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Saturday, 20 February 2016

Saturday, 18 July 2015

The Stately Ghosts of England

This charming documentary dates from 1965 and features the actress Margaret Rutherford, her husband Stringer Davis and Tom Corbett, a famous psychic of the time. They visit Longleat, Salisbury Hall and Beaulieu in search of England's ghostly past.

Monday, 6 April 2015

The Pedlar of Swaffham

Swaffham Church

Tradition says that there lived in former times in Soffham (Swaffham), alias Sopham, in Norfolk, a certain pedlar, who dreamed that if he went to London Bridge, and stood there, he should hear very joyfull news, which he at first slighted, but afterwards, his dream being doubled and trebled upon him, he resolved to try the issue of it, and accordingly went to London, and stood on the bridge there two or three days, looking about him, but heard nothing that might yield him any comfort.

At last it happened that a shopkeeper there, hard by, having noted his fruitless standing, seeing that he neither sold any wares nor asked any almes, went to him and most earnestly begged to know what he wanted there, or what his business was; to which the pedlar honestly answered that he had dreamed that if he came to London and stood there upon the bridge he should hear good newse; at which the shop-keeper laught heartily, asking him if he was such a fool as to take a journey on such a silly errand, adding: "I'll tell thee, country fellow, last night I dreamed that I was at Sopham, in Norfolk, a place utterly unknown to me, where methought behind a pedlar's house in a certain orchard, and under a great oak tree, if I dug I should find a vast treasure! Now think you," says he, "that I am such a fool to take such a long journey upon me upon the instigation of a silly dream? No, no, I'm wiser. Therefore, good fellow, learn wit from me, and get you home, and mind your business."

The pedlar observing his words, what he had say'd he dream'd, and knowing they concentred in him, glad of such joyfull newse, went speedily home, and digged and found a prodigious great treasure, with which he grew exceeding rich ; and Soffham (Church) being for the most part fallen down, he set on workmen and rectified it most sumptuously, at his own charges ; and to this day there is his statue therein, but in stone, with his pack at his back and his dogg at his heels ; and his memory is also preserved by the same form or picture in most of the old glass windows, taverns, and alehouses of that town unto this day.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

The ghostly knights of Holy Trinity Church, Ingham, Norfolk

According to local legend, two stone knights, Sir Oliver de Ingham and Sir Roger de Bois, are said to wake up once a year (1st of August) and walk down to Stalham Broad where, accompanied by a faithful hound, Sir Roger engages in battle with a Middle Eastern soldier. After defeating him, the two knights return to the church where they resume their sleep for another year. 

Dancing monks are also said to haunt the area.

Sir Roger de Bois. His head rests on the severed head of a Saracen

Sir Oliver de Ingham. He rebuilt the church in the years following the Black Death

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Guest on Blog Talk Radio

I was Leo's guest. We had a chat about various subjects including ghosts, reincarnation and crime. 

Monday, 29 December 2014

The ghosts of Roos Hall in Beccles, Suffolk

This Tudor hall is said to be haunted every Christmas Eve by a coach driven by headless horses. Another ghost is that of a lady who sometimes appears near the coach. You must never look into her eyes. If you do, you'll go mad or die!

A tree in the grounds of the hall is known as Nelson's Tree or the Hanging Tree. It was used to hang local criminals and some claim that a lady in white and a man in torn trousers and brown jacket still haunt the place where they died. Chains from the hangings are still said to be embedded in the tree. To walk six times round the tree is not advisable ....... the Devil himself may appear!

In the hall itself, is a bedroom cupboard with a burn mark in the brickwork. Legend states that the Devil made it with his cloven hoof!

Finally, a window in the hall can never be kept shut - even a local blacksmith's attempts to seal it failed - and the phantom of a little girl has been seen gazing out of a gable window.

No wonder then, that the hall is regarded as the most haunted building in Suffolk!

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Christmas crackers

Christmas crackers have a relatively recent origin. A Victorian confectioner, Tom Smith, visited Paris and noticed bon-bon sweets being sold in colourful twisted paper tubes. He brought the idea back to England and developed it by placing a small love motto and gift inside. The 'snap' was added after he heard a crackling log in his fireplace. It was first known as the Cosaque (Cossack) but was soon replaced by the name cracker. The hat was later added by his son, Walter Smith.

The wearing of festive hats dates back to Roman times, and the Saturnalia celebrations, which involved the use of decorative headgear.