The Brown Lady of Raynham Hall: CHRISTMAS SPIRITS

Ghosts don't always take human form; some come back in animal shape.
Ghosts don’t always take human shape, but of those who do, the Brown Lady is certainly the most famous to be caught on film.

One of the most famous ghosts with a strong connection to Christmas is the “Brown Lady” of England’s Raynham Hall.

The Brown Lady was first seen on Christmas and it is at this time of year she is most often reported by witnesses. The story behind her haunting, however, hardly ranks of one of the merrier Christmas tales.

The lady in question was Dorothy Walpole, sister to the Prime Minister of England in the early 1700’s. She was a child of wealth and privilege and had almost anything she wanted—save the choice of a husband.

Lady Dorothy Walpole outfitted in blue not brown
Lady Dorothy, bedecked in blue; perhaps she saves brown for her Christmas visits. 

Lady Dorothy loved a young gentleman named Lord Warton, but her father instead chose to marry her off to one more suitable to her father’s liking, Lord Charles Townsend, the master of Raynham Hall.

In fairness, Walton had a nefarious repute, the great English historian Macaulay described thus: “His mendacity and his effrontery passed into proverbs. Of all the liars of his time he was the most deliberate, the most inventive and the most circumstantial. What shame meant he did not seem to understand.” He was also known to be a lecher and a drunkard of the first order, breaking into a church once to relieve himself on the alter and pulpit.

Thomas Wharton Lady Dorothys alleged lover

While Townsend lavished presents on her, his hands were cold to the touch, and though it produced children, it was a loveless marriage.

It was not surprising, then, when Lord Townsend learned that his wife was having an affair with Lord Walton, his revenge was swift and terrible.

Townsend was notorious for his foul temper and rather than face the humiliation of a public divorce, he instead devised a more insidious punishment for his faithless wife. He imprisoned her in her room in Raynham Hall and kept apart from family, children and friends.

CharlesTownshend cockholded by his wife; author of the notorious Townsend Acts that led to the American Revolution
Charles Townsend, husband to Lady Dorothy and known as sponsor of the notorious Townsend Acts which led to the American Revolution.

Officially, she died of smallpox a few years later, but there is some suspicion that her estranged husband speeded up her demise, putting out her eyes so that she should never set eyes on another man again.

The Brown Lady, so called because of the brown brocade dress she was seen in, was first seen by outsiders in 1835. Two two houseguests, Colonel Loftus and a man named Hawkins claimed that as they were going to bed at the end of a pleasant evening with the current Lord Townsend, they passed a ghostly lady in the hall, all dressed in brown, her face aglow.

What caught their eyes about the Brown Lady, however, was that she had none—just empty black sockets where her eyes should have been.

She continued to be sighted over the years by various folk—including royalty—and finally, in 1936, a curious reporter from Country Life Magazine decided to investigate the story of the Brown Lady for himself.

The reporter, Hubert Provand, had little luck tracking the elusive lady in brown and instead busied himself with taking photos of the interior for his magazine, so commoners could see how the other one percent lived. He had already taken one picture of the grand staircase, when his assistant saw a vapor forming at the top of the stairs, which started moving down the stairs. With his head still stuck under the black camera cloth, his assistant directed him to take another shot, not knowing what he was photographing. When the film was developed, Provand found he had the image of a gossamer-like female figure descending the stairs.

While the professional debunkers have parroted their usual accusation of fakery, all objective investigators of this photo have declared it authentic. If her phantom form is not quite the elegant figure that adorns the painting of Dorothy Walpole in her upstairs bedroom, there is little doubt at Raynham Hall that the Brown Lady was indeed captured on film on Christmas day. And who is to say that they are not right?

For more true ghost stories, read Strange Tales of the Dark and Bloody Ground, Dixie Spirits and Ghosts and Haunts of Tennessee.

