Ghost and Hauntings


Ghoul of Garway?

Filed under: Spooky Experiences — loretta @ 02:38:50 pm

Garway is a village to the south west of Hereford, near the Welsh border. On the outskirts to the west is a church dedicated to St Michael. The church was established in the 7th century and in the 12th century Garway was gifted to the Knights Templar. It is still possible to see the foundations of the circular nave of their church which was uncovered in the 1920’s. Some parts of the 12th century church remain, including a stunning chancel arch with foliate head.

It attracts a variety of visitors, particularly perhaps because of its Templar associations.

M.R. James was there in 1917 and seems to have had a peculiar experience:
“We must have offended something or somebody at Garway I think: probably we took it too much for granted, in speaking of it, that we should be able to do exactly as we pleased. Next time we shall know better. There is no doubt it is a very rum place and needs careful handling.”
(Gwendolen McBryde, Letters to a Friend, MRJ’s letter of September 30, 1917).

On the 21st April this year (700th anniversary of the disbandment), I took my in-laws for a birthday lunch in The Moon pub and then went on the the church. This must have been my 7th visit at least, and in spite of that I took out my phone to take a few snaps on its camera (particularly of features I hadn’t noticed or photographed before). Amongst these was the exterior view of the east end south chancel window, the corbels of which include a carving of a head as in death.

I have never in all my time there ever felt it to be unpleasant or strange although perhaps I am too familiar. I forgot about the images on my phone until I downloaded them very late one night. What I found there gave me pause and sent me to my bed with a very disturbed feeling. I am sure it is only caused by the distortion in the glass but it wasn’t something I wanted to discover at a lonely midnight hour! I am sure it will inspire many future pictures for me.

East window with scary form in centre

See a close up below:

Close up image of the Ghoul


Ghosts of Peckham

Filed under: Ghost Stories, Spooky Experiences — loretta @ 09:09:02 pm

I wanted to post a ghost story for the holidays and I was recently reminded of a real haunting that I heard about when young. Back in the 1970’s my mother took a cleaning job in the offices of a local firm on the Queen’s road, Peckham in London. It was a large old house (probably Edwardian or Victorian) of four storeys. My mother frequently took one of my siblings with her as a helper and for companionship as she normally worked late in the evening or early mornings when the offices were unoccupied. It had its creepy corners and a bit of an atmosphere but you could have put that down to it being empty and dark except for a few occurrences which suggest otherwise.

One of my sisters recalled: ‘Ohhhh I didn’t like that [place] especially in the evening…There was a distinctive feeling in that building. It made you frightened. It wasn’t just spooky… There were certain rooms that once finished you wanted to leave them very quickly.’ My brother agreed ‘Once we’d finished a room I never liked going back in it.’ Personally, it felt like you couldn’t be sure a room was empty until the door was opened wide. Sometimes I thought I could see shadows moving from under the door, and wondered if someone was working late but when we went in there was no one. One time someone appeared to move across the floor - but I had only just shut the door after leaving the room.

My sister said: ‘It wasn’t nice in the evening but some occurances were in the early morning too. The room at the top and middle landing being particularly horrible. The feeling in the building made you want to leave; like something didn’t want you in there.’

One evening my sister was coming up the stairs towards my mother, ‘I was on the middle landing and I moved towards her … Suddenly her legs gave way and I said ‘What’s wrong’ she said ‘Oh, its just my legs’ and she didn’t feel well. I was worried because she was acting strange although we carried on cleaning, she seemed a bit distracted. She never said anything until weeks later. She said on the stairs behind me there was a man coming down the stairs and she was so shocked when she realised what it was that her legs just gave way. I think he was wearing period clothes, Victorian or Edwardian.’

On another occasion a man dressed in a top hat and cloak was spotted hanging around the top most landing which let to a single room in the garret.

Early one morning, around 6 o’clock, both my brother and mother had just arrived and as they entered the lobby and removed their coats a hoarse voice called out from above, ‘Who is that? Who is there?’ They were both surprised to hear some ones voice when they expected no one to be there but also a voice they did not recognise, a croaky voice like an old mans. They looked at each other worriedly and searched the building but there was not any one around except for them.

Today the offices have closed and they have been converted into accomodation, I wonder if the current residents have experienced anything ghostly there. My brother commented ‘I never saw any ghosts in B********y …having done countless shifts there,’ then he added nonchalantly ‘…but did hear a few moans and groans!’88|

For more information on ghosts in this part of London please visit


Real Vampires - the bite before Christmas

Filed under: Ghost Stories, Spooky Experiences — loretta @ 12:18:34 pm

My father came from a small village outside Belgrade in Serbia. He told us a story that was well known to the village of an incident that took place within living memory.

The people there believed that the dead could become a vampire if, before burial a cat jumped over the corpse. Marco was not an old man when he died and he was much grieved for by his family and by his boyhood friend, Petronio. They used to play together under a large walnut tree that stood in the centre of the village. They played for hours on the swing that hung from its branches and grew up together like brothers.

