Category Archives: Ghosts & Hauntings

The Chase Vault (Barbados)

The Chase Vault

Contributed by Matthew Hucke (

In Christ Church cemetery on the island of Barbados there is a burial vault of unknown origin. The earliest records call it the “Chase vault”. It was first used for the burial of a Mrs. Goddard in 1807, followed by two-year-old Mary Ann Chase in 1808 and her sister Dorcas in 1812, a probable suicide. A few weeks later, Dorcas’ father Thomas Chase died. When the vault was opened, all the coffins had been moved from their original places. It was thought that thieves had been in the vault, but the concrete seal of the tomb was still in place.

Two more burials were made in 1816. In both cases, when the vault was opened, the coffins already present had been moved about. The casket of Thomas Chase was of lead, weighing 240 pounds, far too large to be moved by a single vandal. In each of these burials, the wor- kers returned the coffins to their proper places and sealed the mauso- leum with cement.

It happened again in 1819. This time, the Governor sprinkled sand on the floor (to show footprints), and pressed his personal seal into the fresh cement. In 1820 the tomb was opened again, and the coffins were again out of place, even though no footprints showed and the concrete seal was undisturbed. The governor ordered the coffins removed and the vault left open; the mystery has never been solved.

[ information taken from Daniel Cohen’s _The Encyclopedia of Ghosts_, Avon Books 1984.]

Carisbrooke Castle (Isle of Wight, England)

Subject: ghosts at Carisbrooke Castle, England
Date: Saturday, March 13, 2004 8:04 AM

Dear Obiwan

Carisbrooke Castle is well known as the place the doomed King Charles I was imprisoned before his execution – and from which he failed to escape. It is also haunted by a number of ghosts and you might like to use this story on your famous hauntings page.



For more than nine centuries the castle at Carisbrooke on the Isle of Wight, in the South of England, has stood firm against attack. Only once, in 1136, did the castle surrender…when the Keep well unfortunately ran dry. Another was sunk without delay – this time in the courtyard, where the 161ft deep shaft through solid rock took three years to construct. Just over 5ft wide, it usually contains 40ft of water. Originally, prisoners were used to work a huge wooden treadwheel drawing buckets up from the depths. By 1690 donkeys had taken over the work – now three centuries on, donkeys Jenny, Jacob, Joseph and Jubilee are among the castle’s biggest attractions.

So when Debi and Graham Wendes, from Chelmsford, Essex, visited the Island in August 1992, they naturally went to Carisbrooke Castle. For Debi however, that bank holiday Monday turned into an experience she can’t forget.

“We went into the well-house, but as I perched on the stonework of the well I started to feel really awful. I had an overwhelming impression I should not be in there, then glancing into the well I saw a girl’s face looking up at me. In her late teens or early twenties, she was very slender-faced with dark curly hair pulled over to one side. Her face was very pale. She wore no jewellery and her clothing was dark, but not black. She was several feet down, below the iron grill, slightly to one side of the mouth of the well. Her dress billowed around her as though waterlogged and she seemed to be tangled up in it. I was suddenly overwhelmed with such a terrible feeling of grief that I had to get out.”

Debi rushed outside, leaving her husband and son in the well house. But sitting in the courtyard in the sunshine, she continued to receive troubling images and emotions from the girl in the well. “I still felt clammy, claustrophobic and had trouble breathing. Whoever the girl was, I had a strong impression that her death was an accident; that she had gone into the well house in a very distressed state, slipped and fallen down the well. She was trying to tell me that she had not deliberately taken her own life.”

Debi asked the museum curators if anybody had ever fallen down that well. No records could be found of such an accident, they said. A body did go down the well in the J Meade Falkner adventure novel ‘Moonfleet’ set in Carisbrooke Castle – but that was pure fiction. I have discovered however that in 1632 Elizabeth Ruffin, the young daughter of the Mayor of Newport, “threw herself down a well at the castle.” Oglander, the Island’s 17th century diarist who recorded this in his papers, assumed this was the well in the Keep. It would appear that he assumed wrongly…


The light was slowly fading as Pat Barrett and her husband Michael set out to walk their dogs around Carisbrooke Castle. It was a warm summer’s evening on Saturday, August 6th 1994. As they strolled around the castle moat, the couple noticed a young woman ahead of them, also walking two small dogs.

” I suddenly realised I could see right through her. The bushes and trees behind her were clearly visible,” said a startled Pat. “My husband could see her as well. She was in Victorian costume with a bonnet, a long, light-coloured skirt and dark blouse or jacket which could have been brown. She was in her mid-twenties. At times she appeared to be quite solid, then would fade, becoming transparent, like a reflection in a shop window. I could not see her feet under her flowing skirt as she seemed to be gliding a little above the ground. The apparition appeared to us for at least five minutes at different places around the castle – almost as if she was taunting us or playing with us, showing herself and then disappearing again.

“Finally she crossed the car park in front of the castle entrance, moved to the hedge by a bridle path and slowly faded away. The place was eerily quiet. We had passed a couple with two children earlier on our walk but otherwise the path was deserted.”

Curiously, the Barretts’ two young dogs, a Lakeland terrier and Lakeland cross, did not react in any way to the apparition’s presence – or to her two little ghost-dogs. “If there are people with dogs in front, our two usually pull at their leads and sniff at the ground where the other animals have been, but this time they took no notice at all. I could not see her two dogs clearly. They just appeared as small dark patches at her side, like black Scottish terriers. But I could clearly see the leads which she held out in front of her.

“I was rather unnerved, especially when I realised I could see right through the woman, but later I felt that we were privileged to have seen her. We even returned to the castle at 9.05 the following evening in case she was there again, but we weren’t lucky this time,” Pat admitted.


Yet another figure with dogs has been seen inside the castle itself. This time, four dainty lap-dogs on very long, thin leather leashes were being walked by a mysterious woman in a long cloak. Mrs June Kehoe, of London, was with a party of visiting schoolchildren when she saw the apparition near the main gatehouse. It was lunch-time on Whit Monday 1994, and the weather – unusually for a bank holiday – was exceptionally hot.