 

Strange Tales of the Dark and Bloody Ground chronicles true stories of unexplained phenomena in the Mid South.
Strange Tales of the Dark and Bloody Ground chronicles true stories of unexplained phenomena in the Mid South.
A compendium of strange, unexplained and uncanny events and places throughout the South.
Dixie Spirits, A compendium of strange, unexplained and uncanny events and places throughout the South.

 

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The Ship of Yule: The Twelve Ghosts of Christmas, 9

The doomed schooner Rouse Simmons, known as The Christmas Tree Ship.
The doomed schooner Rouse Simmons, known as The Christmas Tree Ship.

In his famous ballad, The Wreck of the Edmond Fitzgerald, Gordon Lightfoot posed the question, “does anyone know where to love of God goes, when the gales of November come early?” The sad fact is that not only that ship, but many other vessels that ply the Great Lakes have fallen prey to the unpredictable weather that besets the great northern waters. No fate was more sad, nor more tragic, nor its aftermath more eerie, that the doom of the Christmas Tree Ship.

For many years it was a tradition on the northern waters that one or another schooner, or similar sailing craft, would sail north, cut a load of fragrant fresh evergreens and then sail southward to Chicago to eager families awaiting the ship’s arrival to put up a tree in their home. It was a long-standing tradition and the arrival of the Christmas Tree Ship came to be an annual ritual in Chicagoland, and its arrival always marked the beginning of the Christmas season there.

November of 1912 started off no different than any other year. The schooner Rouse Simmons that year made the journey to the northlands, where the crew cut the trees and hauled them onboard, ‘til the deck was stacked high with them. The skipper, Herman Schuenemann, was known locally as “Captain Santa:” a gruff old salt, he had a heart of gold and sold his trees direct to the people on the docks, even giving some free to the needy who had not the money to buy them.

That November was a particularly bountiful harvest. They say some worried deckhands asked the captain if they may have cut too many, to which he is said to have replied, “don’t worry boys, the folks waiting on the Clark Street docks will buy ‘em all!” They say some of the sailors, looking at the red sunset on the horizon, refused to take ship with Captain Santa and stayed behind.

On November 23, 1912 the good ship Rouse Simmons set sail, rounding the Upper Peninsula and making its way south towards Chicago. They were making good time, they say, when foul winter hit. It was one of those gales that Gordon Lightfoot warned about; high winds bearing cold, cold air and more snow and ice than you would expect at that time of the year. The rigging became encased in crystal sheaths and impossible to use, while the sails were torn to shreds by the howling icy winds. Top heavy with trees, the ship was listing to one side when folks along the shores of Lake Michigan caught sight of her.

Folk near Two Rivers, Wisconsin, could see the crew from shore, begging and pleading for help. Though it was worth a man’s life to try, the folks on shore launched a boat to rescue the crew. They caught a glimpse of the ship in the tossing seas, but then it became lost to view. Amidst the fog, the snow and the sleet, they couldn’t find the missing ship and returned to shore, lest they too share its doom.

Weighed down with ice-laden trees on deck, taking water and her sails in tatters, the Rouse Simmons went down off the coast of Wisconsin. But though she disappeared between the waves that year, that was not the last folk on the lakes saw of her. For weeks after the ship went down, the ship and its skipper kept being sighted on the lake, and well into December she was expected to land any day, simply delayed at some port, they thought. What those folk saw on the lake has never been explained, as the Rouse Simmons by that time was on the lake bottom with all her crew.

Like any good Flying Dutchman, however, there are continuing reports of an old three-masted schooner sighted on stormy nights, especially in late November; but the ship over the years has continued to send physical reminders as well.

For years afterwards, pieces of Christmas Trees would wash ashore or come up in fishermen’s nets on Lake Michigan. One time, a message in a bottle washed up ashore, supposedly the last message from Captain Santa. Another time, a local fishing boat hauled up in its nets the wallet of Captain Santa himself. Somehow, the good ship Rouse Simmons just would not go away.

