Top ghostly hauntings in Cornwall…

Top ghostly hauntings in Cornwall…

Cornwall has always been said to be a special place, where the ‘veil’ between the worlds is somewhat thinner. On bright autumnal days you can certainly see it – that stunning clarity that artist’s love so much – but it’s the dark nights which draw us in, sending a shiver down our spines as we tell ghostly stories around the fire on All Hallows Eve.

West Cornwall

It’s no surprise that most ghostly apparitions have been spotted down in the far west of Cornwall. Here, it’s still a wild, untamed spot, dotted with ancient Neolithic stone monuments over the rough moorland, whilst the treacherous, rocky coastline has seen its fair share of wrecks. Off the shore at Land’s End, its said that the lost island of Lyonesse lies, an ethereal land caught up in the legend of King Arthur, said to be glimpsed on misty mornings, a shadowy presence in the water. Nearby you’ll discover the Tinner’s Arms in Zennor, built in 1271, said to be haunted by the disgruntled ghost of a miner who lurks by the front door, with pint glasses lifting in mid air and pictures being thrown off the walls.

The Dolphin Inn in Penzance, nestled close to the waterfront, is home to three ghosts which have been seen as recently as 2020, whilst the notorious Judge Jefferys is said to have used the pub as a courtroom and jail, meting out cruel punishments in 1685 to those caught up in the attempt to overthrow King James II. Pengersick Castle, little more than a tower these days, lies close to the huge sandy beach of Praa Sands, and is reputedly one of the most haunted places in Cornwall, with over 20 residents including spectral cats, daemon dogs, weird mists, orbs, a woman in white and a ghostly monk, said to have been murdered by the castle’s original owner – phew!

Poldark Mine, near Helston, is the only complete tin mine in Cornwall and welcomes visitors to experience what life was like for the hardy miners that worked there. But it’s not all they might experience – strange noises and mists are often experienced, and people have taken pictures only for them to reveal distorted figures in the background…

South Cornwall

Pendennis Castle lies overlooking the water, protecting Falmouth since the reign of Henry VIII from the threat of Spanish and French invaders. But it’s the piercing screams of a young girl that’s often heard by visitors, reputedly that of a poor maid who was thought to have tumbled down the stairs to her untimely death.

The Three Pilchards is Polperro’s oldest pub, but this quaint hostelry is home to a grim ghostly manifestation of a 19th century landlord, who was so drunk he beat his wife to death – their dreadful struggle and cries are said to be heard from the second floor.  In nearby Looe, it is said that the former Punchbowl Inn, which closed its doors in 2012, was witness to the murder of an old rector who was pushed down the cellar by a jealous friend. The very next day it was said the vicar returned to haunt the village in the guise of a huge, daemonic black cockerel of all things, terrorising all who it met. It was eventually caught in an earthenware oven by a kitchen maid and promptly sealed with cement, trapping the vicar’s spirit within it forever.

North Cornwall

Gorgeous Trerice near Newquay is a stunning Elizabethan house, today managed by the National Trust. Lovely as it is to wander through its stunning rooms and garden, visitors have been struck by cold patches and the scent of lilac, plus a woman in grey has said to be seen wandering about. A stable lad, trampled to death by a horse, is also said to haunt the grand estate. Prideaux Place in Padstow is another majestic house, on occasion open to the public but always home to the ghost of a scullery boy who runs about, an apparition of a 19th century lady sewing in the morning room and Honor Fortescue, wife of Humphrey Prideaux, who threw herself off the upper balcony after the death of her husband. Chillingly, she is said to chase visitors out of rooms. The mine at Wheal Cotes, near St Agnes, is a stark reminder of the dangerous life of a miner, and it’s said that chilling cries can be heard from the mine shaft of the poor men who have lost their lives there. Another mine nearby, Polbreen, is home to a ghost known as ‘Dorcas’, who was known to torment the miners as they worked, but who also saved the life of one man who she called out to incessantly, causing him to leave where he was working and follow her, just seconds before the roof collapsed.

Bodmin Moor

Worthy of a section all to itself, Bodmin Moor is home to a plethora of ghostly inhabitants and its not surprising; this is a wild and woolly place, harsh and dramatic and oh-so-gothic. Bodmin Jail, built in 1778 and home to frequent, well-attended public hangings until 1862 when they took place behind closed doors, it’s not surprising this fear-inducing place has many unhappy souls in residence. It is said visitors have felt spectral hands on their shoulders, whilst even more disturbingly a ghost of a woman makes herself known to young children, holding her hands out and beckoning them towards her. Made famous by Cornish writer Daphne du Maurier, Jamaica Inn is notoriously a hotspot for spectral visitations. Not only was the inn a welcome sight for travellers crossing the moor, it was also a hideout for smugglers and wreckers. As well as unaccountable footsteps being heard and figures vanishing in a blink of an eye, it is said that the ghost of a man who died after going home drunk over the moors, returns on every full moon to finish his drink – so when it’s full moon, the landlord leaves half a pint of ale on the bar to keep him placated. And let’s not start on the Beast of Bodmin Moor….

Fancy yourself a bit of a ghost hunter? Book yourself a stay in one of our luxury cottages in Cornwall here.

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