Sunday, 21 March 2010
As well as many other names such as the Garden Isle, and Dinosaur Island, one of the best loved nicknames is Ghost Island, as we seem to have more than our fair share.
Just why there are so many ghosts on the Isle of Wight is a mystery. Some say it's because of powerful unseen energy or ley lines which run under the Island.
This small island is home to hundreds of ghosts and spooky happenings. It has everything - from phantom monks, grey ladies and poltergeists - to the shades of smugglers, soldiers, Royalty and Romans. There are ghostly murderers and their victims, ghost-ships out at sea, and even a ghost-train still running on long vanished rails.
With the Island’s rich historical heritage, its violent and colourful past, it’s not surprising that ghostly goings-on and haunting echoes of those turbulent times continue to reverberate through 21st century, with the spirits of smugglers and shipwrecked seamen walking still on lonely West Wight beaches.
The Most Haunted team including Derek Accorah, Yvette Fielding and Richard Felix paid a visit to Ghost Island last year to film two programmes of Most Haunted, and their amazing experiences at Arreton Manor and Appuldurcombe House can be seen on Living TV’s new fifth series.
HARE AND HOUNDS
Arreton Murderous woodcutter Morey who was deemed to have killed his young grandson in cold blood in 1737, was tried and hanged, and his corpse left rotting on the gibbet at Gallows Hill, near the Hare and Hounds, until it became ´an offence to eye and nostril´. The gibbet crossbeam, complete with a notch cut in it beside the date of his execution can be seen in the pub. Morey´s restless spirit can also be seen, roaming Gallows Hill, carrying a large axe...
APPULDURCOMBE HOUSE, Wroxall . This handsome haunted mansion with its 365 windows and 52 rooms is now a shell of its former self. The ghosts however, remain. They include a phantom carriage, brown-clad monks, dark shapes glimpsed flitting through the grounds. Unseen hands regularly leaf through pages of the visitors' book.
THE PUB THAT VANISHED
You may never find this one, but have fun trying! One dark November night, two Island men set out from Newtown, on what became the strangest night of their lives. They came upon a pub - the Falcon or the Vulcan - where they shared a drink with some unsociable spirits. The drab bar felt unwelcoming and cold. Hostile eyes turned towards the two strangers and all conversation ceased. They drank up quickly and left. The strange old-fashioned pub, which was along a narrow lane somewhere between Newtown and Calbourne, has never been seen again. Despite repeated attempts, neither the lane nor ghostly pub has ever been found.
Journalist and local author Gay Baldwin has been investigating and researching ghost stories for over thirty years. Her series of Isle of Wight ghost books, video, DVD, audiobooks, you can order on-line at www.ghostisland.com.
In 1993, Gay devised the popular Newport Ghost Walk - a spooky stroll around the old town with a supernatural slant, which has introduced thousands of Islanders and visitors to the darker side of Newport.
Led by professional storytellers in Victorian costume from the Isle of Wight Ghost Experience, the walks leave St Thomas's Square, outside the haunted Wheatsheaf Hotel at 8pm on Wednesday nights. There's a new route every year and you can buy tickets on the night or book in advance at any of the Island´s Tourist Information Centres for the walks, which take approximately 1.5 hours.
You can also try several other walks throughout the year, such as the Botanic Garden in Ventnor, Cowes Old Town, Ghosts of Godshill, St Catherines Lighthouse in Niton (including supper), Arreton Manor Grounds and Freshwater Bay. All walks are subject to availability. If wet, do dress appropriately. Call 01983 520695 or check www.ghost-tours.co.uk