“I was on duty near the shop counting the children in and out, when I noticed a woman coming across the courtyard towards us. Four tiny lapdogs on leashes several feet long were trotting ahead of her. She was walking towards some wooden posts with a chainlink fence and I thought, ‘Silly woman. She is going to get tangled in that fence’. ”

June wondered why the woman was wearing such heavy and inappropriate clothes on a hot day, assuming she was a “living history” actress there to entertain the visitors. However this theory was soon proved wrong. When the figure was just six feet from her, one of the pupils called to June who glanced away briefly. ” When I looked back, she had vanished. It was so very odd that I even walked out of the gate in search of her. I never saw her face, but she was dressed in a long dark costume – a dress or cloak – which covered her feet, moving with her as she walked. There was no crunching of footsteps on the gravel and the dogs made no noise at all.” June was not the only one to witness this shade from the past. On the coach back to their Sandown hotel, a fellow teacher commented on the woman with those little dogs who had seemed so strangely out of place and time.


Many people enjoy a walk around the moat and paths surrounding the castle – Christine Candler is no exception. An early riser, she was out and about at 8am one Sunday morning a few summers past when she had a curious encounter with a young man dressed in very old-fashioned garb. As in the previous story, Christine also assumed at first that he was part of one of the Castle’s special “living history” events, so paid no heed to the figure which appeared in front of her as she walked her dog up a well-worn path off Castle Hill.

“He wore a brown jerkin and trousers with a wide leather belt. He was in his twenties or early thirties. He greeted me with the words ‘reet grayley’ which sounded like some sort of old dialect.”

Even then it didn’t occur to Christine that this could be a ghost. She followed closely behind him up the steps towards the castle, but when she reached the top he had disappeared. “He had looked so solid and real. It was a very strange experience, especially when he spoke. I remember those words so clearly. I would dearly love to know what they mean.”

After so many centuries Carisbrooke Castle has a special atmosphere all of its own. Each year thousands of visitors walk the walls, climb the ramparts, peer down the wells and watch the donkeys toil at the treadwheel. Of course the castle has its ghosts. And once in a while, when conditions are just right, they appear briefly to give those of us lucky enough to see them, a fleeting glimpse of the past .

Story submitted by Gay Baldwin

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Chanctonbury Ring (West Sussex, England)

From: Anonymous
Subject: Chanctonbury Ring
Date: Thursday, November 13, 2003 9:19 AM


Would you be so kind as to submit my story on your website? I have no preference where you include the story, although it would probably fit in on the “Haunted Places You Can Visit” section. I’ll leave this up to your own discretion.

I have previously submitted this story to the Fortean Times Messageboard:…

If you do decided to submit my story, I would prefer it if my contact information was not displayed.

By the way, this is a true account of what happened to me at Chanctonbury Ring on the South Downs, West Sussex, England.


The following incident happened to me at Chanctonbury Ring on the South Downs, just west of Brighton in the UK. Something scary happened to me there, of which I shall now recount:

A few years ago I had taken a day off from work, and as my girlfriend had to work that day, I had some spare time to myself. It was a bright, crisp February morning and I decided to drive over to Chanctonbury Ring and explore the area with my dog. I had driven past the spot a couple of times and it looked like a pleasant place to walk.

Anyway, we arrived and amiably walked up the footpath towards the Ring. There was a thick layer of ground mist at the base of the Downs but the sun could faintly be seen trying to break through and as we reached the summit we had risen above the stratum of mist and the sky was clear and blue, the sun was shining and the surrounding view was magnificent. From above I could see a vast expanse of low-lying hazy mist partially obscuring the surrounding landscape. In some places the tops of trees would break through the haze, giving the surrounding terrain an ethereal, mystical ambiance… all in all it was glorious.

We walked a few miles along the South Downs Way, taking in the isolation, silence, fresh air and sights, and enjoying the uncommon but exceptional sunshine before turning back. When I got back to the Ring I took a breather before attempting the descent back down the hill to the car park, and I sat down on a tree stump beside the perimeter of the Ring.

Being an excitable but diligent thing, Bonnie, my dog (Heinz all-sorts – partly German Shepherd, partly Collie, and a bunch of other breeds for luck), whined impatiently. I took it to be an indication that she wanted to partake in a quick game of tug-o-war with branch, but unable to find anything at hand I asked her to, “Go find sticky!” To which she pricked up her ears and ran around attentively trying to find a sufficient enough stick to play with.

After a while, and noticing that she was unable to find a stick, I looked around and noticed a few appropriate size branches lying on the ground within the Ring. I motioned for her to go and get one, but she appeared to not notice, and continued to search along the clearing away from the Ring.

Getting impatient, I got up, stepped over a broken piece of fence that was encircling the ring (I guess the fence was there to prevent interlopers from damaging the recent saplings that had been planted there), picked up a branch and beckoned for her to come over and play…

Instead she sat down, and did that quizzical look that dogs sometimes do – ears pricked up, head tilted to the side. I called her again but she didn’t budge – just whined a little and still sitting, did a little side shuffle as if to say, “I ain’t moving”.

As I made a step out of the ring towards her, she instantly stood up, heckles raised, and half-heartily ran away with her tail between her legs. Plainly distressed, she ran for about ten meters before stopping to look back at me. (I must emphasise; Bonnie is usually a very obedient dog, habitually stays close at heel off the lead and has never run away from me before.)

I made a few more tentative steps towards her, whereupon she suddenly scampered off northwards towards some woodland clinging to the side of the hill and a steep narrow tree-lined animal-trail leading down the hill. I dropped the branch, and made a dash at her in the hope of intercepting her, but failed and I continued on after her down the trail.

The trail was steep, wet and lined with a scree of loose flint gravel, which could be described as treacherous – rivulets of ice, which despite it being a fairly warm day, was still noticeable on the ground… And before I knew it I lost my footing and I found myself slipping down the embankment on my backside. I slid down a few feet before grabbing hold of a tree to halt my fall.

Still lying on the ground, I composed myself for a few seconds, then hollered out for Bonnie… I couldn’t see or hear her and held my breath hoping to isolate the sound of her scuttling about… Apart from the usual sounds of breeze grazed trees and the occasional droplets of moisture dropping to the ground, it was silent… Then I started to get what I can only describe as tinnitus. My ears hurt, my head felt like it was in a vice, the air suddenly felt like it was denser – similar to that experienced in an airplane when the cabin pressure changes during landing. I remember being aware of this sloshing type of heartbeat sound in my head.