True, divers did eventually find the wreck at the bottom of the lake, but no sign of the crew was found aboard, and reports of a ghostly sailing ship, tossed upon angry inland seas continue to be told. Who knows, perhaps some day, some way, the ghosts of Captain Santa and his crew will finally make it back to port in time for Christmas.

For more classic ghost stories, see Strange Tales of the Dark and Bloody Ground, Dixie Spirits, and my latest book, Ghosts and Haunts of Tennessee.

The Haunting of Hampton Court: Christmas Spirits

 

Hampton Court around 1800
A favorite haunt since Elizabethan times, Hampton Court is host to its own Christmas ghost.

In old London town, down where the richer sort cavort, lies the venerable Hampton Court Palace.

Hampton Court actually started as a grange—or barn—for the Knights of St. John, otherwise known as the Knights Hospitallers. It was this order that, most famously, would give the Holy Roman Emperor a falcon every year–The Maltese Falcon. But that Medieval structure was replaced in Tudor times by Hampton Court, which itself has been added to and rebuilt many times over the centuries. The one constant about the grand building that all agree on is that it is most seriously haunted.

After various and sundry changes, it eventually became the palace of the famous cleric turned politician, Cardinal Wolsey. Cardinal Wolsey gifted the palace to Henry. But the cleric evidently liked the palace so much he continues to hang about, long after his demise. Over the centuries Wolsey has been sighted  under one of the archways. His last documented appearance was in 1966 sighting by an audience member attending a show at the palace.

Cardinal_Thomas_Wolsey
Cardinal Wolsey gave the palace to Henry VIII who returned his loyalty with charges of treason. Wolsey still haunts the grounds of Hampton Palace and may be one of several Christmas spirits there.

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Today, Hampton Court is one of the many notable tourist attractions London has to offer. But when visitors aren’t looking, strange things happen at Hampton.

Especially around Yuletide, security guards at the palace will find doors, which have been closed firmly, strangely open but a short time later.

Finally, one Christmas, the cause of the strange occurrences was discovered. On closed circuit security cameras the heavy palace doors can be seen flying open. It happened one Christmas on three consecutive nights.

At first nothing is seen on screen, but soon the spooky cause appeared. A robed figure, materializing out of nowhere, was seen pulling the doors shut again.

Henry VIII
Henry VIII wived It merrily at Hampton Court– and perhaps his lusty ghost still haunts it at Yuletide.

Who the Christmas ghost or ghosts may be is not known; some say it may be Cardinal Wolsey, others Henry VIII himself. Still other former denizens of its haunted halls have been suggested.

Henry’s fifth wife, Catherine Howard, was arrested in a hallway of the palace on suspicion of adultery.

It is said she broke away from her captors in an attempt to plead with her husband for mercy. But mercy was not to be had from her vindictive and suspicious spouse. Ever since, her arrest and execution, that part of the palace has been called “The Haunted Gallery.”

Catherine-Howard Henry VIII fifth wife
Lady Catherine Howard, Henry’s “Rose with no thorns” finally fell afoul of her husband’s lousy jealousy.er a caption

Visitors will feel a chill or have other odd sensations in the hallway.

On separate occasions women have fainted away on entering the passageway.

On another occasion, two American women became hysterical, escorted out of the hall screaming in terror, claiming to have seen the apparition of a headless woman in a dark gown walking down the Queen’s Gallery towards them.

Other parts of the palace are associated with other phenomena–and other ghosts. The Queen’s Staircase, which has had a number of reports of being haunted, is believed to be the abode of Lady Jane Seymour, Henry’s third wife.

At one time a professor of psychology was brought in to try to “debunk” all the sightings, charting all the sightings by location and observer’s beliefs. Yet despite the best attempts of the professional debunkers, no one has yet explained away the presence of the Christmas ghosts in Hampton Court.

For more haunting tales told for true, read Dixie Spirits and Strange Tales of the Dark and Bloody Ground.

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Dixie Spirits, A compendium of strange, uncanny events of the South.
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Strange Tales of the Dark and Bloody Ground chronicles true stories of unexplained phenomena in the Mid South.

