Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Langham Ghosts Spook England Cricketers

The Langham Hotel in Marylebone, London, is known to be home to a number of ghosts who have been seen by a large number of witnesses.  To be added to the list now are members of the England Cricket Team who were spooked into changing rooms during a recent stay in the venerable hotel.

History of the Langham

The hotel opened in June 1865 on the land where the Foley House had stood until the Foley family line had ended after a series of unfortunate deaths.  The hotel was the first to use elevators that were called rising rooms at the time and also to feature air conditioning, hot water in every room and was decorated with 15,000 yards of Persian tapestry for a touch of pure luxury.

During World War II, it was used by the English army and was damaged by German bombings as well as being dying inside its walls.  After this, the BBC took possession of the building and in 1965, the BBC Club operated from the premises.  In 1986, the hotel was sold once again and after a $1.5 million restoration, it opened its doors again on March 4th 1991.

The hotel has had a large number of prestigious guests over the course of its history including Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Oscar Wilde, Mark Twain and Napoleon III, of whom we will hear more later.

Cricketers Encounters

According to the ECB (England and Wales Cricket Board), some of their players are already convinced that the hotel is haunted.  Several players requested to have their rooms changed and a number of wives declined to stay in the hotel after a series of strange noises and lights as well as taps turning on and off and spirits wandering around the hallways.

Player Stuart Broad said he was in his room when the taps turned on in the bathroom.  He turned on the lights only for the taps to turn back off and when he turned the lights out, the taps were back on again.  He was so unnerved by the activity that he requested a change of rooms.
Two other players, including wicketkeeper Matt Prior, were said to have felt presences in their rooms and were unable to sleep.

Ghosts of the Langham

As to who the ghosts were that disturbed the cricketers, there are a few candidates to choose from.  It is doubtful they encountered the ghost known for tipping beds as this would probably have been mentioned in the reports.  This ghost is a joker who enjoys tipping people out of their beds in the middle of the night and there are reports going back to the BBC times of people being woken by someone bouncing on their bed.  In 2003, one guest was so terrified by his antics that he fled the hotel in the middle of the night and refused to return to the hotel.

Perhaps the presence felt may have been the ghost of the silver haired doctor.  Since the 1960s, after the BBC took control of the building, a man was seen around the hotel with grey hair and dressed in Victorian clothing.  He wore a black coat and had a glazed look to him.  He was said to have committing suicide after murdering his bride in the hotel.

Some of the illustrious guests in the hotel’s history may have never left the premises after their stay.  Napoleon III has been seen in the hotel basement as well as the spirit of a German price who jumped from a window after the outbreak of the First World War.  There is also a German soldier patrolling the hotel wearing a military-style button up jacket and staring silently from a fourth-floor window.

One of the oldest ghosts is that of a footman who dates from the times when the Foley House stood on the property.  His presence is marked by a cold feeling.

Room 333

Finally, the most famous haunting in the hotel is that of Room 333.  One first hand report came from BBC Radio Announcer Alexander Gordon who was staying there in 1973 when he saw a fluorescent ball that changed into a man wearing Victorian eveningwear.  Gordon asked what the ghost wanted and it floated towards him, allowing him to see that its legs were missing two feet from the ground.  Its arms reached towards him, its eyes empty at which point he fled.  A colleague went back into the room with Gordon and they both saw the ghost slowly fading away.

A side note is that the floors of the hotel were raised two feet to allow central heating pipes to be installed, perhaps explaining why the lower parts of the spirit’s legs were missing – he was walking on the old floor level.

A desk clerk at the hotel said that most people avoid the room and those who have stayed in it are unaware of the stories.  He said he himself refused to step onto the 3rd floor at all.

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Famous Hauntings: RMS Queen Mary

The RMS Queen Mary is an ocean liner that sailed across the North Atlantic from 1936 until 1967 for the Cunard Line.  She was retired from service and left Southampton, England on 31st October 1967, arriving at her new home of Long Beach, California where she remains moored.  The ship is on the National Register of Historic Places.
RMS Queen Mary docked in Long Beach (Wikipedia)

History of the ship

The Queen Mary was built in the John Brown & Company Shipbuilding and Engineering shipyard on the River Clyde at Clydebank in Scotland.  Work began in 1930, was halted in 1931 due to the Great Depression and was completed in 1934, along with her sister ship, the Queen Elizabeth.  The ship was named for Mary, consort of King George V.

The Queen Mary sailed her maiden voyage from Southampton on 27th May 1936, headed for New York.  On board facilities included two indoor swimming pools, beauty salons, a music studio, outdoor paddle tennis courts and dog kennels.  To keep the children occupied, there were nurseries, a library and a lecture hall.  The largest room was the first class main dining room, or grand salon, which was three stories high while the cabin class swimming pool was two decks in height.  She was the first ocean liner to have her own Jewish prayer room – proof of anti-racism at the time of Nazi Germany.