I hollered her name again, but there was still no sign of her… The tinnitus was beginning to distress me quite a bit, and I was starting to feel a bit disorientated… And then suddenly from behind me I registered a continuous, rustling noise. I looked behind and above, expecting to see Bonnie bounding towards me, but she wasn’t there! I looked around trying to pinpoint were the sound was coming from and noticed a small tree about twenty meters up the hill shaking violently from side to side then stop suddenly. I got up, carefully holding onto a branch to stop me from falling again, and called out to her, expecting to see that she had somehow got herself tangled up in it.

But there was no sign of her! Then I heard the rustling noise again, this time louder. I looked around to my right, facing slightly down hill this time, and saw fairly close to me, about ten meters away, another tree shaking violently. This time, it was evident that the tree was doing this by itself, it seemed without any external intervention! It did this for what seemed about 10 seconds, and then stopped. It was then that I sensed this “watching” presence, as if something had its face close to mine, scrutinising my features. The only way I can describe it was like it was busy and fly-like, evil, ubiquitous and all invading. I could feel a slight discernible vibrating around me, like a faintly perceivable white noise, not really a sound, more like a quivering in the air.

Obviously at this point I started to panic, and began running and stumbling down the hill. My head was still throbbing badly – so much so that I found myself grinding my teeth. The ground was still fairly unstable so I made most of the descent erratically on my backside, snagging myself on branches, occasionally standing, running, then slipping over again – all the while, with this leaden, eerie, buzzing presence surrounding me.

As I got to the base of the hill the presence suddenly disappeared, leaving me with a gloomy feeling, like a dark cloud had moved overhead, but the sun was still shining, the mist had practically abated and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. My head still hurt, and I was still conscious of me grinding my teeth. I was aware that I had come out of the woods, scratched and muddy, into a clearing beside what I assumed to be a pumping station situated a few yards away from the car park. Ashamedly, I had completely forgotten about Bonnie so half walked half ran towards the car in the hope that she would be waiting for me. Luckily she was – plainly distressed, sitting diligently by the car, shivering with fright.

As I got towards her she stood up, waged her tail coyly, then started dry heaving, vomiting a small amount of phlegm-like sick. So, with her still trying to vomit, I picked her up and dropped her in the car, got in, locked the doors, then drove out of the car park, glancing over towards the hill to see if anything was following, which thankfully there wasn’t. I then pulled onto the main road and made my way back home to Brighton, still shaken but glad to be on the road away from there. The tinnitus and headache stopped about 10 minutes later, but that ominous feeling remained with me until I fell asleep that evening. Bonnie fell sound asleep throughout the remainder of the day without any other signs of sickness.

To this day I can’t explain what happened to us at Chanctonbury Ring, and hope someone could provide an explanation as to what occurred.

I’ve never suffered from tinnitus before or since this occurrence, and on the rare occurrence that I do get a headache, it’s never painful enough for me to warrant gritting my teeth. I’m aware of the possibility that I may have suffered some sort of migraine, causing me to hallucinate, but that doesn’t explain why Bonnie behaved the way she did.

Despite trying to kid myself into believing that we suffered some sort of physiological problem or that a rare geological phenomenon had somehow affected our psyche, I still can’t shake the feeling that we encountered some sort of paranormal entity.

I did some investigations on the local area and I found this intriguing extract on the Sussex Archaeology & Folklore web site (…anctonbury.html

Many people have been unable to stay the night near the Ring giving up after a short time of feeling uncomfortable. In the 1930’s, Dr. Philip Gosse of Steyning declared in his book “Go To The Country”:

“Even on bright summer days there is an uncanny sense of some unseen presence which seems to follow you about. If you enter the dark wood you are conscious of something behind you. When you stop, it stops; when you go on it follows.”

In 1966, several members of the Southern Paranormal Investigation Group decided to camp within the Ring. Arriving around 9.30pm and lighting a fire, they also talked with a group of motorcyclists who were camped there. Things were quiet until after midnight when a strange crackling sound started followed by the wailing voice of a woman emanating from a form that moved around outside the Ring. There was a period of quiet until 2am when there was the sound of a church organ and feelings of intense pressure from people within the group. At 2.30am the motorcyclists left complaining of “Something really evil” but feelings of pain within the group persisted until they left the Ring in the morning.

Other physical ailments have been felt such as sudden paralysis of all the limbs in a group of people and a levitating force that picked up a person and then dropped him, injuring his back. A similar force, in later years, knocked someone to the ground and ripped a crucifix from around his neck. The crucifix when found was red hot.

The area around Chanctonbury is rife with strange goings on, and the other nearby hill fort of Cissbury Ring and the haunted woods of Clapham have similar spooky histories. These places seem to be connected by a grid of lay lines.

The following links provide more information about the area:

Washington Old Hall (Washington Village, England)

Date: Sat, 10 Oct 1998 12:02:05 +0100
From: “C.J.Huff” (
Subject: Washington Old Hall, Washington England.

Hello there from the Uk where we are actually having a decent day for a change.

Don’t know if you want this one but I thought I would give electronic publishing a go for a change.

The attached account of the paranormal activities at Washington Old Hall, whilst a known haunting in the area, does not seem to be widely known about.

I am an investigator with ASSAP based in the NE of England and currently a Postgrad at Durham.


Situated: 5 miles West of Sunderland and 6 miles south of Newcastle upon Tyne, just off A1231 in Washington Village. (NZ. 313565)
Category: National Trust. Open to the Public at certain times.

Originally a wooden Saxon Hall mentioned in a charter of 973, the first stone hall at Washington was built in 1183 by William de Hertburne, who became William de Washington upon gaining the lands at Wessington -now Washington Village. The Washingtons had as their arms a white shield upon which were two bars and three stars in red, and are the original Washington family from which the more famous George Washington was later to spring.

A vestigial fragment of this medieval hall is visible in the internal wall between the kitchen and the adjoining hall where two central arches separated by a central pillar form an entranece to the kitchens. In the early 1400s the Hall passed to the Mallory family where it stayed until in 1613 the hall was bought by William James, the Bishop of Durham. It was he who rebuilt much of the hall, drastically altering it to its present form by pulling down much of its original fabric.

