Chingle Hall, built in the 13th century, has had a number of sightings of ghosts over the centuries, from a hooded figure to the touch of an invisible hand. Croft Castle, near Leominster, was mentioned in the Doomsday Book. A leather-clad man is seen regularly, with a spate of sightings in the 1920s.
50 Berkeley Square in London is notorious for a number of ghosts, from a child killed by a servant, to a ‘terrifying shape.’ And who has not heard of Borley Rectory, dubbed the most haunted house in Britain until it burned down some fifty years ago.
The Brown Lady of Raynham Hall in Norfolk has been seen regularly for some 200 years, even photographed on a staircase in the 1930s, whilst a ghostly skeleton hanging from a rotting gallows has been occasionally seen in the Cumbrian village of Eden Hall.
What are we to make of such sightings? Some believe in the ‘tape recording’ theory. Typical was the case of heating engineer Harry Martindale, who saw a ghostly column of Roman soldiers walking through the cellar of the Treasurer’s House in York. Here, the emotion of a traumatic event is said to impinge itself on the environment. From time to time, this causes the event to be replayed.
A large proportion of widowed people see their dead spouse. One likely answer to this is hallucination. Indeed, the classic ‘bedroom visitor’ appears just before or after deep sleep. We regularly hallucinate at this time. But whether real or not, a reason can be found for apparent ghostly tales.
Consider Awd Nance of Burton Agnes Hall near Driffield. She haunted her sisters until they finally agreed to a death wish. Then there is the ghost of Dick Tomlin who had died when cannibalised to keep others alive after a shipwreck. One by one the perpetrators were ‘killed’ by the ghost. With such tales, it is hard not to see the ghost story as a morality tale, designed to keep a suspicious population in check.
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