War record

Late August 1939 saw the Queen Mary returning from New York to Southampton with a battlecruiser escort, HMS Hood.  This was in light of the growing tensions that would lead to the outbreak of World War II.  In March 1940, the Queen Mary, along with the Queen Elizabeth and the Normandie, the three largest cruise liners in the world, were forced to sit idle due to the war. 

New York 1945 (Wikipedia)
It was decided to use them for troopships but during the outfitting, the Normandie was destroyed by fire.  Queen Mary was sent to Sydney, Australia where she brought Australian and New Zealand soldiers back to the UK.  Incidentally, at this time, her superstructure and funnels were painted navy grey to help camouflage her and she was given the nickname the Grey Ghost.

During a voyage in 1942, the ship accidentally sank one of her escorts, the light cruiser HMS Curacoa with the loss of 239 lives.  Later that year, she carried 16,082 American soldiers from New York to the UK, a standing record for the most passengers ever transported on one ship.  During the voyage, she was hit with a 92 ft. wave that nearly capsized her and calculations later estimated that she rolled 52 degrees and had she gone 3 degrees further, she would have capsized.  This incident was said to be the inspiration for the story The Poseidon Adventure by Paul Gallico that was later made into a film.

Post War

The Queen Mary was refitted for passenger service between 1946-47 and with her sister ship, continued to dominate the transatlantic passenger trade in the 1940s and 1950s.  Passenger numbers began to drop with the first transatlantic jet crossing but through the 1960s both ships still averaged 1000 passengers per journey.  However, by 1965, the entire Cunard fleet was operating at a loss and both ships were forced to retire and sold off. 

When she retired, the Queen Mary had carried 2,112,000 passengers and sailed for 3,792,227 miles in her years of service, completing her 1,000th crossing of the North Atlantic to reach her new home.


The Queen Mary is now operated as a hotel and since the 1980s, there have been a score of reports of hauntings and strange happenings.  The floating hotel and museum that the ship now is has been called one of the most haunted places in the world with some estimates around 150 different ghosts on board.

The First Class Swimming Pool is said to be haunted by the ghosts of two women who both drowned in it at different times.  One dates from the 1930s while the other from the 1960s.  Ghostly wet footprints are often reported around the pool and the sounds of splashing water have been heard even though the pool is empty.  The dressing rooms associated with the pool have often been reported to have strange, negative vibes and be a portal for ghostly visitors to travel from one dimension to another.

A young girl nicknamed Jackie has been seen playing hide and seek in the area originally the second-class pool and singing nursery songs. 

The engine room is a particularly busy spot in ghostly terms.  It was used for the filming of The Poseidon Adventure film and at least two men have been killed by one single door in the room.  Door 13 has been said to have been crushed to death two men, the most recent in 1966 when an 18-year-old working on the crew was killed by it.  His ghost, in blue coveralls and with a beard, has been seen walking along Shaft Alley before vanishing through Door 13.

Grand Salon (Wikipedia)
The Queen’s Salon, the first class lounge, has the ghost of a young woman in a white evening gown who is seen dancing in the corner of the room.

A tall, dark haired man in 1930s style clothing has been seen in the first-class staterooms who may or may not be connected with reports of water running, lights turning on and off and phones ringing when no one is on the other end. 

In the third class children’s nursery, a baby crying is heard, believed to be an infant boy who died just after birth on the ship.

Across the ship, there have been reports of disembodied screams, phantom footsteps, sound and smells with no explanation and voices in empty rooms.


Saturday, 24 May 2014

Haunted Places of Alaska

Alaska is the extreme north-west part of the North American continent and is bordered completely by Canada.  It is the largest state in the USA but is also the least densely populated with around half of its entire population live in the Anchorage metropolitan area.  It also has a longer coastline than the rest of the US states combined at nearly 34,000 miles.


Anchorage is the largest city in the state and lies on a coastal lowland strip that extends to the lower slopes of the Chugach Mountains.  The city was transferred from Russia to the US in 1912 with the rest of the state at which point it was a significant mineral mining centre.


The original building of Clark Middle School was as much a fallout shelter as a school and was designed to allow helicopters to land in the event of war.  Whether the ghost comes from the time of the original building or the newer building is unknown but she has been seen by both teachers and students.  She is a woman in white who favours the band room as well appearing in empty hallways and also helps out by turning off the lights in empty classrooms.  She has been seen appearing through the floor so perhaps she is associated with the old building and is walking the layout as it was in her time.
Hanshew Middle School is haunted by the ghost of a girl who was said to have died during the construction of the school, though by accident or murder is unknown.  She is seen early on the morning and late at night, crying and shouting for help, her expression sad.  She has been seen by children in the school but also by janitors working there.
West High School sits overlooking Westchester Lagoon and is haunted by a woman in white who is seen in the old auditorium.  She has been seen by staff and children for a number of years, sometimes standing among the seats or other times backstage or even in the halls of the basement below.  There are also tales of a former janitor who continues about his duties when no-one is meant to be in the building and may be connected to the footsteps head in empty rooms, doors slamming by themselves and lights which switch on and off unassisted.