Marco was laid out the night before his funeral, surrounded by candles; people came to pay their sorrowful respect. One man was set to watch over him during the perilous night. It grew late and the man grew tired, he fell asleep in the chair for some time. A black cat crept into the room, perhaps startled, it jumped over the body of Marco. The man woke up in time to see it but he decided not to say anything as he had failed in his duty. Nothing might come of it anyway.

They laid Marco’s coffin into the ground the next day, the people unaware of what had gone on the night before. The service was said and they retired to their homes.

That night Petronio was sitting with his family by the fire when he thought he could hear his name, he thought he could hear the sound of his friend’s voice, and he believed the memory of his friend was haunting him and he was sad. But he was not the only one that could hear the voice, when they looked out the window they were very scared. There sitting on the swing under the old walnut tree was Marco, “Petronio. Petronio.” he called “Wont you come and play with me?". Petronio stared out at his friend, terrified. His family gathered up garlic and placed it at the doors and windows. This was not ghost, Marco had become a vampire and had returned to his home. All night he called out “Petronio", the same lonely cry and the swing squeaked and creaked as it rocked back and forth.

The next day the village gathered together and the man responsible for watching over the body confessed that he thought something may have jumped over the corpse. They gathered up garlic and garlic flowers for protection, if it really was the case that Marco was a vampire something would have to be done.

Night came and the figure returned to the tree, calling again and again “Petronio-o, Petronio-o, come and play with me". The whole village hid in doors afraid of the monstrous apparition on the swing, that creaked and groaned throughout the night.

The next day the villagers cut down a young cherry sapling and made it into a stake. They dug up the coffin and inside they found Marco lying peacefully. They thrust the stake into his heart and his eyes opened. It was done and the vampire was no more.


Ghost Story for Christmas - Haunted Tarquinia

Filed under: Ghost Stories, Spooky Experiences — loretta @ 05:58:13 pm

I thought that some of you might like to read a few of the stories I was told when I was growing up. My mother told tales about the ghosts she encountered, some from England and some from her home town in Italy.

She came from a medieval hill village on the west coast of Italy, just north of Rome. It is called Tarquinia and is named after the original Etruscan town that stood there. It is best known for the Etruscan tomb paintings on the edge of the town. It has a very long history and, according to my mother, a lot of ghosts too.

Old Tarquinia

A number of stories relate to one particular residence when my mother was a young woman. The family moved into a first floor apartment, with a large balcony. One afternoon as my grandmother was taking a siesta in her room she became aware of the sound of someone moving around the kitchen. She called out but no one answered. Yet she was quite certain that she could hear someone walking around wearing flip flops. The distinctive flick-flack sound carried on until she went to look, but of course, no one was there.

Later on she asked her daughters who was there that afternoon, why didn’t they reply when she called. They assured her it was none of them, besides they weren’t wearing flip-flops!

The distinctive footsteps were heard on several occasions by other members of the family, normally when the house was quiet and they thought they were on their own.

One day my mother was alone in the flat. She went out to the bathroom, which was reached by walking along the balcony. It was a separate wooden structure and she locked herself in. Within a few minutes she heard a knocking on the wall. She was surprised as she was sure that she was alone. She called out who was it, she would be a minute. No one replied. The knocking, or should I say banging as it was quite load, was persistent and she called out for who ever is was to stop. Maybe one of her brothers had come in and were messing around. The sound grew louder and louder, she was quite scared she was sure she had been alone. The wooden walls shook with the force and she thought the whole thing was going to collapse around her. There was nothing for it, she would have to make a dash for freedom. With the pounding still going on, she threw open the door and without looking round, ran along the balcony back to the safety of the main rooms. Just then her father returned home, he promised he had only arrived then and he never heard anything. They checked together and there was certainly no one outside. The neighbours too said they heard nothing at all, which left my mother askance as she was sure the pounding was so loud and so violent how could anyone not have heard.

Two of my aunts shared a bedroom in the apartment and soon after they had moved in the girls asked if their parents would swap bedrooms. They admitted that they couldn’t get any sleep in there, someone was always walking around. My grandfather laughed and said they must been dreaming, and they were being silly. But eventually my grandparents gave in and swapped rooms with them. It was the middle of summer and quite hot. My grandfather lay there with his legs and arms hanging out the side of the bed to cool down, thinking to himself that there was nothing wrong with the room. Suddenly some one or something clasped his hand. His daughters had been quite right, there was someone in there with them.

The family made enquiries with their neighbours about the previous owners of the apartment. One woman, who had died sometime before, was a spiritualist and carried out regular seances in the flat. Leaving the possibility, according to my mother, that she have raised ’something’ that never went back. As for the footsteps heard in the kitchen, they were told that this woman only ever wore flip flops.

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