[UK] BBC Ghost Special (2012-2013)

This half-hour BBC TV show about ghosts is well worth watching, even with commercial breaks.  The video includes credible ghost stories as well as Vic Tandy’s quick explanation of infrasound, and his studies at some of Britain’s haunted sites.

[Update: That video was removed from YouTube, and I haven’t found it again, online, even at the BBC site. If you locate it, let me know. And yes, I should have noted the name of that show; it’s a lesson learned.]

Can infrasound cause anxiety, fear, or even hallucinations?  Yes.

But, might infrasound attract ghosts…?  That’s an unanswered question, even if it’s probably preposterous speculation.

Locations in this video are among the reasons why ghost hunting in the UK is so popular: rich history, lots of drama, and extraordinary stories and evidence.

Some related videos:

Ghost Footage in Tamworth Castle – I’ve included this video for a few reasons.

  • It provides a good sense of what it’s like to review footage after a ghost investigation.  It’s tedious, and you’ll see very little. At some points, you may wonder if your eyes are fooling you (and sometimes, they are), and then you’ll want to fast-forward through the screenshots, looking for anything interesting.
  • Either the video was speeded up, Tamworth has supersonic insects, or a couple of those images might be paranormal. (However, at least one is definitely a bug.)
  • The right wall of the stairway has something odd going on.  It’s like the surface is changing, but the corresponding wall, across the stairs, doesn’t have nearly as much activity.  Is that due to lighting?  A quirk of the camera?  I have no idea, but it’s interesting.  I haven’t seen that in other videos.  Not where I couldn’t explain it, anyway.

Medium Ian Doherty investigates Tamworth Castle – A typical summary of psychic perceptions at a haunted site.

Here’s more about the fire of Wem, the ghost photo in the BBC special, and skeptical observations by a photography expert at the National Media Museum:

[Update: That YouTube.com video has been deleted.]

The “ghost girl of Wem”  photo is further debunked in this video.  The typos at the opening didn’t give me confidence, but the images are fairly convincing… though they, too, could be fakes.

[Update: That YouTube.com video has been deleted. Until I find one that’s better, the following debunking-style video tells the story.]

Next, evidence related to Belgrave Hall:

[Update: Another YouTube video that’s now deleted. I’m leaving the text here, in case a similar video turns up at YouTube.]

And, a great explanation of the importance of Belgrave Hall’s garden, as well as its ghosts:

[IRL] The Duckett Family Curse

Duckett’s Grove Castle — featured in a March 2011 episode of Destination: Truth –  isn’t the only haunted location associated with the Duckett family.  A little paragenealogy reveals an interesting history.

The Duckett family’s ancestral homes was Grayrigg Hall, a medieval manor estate in Cumbria, England.

In the 17th century, Grayrigg Hall was owned by Justice Anthony Duckett (1636 – ca. 1692).  Duckett was known for being a persecutor of the Quakers a very new and controversial religion in that era.

One legal case involved Francis Howgill, a Quaker who’d refused to take an oath of allegiance (to King Charles II) and was sent to prison.

Anthony Duckett was one of the magistrates when Howgill was sentenced to jail.

During Howgill’s imprisonment, he was released for a couple of days to attend to some business at home.  While there, he visited Justice Duckett at Grayrigg Hall.

After the magistrate expressed surprise on seeing the prisoner, Mr. Howgill delivered this curse:

“…I am come with a message from the Lord. Thou hast persecuted the Lord’s people, but His hand is now against thee, and He will send a blast upon all that thou hast, and thy name shall rot out of the earth, and this thy dwelling shall become desolate, and a habitation for owls and jackdaws.”

Shortly after that, the Duckett family began to have problems.  All of Anthony Duckett’s male children died without heirs.  The estate failed and it was sold, around 1685, to a neighbor and family friend, Sir John Lowther.

That was around the time Anthony Duckett’s cousins began acquiring land at Duckett’s Grove in Ireland.

It seems that both the Duckett family and Grayrigg Hall itself were equally cursed.  In the 1777 book, The history and antiquities of the counties of Westmorland and Cumberland, here’s how Grayrigg Hall was described:

Grayrigg Hall being the ancient manor house, was a strong old building, in a quadrangular form, adapted for defence more than for convenience. It is now totally in ruins, most of the lead and timber thereof having been removed to Lowther.