The present Hall is a medium sized 17th century building, with a symmetrical frontage, which faces the church. However the Hall started to fall into a state of decline having tennants instead of owners, in the census for 1891 there were recorded to be 35 persons living in the hall which was partitioned into family units. By 1936 the building was considered to be unfit for habitation, but fortunately it was rescued before it had decayed too much to preserve. Much work by individuals, most especially Frederick Hill the teacher at the nearby school, in raising both awareness of the importance of the building and funds led to its preservation.The Old Hall in Washington is now owned by the National Trust who have done much to restore the Jacobean period interior of the building and are in the process of restoring the gardens.

The Hall is reputedly haunted by the ghost of a grey lady who walks the corridors of the upper floor, variously described as wearing a long flowing grey dress, and in some tales is seen weeping. When the Hall was used as a tennement the apparition was mostly seen by the children, one tale from this period relates how a child asked its mother who the lady was who was weeping in the room, the child had of course seen the grey lady.

On a visit to the hall in August 1998 details of recent paranormal occurrances were related by the curatorial staff, Edith Dawson, Kate Gardner, and Anne Hurst who all asserted that there had been the strong smell of lavender perfume in 1997 and 1998, emanating from the areas of the stairs and in the entrance hallway. Another incident concerned a young woman with children who having taken the children out of the hall soon returned to say thet there was a definite presence there, especially in the great Hall. She asserted that the hall had the feel of a church, although she was unaware that the building is used as a wedding venue, and that the spirit seeme to like watching the ceremonies in the hall. Kate Gardner also related the tale of when she was talking to one of the caterers in the upstairs room, the caterer was looking past her at a figure in the room. There was of course nobody there. Whilst Ms Gardner has often stayed in the house overnight, she has not seen the apparition of the grey Lady

Chris Huff (ASSAP) 1998.

Gef, the Talking Mongoose Poltergeist (Isle of Man)

Date: Tue, 03 Feb 1998 19:25:28 -0500
From: Scott Wells (
Subject: Gef, The Talking Mongoose (Was ghostly weasles)

Hi all!

As promised, the tale (tail?) of Gef, the Talking Mongoose, one of the strangest twists on the average Poltergeist I’ve ever come across. Its also one of my favorite stories.

It all begins on the Isle of Man (in the Irish sea) in the year 1931. There was a somewhat isolated farmhouse on the island, the home of The Irving Family (Consisting of James Irving, his wife, and their 13 year old daughter. The source I’m presently using does not provide the names of the ladies, unfortunately.) In September of 1931, the family began to hear strange noises coming from their attic, and the noises soon grew worse. They sounded like an odd mixture of Barking, growling, hissing, spitting. Finally, whatever was making the noises began to make weird gurgling noises, which reminded the family of a baby.

Mr.Irving discovered that if he would make a noise, the thing would try and repeat it, or duplicate it. Within a few very short weeks, the entity could speak very well. It said its name was Gef, and that it was “a little clever, extraclever mongoose.” Gef remained hidden within the walls of the house, or within the grasses and weeds around the house, anywhere it could speak and still remain hidden.

Gef claimed to have been born June 7, 1852 in Delhi, India, but never explained how he came to dwell on the small island in the Irish sea. (As an odd coicidence, there IS a tradition apparently, in India that the mongoose is capable of learning to speak.) In fact there WERE mongooses on the island, as a farmer on the island had, around 1912 or so, released some into his fields to kill rabbits.

Gef was only ever seen by Irvings young daughter who described him as looking something like a weasel. Mr. Irving, at one point convinced Gef to allow him to touch him. He described the fur as very soft. He also scratched his finger on one of Gef teeth, proving that the teeth were needle sharp. Gef advised him at this point to “Go and point some ointment on it.” Apparently Gef was concerened the wound might become infected.

Gef disrupted their lives there a great deal, causeing things to break and be thrown around the house. More than once he woke the Irvings up with the tremendous racket he was making. Once he pretended he had been poisoned and was in great pain, which alarmed the family a great deal. The Irvings got so fed up with Gef’s antics that, on occasion, they threatened to move out. Gef would whine at this point, “Would you go away and leave me?” (Gef was apparently a lonely mongoose.) He would quiet down for a time after that.

One of Gef’s favorite pastimes was to wander around the neighborhood and listen to people’s conversations. He would then tell the Irvings all about them. Sometimes neighbors claimed they had heard the strange creature talk, or make other noises.

The strange case of Gef continued until 1937, when the Irvings abruptly sold their farm and vanished. In 1947, the new owner of the farm claimed that he shot a “strange-looking, mongoose-like animal” on the property. Some people believe that this might have been Gef, but most of the people in the neighborhood around the old Irving Farm believe that Gef left with the Irving family when they moved…

Strange tale, but a fun one.

A reader adds the following comments:

Date: Wed, 7 Apr 1999 14:12:16 EDT
Subject: More on Gef, the talking (!) Mongoose…

The ladies of the Irving family were Margaret (the Mrs.) and Voirrey (the daughter…and perhaps Gef as well!)….

This case was thoroughly investigated by the SPR in the early 30’s and it appeared that young Voirrey was the voice behind the mongoose…

Several pieces of physical evidence were produced (including hair samples, photos, and plaster casts of paw prints) that were of …questionable…authenticity…For instance the family dog shared the same fur as the incredible rodent, the casts were discredited by a scientist at the Natural History Museum, and the best picture of the bunch resembles a cat (to my admittedly untrained eye)…

The source for this information is Melvin Harris’ Article on the subject in Mysteries of Mind, Space and Time, Vol. 23

Mr. Wells is right…It is a great yarn!

Date: Thu, 25 May 2000 18:30:46 EDT
Subject: Gef additional info


I am a parapsychologist and have read extensively about Gef, one of my favorites. Nandor Fodor, a respected psychical researcher, investigated and wrote about the case in Between Two Worlds. Book is out of print, but I checked Barnes and Noble and they have copies of it for sale.

Gef had a very salty vocabulary. He didn’t like strangers and would tell them to get away, go clear to hell.

One day Gef was hungry and he went into the cold cupboard, found some bacon and ate it. Maggie (Mrs. Irving) was furious. Gef did what any child would do. He hid until she calmed down.

One day, Jim decided to scare Maggie, Viorrey and Gef. He put a sheet over his head, pretending to be a ghost. When Gef saw him, he was scared and told him to go clear to hell. When Jim took off the sheet, Gef cried in relief.

