child in an unmarked grave."
Barry pulled up his ghost taxi and said, "right, there's a monk in Greystones. That's 1863." Ray was amazed, "that's it? Not even a dead one, not even a ghost? You're just saying a monk lived there."
"Rose Court we're stopping at now," announced Barry. This is said to be site of the haunting by a Tudor lady. According to Barry, she was a mistress of a member of the Dering family. He said, "she committed suicide by eating a load of red berries. She is seen between 4 and 5pm shouting for her dogs."
Another flying visit, Barry just shouted, "if you run round it three times the devil appears," before moving on.
"Let's move on to the clay pit," where Barry says a man fell into the clay pit and died, now people hear him screaming.
Black Horse Inn
"Let's stop for a quick pint," Barry said, we're going to stop at the Black Horse Inn for a swift one. "There's a poltergeist in there," he said before speedily rushing on, "oh, last orders, we're getting kicked out..."
The final stop on Barry's tour was a farm where he claims a man named Edward Brett shot himself and his ghost now is heard whispering "I will do it."
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Barry showed a little scepticism himself about the ghosts tales from the village, "why's there such a high suicide rate in Pluckley?" he asked, but Ray had the answer, "they've probably all been on this f**king taxi tour."
Once Barry's virtual taxi had parked up, Ray laid into the driver. Some of the ghostly stops Barry drove past at 40 miles an hour and gave no details, so Ray dismissed those. But the ones Barry talked about with any depth Ray wanted to challenge.
Firstly Crossroads Bridge, which is over water and Ray thinks the figure could be a result of mist from the water, Barry is forced to agree that mist could look like a figure in the right conditions.
The miller next at the Pinnock, Ray points out that if there's always a storm whenever he's seen, "that would imply to me that that's something to do with the change in atmosphere before a storm, it's a naturally occurring phenomenon that always happens when a storm's brewing."
Ray 9 - Barry 0
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