Marriott Ghosts

Source: Wikipedia
There are two Marriott hotels around Anchorage and both of them have connected ghost stories.  The Historic Anchorage Hotel has reports of a young girl who is seen walking on the 2nd floor and on the same floor, rooms 215 and 217 have reports of TV’s turning on and off as well as a bathtub which runs itself.  A man is seen on the stairs that vanishes and, perhaps connected, footsteps are heard coming down the stairs but no-one is there.
The Courtyard by Marriott is known for the ghost of a man who died in Room 201.  His body was not discovered for a few days, staff say, and his ghost is often seen in the room.  Another ghost wanders the parking lot and is called Ken, though whether this is his real-life name or merely a staff nickname is unknown.  He does sometimes make it around the to courtyard and into the gazebo too.  Finally, there is a ghost cat that is most commonly associated with Rooms 103 and 107.

University of Alaska

The Wendy Williamson auditorium of the University is a very paranormally active spot.  Props and furniture is thrown around, stage lights have exploded for no reason, footsteps are heard but cannot be explained and a strange shadow is seen on the walls.  Three different women reported trying to leave the bathroom to find the door being held shut but no-one is in sight when it is abruptly released.  The problems started when attempts were made to change the layout of the auditorium but plans were abandoned leaving a catwalk that cannot be used, an elevator shaft without an elevator and other strange features.
There is also an aggressive ghost in the foyer of the building that seems to have special malice for brunette women.  Some have been pushed down the stairs by the ghost and often strange reflections in the doors have been reported.


Fairbanks is the second largest city in Alaska and was founded in 1901 by Captain ET Barnette when his steamboat ran aground in shallow water and he and his party were deposited on the spot.  It is in the Tanana Valley either side of the Chena River and is at the edge of a chain of hills that eventually becomes the White Mountains.

Fairbanks Memorial Hospital

Source: Wikipedia
The hospital is said to be one of the most haunted places in the whole state.  Rumour says it was built on sacred Indian ground and these disturbed spirits may be responsible for some of the hauntings.  The hospital dates from just 1972 to take over from the St Joseph’s Hotel after much of it was destroyed in the Chena River Flood of 1967. 
There are reports of the sounds of babies in an empty room and this corresponds with a rapid drop in temperature that is recoded as low as 60 F.  Ghostly children and babies have been seen in the nursery area and there have also been reports of angels appearing in the rooms when a baby dies there.

Birch Hill Cemetery

The cemetery on Birch Hill overlooks the city and is haunted by the ghosts of children.  A young boy is seen walking around, dressed in clothing from the early 1900s and appears to be searching for someone.  A young girl in a white dress is the most famous ghost and is said to be contemporary of the boy.  She was photographed on one occasion by research Jessie Desmond. 
Shadow figures are common in the cemetery as well as a small, dark figure that floats just above the ground.  There are also reports of glowing orbs that are seen floating above the cemetery, often at the same time as the ghostly children are seen.


Skagway is an area on the Alaska Panhandle that is a hugely popular tourist spot during summer months.  Its port is a frequent stop for cruise ships and the White Pass and Yukon Route narrow gauge railroad both run from the town.  It was originally a Tlingit settlement and was settled by explorers who anticipated the Klondike gold rush.

Golden North Hotel

The Golden North Hotel was built in 1898 and is one of the oldest hotels in the state.  It was relocated in 1908 when a third floor was added and a golden dome.  There are two main hauntings mentioned in connection with the hotel.  The first is a spirit nicknamed Mary who was engaged to a man who was searching for gold in the area.  He sent for her and booked her into the hotel then went off prospecting but while he was away, Mary contract pneumonia.  She lay in Room 23, awaiting his return and getting sicker until she finally died before he returned.  Her spirit is often seen in the room while others have reported waking to a choking feeling as if they couldn’t breathe properly.
The other haunting is connected to Room 14 and comes in the form of a strange light.  Sometimes it appears late at night or sometimes just before dawn and is described as an orb or a small sparkle.  It is non-threatening and is often enjoyed by those who witness it.

Red Onion Saloon

The Red Onion Saloon is now a restaurant-bar, as well as a museum on prostitution but started out life as the real thing in the late 1890s.  It was a renowned casino and bordello that was later used as an army barracks during World War II, a TV station, a bakery and even a gift shop.  The second floor has ghostly footsteps and cold spots as well as a strong smell of perfume in rooms that haven’t been entered.  Police were even called out on one occasion when a shadowy figure was seen running along a hall by the former Madame’s room but they could find no trace of the intruder.