As for the animal that was killed, it 1946, it definitely was not Gef. Too big and wrong color.

Fodor, in the book, said the last words on the subject should be Viorrey’s. They are. Source: psychic Pets & Spirit Animals, FATE presents, Llewellyn, 1996. Walter McGraw tracked her down and had an article in the 7/70 issue of FATE.

She said she had been called a mental. Had been called a ventriloquist and, had she been that good, she would have money. She was called spook and taunted. She said Gef had a high pitched voice and swore a lot. She wished she had never met Gef. He made her meet people she didn’t want to meet.

“Yes, there was a little animal who talked and did all those other things. He said he was a mongoose and we should call him Gef…. But, I do wish he had let us alone.”

Gef, the Talking Mongoose Poltergeist (2)

From: (Raymond Speer)
Date: Mon, 19 Jul 1999 22:12:12 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Gef, the Talking Mongoose

I recommend this source for information on Gef, the talking Mongoose of the Isle of Man.

HARRIS, Melvin. “The Mongoose That Talked & Lost For Words” In Peter Brookesmith (ed) _Open Files_. London: Orbis Publishing 1983, pp. 19-27.

Voirrey Irving was twelve and thirteen years old at the time of the notoriety. Characterized by outside observers as a bright and imaginative girl, she must have felt some gloom at her family’s fortunes. Her 60 year old father, James, was retired, her mother was nearly as old, and all three of them were barely surviving on a income of 15 shillings a week (Harris 1983, p. 19). To supplement the family larder, Voirrey would hunt, kill and bring home rabbits with the aid of her dog, Mona (p. 20).

Voirrey began attributing the dead rabbits she brought home to Gef, a sentient mongoose, and before long she had her parents believing the tale and spreading it to their neighbors. As Melvin Harris put it (pp. 26-27):

“Gef never had a personality or existence independent of Voirrey. He brought home rabbits, as did Voirrey. His favorite foods were also Voirrey’s favorites. He shared her strong interests in mechanical things. Moreover, Gef was never heard unless Voirrey was out of the room or so placed that her mouth could not be watched. The voice itself was described by one observer who believed in Gef as ‘like a girl’s voice of 15 or 16 — a striking penetrating voice.’ In other words, just the sort of voice that Voirrey could easily assume. [..]

“It is not unreasonable to assume that [Voirrey’s] parents were caught up in the masquerade and became accomplices. Indeed, Jim Irving became so involved that he ‘became obsessed with the thing.’ He would speak for hours, telling and retelling the saga to anyone who would listen. [..]

“Perhaps [the mongoose] was even the high point of [Jim Irving’s] whole life. The publicity, the collecting of anecdotes, the storytelling — all these were Irving’s responsibility and his pride.”

All in all, a talking mongoose which drew ghost hunter Harry Price and various journalists and tourists to a hardscrabble hilltop farm in the back of beyond was a nice way to break the monotony of poverty — and even a few shillings in tips or payments might have seemed substantial to the Irvings. Too bad the bubble burst in October 1935 when samples of Gef’s hair proved to be “absolutely identical” to hair from Voirrey’s dog, Mona (p. 24).

As an aside, please consider how closely parallel are many of the reported phenomena of the Talking Mongoose and the Bell Witch. Easily feigned poltergeist activity, a mysterious entity that talked a lot (at least to some people), girls of the same age, and deep involvement by the father of the girl. True, Gef was light-hearted and kind, and the Bell Witch was vindictive and mean — but at this remove, who can say that the nature of the entities did not derive from the personalities of the pranksters?

Pond Square & U-Boat (England)

From: MercStG@AOL.COM
Date: Thu, 5 Oct 2000 06:44:37 EDT
Subject: Haunted Britain Series

Pond Square, Highgate, N6

The haunting of Pond Square dates back to the early 17th century when, in a bid to prove a new way of preserving meat, Sir Francis Bacon stuffed a chicken with snow. As a result of his experiment he developed bronchitis and died a short while later. But it is not his ghost that haunts Pond Square, it is the chicken’s.

The story starts in March, 1626. Sir Francis, who had been barred from all public office in 1621, following his trial on charges of bribery and corruption, had spent the past five years in philosophical and scientific study, including the principles of refrigeration. He was being driven through Pond Square in his coach on that bitterly cold day. It was snowing and the pond was frozen. He noticed that the coach wheel tracks revealed that the grass under the snow was still green and fresh and this gave him an idea. He called upon the coachman to stop by the pond and ordered him to purchase a chicken from one of the neighbouring cottages.

Stepping down from his coach, wrapped in his cloak against the biting wind, he ordered the coachman to kill the bird and partially pluck it. When this was done he stuffed snow into the still-warm carcass, place it into a bag and packed more snow tightly around it – the world’s first frozen chicken.

However the extremely cold weather was too much for the 65 year-old man and he was seized with a sudden chill which developed into acute bronchitis and he died at Highgate on 9th April, 1626, at the home of his friend, Lord Arundel.

Not long after Sir Francis’ experiment that had cost him his own life, the shivering chicken started to make its appearances. It was usually to be seen on cold wintry nights, half-bald and squawking, flapping round in circles until it disappeared through a brick wall. It has been seen up till modern times and on occasions has been seen perched on the lower boughs of a nearby tree.

During the Second World War, ARP wardens saw the bird on many occasions and one man actually tried to catch it. However he gave up the attempt when he collided with the brick wall which the bird had melted into.

An airman home on leave during December, 1943, was passing through Pond Square one night when he heard the sound of horses’ hooves and carriage wheels followed by a terrible screeching. He could see no sign of the horses or carriage but in the middle of the Square he saw the half-bald figure of the phantom chicken, running round in circles and apparently shivering with the cold. With that the bird disappeared.

In January, 1969, a motorist, whose car was broken down near the Square, saw the figure of the bird screeching round in circles and was wondering what hooligan would denude a bird and then let it loose on the road, when it vanished in front of his eyes.

A courting couple were disturbed by the bird in 1970 whilst they were embracing in a doorway in the Square. Doubtless they chose another spot to do their courting after that.

