I hope you are all having a wonderfully spooky day - the pumpkins lit, treats (or tricks) at the ready, your finest ghost stories ready to tell. Lincolnshire has such a rich history, it is no wonder there are ghosts and ghouls about. If you're planning on doing a bit of ghost hunting tonight, here are a few stories for you to investigate...
Tales of hauntings have been thrilling and spooking people for hundreds of years, from unexplained movements and phantom noises to unsettling feelings and ghostly sightings. The people of the past who have lived their lives and died within Lincolnshire have left many questions unanswered and many stories to be told.
Grimsby may only be a small town in comparison to some, but there has been plenty of paranormal activity experienced here; Beagles Lighting of Cleethorpe Road, the Yarborough Hotel in the town centre and Nuns Corner, for example, have all had strange happenings reported, but one of the most chilling has to be that of the Grimsby Docks. In 1954, Grimsby trawler, the Laforey, sank off the coast of Norway, and the 20 men on board became lost at sea. Ever since, workers at Grimsby Port are said to have spotted the trawler sailing in to dock and members of the crew returning home.
The ghost of George Nelson
The roads that connect the villages and towns of the county have their own chilling stories, such as in the story of George Nelson. In 1885, this young man, a resident of the nearby Cadeby Hall, died unfortunately when riding his horse along the road that is now the A18, near Laceby. It is unclear as to how the accident happened, but now the ghost of George and his horse are said to haunt the road where he died, appearing to drivers and, once again, the horse throwing George from his back.
The Scottish Soldier of Hubbards Hills
Around the time of the First World War, a woman was walking her terrier through Hubbards Hills when he ran away. Distraught, she tried frantically to find him when a Scottish soldier appeared and tried to help her, but with no success. The couple fell in love but the soldier had to go to war. After becoming injured, he returned to Louth, with a new dog for his love and they soon married. The soldier outlived his wife but died some years ago. There have been reports of the soldier walking a dog along the top of the hills; even though Hubbards Hills is renowned for its outstanding beauty, it is still home to some ghostly happenings.
The ghost of the Vine Hotel, Skegness
This stunning hotel, many years ago, was once a meeting place for sailors, but unfortunately, their meetings were not always lawful. It is believed that in the 1840s, a Customs and Exercise Officer visited the hotel and had a look at some accounts. He was then bricked into a cavity wall whilst still alive. It wasn’t until years later, when building work was being done, that his skeleton was found, still in his uniform. His ghost has since been spotted at the hotel.
With a history spanning over 600 years, it is no wonder that Tattershall Castle, near Coningsby, is rumoured to have ghoulish residents. The red brick, moated castle is known for its fort-like defences and sheer height, and if you look up to the battlements during the night, you may catch a glimpse of a lady in white, patrolling the top of the castle and keeping watch over the grounds.
The Devil and St. Botolph
One of the most prominent, awe-inspiring sights in the south of the county is St. Botolph’s Church, Boston. The tower, known as the Boston Stump, stands tall in the skyline but is alleged to have evil connections. St. Botolph is said to have corned the Devil and preached so strongly that all the devil could do was huff and puff, and the wind which whips around the corners of the Stump are said to be the Devil’s breath.
RAF Coleby Grange
Lincolnshire has a number of old airfields, and RAF Coleby Grange, eight miles south of Lincoln, is one that is noted for its paranormal activities. People have reported dark shadows appearing and stones being thrown from the abandoned watch tower. Also, apparitions of men in wartime pilot uniforms have been spotted, and a farmer of nearby fields even saying that his children have spoken to men in the abandoned tower.
The hauntings of Doddington Hall
Doddington Hall is one of Lincolnshire’s finest mansions, built in the late 16th century and continually passed down from family member to family member, never once being sold. Over 400 years of history exists here, so it is no wonder that there are ghosts present. For example, visitors to the estate may hear screams; these are believed to be those of a young woman who jumped from the roof of the Hall after being chased by her master; she was running away from unwanted advances. You may even spot her falling form the roof on the anniversary of her death.
Another tale is that the Hall is haunted by a lady dressed in brown who appears to newlywed brides. She is alleged to sit in the corner of one of the bedrooms and smile at the bride, evoking a feeling of happiness; she has been described as a friendly, harmless ghost.
The ghostly horseman
With its castle dating back to the late 11th century, grand cathedral, historic cobbled lanes and historic charms, the city of Lincoln is the perfect setting for hauntings – and it has many! The story of the horseman rushing to the gates of the castle is one that has been passed down from generation to generation.
During its 900 year history, Lincoln Castle was mainly used as a court and prison, and on one particular evening, an execution was set for midnight and was all set to go ahead. However, the King had made an order to pardon the punishment and sent the horseman to deliver it. Unfortunately, the horseman had a rest in the coaching inn and fell asleep, missing his deadline for the pardon. His ghost can be seen racing to the Castle gates shouting “Open the gates in the name of the King!”
Feature as appeared in Lincolnshire in Focus, October issue, written by myself.