So, the original (and possibly cursed) Grayrigg Hall is now gone.  If you’re looking for its location, here are the coordinates:  Latitude 54.3711, Longitude -2.6496

Another Grayrigg Hall was built near the church.  Don’t confuse it with the old, reputedly haunted Grayrigg.

If you’re looking for the remnants of the haunted Grayrigg Hall, visit Lowther Castle.  As described in the 1777 book, timber and lead from Grayrigg were used to expand Lowther Castle.

Did the curse continue there?  It seems as if it did.

According to Simon Marsden’s website, Lowther Castle was inherited in 1784 by Sir James Lowther, the 1st Earl of Lonsdale, also known as “Wicked Jimmy.”

By the time of his death in 1802, Lowther’s young wife had died, he had no children, and depression had driven him to madness.  His ghost has been reported at Lowther Castle.

To learn far more about Duckett’s Grove Castle (Ireland) and its ghosts, see Duckett’s Grove Castle, Ireland – Ghost Hunting Tips.

Full text of the Grayrigg Hall story and curse, from The Haunted Homes and Family Traditions of Great Britain, by John Henry Ingram, published in 1884.

GRAYRIGG HALL.

In Ducketiana it is stated by Sir G. B. Duckett, that not a vestige remains of those extensive foundations which, a hundred years ago, attested the solidity and importance of the Westmoreland Ducketts’ residence, the Manor House known formerly as Grayrigg Hall.

A strange story is told of the last member of this opulent family, who inhabited this fine old English mansion ere it was dismantled.

The narrative has been detailed with great similarity in various works, such as Ferguson’s Early Cumberland and Westmoreland Friends, and Backhouse’s Life of Howgill, and is popularly known as “The Quaker’s Curse and its Fulfilment.”

Francis Howgill, a noted member of the Society of Friends, resided at Todthorne, near Grayrigg, in Westmoreland, about the middle of the seventeenth century.

At one time he travelled about the south of England preaching, and when he visited Bristol, in company with his compatriot, John Camm, his preaching was made the occasion of great rioting.

In 1663 he returned to his own neighbourhood, whither his reputation had apparently preceded him, for, upon arriving at the market-place of Kendal, he was summoned to appear before the Justices, who were holding a court in a tavern.

They tendered Howgill the oath of allegiance when he came before them, and as he refused to take it they committed him to confinement in Appleby jail.

It may be pointed out, as a matter of history, that in the earliest days of the brotherhood, members of the Society of Friends were often subjected to severe penalties and much persecution for their refusal to conform to the taking of judicial oaths.

At Appleby the judges of Assizes also tendered Howgill the same oath and, on his refusal to swear it, ordered him to be indicted at the next Assizes. Meanwhile they offered to release him from custody if he would give a bond for his good behaviour in the interim, but this he refused to do, and therefore was re-committed to prison.

During his imprisonment a curious incident happened. Howgill was allowed by the magistrates to go home toGrayrigg for a few days on private affairs, and in the course of the time he was at liberty the Quaker felt himself compelled to visit a justice of the name of Duckett, residing at Grayrigg Hall, who was a great persecutor of the Quakers, and was, also, one of the magistrates concerned in committing him to prison.

Francis Howgill, on this occasion, was accompanied by a friend who, over the initials “J. D.” would appear to have left a written report of the interview.

Justice Duckett expressed much surprise at seeing Howgill, and said to him, ” What is your wish now, Francis? I thought you had been in Appleby jail.”

Howgill replied to this effect, “No, I am not, but I am come with a message from the Lord. Thou hast persecuted the Lord’s people, but His hand is now against thee, and He will send a blast upon all that thou hast, and thy name shall rot out of the earth, and this thy dwelling shall become desolate, and a habitation for owls and jackdaws.”

When Howgill had delivered this message, the Justice trembled, and said, ” Francis, are you in earnest?” To which Howgill responded, “Yes, I am in earnest, it is the word of the Lord to thee, and there are many now living who will see it.”

Photo credit: Bartek Szewczyk, Poland

[UK] Scottish Ghosts – Where to Find a ‘Green Lady’

Scottish castle entrance The Green Lady is a unique spirit. She’s more often described as a faerie rather than a ghost.  I’m not sure that’s the best description.  She’s certainly not someone lightly categorized with all brownies or Gruagachs.

Every woman who appears as a ‘Green Lady’ wears a rich green gown that usually reaches the ground.