The U-65

We hear many stories of haunted houses, castles and pubs, but very rarely do we heard of haunted German U-boats. The classic case of a submarine which was the centre of psychic phenomena was the U-65, one of a class of 24 U-boats especially designed to operate from the ports of occupied Belgium during the First World War. Her active service complement was 3 officers and 31 ratings. The U-boat’s keel was laid at the naval dockyard at Wilhelmshaven in June, 1916, and from the first ill luck was to dog her.

Her first victim was to die within a few days of the beginning of her construction, when a heavy metal girder, being lowered into position in the hull, slipped from the crane tackle and crashed down onto the partially-built boat, killing one of the German workmen instantly. A second workman was to die in hospital a few days later as a result of injuries sustained in the same accident. Three men died in the engine room after becoming overcome by poisonous fumes. A total of five men had already been killed before the boat had even put to sea.

On her sea trials further disaster struck the U-65 when a seaman, sent forward to inspect hatches, was swept overboard and lost. The sea trials went without further incident until the captain gave the order for the U-65’s first dive. Instead of levelling out at 30 feet, as the captain had ordered, the boat sank to the bottom of the sea following a fracture in one of the forward ballast tanks. Flood water reached the giant batteries and by the time that the U-65 had finally emerged from the depths again, inexplicably freeing herself from the sea bed after being trapped there for 12 hours, the whole crew were suffering from the effects of toxic fumes created by the flooding of the batteries. Two men died in hospital shortly after being got ashore. Even before the U-65 was commissioned, eight men had been killed as a result of incidents on board her.

Finally in early February, 1917, the U-65 was commissioned into the Imperial German Navy and placed under the command of Oberleutnant Karl Honig, an officer with great experience in the German U-boat service. It was not long before he was to experience at first hand the ill luck that surrounded his new command. Whilst torpedoes were being loaded prior to the U-65 going out on her first patrol, a warhead exploded, killing the Second Officer and eight seamen. Nine other seamen were seriously wounded. Whilst the U-boat was being towed back into dry-dock for repairs, a seaman, in complete hysteria, swore that he had seen the ghost of the Second Officer standing on the prow, his arms folded. Another seaman, a man called Petersen, claimed to have seen the same ghostly officer. The day before the U-65 was to set out on her first patrol, Petersen deserted.

At last, after a total of 17 men had been killed on the U-65, she was sent out on her first active service patrol. During the course of the patrol several seamen reported having seen the ghost of the Second Officer and on one occasion the Duty Officer was found sobbing hysterically on the bridge after having seen the same figure standing on the prow. Three seamen, who had joined the boat at Zeebrugge, were to see the figure before they had had time to be warned that the boat was haunted.

In February, 1918, after a patrol in the Dover Straits, and after several further sightings of the ghostly officer, including one occasion when he spoke with one of the seamen in the forward torpedo room, the U-65 docked at Bruges. The crew were only too thankful to have reached dry land again, even though the docks were under attack from British aircraft at the time. Oberleutnant Honig, who had decided to chance the raid and make his way to the Officers’ Club, was just leaving the boat when he was decapitated by shrapnel as he walked down the gang-plank. His headless body was carried back on board the U-65. That night nine men, including an officer, were to see the ghost of the Second Officer standing beside the canvas shroud of the captain’s corpse. At this the crew, to a man, requested a transfer from the U-65 and the boat was placed into reserve at Bruges. A German Naval Padre, Pastor Franz Weber, conducted a service of exorcism.

By June, 1918, U-boat losses were becoming a strain on the German Naval Command and the U-65 was ordered to be prepared for patrol duties. On 30th June, she set out on what was to be her last patrol. Early in the morning of the 10th July, the U.S.submarine L-2 was patrolling nine miles off the coast of Cape Clear, in Ireland, at periscope depth. The American captain was studying the scene around him when he sighted a German U-boat moving slowly on the surface. It was the U-65.

The American moved his submarine into the attack position and was about to give the order to fire two torpedoes when there was a shattering explosion that ripped the U-65 from stem to stern. The captain was later to report that immediately before the explosion he was amazed to see the solitary figure of a German naval officer standing on the prow of the U-boat.

Crook Hall (Durham, England)

Date: Tue, 01 Feb 2000 08:27:31 +0000
From: Chris Huff (
Subject: Another offering from the UK

Hi there,

I have been meaning to post another article, since the Washington Old HAll piece,or two from my casebook onto your page…so here goes.

This one is a small local Hall in the Durham area, it is pretty much unknown and is open to the public.



Situated: To the north of Durham, near the River Wear.

Crook Hall outside the City of Durham was originally an open hall built in 1286 and has had subsequent renovation and rebuilding through the centuries resulting in Jacobean and Georgian extensions to the earliest foundtations. The area upon which Crook Hall is situated was originally a part of the lands belonging to Sydgate Manor and it is recorded that Gilbert de Aikes granted his land at Sydgate to Aimery son of Aimery the Archdeacon of Durham at sometime around 1200 AD, Aimery de Talboys was Archdeacon from 1198 to 1214 AD. The earliest mention of Crook Hall would appear to be in conjunction with the name of Thomas Billingham in 1425, although it is believed that the hall was named after one Peter de Croke who owned the property in the early 14th century.

Of the original medieval hall only the central great hall and adjacent screen passage remain to give a date of the 13th century. The Solar has been demolished, it’s site is now a part of the gardens, and the wall of the great hall filled where doorways through once existed. The screen passage links the older part of the building to the Jacobean parts of the building. It is in this part of the hall that the haunted staircase is to be found, today this ancient flight of old wooden steps ascends to the ceiling where it abruptly stops. Access to the upper floor is gained via a more recent external stair in a circular tower. It is down the blocked off stairs that the ghost of a White Lady is supposed to walk or glide.

There are supposed to have been numerous sightings through recent centuries although the haunting has remained mostly in a local oral and undocumented tradition. In one peculiar tale, a banquet had been prepared and laid out on tables in the haunted room, but as the guests moved into the screen passage they are supposed to have heard a soft rustling sound from the room. This was immediately followed by a loud crash which was, as they found out when they looked in the room, the resultant noise of the tables and dishes having been upturned onto the floor. The ghost of the white lady was blamed.

