UKs ‘most haunted village’ boasts one ghost for every 89 residents

Professor Brian Cox discusses ghosts on Lorraine in 2018

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With Halloween just around the corner, pumpkins are popping up everywhere carved with scary grimaces. The tradition of dressing up and celebrating on October 31 each year is believed to have originated from the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. People would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts. One picturesque village in the English countryside seemingly drew the short straw when it came to attracting ghosts. Pluckley, a village around five miles (eight kilometres) west of Ashford in Kent, has been dubbed the most haunted in the UK.

The village earned a place in the 1989 Guinness Book of Records for being the “most haunted village in Britain”, after 12 different alleged sightings.

The category, however, is no longer in use by Guinness. 

Pluckley boasts more ghost sightings per person than any other village in the country, according to KentLive.

In the 2011 census, Pluckley had a population of 1,069, which equates to one ghost per 89 residents. 

The Mirror, however, reported last year that the village is home to 15 ghosts, or one per 71 residents.

It has been the location for a series of supernatural television programmes, including Most Haunted and Ghostly Legends.  It was also the setting of ITV drama series The Darling Buds of May, which starred David Jason and Catherine Zeta Jones.

Tourists and amateur ghost-hunters still flock to the spooky village from across the country in search of just one of the ghouls.

Local resident Julie Halliday told KentOnline of one particular spirit in 2019.

She spoke of a young girl called Elizabeth, believed to have been plastered into the walls of The Black Horse pub by her evil nanny: “A lot of people say their hair gets pulled — a medium told us it’s because she gets bored and mischievous.

“I used to leave a doll for her, but since we’ve had new owners and different staff over the years the doll has been removed and she plays up.

“I believe in the stories and have seen things myself ‒ too many things have happened over the years for it not to be true.”

The Black Horse used to be a farmhouse surrounded by a moat, and belonged to the local bailiff.  It is famous for things apparently disappearing from right before people’s eyes, and turning up again a few days later.

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Another local resident, Liz Wyndham, told the publication her young niece had once “sat up in bed and pointed at a pretty lady who wasn’t there”.

Fright Corner, one of Pluckley’s more notorious spots, has regular ghost sightings.

A highwayman is believed to have taken his last breath here in the 18th Century. He reportedly got into a fight with the village’s peacekeepers. 

They pinned him to an oak tree, which stood in the same place until very recently.

Those who claim to have seen the ghosts report a re-enactment of their sword fight, always with the same outcome.

Just a short walk away from Fright Corner is the chillingly named Screaming Woods. 

Some brave souls choose to spend the night camped under the canopy despite the numerous reports of the sounds of screaming being heard after dark.

The Mirror reported these to be the sounds of those who had died whilst getting lost in the misty woods.

Dicky Buss’ Lane, just a short walk from the local primary school, is reported to be the home of the corpse of a teacher who hanged himself.

He is believed to have taken his own life and his body was found several weeks later by Dicky, the miller whom the lane is named after.

Some locals have, however, cast doubt on the stories. A local butcher told KentOnline: “I’ve been here for years and have never seen anything. It’s all just stories people have made up.”

Another added: “It’s a nice village and these stories ruin it and give us the hassle we don’t need.”

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