If you know more about these stories, or similar ones, please tell your tale below or alternatively if you wish to remain anonymous, contact me directly at angelatempestwriter@yahoo.co.uk

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Staked Skeletons and the Strigoi

In 2012, a report in the BBC highlighted the skeletons of Bulgaria, which were pierced through the chest with iron rods to prevent them turning into vampires.  There are around 100 ‘vampire skeletons’ across the country and this highlights the beliefs of the areas, which inspired the novels of Bram Stoker.


The Romanian Strigoi were the troubled souls of the dead who rose from the grave but can also be living people who have particular magic abilities.  These include the ability to transform themselves into an animal and making themselves invisible.  They drained their victims of vitality through loss of blood and were thought to be immortal.
The Strigoi were first spoken of by the Dacians, who lived in the area around the Carpathian Mountains which is today Romania, Moldova and Bulgaria amongst other countries.  They believed they were the spirits of the dead who could not enter the kingdom of Zalmoxis after death because of their unworthy actions.
The first named Strigoi was a Croatian named Jure Grando.  He died in 1656 and returned as a Strigoi after which he continued to terrorise his native village of Kringa until the local beheaded him in 1672.  The village priest who had buried him originally stated that Grando would knock on the door of someone around the village and somebody in the house would die in the next few days.
Petar Plogojowitz was another Strigoi from what is now Serbia whose staking was witnessed an Austrian official.  He had lived in a village called Kisiliova and died here in 1725, after which there was a series of mysterious deaths.  Nine people died in eight days and all claimed to have been throttled by Plogojowitz at night.  The locals demanded his grave was dug up and when officials did, they found the body had no decomposed, the hair was grown and there was blood in his mouth.  The body was staked through the heart and burned.

Modern Romanian vampires

In 1970, Bucharest saw a series of terrible crimes, which all took place at midnight in a rainstorm.  The victims were mostly waitresses returning home from a late shift.  The following year, Ion Rimaru was arrested and identified from his teeth marks on his victims.  During the trial, he was constantly drowsy and incoherent and in the end was interrogated at night as it was the only time he was lucid.  He was sentenced to death.  Shortly after, his father died in a strange accident and it came to light that his fingerprints matched a series of crime dating back to 1944.  The crimes were very similar to those committed by his ‘son’ including weather conditions and even some of the victims having the same names.

Other types of Strigoi

Apart from the traditional vampiric type Strigoi, there are two other types commonly mentioned in the stories of the area.  The Strigoi viu is a sorcerer, a living creature that steals from people but can also stop the rain and replace it with hail, leading to drought.

The other type is the Strigoi mort, the dead Strigoi, which is very dangerous.  It is demonic yet human and visits his family from the grave, acting almost normal until he bleeds his relatives until death.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Mars; The Busiest Dead Planet in the Solar System

Ever since the Mars Curiosity Rover landed on the red planet and started sending back its fascinating images, it seems that Mars has become a very busy place.  Between UFO’s and underground structures, moving rocks and animals, there seems to be a great deal happening on this dead planet.
The most recent footage picked up by UFO enthusiast StreetCap1 from last month seems to show a cone shaped UFO streaking across the sky.  What seems to be exhaust can be seen at the rear of the object.  The footage came from the one of the rover’s cameras and has been attributed to a meteorite or perhaps even something on the lens of the camera itself.  Dr John Bridges from the University of Leicester was quoted in the Leicester Mercury stating that the object may even be one of Mars moons, most likely Phobos.
And those who analyse these pictures are hoping that the fact that NASA released them is a sign of changing policies in the US space agency.  Josh Barker, from the agency, said the item was a UFO in the sense it was an unidentified flying object but that it was not an alien vessel.

Track record
It seems since the moment Curiosity landed on Mars, all the locals have been out to have a look.  Some of the first pictures taken saw a distant object which appeared then disappeared, but turned out to be dust from the sky crane which dropped the rover off.  It had impacted some 2000 feet away and thrown up a cloud of fine dust.
Two streaking objects were then leaked to a YouTube account ParanormalCollection said to have come from time-lapse cameras.  There was later some debate as to whether these had been faked by NASA and purposefully released to shake the credibility of researchers.  

Faces in the Sand
More recently, images released are said to contain a picture of a face half buried in the sand, perhaps a colossal-type statue.  Just behind the face is a sharply right-angled piece of rock which has been suggested to be a plinth for the statue.  The logic behind this is that nature does not create right-angles and these stones clearly show them.
This follows the comparison between an outcropping of rock on a flat plain which resembled tombs from Japan from the 5th century.  The Kofun tombs are described as having a central round mound then an almost triangular shaped area leading away from it.  NASA has said that the rocks could have been created by fracturing of the hills.

