Are you afraid of things that go bump in the night? What about murderous doctors, ghostly Queens or most terrifyingly of all, butlers with holey socks? No? Well if you think you’re so brave then how about visiting one of these haunted hotels this Halloween and see if you get a peaceful night’s sleep.
Ghost hunters are spoiled for choice when it comes to The Langham. You’ve got the German prince who threw himself off a balcony and now stalks the corridors at night; a man with an oozing wound across his face and a very unbutlery butler who walks around in holey socks. Trumping all of them though is room 333. It was here that a Victorian (why are they so often Victorian?) doctor was said to have murdered his wife and then took his own life whilst they were on their honeymoon. And keeping things festive, he’s only said to appear in October. Of course, then you’ve got the fact that it’s room 333, 3am is said to be the witching hour, 3:33am is said to be the devil’s favourite time and 333 is half of the devil number. There have been numerous sightings and unexplained happenings in the room so unless you’re into being creeped out, stay away.
With such charming places as a drowning pool, whipping pit and a dungeon, it’s not surprising that Ruthin Castle Hotel is home to a few strange going ons. Guests have reported hearing loud footsteps, changes in temperature, crying, a soldier missing a glove and people calling out for help. The most famous of the ghouls though is the Grey Lady. After discovering her husband was having an affair she got rid of the mistress by taking an axe to her. Of course the Grey Lady herself was sentenced to death, but being a murderer she couldn’t be buried on consecrated ground, instead you’ll find her grave just outside the castle walls. She now walks the grounds and roams throughout the castle and has even be supposedly photographed by a couple staying at the hotel.
Made famous by Daphne du Maurier’s tale, Jamaica Inn sits on the eerie Bodmin moor and is so good, some of its visitors have returned after they’ve passed on. It’s said that on a moonlit night you can hear horses’ hooves and metal wheels on the cobblestones, uneasy footsteps pacing the corridors and a man in a tricone hat and cloak walks through the solid walls. Perhaps the creepiest story of all though is of an unknown drinker who was called outside when he still had half an ale left to finish, he never returned and the next day his body was found on the bleak moor. The murder was never solved but it received a lot press coverage in 1911 when locals saw a man who looked uncannily liked the murdered stranger sitting outside the pub. He didn’t move or speak but unexplained footsteps were heard returning to the spot where he had left his drink. If you need any more convincing then, when TV programme Most Haunted filmed at Jamaica Inn they said it was one of their most spooky recordings.
It’s in the name, Chillingham Castle, it’s going to give you the chills and not just because it’s a lofty castle and central heating is a nightmare. The 13th century castle is said to be home to a number of ghosts, including a frail woman who asks for water in the pantry, a sense that someone is trying to guide you and two men can be heard talking in the chapel. With so much paranormal activity said to be contained within the walls, the castle host popular ghost tours, with many guests reporting seeing or sensing something spooky.
With oak beams and roaring fires, The Talbot Hotel is the perfect place to settle down with a good ghost story on a cold afternoon and if you’ve forgotten your book, you can keep an eye out for the ghost in residence, who despite it being an Elizabethan building, is Mary Queen of Scots. Not one to be tied down, Mary came with the stairs when they were taken from the ruins of Fotheringhay Castle and it was these stairs that she descended on the way to her execution.
Sitting just outside the historic town of Minchinhampton (it could be a poster town for quaint Gloucestershire towns) is The Ragged Cot, a charming 17th century coaching inn, with a more sinister past. As the story goes, in 1760 ex-landlord Bill Clavers decided to rob the stage coach that was travelling to London. After he got drunk on rum and loaded his pistols he pushed past his wife who was holding their child (and pleading him not to do it), and she tumbled down the stairs. Having robbed the coach he found his dead wife and child at the bottom of the stairs, panicking he put them in a trunk, but when the police arrived they were approached by their ghosts. Somehow in the morning the bodies were back on the floor and Bill Clavers was arrested and sentenced to death. Guests are said to have heard strange noises and seen ghostly apparitions roaming around.
Littlecote House Hotel may now be a luxurious hotel, but it is also rated as one of the most haunted houses in the country, partly thanks to the wicked ‘Wild Will’ who owned the house in the late 1500s. Wild Will was charged with murdering a newborn baby in a fire, some say it was his and his sister’s child, and now a phantom mother, baby and midwife (who witnessed the murder) have been seen around the house. Meanwhile Wild Will met a grisly death when he fell from his horse and it is thought he returned to his house to pace the corridors for eternity, on a less gruesome note there’s also a black dog that keeps the ghosts company.
Rather than try and hush up the haunted goings on at their hotel, Mosborough Hall offers a package especially for those in search of ghosts. The Lord John Darcy Suite is said to be haunted by the White Lady of Mosborough Hall. Back in the 1600’s a governess, unfortunately got a little too friendly with the squire and ended up pregnant. He promised her money and a cottage, but ran into financial difficulties, so to stop her from telling his wife, he dealt with her by slitting her throat. Charming. Angry voices heard in the room are meant to be the echoes of their final argument, whilst her beloved dog who pined to death by body, keeps guests awake with his howling.
With 800 years of history and a dungeon you’d feel pretty shortchanged if Dalhousie Castle (once the home of the Ramsay clan) didn’t have any grisly past. Luckily Dalhousie Castle Hotel has a few ghostly residents, there’s the Grey Lady or Lady Catherine, once a mistress of a Ramsay lairds, she was locked up in a turret and left to perish and Sir Alexander Ramsay who was left to starve to death in Hermitage Castle after he was taken prisoner.
If you are looking for ghostly experiences, then ask for room 8 when staying at the impressive Scottish Tulloch Castle. It’s in this room that a guest reported waking up to find the ghost of two girls sitting on his chest trying to suffocate him, his room was also icy cold. The Green Lady (there is definitely a theme to the names of these ghosts) also mopes around the halls having died after falling down a spiral staircase.