In 1991 Andy Owens, a member of ASSAP, contacted John and Mary Hawgood who had lived at the hall since 1979. They were kind enough to recount some encounters with the White Lady which they had experienced. Mary Hawgood was convinced that the ghost was that of the neice of Cuthbert Billingham, although there seems to be no evidence to support this contention, and related that the ghost was said to walk down the “haunted stairs” on Saint Thomas’ Eve (20th December). Having restored part of the old hall, the youngest daughter of the house saw the ghost and was reported to be quite scared by the experience. In 1989 Mary Hawgood was sleeping in the “Medieval” bedroom when she awoke at 2 am to see the figure of a woman whom she described as: “wearing a long dress, and I saw her outline as she was bathed in a pool of light – or rather was outlined aginst it. I did speak to her but she didn’t reply”.

Other occurances at the hall were also reported by Mary Hawgood, mainly that during the perod of their occupation they had noticed the loss of a sigificant number of knives from the kitchen. As the kitchen had been modernised there was little chance of the knives simply slipping down the backs of old drawers or cupboards.

The Hall was opened to the public at certain times of the year by the present owners Keith and Maggie Bell in 1998. In conversation with Mrs Bell in August 1998, she revealed that although the family had not seen the apparition of the White Lady there have been some unaccounted noises heard in the area of the haunted room. From their bedroom (referred to earlier as “The Medieval Bedroom”) Mr Bell has awoken to hear the sounds of someone ascending the tower staircase, he immediately thought of burglars. The sounds continued on past the minstrels gallery landing and up a now long gone staiway to a room at the top of the house: now an empty space. The sounds of footsteps and the dragging of objects have also been heard. At times there is a definite unease about the haunted room although the two children do not seem to notice this.

50 Berkeley Square (London, England)

Date: Sun, 15 Oct 2000 16:16:40 EDT
Subject: Haunted London

Thought you might like this, 19th century accounts appear to be quite chilling.

Tony Ellis

Berkeley Square, London W1

In Victorian London, No. 50, built in the 18th century, was considered the most haunted building in the city. Our Victorian forefathers, spending the day in London, would not dream of leaving again until they had visited the site and seen it for themselves, seeking a thrill which would cost them nothing. The house, in which Prime Minister George Canning died in 1827, is now owned by a firm of antiquarian booksellers.

The house is haunted by the ghost of a little girl dressed in Scots plaid, who is said to have been either tortured or frightened to death by a sadistic servant in the nursery. This pathetic little girl has been seen in the upper part of the house, wearing a kilt and wringing her hands in despair and sobbing.

There is also a report of another ghost said to be that of a young woman called Adeline, who lived at the house in the 18th century with her lecherous uncle. One day she tried to escape from his attentions by climbing out onto a window ledge and in doing so fell accidentally to the ground below. Her screaming ghost has been seen hanging from the window ledge many times as she must have done just before she fell to her death.

During the 1870s, occupants of neighbouring houses reported hearing sounds and loud cries coming from the locked and empty building at night. The sound of furniture being dragged across bare floorboards was heard, together with the ringing of bells and windows being opened with a crash. Books and articles of furniture were hurled out of the windows into the street below. Whenever investigations were carried out the house was always found to be quiet and deserted.

The house was said to have gained its sinister reputation at the end of the 18th century when a Mr. Dupre, of Wilton Park, confined his insane brother in a room at the top of the stairs, the room later to be known as the Haunted Room. The insane man was said to have been that violent that he had to be fed through a special opening in the door. His groans and cries were often heard at the time in neighbouring houses and it is thought that this white-faced man with the gaping jaw was to become the horrific ghost of the house.

However, there could be another claimant to the origin of this particular ghost. In 1859, a Mr Myers took a lease on the property in preparation for his forthcoming marriage. However, this eccentric man was jilted and became a broken man, a recluse who would never allow women near him again. He spent the rest of his life at the top of the house, only opening his door to receive food from his manservant. Most of the day he spent sleeping and during the night wandered around the house with a lighted candle in his hand.

A maidservant, newly arrived, was put into the haunted room on the second floor but only a short while after the rest of the household had gone to bed they were aroused by fearful screams from the girl’s room. They found her lying in the middle of the floor, her eyes staring hideously. She died the following day at St George’s Hospital, hopelessly mad, without saying what she had seen except that it was “just horrible”.

Sir Robert Warboys was a frequent visitor to London from his seat, Warboys Hall, in Bracknell, Berks. He was a young man and was spending the day in company with his friend Lord Cholmondley, who introduced him to John Benson, who at that time owned No. 50 Berkeley Square. The subject of conversation turned to the hauntings of the house and Sir Robert said that he did not believe in ghosts. As a result a wager was set that he would not spend a night in the haunted room, even for 100 guineas. Sir Robert accepted the challenge.

Arrangements were made for a bell to be rigged up so that if he should require assistance he would be able to ring for it. Whilst his friends remained in the drawing room downstairs Sir Robert retired to bed in the haunted room, pistol in one hand and bell-pull in the other.

It was shortly before 2 am that the bell rang, followed a second time by a more urgent pealing of the bell. The gentlemen raced upstairs towards the room in which Sir Robert had retired to bed. They heard a shot ring out and as they entered they found him lying across the bed with his head almost touching the floor. His face showed the sheer agony of terror. The 30 year-old baronet was dead but there was no sign of a gunshot wound.

By 1872 the house had become infamous and Lord Lyttleton spent a night in the room and lived to tell the tale. He was armed with two blunderbusses, each loaded with buckshot and silver sixpences, the latter thought to combat evil influences. During the night he fired at something that leapt at him in the darkness, saying later that he was aware of a vague shape crashing to the floor but upon investigation could find nothing with him in the room.

The most famous story concerning the house occurred on Christmas Eve, 1887, when Robert Martin and Edward Blunden, two sailors from H.M.S. Penelope, having just returned from a cruise to the West Indies, had no money left for lodgings after a night on the town. Seeing the house was empty they decided to break in for the night to have a roof over their heads. They chose the room at the top of the house to spend the night.

During the night they were disturbed by the sound of muffled footsteps mounting the stairs and then they became aware of an horrific “something” entering the room in which they were trying to rest. Robert Martin made a dash for the door and raced downstairs in blind panic, deaf to the screams of his terrified companion, out into the protection of the street and into the arms of a passing policeman.