Scientific basis?
Interpretation of data from the HiRISE camera which is on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter by one geologists leads to the conclusion that there were once oceans on Mars.  Lorena Moscardelli, geologists at the University of Texas, Austin, is quoted on www.ufo-blogger.com stating that the boulders photographed on the planets northern plains show signs of movement by underwater landslides. 
In this possible view of Mars, the area known as Oceanus Borealis since it was first seen by the Viking Orbiter, could be an ocean stretching across a third of the planet.  The study likens it to similar movements in Arkansas, Argentina and Brazil where underwater events have effected huge areas.

And if there were water covering a third of the planet, then this would mean atmosphere and could this mean civilisation had also existed there?  Are the artefacts being photographed on the surface the remains of this civilisation, as the Pyramids are remains of an ancient civilisation in Egypt?

Top Haunted Spots of Alabama

Alabama is a south-eastern state of the US, which has been occupied thousands of years before European colonisation.  Europeans started arriving in the 1700s and since then, the state has seen civil war, racial issues and everything in between.  So it’s not surprising that there are plenty of haunted locations scattered around the state.  Here is a selection of some of them…

Indian Meadows, Adamsville
There are many sites across the world which are built on the burial sites of those who came before, and Indian Meadows is said to be one of them.  But the spirits are not resting easily and are frequently seen in the woods around the outskirts of the area in the form of dark figures.  When the witness checked out the figures, no-one is there and similarly when people have heard scratching at the doors or windows at night. One man found claw marks along the banister of his porch when he checked out the noises the next morning.

Highway 431, Albertville
Just off Highway 431 near the town of Albertville is a typical haunted house.  The property is said to be haunted by it’s first owner who died in the garden when his tractors overturned.  His wife sold the house due to the weird noises and the next owners reported the same thing.  They became so frightened; they left in the middle of the night, and their belongings were still in the house.  Even when empty, it was busy as neighbours have reported seeing lights on.

St Clair County Jail, Asheville
Jails often see the passing of people, through one reason or another and the St Clair County Jail is no different.  Both inmates and jailers have reported a range of strange feelings in the cells including inexplicable cold spots, feelings of being watched or touched when alone while items in empty rooms are moved around.  Electric locks are often interfered with and have to be operated manually while strange mists have appeared on security cameras.

Tutwiler Hotel, Birmingham
Opened as a luxury hotel in 1914, the Tutwiler Hotel was constructed to fulfil the need for somewhere for businessmen could stay when the city grew rapidly.  One of the shareholders, Major Tutwiler, is still believed to be in the hotel, undeterred by the fact he died some years ago.  There have been various reports from guests on the 6th floor usually concerning strange knocking at the door in the middle of the night.  When the guest opens the door, there is no-one in sight.  The Major also enjoys spending time in the restaurant where he turns on lights which have been switched off and on one occasion, a meal had been cooked, laid on the table and wine taken from the cabinet.  All while the hotel had been closed overnight.

Sloss Furnace, Birmingham
Sloss Furnace is probably one of the most well-known haunted locations across the state.  It worked transforming coal and ore from the local area into hard steel from 1882-1971 which was used across the country.  One particularly harsh supervisor died in a horrible accident when he fell into a vat of melted iron ore and rumours abound that he had been killed by workers.  During his time, 47 workers had lost their lives, 10 times more than other shifts.  But his death did not see the end of his supervision.  Workers spoke of an unnatural presence and a watchman in 1926 was physically injured when he was pushed from behind.  He searched the grounds but found he was along.  In 1947, three supervisors at the plant went missing and were found in the boiler room.  They had been approached by a man with burned skin who shouted at them angrily.  They did not have any idea how they had ended up in the room!  There have been over 100 witness reports from Sloss Furnaces according to local police records, and a website now exists to document the happenings.

Fort Gaines
Fort Gaines stands on Dauphin Island and is the site of the Battle of Mobile Bay from the Civil War.  It sits metres from the Gulf of Mexico and is home to an array of spirits as well as the staff.  Confederate and union soldiers are often reported walking the grounds including one particular soldier who follows people around.  He continued to do this until they leave through the front gate, perhaps suspicion of them being up to no good.

USS Alabama, Mobile
The USS Alabama was brought to Mobile in 1964 to be a memorial for veterans as well as a tourist attraction.  There were only eight deaths on her when she was in service, and they came during an accident with a gun mount.  Workers on the ship have reported footsteps approaching them, only for no-one to be near while voices are heard from empty rooms.  More spectacularly, heavy steel hatches would suddenly slam shut, and investigations could find no reason for the movement.  Perhaps the old sailors were still with their ship…

University of Montevallo
The university was founded in 1896 as a girl's school, but several of the buildings are older than both.  There are stories of a tunnel system running beneath the campus used in the Civil War, which has a haunting presence while cold spots and strange occurrences happen in many of the buildings.  In the main dormitory, a student was burned alive in an accident and the door of her room carried an impression of her body.  Since then, whenever a new door is fitted, the same outline appears on the new door.  Screams and moans have also been heard in the hallway.

