Local paranormal experts were horrified to hear that Warwickshire has been declared one of the least haunted counties in England.
The unlikely statistic emerged during Halloween week when a property agency interpreted data from the Paranormal Database, a website that charts spooky activity from history to the present day.
The database currently holds 11,900 entries of paranormal activity, with only 116 reports coming from Warwickshire. In a widely distributed press release www.sellhouses.co.uk decided that this made the county “the third LEAST haunted place in England”. The story has been picked up by media outlets throughout the UK and reported as fact.
However Darren Mann, who founded the Paranormal Database in 1999, says that the data has been seriously misinterpreted.
Darren told Midweek: “It is impossible to declare whether one place is more haunted than another. What would the criteria be? Number of ghosts? Frequency of alleged sightings? ‘Scare’ factor? We don’t even know if ghosts exist, which for me is part of the intrigue. The Paranormal Database only contains a fraction of myths, legends and oddities from across the UK and beyond, and I can guarantee for every entry on my site there are at least a dozen more which exist as only as word of mouth.”
He continued: “For me, Warwickshire has some of the most interesting myths and legends in the UK. Shakespeare’s graveside curse, visible for all to read, is a stark warning for those who may disturb the dead. There are quirky little stories, such as the demonic cockerel of Alcocks Arbour which guards long lost treasure. Warwick Castle drips with spooky stories, while phantom highwaymen cross the county. It’s never the quantity that counts, it’s always the quality!”
Another paranormal expert to slam the findings includes Marco Spriggs, a guide on the Stratford Town Ghost Walk.
Marco said: “Stratford has some of the most haunted buildings in the country –broadcasters and ghosthunters specifically come to the town to explore its rich history of hauntings. There are many stories handed down through the generations. To say Warwickshire is not very haunted is just nonsense. Our ghost walk is 90 minutes long, but I could spend days taking visitors on a tour of all of our spooky and mysterious spots.”
The Stratford-upon-Avon area boasts several famous haunted places. These include Shrieve’s House, at number 40 Sheep Street, which has the reputation of being the most haunted house in Stratford. It used to be a tavern and is named after William Shreyve who lived there in the 1530s.
John Ford, director of Tudor World which is based there, says he has encountered spooky goings on, he explained: “I’ve seen a hooded figure with red eyes, and the bed moved under me once. At first I thought it was something to do with the cat jumping on it, but it wasn’t… I wasn’t scared though!”
Ettington Park Hotel is also notorious for its ghostly inhabitants, the most famous of which is that of a woman who is dressed in a white gown. She glides along the corridors at night and then disappears into the walls, frightening guests and staff. The staff believe that she is a former governess and is known by the name ‘Lady Emma’.
The hotel was also famously the location for one of the scariest films ever made, 1963’s The Haunting. To this day, movie guides advise ‘Do not watch this film alone!’
It’s not just the ghost of Hamlet’s dad that haunts the Royal Shakespeare Company. A perfumed lady is often smelt in the upper circle of the RST Main House and her perfume is said to be old fashioned and flowery.
The grey lady is another of the RSC’s well-known ghosts. She is always described as wearing a long grey dress and appears to be so real to people who see her, she is often mistaken for a lost theatre goer. Many believe she is the spirit of Elisabeth Scott, the architect who designed the theatre after the Memorial Theatre burnt down in 1926.
Pippa, a former retail merchandiser at the RSC, said: “While I was in the Swan gallery I looked at an old RSC costume and I remember feeling cold, but nothing out of the ordinary. When I returned to see my colleague, she said she was surprised to see someone viewing the gallery so early in the morning. I said I was the only person in the gallery but my colleague insisted there was a lady standing behind me in a long grey dress and it was all captured on CCTV; there was definitely no one else in the room but me.”
This Halloween Midweek readers are invited to contribute their brushes with the paranormal world by submitting their stories to www.paranormaldatabase.com and boosting Warwickshire’s spook count.