Monday, June 6, 2011

Haunted Kent

The County Kent in southeastern England is among the most haunted. With its verdant, rolling fields bisected by hedge-darkened lanes, it calls to mind a much older England--and its ghosts.

Most famously, Canterbury Cathedral--the famed destination in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales--bore witness to the assassination of Thomas Beckett in 1170 and Archbishop Simon Sudbury in 1381. The latter is said to roam the grounds attempting in vain to reunite his head with his body.  Nell Cook, a one-time servant, was poisoned by her employer.  It seems she was having an affair and he would have none of that. Not quite dead (but surely on her way), she was buried beneath a passageway known as the Dark Entry. It's said should you encounter Nell's ghost, you'll soon perish yourself. However, sources indicate her entire story is nothing more than a fabrication by Canterbury native, R. H. Barham, an author of local stories.

The Chiselhurst Caves, hand hewn from soft chalk by one group or another over the past 8,000 years, are a complex labyrinth stretching for more than 20 miles.  A lady in white appears now and then over the placid waters of a small pond deep within the system. Perhaps she was a sacrifice upon a Druid altar that can be found down below as well.

It has been said that the sorrowful wails of a Roman child can be heard emanating from the vicinity of Recolver Castle. It makes sense; the bones of such a child were unearthed on the grounds.

Lady Blanche de Warenne was killed on Good Friday 1264 at Rochester Castle during a siege.  She must have died from an arrow to the chest, for her ghost has been spotted in just such a tragic state.

Orbs of light, inhuman screams and several phantoms are among the phenomena one might witness at the Theatre Royal in Margate.

Above the famed White Cliffs of Dover stands both haunted Dover Castle and an ancient Roman lighthouse affixed to a Saxon church.  The sounds of tortured screams can be heard in the spaces below the castle, victims of medieval torture. Some witnesses have felt phantom hands touch them as they moved about the old structure.  Legend says two ghosts haunt the area around the lighthouse: a Roman solider and a monk dressed in black robes.
 
[UPDATE: 6/7/11] As an addendum, I found just today an entry in a book by the Bord's (England's best-known chroniclers of the curious) regarding an unnamed witness who had been roused from his tented sleep in an orchard by a strong gale. Glancing outside to see how bad the weather was faring, he was surprised to glimpse "round globules of fire" dancing across the tops of the apple trees.

1 comment:

Autumnforest said...

Okay, just about the most romantic type of haunting locale ever. I always wondered about the chalk mines and the caves in England. They seem to bring so much haunted-rich effects to the countryside.