That’s why we usually refer to her as a “green lady.”  Her skin isn’t green; her dress is.

Other than that, it’s difficult to generalize about the appearance of a Green Lady.

DARK TALES OF THE GREEN LADY

In darker legends, the Green Lady is a demon and the gown covers her hairy, goat-like body. In other stories, she is cursed with hooves for feet, and the gown hides them.

In my opinion, those descriptions are about the Green Women, who may be dark, demon-like faeries.  (Listen to my podcast, Green Faeries, at FaerieMagick.com.)

The goat’s body tradition relates to another category of Highland spirits: the Glaistig. In fact, the Green Lady can be called a Ghlaistig uaine, ‘the Green Glaistig.’ Glaistigs are spirits who were once women of title, or at least the mistress of a house.

Each of them has been put under an enchantment. They dislike dogs, prefer to be alone, protect houses, and favor fools and people ‘of weak intellect.’

Of course, that’s another area in which the traditions blur between ghosts, spirits, and faeries.

The Green Glaistigs are rarely seen, but there are stories of the Glaistigs of Ardnacaillich (home of the Macquarries), Donolly Castle, Mernaigh, Dunstaffnage, and many other locations.

In most cases, she is simply called the Green Lady.

FAMOUS GREEN LADY GHOSTS

One of the most famous is the Green Lady of Skipness Castle, by Loch Fyne. She has protected her home and the family in it for centuries. Several times, she created a supernatural confusion among enemies who’d planned to attack the castle. After they left Skipness, their wits returned, but as they marched back towards the Castle, they became confused again.

One Green Lady appears today at Crathes Castle, about 15 miles southwest of Aberdeen City in Scotland. This Green Lady is usually called a “ghost,” and she appears by the fireplace to pick up a ghostly infant. Then they vanish together.

Centuries ago when the castle was renovated, her bones, and those of the baby, were found buried beneath this spot in the castle.

Another reliable place to see a Green Lady, is at the ruins of the castle at Caerphilly, just north of Cardiff in Wales.

Like the Green Man of the forest, she hides herself as ivy around this castle. However, if you watch very closely, she will reveal her presence by moving slightly. Once she knows she has been seen, she will emerge as the gracious and lovely woman that she is, extend a hand in welcome if she likes you, and then she vanishes.

MORE GREEN LADY LOCATIONS

There are no formal reports of a Green Lady outside of the British Isles, but there are some similar tales. We suspect that the Green Lady is a category of ghosts, similar to the Banshees (Bean Sidhe) of Ireland.

For example, there is Ocean-Born Mary, an 18th-century spirit who haunts Henniker, New Hampshire. She wears a green gown, and she had Scottish ancestry.

Likewise, 18th-century ghost Judith Thompson Tyng has been seen in a green gown, in the houses she haunts around Nashua, NH. (See my related articles, including The Haunting of John Alford Tyng.)

However, the Green Lady is most frequently found at castles and homes in Scotland. In fact, ghost hunters can plan vacations to encounter at least one Green Lady.

Additional castles that report Green Lady ghosts include Castle of Park, Banff and Fernie Castle, Fife.

Scotland also boasts castles and homes with other “lady” ghosts, including Grey Ladies and White Ladies.

LINKS: WHERE TO ENCOUNTER A GREEN LADY GHOST

  • A Green Lady appears at Caerphilly Castle in Wales.
  • Another Green Lady protects her baby, and the home, at Crathes Castle.
  • Scotland’s Dunstaffnage Castle, is the home of a Glaistig. And read the legend of this Green Lady, by Margaret Campbell.
  • Additional Green Ladies are seen at their respective castle homes: Fyvie Castle, near Muchalls Castle (now an hotel), Huntingtower Castle, and probably dozens (hundreds?) of others.
  • If you’re planning a trip to Scotland and want to increase your chances of seeing a Green Lady or other spectre, see the list at Travel Scotland’s Haunted Hotels.
  • One haunted hotel in Scotland, Tulloch Castle Hotel, even has a painting of the Green Lady who protects it.Thanks to Adam W. for suggesting the subject of The Green Lady for this article. (The hotel’s link – TullochCastle.co.uk – seems not to be working in March 2017. For now, the best source of information may be travel websites, or Wikipedia.)

Also read my article Scottish Ghosts – The ‘Green Lady’