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NORTH KENT: Is where you live haunted?
10:00am Sunday 30th August 2009 in News
Ghosts might be the stuff of make believe, but north Kent has a few spooky tales of its own. DAVID MILLS looks at the area’s haunted history.
FROM a headless apparition to poltergeists driving families from their homes, there are plenty of ghost stories to tell about the area.
And many of them appear to have some connection with a person meeting a nasty and tragic death.
Gravesend Library’s district manager Christoph Bull has been fascinated by ghost stories for years and keeps an open mind as to whether they are true or not.
He said: “The problem is there are lots of supernatural hauntings but they are never recorded.
“If they are not recorded they are lost and become very inaccurate.”
So News Shopper took a look at three of the most well-documented spooky stories from across the area.
This old rectory, once an ancient friary dating back to the 11th century, has quite a haunted history.
In medieval times, three nuns were bricked up in the cellar and left to starve to death after they were caught in flagrante with some monks.
One of the nuns, a plump young woman no more than five feet tall, is still known to haunt the place.
A stained glass window commemorates a visit in 1874 by the Bishop of Rochester to exorcise the ghost of a female nurse whose body was also believed to be walled up in the cellars.
In the mid-19th century, when the nurse was caring for a severely ill patient, it is suggested she tried to fiddle the patient’s will in her favour.
Several sightings have since occured of a ghost in nurse’s uniform, holding a batch of documents, thought to be the will.
FORT GARDENS, GRAVESEND
Here lies the remains of an 18th century fort, built to defend the Thames against any naval attack from France, and later rebuilt by General Gordon between 1865 and 1879.
Centuries ago however, it was the site of a medieval graveyard.
Open to the public for more than 20 years, there have been up to 40 reported sightings of ghoulish activity.
That is according to Victor Smith, a volunteer who works at the fort.
He said: “We have had lots of reports from visitors about things they have seen, sounds they have heard and things they have felt in terms of cold spots, typical of alleged hauntings.”
Mr Smith didn’t believe the stories at first, until he saw a dark figure float across the corridor of one of the tunnels.
He said: “I remember one visitor who accused us of making up stories to get people to visit.
“Minutes later he came running out scared to death about something he had seen, but he wouldn’t talk about it.”
Contractors brought in over the years have noticed equipment being moved overnight, as well as an artillery shell weighing half a tonne.
The house at number 16 caught the headlines of the local press in the 1960s for being plagued by poltergeists.
Weird scratching and banging, strange smells and spooky footsteps were too much for one family-of-six, who were so terrified they moved out.
And the same happened again a year later to another family, who also witnessed the ghost of a headless woman.
The story goes that during the Second World War, a woman died after she was hit by shrapnel near to number 16.
A little girl was also killed while riding down the street.
Both incidents could be linked to the supernatural phenomena of Waterdales.
Do you believe in ghost stories? Or do you have any paranormal experiences of your own? Leave your comments below.
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