Ghosts and Ghouls October 31 2014

Reporter: Helen Coltman


Very suitably for Hallowe’en a good audience turned out to hear Sheila Wright’s tales of things that go bump in the night or walk through walls.

Before the start of proceedings, however, David Burnett was very pleased to announce the Society’s new Chairman, Lorna Hooey. She was suitably attired for the occasion in red velvet and a pointy hat. She introduced herself and was given a warm welcome, the more so as the Society has been without a chairman since March. We wish her well in her new position.

Mrs. Wright told us that she started investigating one storey and found that there were more and more tales to be told which she has collected in several books. The following are just a few of the experiences she has followed up.

She began by telling us of a relatively recent haunting. A Mary Pocock had bought a cottage a bit off the beaten track but after she had moved in found that one room was extremely cold and unusable as her dog refused to go anywhere near it. Eventually she decided that perhaps if she said a prayer it might lay any unhappy spirit. Having done so, suddenly she had an overwhelming urge to drown herself and was propelled out of the house towards a nearby pond. Luckily she didn’t get as far as jumping in but was extremely shaken and had the room officially exorcised by a clergyman who warned her of the dangers such actions. After this the room was liveable in with no further strange happenings. Further research revealed a young bride had drowned herself on the eve of her wedding…!

We were told of many more strange happenings. A young couple bought an old Irish door knocker for their front door; it was regular sounded but nobody was ever there… finally they moved the door to another part of the house and the knocking stopped.

Another tale was of a ‘grey lady’ who would put the children of the house to bed or look in on them to see that everything was alright. She was a benign spirit and the children were never afraid. The parents thought she might have been pleased to have more children to look after.

There were many more stories of hooded monks seen near an old Abbey farmhouse; of a little girl who ran out in front of a car, in 1933 when cars were a novelty in the countryside. She was killed but is still sometimes seen running from her old house. Perhaps one of the strangest was of an airman in full flying kit seen in a pub in Lavenham near where he was based after his plane crashed in Kent returning from a raid over Germany!

By the end of the evening everyone was feeling a little shivery and were glad of a hot cup of coffee and biscuits before venturing out in the night of All Hallows.