St James Hotel, Selma

St James Hotel is another of the ‘most haunted’ sites of the state, and it’s ghosts are quite famous.  The hotel was built in 1837 making it one of the oldest facilities still used as a hotel across Alabama.  Two of the ghosts reported from the hotel is that of outlaw Jesse James and his girlfriend who were said to have stayed in the hotel in 1881.  James is often seen in the bar area as well as the room he stayed in and were described by his clothing, typical of a man of that time.  His girlfriend, Lucinda, has her picture hanging on the ground floor and her presence is recognised by the scent of lavender.  There are also residual hauntings around the building, like a replay of past events, as if a party was taking place in the 1800s and a glimpse back then was being offered.

If you have any experience of any of these places, or any haunting story you would be willing to share, please get in touch.  I am happy to keep stories anonymous if you would prefer.

Friday, 31 January 2014

10 Most Haunted Castles in North East England

There are no shortage of castles in County Durham, Tyne and Wear and Northumberland and most of them have history going back centuries so the odd haunting or two isn’t a surprise.  Here are just a few with a little idea of who might be spotted if a ghost hunt was undertaken…

  1. Barnard Castle
Barnard Castle is a ruined castle built by Guy de Balliol from 1095 in the town of the same name which is now grade I listed.  The castle was besieged by Alexander II of Scotland in 1216 while still held by the Balliol family, a member of whom later became then was deposed king of Scotland.  In 1296 it became the property of the Bishops of Durham then the Earl of Warwick before coming to the Neville family by marriage in the 15th century.  In 1477, Richard Duke of Gloucester, later Richard III, took possession of the castle and it became a favoured residence.  It returned to the Neville family who held it until Charles Neville, 6th Earl of Westmorland, was involved in the Rising of the North and the lands taken by the crown.  The castle was abandoned and much masonry was removed to improve nearby Raby Castle.

Haunting: The main haunting noted is that of a woman who is seen re-enacting her death.  She is believed to be called Lady Ann Day, though the dates involved in her death are unknown.  She was thrown from the castle and is seen falling into the river near County Bridge.

  1. Bowes Castle
Bowes Castle was built in the village of Bowes replaced an earlier timber castle within the boundaries of the Roman fort of Lavatrae.  It dates from 1170-74 and was built under orders from Henry II with the village being laid out at the same time.  It was attacked by the Scottish in the Great Revolt of 1173-74 but was looted by rebels in 1322 and went into decline after this.  The ruins are now a tourist attraction run by English Heritage and include a largely intact keep which is grade I listed.

Haunting: the anniversary haunting at the castle dates from Roman times.  The story goes that the garrison at Lavatrae stole gold and valuables from the village and were then slaughtered when the villagers banded together and attacked.  But the Romans had hidden the treasure beforehand and with them all being dead, the villagers were unable to find their gold, which has never been recovered.  On the anniversary of the massacre, the garrison soldiers are seen at the castle re-enacting the burial of the gold.  There are also regular sightings of a dark shadow moving around the castle.

  1. Durham Castle
Durham Castle was built in the 11th century to try and quell the disruption amongst the ‘wild and fickle’ population of the north after the Norman Conquest and is an early example of motte and bailey castles that the Normans specialised in.  It was given to the Bishops of Durham as his seat and it remained their possession until 1840 when it was given to the University of Durham for student housing and the bishops moved to Auckland Castle.

The Castle is known for features including a Great Hall created by Bishop Antony Bek in the 1400s which was the largest Great Hall until another later bishop shortened it a century later.  It still stands at 14m high and over 30m long.  It is used now for students and staff to take their meals while the Undercroft is a Junior Common Room.  There are two chapels, the Norman Chapel (1078) and the Tunstall’s Chapel (1540) in the castle both used for religious services and theatrical performances. 

Hauntings: The Black Staircase has the ghost of a Grey Lady who fell to her death on the staircase and has been identified as Isabella Van Mildert, the wife of the 19th century Bishop of Durham.  When she is seen, she walks at a different level to the current staircase due to alterations since her time.
Another ghost is an early student named Frederick Copeman who committed suicide from the tower when he failed his exams.  His room was said to be the highest at the top of the Black Staircase, Room 21, which now stands empty.  There are frequent reports of poltergeist-type activity in this room and phantom footsteps are also associated with Copeman.

