With Halloween coming, on-line estate agents Urban.co have released results of their “Spooky Survey”.
According to this 57% of people would be more than happy to share their house with a ghost. However, 15% are superstitious enough to not move into a new house on Friday, 13th, fearing it would blight their time in the new property if they moved on this fateful day.
According to the Guinness Book of Records, Pluckley in Kent is the “most haunted village in England”. Locals say the village and surrounding area has between 12 and 16 ghosts; the Guinness World Records, puts the number at 12.
One of these spectres is a White Lady, said to be a member of he Dering family who once lived at Surrenden Dering; a house later owned by my own family and which burnt down in the 1950s. The white lady’s ghost frequented the library. The local legend is that the woman’s beauty was famed throughout the neighbourhood, and when she died, at a tragically young age; her husband was grief-stricken. He could not bear the thought of the effect that the ravages of the grave would have upon her looks, so he had her body wrapped in a priceless flowing gown. She was placed in an airtight lead coffin with a single red rose laid upon her breast. Sealed inside a further series of airtight lead coffins, she was finally encased in a casket of solid oak and buried in a deep vault in the Dering Chapel. On misty autumn mornings her spirit manifests in the churchyard, as beautiful in death as she was in life. Clutched before her she holds a single red rose.
The white lady was seen whilst Surrenden Dering was the US Embassy between the two world wars. A Mr. Walter Winans supposedly held a lonesome vigil one Christmas Eve in the library with his hunting rifle. When the White Lady appeared before him, he reputedly shot her. The shot passed through the apparition. She vanished through a paneled wall which might have led to a tunnel which was supposed to link the house with the Church. My grandmother and a number of family friends were also said to have seen the apparition.
One of Pembrokeshire’s most infamous ghosts is said to inhabit Carew Castle. Sir Rowland Rees, tenant of the castle in the 18th century, was a well travelled man who had visited the Barbary Coast and brought back with him an injured ape he had rescued from a wrecked Spanish galleon. It is said he was able to train his devoted pet to respond to his every wish with a series of whistles.
The story goes that Sir Rowland had one son who ran off with the daughter of a local merchant, not a union that Sir Rowland approved of. On the fateful night there was a storm brewing. The wind screamed around the castle and the rain lashed at the windows. The ape was restless, sensing Sir Rowland’s evil mood. There was a knock at the door and the girl’s father, a merchant by the name of Horowitz, demanded admittance, distressed and upset that his daughter had run away with Sir Rowland’s son. Sir Rowland did not believe his story and after a fierce argument he released the ape from its chains and ordered it to kill Horowitz.
The merchant fought off the ape and, although badly injured, managed to drag himself from the room. He shouted for help from the servants who tended him for the night. Horowitz cursed Sir Rowland with an evil fate and, as he cursed, great piercing screams were heard from the tower room. The servants, who were terrified of their master, were unwilling to venture into the tower room to find out what had happened.At first light the following morning they summoned up the courage to enter the silent room. There, lying in a pool of blood was the body of Sir Rowland, but of the ape there was no sign.
Legend has it that the ghost of the ape returns to the castle on dark, stormy nights where he has been seen and heard by passers-by.
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