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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The spooky, the mysterious...the bizarre! » » Exeter - Most Haunted Place in England? (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

drwilson
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Bar Harbor, ME
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I know that some of our friends over the pond will want to dispute this.

I liked this part:

"Judge Jeffreys, who in 1685 presided over what became known as the Bloody Assizes in which he condemned more than 200 people to be disemboweled and more than 800 deported after a failed revolt against King Charles II, is among the city's ghouls.

Many of the rebels came from the Devon area, and most of the trials took place around the region.

A year after he passed sentence, parts of the bodies of the executed were still to be found hanging on trees in Exeter's Southern Hay area that doubled as a recreation and execution ground."

So let's hear it folks. Can Chester bump (in the night) Exeter from top billing in the press?

Yours,

Paul
salsa_dancer
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Ooh! Challenge on!

If you want to, check out some of the stories on http://www.hauntedchester.co.uk for comparison.
Caleb Strange
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Manchester UK
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Paul LOL!

Okay, from the leaky bucket of my memory, some spooky details from Chester's History. I'll stick to the 17th-century, so we can make a more scientific comparison Smile, though Chester is, of course, a Roman City (Deva), with spectral residents nearly two thousand years old.

The Plague in Chester was particularly busy/nasty. Chester was a major port until the 18th-century, and, as a result, the infection was forever being imported. To give you some idea of how awful things got, here are some death-from-plague figures for the city:

1603 812.
1605 1313 (out of a population of c. 7000).
It was said, of this year, that not a house in the city was spared of the ravages of the disease, save one, in Watergate Street, now known as 'God's Providence House'.
1608 800. The walls of the city fell into disrepair as a result.
1649, the year we're looking at, saw more than 20% of the population falling victim to the dreaded disease in just four months. Think of it. That's 1 in 5 of us dead before the spring! Things got so bad that the grass grew a foot high at the Cross - the central point in town - and crops rotted in the fields, for want of people to harvest them.

I could go on (!), my point is that Chester was as badly hit as anywhere by the Plague. And these numerous spirits haunt the city still, stamped into the very fabric of the place by weight of numbers and the burning agony of their grey, anonymous deaths.

Stanley Palace, where a certain show will occur - now taking bookings for November Smile - is near the Roodee, a large flat area by the river, where the city's plague cabins (quarantine huts) and plague pits (mass graves) were located. The dead are said to stir there still. On a chill night, with the wind scything over the marshy land, you can hear them out there, beyond the city walls, climbing knuckle on knuckle, out of the wet soil...

Chester was also heavily involved in the English Civil War, being loyal to the king when the rest of the north west was republican. Consequently, the city became the focus of some terrible battles. The city was also regularly besieged in the 1640's. One particularly gruesome incident seems to have been the cause of much dreadful haunting. After the Battle of Rowton Moor, near to the city, when the Royalists were defeated, every one of the king's men captured or killed there, was beheaded. The triumphant republicans, unable to breech the city's defences, floated more than a thousand of these heads down the river, so that they passed as trophies through the city. It doesn't bear thinking about, but many people learnt of the death of loved ones by recognising faces in the butchered remains. Not surprisingly, this pain is said to haunt the river still. And when the moon is slung low, and there is frost silvering the reeded banks, those severed heads can be seen lolling by once more, and the city grows silent, save for the sound of the darkened waters, lapping on the shore.

I could mention 1645, when the city was besieged for half a year - the residents reduced to a diet of horseflesh and vermin, as the 'grenadoes' or mortar bombs fell. But I won't. Suffice to say, many of the characters of this time are said to walk the city even today: James Stanley, for instance, the Royalist Commander, who was captured at his previously mentioned home, having been betrayed by a servant. In fact, Stanley was held prisoner and wrote his last two letters - one to his wife and the other to his children - in the VERY room where the 'Haunted Chester' show is taking place.

Yet all these terrors are as nothing to the shivering descent into the unknown that is 'Haunted Chester' Smile. As Salsadancer would say, 'Prepare to be afraid...'

Warm regards,

Caleb Strange.
-- QCiC --
drwilson
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Bar Harbor, ME
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Caleb,

You're giving me goosebumps. I am sitting here under fluorescent lights and I can see those bobbing heads! I think I'll pass on the apples in the tub this year.

Even the heavy stuff that they dish out in those New Orleans ghost tours just doesn't compare to these stories. But then I haven't been to Chicago...

Yours,

Paul
salsa_dancer
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Wow, great post Caleb! As always with your renditions of the history of Chester it gave me goosebumps!
Lee Davies
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Derby, England
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You may consider to browse through http://www.derbyphotos.co.uk/ghostwalks/ as I believe Derby is boasting itself as 'The ghost capital of England' (more ghost per mile - or something like that).

We get many a cousin from across the pond as the city was featured on an American television programe (I cannot recall the name), which boosted the local ghost economy.

Plus you have the chance to be toured by the infamous Richard Felix of Most Haunted fame - nice and thoroughly entertaining chappie.

Regards

And the report of James Preston who was executed on the gallows makes a good read, and a good story for a routine...
I will not cease from mental fight,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand...
Dr_Stephen_Midnight
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SW Ohio, USA
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It was a Duke of Exeter that invented the English rack (torture instrument), which was originally called "Exeter's Daughter."

Steve
Dr. Lao: "Do you know what wisdom is?"
Mike: "No."
Dr. Lao: "Wise answer."
Dr. Zordas
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...Well of course it's the most haunted place in England, how can it *not be* with a name like Exit-er.


(Groan...)


Dr. Zordas
Hexagon
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London
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London boasts some chilling tales of woe
lots of the old streets still remain, hidden though,
and the tunnels and rivers that flow beneath the city are a different thing entirely...
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