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Sunday, 29 June 2014

The ghosts of Saxmundham

The town of Saxmundham in Suffolk can trace its origins back to the Saxons and was first mentioned in the Doomsday Book of 1086. The name itself derives from the Saxon 'Seizmond's home'.

The town has at least three separate haunted locations and can even boast an appearance by the little people!

The High Street

Top hat and tails.

A man in Victorian or Edwardian evening dress has been seen walking down the High Street. One man is reported to have seen him during a trip to the local fish and chip shop. Upon reaching the shop, he was told by other customers that this wasn't the first time this ghostly gentleman had been seen.

One house in the High Street has been the subject of paranormal activity for the last few years. Parts of the property date back to the 17th century and a visiting medium confirmed that at least six residents ghosts were active in the building. These included, an old priest and a boy.

Orbs have been captured on camera, a woman's sigh has been heard and a duvet has been pulled off a bed late at night by unseen hands on two occasions .

The cottages
Monk's Cottages

On South Entrance, beyond the cross roads, can be found a group of small houses bearing the name of Monk's Cottages. They date back to the 17th Century and once formed part of a much larger property. They were built on the site of 14th century chapels - known as chantries - where priests said masses for the recently deceased, generally a benefactor to the chantry, in the belief this would help them pass on from Purgatory to Heaven.

In 2000, one of the cottages was occupied by Doreen Pelletier. In that same year, she decided to clear her cellar of rubble and called in a group of builders to do the job. However, they soon began to complain of ghostly activity, including lights being switched on and off. They finally said enough was enough and quit, suggesting that she contact an exorcist.

Doreen learned that previous owners had also experienced ghostly activity in the property. One woman had even seen a figure on the stairs and had sought out an exorcist to clear the house. Doreen finally decided to contact the House Detectives - a BBC series devoted to investigating the history of old properties - who eventually confirmed that the cellar had indeed formed part of a chantry.

Doreen also tried to take pictures of the cellar at the request of the BBC. It's interesting to note that her camera jammed and the film strangely rewound itself.

So does the phantom priest - if indeed it is a priest - walk the cottage still?

Harper's Lane

Two children claimed to have witnessed a group of dancing fairies, dressed in white muslin, in this narrow lane. They vanished after just a few seconds. This is supposed to have occurred in the early 20th century.

Copyright: John West

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