  1. Raby Castle
Raby Castle was built in the mid-14th century by John Neville, 3rd Baron Neville de Raby, a Knight of the Garter who served as Admiral of the North and Steward to the Kings Household.  His grand-daughter, Cecily, married Richard of York and had thirteen children including King Edward IV and Richard III.  Raby stayed with the family until the Rising of the North in 1569 when Charles Neville led a rebellion against Queen Elizabeth I which was unsuccessful and saw him flee to the continent and loose his lands. 
In 1626 Raby Castle and its lands were purchased by Sir Henry Vane who used stone from nearby Barnard Castle to rebuild it.  The current owner is John Vane, 11th Baron Barnard.

Hauntings: Charles Neville is one of the ghosts who are seen in the castle, in the Baron’s or Great Hall.  Another family ghost is said to be Sir Henry Vane the Younger, who was beheaded after a questionable trial following the execution of Charles I, even though he had no part in the matter.  He is seen at a writing desk in the library with his severed head beside the paper he is writing on.  Lady Elizabeth Holles, who married Henry’s son Christopher, is also said to haunt the castle.  She is known as Old Hell Cat due to her strange behaviour surrounding her two sons’ choice of commoner wives and took to sitting in Clifford’s Tower, knitting furiously.  The sounds and sight of her needles are reported today.

  1. Walworth Castle
Walworth Castle is a 16th century mansion house built in medieval castle style, now a grade I listed building on the site of a former Hansard family property from the 12th century.    The property passed to the Ayscough family by marriage in 1539 but was sold when the family line died out.  It was bought by Thomas Jennison, Auditor General of Ireland and his wife Elizabeth and during their ownership, King James VI of Scotland stayed at the property.  During World War II it was used as a prisoner of war camp for 200 men including officers from Italy and Germany and was bought by the county council in 1950.  It opened as a hotel in 1981 and has been renovated in 2000-06.

Haunting: the main haunting is connected with a maid who fell pregnant to a lord of the manor at some unspecified time.  Instead of admitting the affair, the lord had the girl bricked up in a wall where a spiral staircase was being renovated.  It is the girl’s ghost who is said to haunt the building and has been seen walking along the corridor by the honeymoon suite and appearing from the wall by the staircase.    A young woman has also been seen sitting in an armchair, but whether this is the same girl or not is unknown.  There are also reports of footsteps climbing the stairs to one of the turrets, chambermaids having their hair pulled and guests experiencing someone sitting on the edge of their beds when no-one is there.

  1. Bamburgh Castle
The site of Bamburgh Castle has been used since ancient times, home to a fort known as Din Guarie and a possible capital of the kingdom in the region dating to 420AD.  The Normans built a new castle on the site and was taken by the crown from its owner Robert de Mowbray, Earl of Northumbria.  Henry II built the keep and the castle saw frequent Scottish raids.  It became the first castle in England to be defeated by Artillery after a 9 month siege by Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick during the War of the Roses in 1464.
The castle passed through various hands after this and saw periods of deterioration and restoration before being comprehensively restored by Victorian industrialist William Armstrong.  His family still hold the property.

Hauntings: As an ancient property, Bamburgh has picked up a selection of ghosts across the centuries.  The Pink Lady is said to be a broken hearted Northumbria princess who dressed herself in her finest pink dress and threw herself to the rocks below when her father lied to her, telling her that her love had married someone else.  She is seen every seven years looking out at sea for his return.
Green Jane went to castle to beg for food, carrying her baby but was cruelly turned away by guards.  She was either pushed or fell down the stairs and both died.  A young woman carrying a bundle is seen on the Clock Tower steps who falls but when people come to her aid, she vanishes.

There have also been reports of clanking armour, chains and stomping feet connected with a ghostly knight on the grounds of the castle while the Tapestry Passage has the ghost of a young soldier who believed to have committed suicide or died from his wounds while the castle was used in World War II for convalescing soldiers.

  1. Chillingham Castle
Chillingham Castle is the seat of the Grey family and their descendants, the Earls of Tankerville from the 13th century until the 1980s.  The castle started out as a monastery in the 12th century and in 1298 Edward I stayed there on his way to battle the Scottish army led by William Wallace.  The castle continued to be strategically important into medieval times and was repeatedly attacked leading to fortifications that were 12 feet thick in places. 
In 1617, James I, the first king of both England and Scotland, stayed in the castle when travelling between the two.  After this time, the need for the castle decline so the moat was filled and the battlements converted to residential areas.  A banquet hall and library were also added.  During World War II, the castle was used as army barracks and fell into disrepair afterwards.  In the 1980s it was purchased by Sir Humphrey Wakefield, 2nd Baronet, who painstakingly restored the castle.

