Lisa has asked me to contribute to her whole month dedicated to the celebration of Halloween and all things spooky!
The 31st October, Halloween has to be one of my favorite days of the whole year! It’s a total excuse to dress up, have fun, eat lots of chocolate and sweets and basically scare the bejeebers out of one another with ghost stories.
So, where better to start than with my own little ghostly review of the area that I live in. I live in an area of the UK called the West Midlands, which is basically smack bang in the center of the England.
Close to where I live, around 15mins drive is a town called Dudley. Dudley is bathed in history and known for its castle built in 1086, which sits looking over the whole town. (For more history please read the links!)
Dudley castle has been the main residence of many earls over the years and has seen its fair share of battles. It is now partly derelict but the castle still remains as a listed building in the UK. A listed building is a building, which cannot be knocked down it, must be preserved and therefore is now surrounded by a Zoo and used as a local tourist attraction.
Dudley castle has so much history that it is hard not to hear of the local ghost walks that happen everyday at the castle and chitchat of murderous, spooky stories linked with this beautiful location. Just look at the pictures below, its eerie but idyllic at the same time.
Over the years as with many castles there have been ghostly sightings in and around the grounds. The first sighting was back in 1870 where a local man reported seeing two people-walking arm in arm through a doorway into the Keep dressed in 17th or 18th century clothing, the man wearing a tall hat and carrying a walking stick. When the man followed the pair through to the Keep there was no one there. This again was seen in the 1930’s witnessed by a local tourist guide at the castle and two visitors.
In 1962 Zoo staff working in the aquarium, which used to be the Undercroft were disturbed by strange noises/groans, cold air, doors that opened and closed of their own accord and footsteps which had no visible cause.
Above the Undercroft is situated the Castle Chapel which dates back to the 14th century. There is a large window, which looks out onto the courtyard; here people have witnessed seeing a figure of a monk in a dark cloak.
In 1966 a teenager who worked at the Zoo reported hearing weird noises and saw the shape of a woman in a white gown, which is known, as ‘The Gray Lady’. She has been reportedly seen several times in various parts of the castle. It has been suggested that ‘The Gray Lady’ could be Dorothy Beaumont the wife of a Royalist who died during childbirth.
In 1987 three workmen repairing a broken electric cable reported seeing several hooded figures near the Keep, this again could be that of monks who lived in the grounds.
According to local legend an old woman once lived in the Keep. One story says that she hung herself from the battlements on All Hallows Eve and her black cat was found dead beneath her swinging body. Another says that a gang of youths climbed the walls and discovered the old woman and her cat about to fly off to the Sabbath and that they tied a rope around her neck and the cats in order to throw them both from the battlements.
Over the years there have been many stories and sightings, which still continue today. People have found that after taking photographs around the castle strange figures and misty images have appeared once developed. I must say that I have visited the castle many times and over the years I have not had the opportunity to spot any ghosts nor have any appeared in my photographs but it’s a local tradition that every Halloween there is a ghost walk which takes you around the castle hoping to spot or make contact with the dead.
In 2002 resident UK ghost hunting television show ‘Most Haunted’ conducted a live nighttime investigation of Dudley Castle on Halloween. During their investigation they came across another popular ghost of a Civil War Drummer Boy who was killed by a single bullet from a musket. He is heard many times at night, banging on his drum conducting various drum rolls as if he is in battle. You can watch the live show for your self on youtube! It is also said to be bad luck if you hear his drumming as it is a signal that you are about to die.
So to end on a very cheery note, I love that I live in such a wonderful area full of history and spooky ghost stories. I could write all day and night about the other haunted places where I live but maybe I should leave that till another time!
Until next time, Happy Halloween!