 

The Dying Rebel: The Twelve Ghosts of Christmas, 6

Captain Todd Carter, CSA, whose ghost still haunts the ancestral home at Yuletide.
Captain Todd Carter, CSA, whose ghost still haunts the ancestral home at Yuletide.

While I have written about this haunting before, notably in Strange Tales of the Dark and Bloody Ground, and briefly in passing in Ghosts and Haunts of Tennessee, it does fit in with the current theme of this blog, as it is most certainly a Yuletide ghost. So for those of you who have read my books, please forgive the redundancy; but as I’m sure there are many who haven’t yet, please bear with me.

We must go back more than one hundred fifty years, to the ill-fated Autumn Campaign of 1864, which was the last gasp of the Confederacy. In a bold maneuver the gallant Army of Tennessee marched northward, even as Sherman’s marched southward to burn and pillage their way to the sea. The idea was to capture Nashville, restock the Confederate army there with the abundant warehouses full of supplies and then chase the Yankees back into Kentucky, take Louisville, burn Cincinnati and hopefully make the North sue for peace. Perhaps it was a vain and hopeless quest to start with; or perhaps in the hands of a better general than John Bell Hood, it just may have had a chance for success.

A sketch of the open fields the Rebels had to charge over--a longer distance than Pickett's Charge. via Harpers
A sketch of the open fields the Rebels had to charge over–a longer distance than Pickett’s Charge. via Harpers

In any case, after several delays and missed opportunities, the Rebel army lay before the town of Franklin, less than a days march from Nashville. In their way stood two Yankee corps, doing their best to avoid being annihilated by Hood, yet still stall the Rebels advance on Nashville. Just the night before the Yankees, under General John Schofield, had escaped from the trap set them near Springhill, escaping in the dark and filtering into Franklin by the dawn’s early light.

In a rage Hood pursued, ready to attack anyone and anything that dared get in his way. On the southern outskirts of Franklin the Yankees had been entrenching all day, posting their cannon and rearguard behind trench and wall to keep the Rebs at bay. Hood was advised to simply go around the town and outflank the rearguard; to use his cavalry to cut them to ribbons on the road into Nashville; but he would hear none of it. Attack, he said; the enemy is before us; attack!

The Battle of Franklin, September 30, 1864
The Battle of Franklin, September 30, 1864

And so, late on the afternoon of November 30, 1864, even as the sun was westering on the horizon, the gallant Army of Tennessee advance over a broad plain of cleared fields, marching as if on parade and fully exposed to the deadly rifle and cannon fire of the enemy. They talk about Pickett’s charge being an ill conceived attack at Gettysburg; it had nothing over the charge at Franklin, where the distance to cover was far greater and equally clear of cover. Yet the men advance behind their colonels and brigadiers, some quietly reciting the poem “The Charge of the Light Brigade” with its refrain, “someone had blundered.”

Among this band of brothers in butternut was one who knew the ground well. Todd Carter had grown up in Franklin, and like his older brothers, had volunteered for service in the Confederacy. As quartermaster of his regiment, he was not required in the front lines; but there he was nonetheless, advancing with the rest. Half a league, half a league onward the army advance, with shot and shell growing fiercer and more accurate as they closed with the Yankee lines, whose center lay just before the carter home.

Confederate troops charging the Yankees at Franklin, by a veteran.
Confederate troops charging the Yankees at Franklin, by a veteran.

With a blood-curdling yell the Rebels rushed the Yankee defenses which sat astride the Columbia Pike and for a crucial few minutes it seemed as though they might win the day. In the end, however, they were forced back from the parapets, and though the fighting continued on into the darkness, despite the Rebel soldiers best efforts, the enemy slipped away in the night.

The side of the Carter House in Franklin still pock-marked with hundreds of bullet holes. It was here Capt. Carter was brought home to die.
The side of the Carter House in Franklin still pock-marked with hundreds of bullet holes. It was here Capt. Carter was brought home to die.

