Stuart: Alright, not everyone enjoys looking at vacation photos, even if from the Amazon (what's wrong with you people??? I could be showing you pics of me and my cousin, Ernie, at the Wisconsin cheese factory while wearing foam cheese-heads.). SO I'm alternating weeks. This week we're still traveling but from the highly reliable tour guide, gothic horror author extraordinaire Catherine Cavendish. Journey with us, if you dare, as Cat takes us into a haunted castle. (And believe me, Cat knows about haunted! Check out her stellar books).
Catherine Cavendish: Grinning skeletons, a radiant blue boy, tragic Lady Mary Grey and a crying baby. These are just four of the manifestations haunting Chillingham Castle in Northumberland, reputed to be THE most haunted castle in England.
With a history dating back to the twelfth century, its walls could tell tales of many a bloody deed committed on its fortified premises. In 1298, Edward I (the 'Hammer of the Scots' was based here, as he prepared do battle with William Wallace ('Braveheart') who, far from being that nice Mel Gibson with the blue face, was in fact a mass murderer, burning the local women and children to death. Since then, it has been the site of many a battle and many unfortunate souls were tortured and murdered here in cruel and imaginative ways I will not go into here!
The castle has been owned by members of the Grey family since 1246 and the present owner - Sir Humphry Wakefield Bt.- has been renovating it for over thirty years. It is a curious place, much of it still derelict, and the atmosphere is one of quiet expectancy. But what of the ghosts?
The radiant Blue Boy was frequently reported in one of the bedrooms. At the stroke of midnight, the agonising cries and moans of a child in pain were heard and, as these died down, a bright halo of light would form close to the old four poster bed. If anyone was sleeping there at the time, they would see a young boy, dressed in blue, surrounded by the light, approaching them. Curiously, in the wall of that room were found the bones of a young boy, along with some fragments of a dress. A blue dress.
Lady Leonora Tankerville, who documented the castle's ghosts in 1925, recalled having strange experiences of her own, including a manifestation of a nun praying on the battlements, accompanied, a few paces behind, by two young men dressed in clothes from the time of King Henry VIII. She also experienced a visitation by the ghost of a young officer who, so far as she knew, was actually alive at that time. Only later did she discover that he had died at the very time she had seen him appear in her room. Lady Leonora was also responsible for the discovery of the skeletons of a man and a boy who had been walled up in her bedroom. Indeed, there seems to have been a fair amount of walling up of people in this castle!
If you are brave enough, you can actually stay at the castle and many who have done so have reported strange events. Some have even left before morning, too scared to sleep!
But if you do stay, think twice before taking the complimentary shower gel or shower cap home. In one of the rooms, letters and returned items are displayed (including a door knob removed 'by accident'). Reading these letters, you will see that the guests returned the items because no good came to them while they possessed them. Above the display is a portrait of a woman, reputedly a witch, who is said to take a pretty dim view of such thieves. She has a tendency to haunt them... and not in a friendly way.
Want to see more? Follow this link and scroll down to the clips Chillingham Ghosts
Meanwhile, my novella Cold Revenge, features ghosts, demons and a whole lot of vengeance. It has just been released in a new edition from Crossroad Press. Here’s what to expect:
Some dinner invitations are best ignored...
For no apparent reason, Nadine, Maggie, Gary, and Nick are invited to dinner at the lavish home of top fashion writer, Erin Dartford. But why has she invited them? Why doesn't she want her guests to mingle? And just what is it about the mysterious Erin that makes them want to run for their lives? Little do they know that as they prepare to eat their first course, an evil as old as mankind is about to be unleashed. And revenge really is a dish best served cold...
You can buy Cold Revenge here;
About the author
Her novellas, Cold Revenge, Miss Abigail’s Room,, The Demons of Cambian Street, The Devil Inside Her, and The Second Wife have now been released in new editions by Crossroad Press.
She lives with her long-suffering husband, and a black cat who has never forgotten that her species used to be worshipped in ancient Egypt. She sees no reason why that practice should not continue. Cat and her family divide their time between Liverpool and a 260-year-old haunted apartment in North Wales.
You can connect with Cat here: