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Hauntings set for Halloween

PUBLISHED: 18:21 28 October 2009 | UPDATED: 15:26 03 July 2010

MANY believe them to be tales of twilight and darkness, the product of fevered imaginations, spine-tingling stories to be recounted on dark and stormy nights.

MANY believe them to be tales of twilight and darkness, the product of fevered imaginations, spine-tingling stories to be recounted on dark and stormy nights.

But for those who have witnessed them, the following stories are far from fanciful. Norfolk, with its eerie marshland, miles of shipwreck-strewn coastland and remote villages, has a dark past which has terrified generations for centuries.

From long-legged spiders infesting the marshes to coaches driven by skeletons, fighting galleons to disembodied crazy laughter, fearsome sea serpents to headless bridesmaids, Norfolk is home to a host of paranormal tenants.

And chillingly, most don't limit their appearances to Halloween. Read on… if you dare.

ACLE: Bridge.

When King James I was on the throne, a local man paid the ultimate price for ill-treating his wife. Josiah Burge was attacked and killed on Acle Bridge by his wife's brother, who escaped the country by ship from Great Yarmouth the very next morning. Another man, Jack Ketch, who was known to dislike Burge, was arrested, tried and then hanged from the bridge for a murder he didn't commit. When the true murderer returned to Norfolk, he was drawn to the bridge where he had cut Burge's throat and left him to bleed to death. There, he was horrified to see a glowing skeleton - Ketch's ghost avenging his own untimely death. Every April, it is said that fresh bloodstains pool on the bridge stonework where Josiah met his end.

BLAKENEY: between Sheringham and Wells on the A149.

On the salt marshes at Blakeney, an area famed for its many ghostly residents, children were once told that sprites roamed freely. The sprites resembled huge, long-legged spiders and would attack anyone who strayed into the dangerous marshland.

BLICKLINGg; one and a half miles north west of Aylsham.

Each year, on May 19, a coach pulled by four headless horses pulls up in the driveway of Blickling Hall with a decapitated Anne Boleyn on a seat, her head in her lap. After Anne's headless white ghost appears, it is said to climb out before inspecting each room of the hall (the place of her birth and childhood). On the same date her father, Sir Thomas Boleyn, is said to drive headless horses in the area, having been cursed to cross 12 Norfolk bridges - including those at Aylsham, Wroxham and Coltishall - for eternity.

BREYDON WATER: a large tidal area which stretches from Great Yarmouth to Burgh Castle. Three of Norfolk's rivers enter Breydon Water.

In July, a fleet of galleons is said to visit this beautiful nature reserve and is seen heading towards Burgh Castle. In September, witnesses claim to have seen a battle rage between a pirate ship and two smaller vessels.

ECCLES-ON-SEA: five minutes drive from Stalham, close to Sea Palling on the east Norfolk coast.

A creature 12 metres long has been spotted, slithering across the top of the sea like a gigantic worm. One witness estimated its speed to be around 90mph.

GREAT YARMOUTH

A family was driven out of their holiday caravan by a ghost that kept them awake all night by constantly prodding them. Their terror was such that they packed up in the middle of the night and left Yarmouth immediately. The caravan number was B77, if you're planning a holiday next summer.

GRESSENHALL: Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse.

In what was the main building of the workhouse, a grey lady is said to visit the staircase looking for her lost baby. The remains of a baby were found in a cupboard under the stairs while the workhouse was still in operation and it is believed the ghost is hunting for the baby she lost.

Gressenhall is open until Sunday, from 10am to 5pm.

LUDHAM: on the A149, in the Norfolk Broads.

Every April, Ludham Bridge is visited by a raiding party of Vikings who appear late at night and head towards the bridge, blowing hunting horns and cracking whips.

NORWICH: Augustine Steward House, Tombland.

When the plague wiped out the occupants in Augustine Steward House, the building was boarded up for weeks. Sadly, a young girl in the house had survived, but starved to death because she was unable to escape the entombed house. Her grey ghost haunts the house and Tombland alley.

TIBENHAM: near Long Stratton.

The 445th Bomb Group flew 280 missions from Tibenham throughout occupied Europe during the second world war. An echoing voice has been heard across the airfield, barking orders at a crew who left - or died - decades ago. Sometimes the orders are drowned out by the sound of a bomber plane warming up before take-off.

TROWSE: on the south side of Norwich, 15 minutes walk from the city centre.

The White Horse public house has borne witness to many hauntings over the years. Witnesses have reported hearing screaming children, footsteps along deserted corridors and pictures have fallen from the walls.

Don't ket us keep you awake. HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA!

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