The next morning, the carnage was ghastly to behold; men heaped in piles, horses, five generals and twenty colonels lay among their men; fully a third of the Confederate army dead or wounded—among the Captain Todd Carter. His family found him lying close to the Union lines, shot more than once, but still clinging to life. They brought him home, put him in a room in the rear of the house and nursed him as best they could.

Todd Carter was alive, but his wounds were serious. He lingered to life for a few days; but the wounds were too serious and he finally died. He was waked in the front parlor of his home and buried nearby in the family plot. But though he was buried, he was hardly laid to rest.

Todd Carter lingered in his father's home for weeks before he died. His ghost lingers there still.
Todd Carter lingered in his father’s home for weeks before he died. His ghost lingers there still.

For every year, about the time of his wounding and death, visitors will report seeing a young man, all bandaged up, in that room in the rear ell where he lay before dying.

I have been to the Carter House and seen the hundreds and hundreds of bullet holes still in the brick and wood; I have been to the room where Todd Carter died, and while I saw no ghost, I felt his presence nonetheless.

So if you go, let me know, if you see the yuletide ghost of Todd Carter.

For more on the ghost of Todd Carter and other Civil War ghosts of Franklin, see Strange Tales of the Dark and Bloody Ground, Ghosts and Haunts of the Civil War and the latest, Ghosts and Haunts of Tennessee.

Ghosts & Haunts of the Civil War. True accounts of haunted battlefields, CW ghosts and other unexplained phenomena.
Ghosts & Haunts of the Civil War. True accounts of haunted battlefields, CW ghosts and other unexplained phenomena.
Strange tales of unexplained phenomena and paranormal activity in the Mid-South.
Strange tales of unexplained phenomena and paranormal activity in the Mid-South.

The Christmas Picket: A Civil War Ghost Story

 

Valerius Cincinnatus Giles, was in northern Virginia when he had his uncanny encounter on Christmas Day, 1861.
Valerius Cincinnatus Giles, was in northern Virginia when he had his uncanny encounter on Christmas Day, 1861.

It was the twenty-fifth of December, 1861, the first Christmas of the War.

A nineteen year old private in the Confederate army, Valerius Cincinnatus Giles, was outside on guard detail along the Potomac River.  Facing him on the Maryland side were the Yankees of General Sickles’ Brigade–The Excelsior Brigade.

As a picket, his duty was give the alarm of any enemy activity, lest the Yankees should decide to abandon the comfort of their warm huts and brave the bleak cold outside.

Private Giles’ unit, a detachment of the 4th Texas Infantry, had just relieved another unit which had been guarding that sector. The men would rather have been back in camp, enjoying the holiday as best they could; but duty called, and someone needed to be on duty, no matter what the day.

Private Giles and his two brothers had all answered the call of duty and volunteered for the Confederate army. Giles, still smartly dressed in his long grey frock coat with black waist belt and black strap over his right shoulder, and adorned with a black Hardee hat with one side turned up, looked the model of a military man. One of Giles’s brothers was with the Tenth Texas Infantry in Arkansas, while the other, brother Lew, was with Terry’s Rangers (Eighth Texas Cavalry), somewhere in Kentucky.

There was little likelihood of Valerius being in any personal danger. The Yankees desired a break from war that day as much as the Rebels did.

That afternoon there was a brief to-do when a Yankee steamboat came in sight. But it was soon recognized as a hospital ship and not a gunboat and was left alone to ply it trade on the opposite shore.

More out of boredom than necessity, Private Giles began to walk his post, tramping through snow knee deep in places. The colder clime of northern Virginia was a change of scene for the Texas boy and there in the piney woods in midwinter, when the earth and green branches of the trees were covered with snow, there was no sound of birds singing or crickets chirping. With not a breath of air blowing, the stillness all around him seemed oppressive.

Valerius’s thoughts started to wander, thinking about home and family that Christmas Day.