Haunting: Chillingham Castle has the reputation as one of the most haunted castles in the region.  The most commonly reported ghost is that of the ‘Radiant Boy’, a child ghost who appears in the Pink Room and whose cries of fear or pain are heard at midnight in the corridors.  The cries are particularly associated with a passage cut through the 10-feet thick wall to an adjoining tower and as the cries stopped, a bright light would appear followed by the figure of a young boy, dressed in blue.  The room was investigated and small bones with scraps of blue cloth around them were found and given a proper burial.  The boy did not reappear until Sir Humphrey started letting the room out when blue flashes of light were reported.
The spirit of Lady Berkeley, wife of Lord Grey, is also said to haunt the castle after her husband ran off with her own sister and left her with their daughter.  Her rustling dress is heard as she searches for her missing husband and a cold chill marks her presence.
The Inner Pantry area has another ghost, a pale lady in white.  At one time, this was where the silver was kept in the castle and a guardsman posted at night.  One night he was approached by a woman in white who asked for a glass of water which he went to fetch when he realised the castle was locked up and there was no way the woman could have entered.
The Minstrel’s Gallery overlooks what is now the Tea Room and here people have reported feeling sickly, getting bad headaches and even being pushed down the stairs.  This is blamed on a strange creature which appeared from beneath the floor when the Tea Room was being renovated, appearing as a giant toad which changed to a human then vanished!

  1. Dunstanburgh Castle
Dunstanburgh Castle is the largest castle in Northumberland and was built by the Earl of Lancaster in 1313 on an earlier site.  It was later improved by John of Gaunt in the 14th century.  It was damaged during the War of the Roses and fell steadily into decline.  It was composed of two d-shaped towers of four stories and originally had turrets 80 feet above the ground called the Lilburn and Constable Towers.

Hauntings: one ghost said to haunt the site is Thomas, Earl of Lancaster, builder of the castle who executed for treason by Edward II in 1322 and whose ghost has been seen walking around his home.  Margaret of Anjou, wife of Henry VI, also appears as a white lady as this was the last place she stayed before she was captured and taken to France to be imprisoned.  Luminous figures reported are also believed to be the spirits of former guards, still patrolling the ruins in case of attack.

  1. Tynemouth Castle & Priory
Tynemouth Castle stands on a rocky headland called Pen Bal Crag overlooking Tynemouth Pier.  On the grounds is a Benedictine priory where early kings of Northumbria were buried along with the moated castle towers, gatehouse and keep.  The priory was founded in the 7th century and in 651, Oswin, king of Deira, was buried here, later becoming St Oswin with his burial place being visited by pilgrims.  Malcolm III of Scotland is also buried at Tynemouth after his death at the battle of Alnwick in 1093.  Two years later, Robert de Mowbray took shelter there after rebelling against William II, who besieged the castle for two months.
At this time, the castle was earthen ramparts and a wooden stockade.  By 1296, the priory was granted royal permission to surround the monastery with stone walls and in 1390, a gatehouse and barbican were added.  Edward II took shelter in the castle in 1312, events which were written of my Christopher Marlowe in his play named for the king.
In 1538, the monastery was disbanded and lands taken by Henry VIII who granted them to Sir Thomas Hilton.  The monastic buildings were dismantled and the castle was updated with gun-ports.  The castle was the birth place of Henry Percy, 9th earl of Northumberland.
By the end of the 19th century the castle was used as a barracks with many added buildings but a lot of these were removed after a fire in 1936.  During World War II, it served as coastal defence covering the mouth of the River Tyne.

Hauntings: the main story of Tynemouth concerns Olaf, a Danish raider who washed up on the beach after a shipwreck and was saved and nursed back to health by the monks in the priory.  When his brother in turn raided the priory and castle, he defended it and both brothers died in the battle.  He has since been seen walking the grounds or sitting looking out to sea from an outcropping stone.

  1. Blenkinsopp Castle, Greenhead
Blenkinsopp Castle is a partly, ruined country mansion incorporating the remains of a 14th century tower house 1 mile from Greenhead, a grade I listed building and Scheduled Ancient Monument.  The manor was held by the Blenkinsopp family from the 13th century when they started their building but by 1541, a report stated the roof was in decay and the tower in poor repair.  The family abandoned the castle in favour of other properties at Bellister Castle and Dryburnhaugh.  Renovations were completed in 1877 by William Blenkinsopp Coulson which created the large mansion house on the site and the new property was sold to Edward Joicey.  It was damaged by fire in 1954 and large parts were demolished on safety grounds.

Hauntings: there are two main ghosts associated with the property.  A phantom hound appears when the owner of the property is near death while the other ghost is a white lady said to be the wife of Bryan de Blenkinsopp.  She became upset when gossip said she had married him for his money so she hid the treasure causing her husband to fly into a rage and leave the castle.  She waited for years for his return but he came back so now she haunts the castle, still waiting for his return and guarding the treasure she hid.