In the meantime, Edward Blunden, trapped in the room with the white shape of a grotesque man with a gaping mouth, arms outstretched advancing towards him, fell through a window and his body hurtled towards the ground, impaling itself on a spiked railing bordering the pavement at the front of the house. He died shortly afterwards.

By the end of the 19th century the house was completely empty except for an elderly couple who acted as caretakers but this couple were never permitted access to the haunted room, the sole key being in the possession of a man who called every six months and spent several hours in the room after having first locked the couple in the basement.

During the 18th century a middle-aged gentleman lived at No. 53 with his very attractive daughter. After a few years she eloped, but out of love for her father she promised that she would return after her wedding. The father waited patiently for her arrival and eventually died of a broken heart for his daughter was never to return to her former home.

A few years ago, one moonlit night, the sad figure of a man, wearing a satin coat and wig with lace ruffles at his neck and wrists, was seen looking out of the window of No. 53 on the first floor overlooking the Square. He looked so sad and had such a hopeless expression on his face. He was seen again the following year.

Besides Nos 50 and 53 Berkeley Square there is another house in the Square in which a ghost has been reported.

A Colonel Kearsey was visiting the house and upon his arrival was shown into a room to await his hostess. By the light of the bright fire he noticed the figure of a woman sitting in an armchair, wearing a long dress and a wide-brimmed hat and she was crying bitterly. As he moved towards her to ask if he could be of any assistance she rose from the chair and without looking at him walked towards a shuttered window where she completely vanished.

When he mentioned this startling fact to his hostess he was informed that the children of the house had heard the sound of a woman sobbing in that room several times and that a previous tenant had told her that a woman had once lived at the house who was very unhappy and cried a great deal. She had finally left her husband for another man.

By Tony Ellis

The Tower of London (England)

The Tower of London

The Tower of London has a long and bloody history, and of course many ghostly legends are associated with the Tower. In 1483, two young princes were murdered in the Tower, and their ghosts were reported to have haunted the tower until the year 1674, when their bones were found and buried in a proper ceremony.

The most famous and most often reported ghost in the Tower is Anne Boleyn. She was beheaded by her husband, Henry VIII, in 1536. Other Tower ghosts include Sir Walter Raleigh, Guy Fawkes, and even the apparition of a bear. In 1816, a palace guard who was on duty spied the bear. Not realizing he was facing an apparition, the guard attempted to lunge at the creature with his bayonet. The guard repor- tedly later died of shock.

In 1864, a soldier saw a ghost and again attempted to use his bayonet. The soldier fainted when he realized his antagonist was a ghost, and was later court-martialed for neglecting his duties (hard to guard the castle when you’re fainted dead away). However, the charges against the soldier were dropped when two witnesses came forward to support the soldier’s ghost story.

Drury Lane Theatre (London, England)

Mike Czaplinski ( writes the following about the ghost of Drury Lane Theatre:

“Drury Lane Theatre. From my fuzzy recollection, the ghost is described at various times as a soft green glow, or a handsome young man. I seem to recall there being an entry on this particular haunting in THE BOOK OF LISTS (circa 1980). According to the entry (again, subject to my faulty memory), during renovation in the late 1970’s, they stumbled on a skeleton with the remnants of a grey riding coat with a knife sticking out of its ribs.

The folklore is that whoever sees the ghost is destined for theatrical greatness.” [end quote from Mike Czaplinski]

Further details (provided directly from The Book of Lists, Bantam, 1977): The ghost is that of a young man who was murdered in 1780. J. Wentworth Day, a ghost hunter, reported seeing a moving blue light in the theatre in 1939.

More details from a reader:

From: “Alan” (
Date: Mon, 12 May 1997 10:06:20 +6
Subject: The Drury Lane Ghosts


I’ve just been reading the a.f.g-s FAQ, and not long ago I also read a book that had a section on the ghosts at the Drury Lane Theatre. This book is by Daniel Cohen, published 1978, called “The World’s Most Famous Ghosts.” I think it was meant to be a children’s book, (or juvenile, anyway), but I suppose the information is still valid.

First, regarding the ghost of the handsome young man mentioned in the FAQ. In this book he is referred to as the “Man in Grey.” He is described as very dignified, dressed in eighteenth-century clothes, with either powdered hair or wig, and wearing or carrying a three-cornered hat. He gets his name from the long grey cloak he wears, and sometimes the hilt of a sword has been seen sticking out of the cloak. He seems to be part of the audience, rather than a ghost of a performer, although people who see him might mistake him for a (living) performer wearing a costume. He is often seen before a play that is going to be a hit, so he’s considered an omen of good luck. He never shows up for failures. Someone once offered to exorcise him and was turned down.

Drury Lane was opened during the reign of King Charles II, who loved theatre. In 1948, during the extremely successful run of “Oklahoma,” King Charles II and a crowd of his attendants were seen on stage.

Also during the run of “Oklahoma,” there was a young American actress named Betty Jo Jones who wasn’t doing a very good performance. Then during one scene she felt hands pushing her into a new position, and the invisible hands continued to guide her around the stage during the performance. Her performance got better.

Another young actress named Doreen Duke was trying out for a part in “The King and I.” She was very nervous, and during the audition she felt the invisible hands guiding her around. She got the part. A theatre expert named W.J. Macqueen-Pope thinks that this may be the ghost of Joe Grimaldi, who performed often at Drury Lane and gave his farewell performance there. He was always known by other actors to be very helpful.

Another ghost at Drury Lane is described as being tall, thin, and ugly, and is thought to be the ghost of actor Charles Macklin. He had a bad temper, and in 1735 he killed actor Thomas Hallam during an argument. Macklin was charged with manslaughter but never punished, and finally died at the ripe old age of 107. The ghost wasn’t seen until after his death.

A comedian named Stanley Lupino was putting on his makeup when he looked up and saw another face reflected in the mirror beside his own. It was the face of Dan Leno, another comedian who had died recently. Lupino later learned he was using Leno’s favorite dressing room.

W.J. Macqueen-Pope got a letter from a woman who said she had seen what must have been a ghost intently watching the play that was being performed. It was a man wearing old-fashioned clothes sitting at the end of the row where she was. When the lights went up, the man was gone, though to get out he would have had to walk right past her, and he hadn’t. Later when she was looking through a book of old theatre pictures she saw his picture. It was Charles Kean, an actor of the nineteenth century.

Hope this helps.

Alan Peschke