It was at four p.m. that afternoon when he heard it. He remembered that he was not sleepy or drowsy and perfectly wide awake when he heard it.

He heard his brother Lew Giles’s voice, clear as day, calling out his name:

“It was then 4 P.M., December 25, 1861. I was not sleeping or dreaming. and firmly believed at the time that I heard my brother calling me, but it must have been a delusion of the imagination.”

Knowing Lew was far away to the west in either Kentucky or Tennessee, Val thought at first that somehow it was just his homesickness playing on his imagination; that it was some kind of delusion. Yet he knew his brother’s voice and knew that the voice he had heard was his brother’s.

It was only later that Val learned that Lew had been wounded in Kentucky on the seventeenth of December. Seriously injured, he had been taken to Gallatin, Tennessee, to the home of a family friend, where he lingered for several days.

Wartime image of Gallatin, Tennessee, which changed hands several times during the War.  Lew Giles died here the same day he appeared to his brother in Virginia.
Wartime image of Gallatin, Tennessee, which changed hands several times during the War. Lew Giles died here the same day he appeared to his brother in Virginia.

 

According to information the family later received from their father’s friend in Gallatin, Lew Giles expired at exactly four p.m. on Christmas Day of 1861.

 

 

 

For more true Civil War ghost stories, see: Strange Tales of the Dark and Bloody Ground and Ghosts and Haunts of the Civil War, at better bookstores and available online.

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Ghosts & Haunts of the Civil War. True accounts of haunted battlefields, CW ghosts and other unexplained phenomena.
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The Paranormal Presidency of Abraham Lincoln, documented accounts of Lincolns beliefs in the paranormal and his encounters with unexplained phenomena and uncanny experiences.

Emily and Heathcliff Have a Thing Going On: CHRISTMAS SPIRITS

 

Emily Bronte was a brilliant writer who died young. Her novel, Wuthering Heights is considered a masterpiece--creepy, but a masterpiece nonetheless.
Emily Bronte was a brilliant writer who died young. Her novel, Wuthering Heights is considered a masterpiece–creepy, but a masterpiece.

Blame it all on Dickens, I suppose, but I seem to have English spooks, spirits and  Santa on my mind.

When it comes to English spooks and Gothic tales, one cannot do better than Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. While Heathcliff and Cathy get all the love (or whatever it was they had going on) few know that Emily Bronte herself is reputed to haunt the very same Yorkshire moors her two creepy lovers inhabit in her fiction.

Emily Bronte is perhaps the best known of that literary sorority, the Bronte Sisters, famous for her creepy Gothic romance, Wuthering Heights.

WUTHERING HEIGHTS FRITZ EICHENBERG 1943
WUTHERING HEIGHTS after Fritz Eichenberg’s 1943 engraving. A cozy little place to go mad in.

Although a classic of literature, for many years it was out of favor (at least with the male gender) but as supernatural romances are now back in vogue in a big way, this grandmother of all creepy romances has come into its own.

FRITZ EICHENBERG Wuthering Heights ill Catherine
Emily Bronte was a talented young authoress whose talents were taken from us too soon. She was reputedly working on a sequel to Wuthering Heights but the manuscript mysteriously disappeared upon her premature death.

Only a morbidly romantic mind such as Emily Bronte’s could dream a tale like Wuthering Heights up, so it should not be so surprising that this nineteenth century authoress is also reputed to haunt the very landscape she wrote about.

Emily Bronte wrote Wuthering Heights when she was only 27 years old. Set in the Yorkshire Moors she knew so well, it is a moody novel full of yearning and secrets–and did I say it again–creepiness?

HEATHCLIFF REALLY DUG CATHERINE
Heathcliff REALLY dug Catherine

Emily died only three years after writing her masterpiece, in the very same rural Yorkshire countryside that her masterpiece is set in. Like her novel, hers was a life full of unfulfilled Victorian desires.

Emily Bronte is said to walk in the gardens of her former home in the Yorkshire village of Haworth.

They say she only can be seen in Haworth there between December 19th and January 2,  coinciding with Yuletide. Those who claim to have seen her aver that she seems to be deep in thought.

HEATHCLIFF WAS ALWAYS ON CATHYS MIND FRITZ EICHENBERG
Heathcliff was always on Cathy’s–and Emily’s–mind.

And what stroll across the Yorkshire Moors is complete without encountering a Devil Dog?  This would be the “Gytrash” a phantom demon canine said to haunt Ponden Hall, where the Bronte sisters used to hang out. Ponden Hall has become a mecca for Wuthering Heights fans and followers of the Bronte sisters in general.

Pembroke Devil Dog image
The Gytrash is a Demonic canine said to haunt the Yorkshire moors seeking the ruin of lost souls such as Heathcliff and Cathy–and perhaps Emily Bronte as well.

Legend has it that Emily wrote a book even greater than Wuthering Heights but that it mysteriously disappeared soon after her death.

Rumor has it that sad, lonely, Emily wanders the moors looking for that lost manuscript and that until it is found her literary spirit will find no rest.

People who have encountered her shade along the byways of the North Country claim that if one tries to approach her, she will vanish like a puff of smoke.

So this beautiful phantom of a young girl remains forever out of reach–even if your name be Heathcliff.

For more true ghost stories, see Strange Tales of the Dark and Bloody Ground, Dixie Spirits, and Ghosts and Haunts of Tennessee.

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Ghosts and Haunts of Tennessee. True haunting tales of the Mid South
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Strange Tales of the Dark & Bloody Ground, true accounts of unexplained phenomena and paranormal activity in the South.

“WITH ER’ ‘EAD TUCKED UNDERNEATH ‘ER ARMS” Christmas Spirits

 

anne-boleyn
Ann Bolyn, who lost her head at the king’s whim. She haunts many an English palace, but only appears at her home of Hever at Yuletide.

Next to Charles Dickens’ famed spectres, the most notorious of English ghosts has to be the beautiful but ill fated Ann Bolyn.

One of Henry the Eighth’s less fortunate ex’s, he had her beheaded, supposedly because of her infidelity. Ever since, she has been reported to wander the Tower of London, her beautiful visage relocated under her right arm.

In truth, however, there are a number of places in England where Ann Bolyn’s ghost has been sighted–in most cases still lacking a head on her shoulders.  Ann has on occasion been sighted at Hever Castle, her childhood home; Blickling Hall, her alleged birthplace;
The Tower of London, where she was executed; Hampton Court Palace and Windsor Castle, where Anne and Henry resided during their marriage; Salle Church in Norfolk, where Anne’s body was allegedly moved after her original burial in the Chapel of St Peter ad Vincula in the Tower of London and secretly buried under a black slab near the tombs of her Boleyn ancestors; and Marwell Hall in Hampshire, a residence of the Seymours between 1530-1638.

Wherever she may roam throughout the year, one thing is certain: at Christmastime she returns to her ancestral home of Hever Castle, in Kent.

Whether she haunts this castle, “with er ead tucked underneath er arms” is not certain; but we prefer to think not. She comes home to Hever for the holidays, so perhaps that is why she is on her best behavior here.

What is certain is that on Christmas Eve she can be seen walking across the bridge of the River Eden and onto the castle grounds. She has also been sighted under an ancient oak tree where she and Henry first courted. Perhaps for one night out of the year she may find a place to rest–her head still attached–in her ancestral home.

For more true ghost stories, see Strange Tales of the Dark and Bloody Ground, Dixie Spirits, and Ghosts and Haunts of Tennessee; all are available at better book stores.

Strange Tales of the Dark and Bloody Ground chronicles true stories of unexplained phenomena in the Mid South.
Strange Tales of the Dark and Bloody Ground chronicles true stories of unexplained phenomena in the Mid South.
GHOSTS AND HAUNTS OF TENNESSEE
Ghosts and Haunts of Tennessee. True haunting tales of the Mid South