With Halloween around the corner, many places are talking up their credentials to be among Devon’s most haunted places. And the fact is, there are plenty to choose from! Devon has more than its fair share of haunted houses, spooky hotels, lonely locations and ghost spotting opportunities so whether you want a bit of casual spook spotting or something a little more serious, here are a few to whet your appetite.
One of the locations that often tops lists of haunted places in Devon is Chambercombe Manor. Located near Ilfracombe, the house is said to date from the 11th century and was even mentioned in the Domesday Book. Much of the manor is the original building and has been excellently preserved. It was held by the Champernon family until the 15th century before the Duke of Suffolk took the property – it passed to the crown after the execution of Lady Jane Grey, his daughter.
The ill-fated lady is one of the ghosts said to haunt the location. As far back as 1738, a tenant was working on some repairs on the house when he realised he could see a window outside that didn’t correspond to a room inside. When he finally found it, it was Lady Jane Grey’s bedroom and came complete with a skeletal woman! She was said to be a visiting relative of the family who died off-shore in a ship wreck and was brought to the house. The room was sealed off when she died but is now open to view.
Pictures of ghosts have been taken inside the building and it featured on the Most Haunted TV show. It also offers paranormal visits, particularly around Halloween.
Another historic location, Powderham Castle was built by Sir Philip Courtenay in the 14th century and is now owned by the Earl of Devon. One of the chief paranormal residents is the Grey Lady, most often seen in the library. She is said to be lady Frances, the wife of Viscount Courtenay and, while not being particularly terrifying to see, is said to be a bad omen, foretelling of a death in the household.
The other ghost is a young woman seen walking around the castle with a baby in her arms. She is believed to be connected to the body of a woman and a baby found walled up in the castle during renovations two hundred years ago. The bodies were reburied but it seems the woman’s spirit never left her place of death.
Churston Court Inn
As befits its age, the inn has a number of ghosts and many staff report spooky encounters. Monks are the most commonly seen spirits, conducting their business with no acknowledgment of the surrounding world. They appear in groups or sometimes singularly in the kitchen area.
Other Haunted Places in Devon
The A361 North Devon Link Road at Aller Cross may not seem much of a spot for a haunting but there are reports of a phantom figure seen running around the top of the hill. Witnesses investigated but were unable to find anyone present – living, at any rate.
The Thatched Inn in Abbotsham is a great place to visit at Halloween as they always put on a big show. And the ghosts often turn up for the event, including phantom glasses clinking together in a toast when no-one is present.
The Devil’s Stone Inn in Shebbear is on the list of most haunted places in Devon and gets its name from the Devil Stone, a huge rock close by that was said to have fallen from the Devil’s pocket as he tumbled from heaven to hell. There is an elderly coachman seen haunting the restaurant as well as an old man of a grumpy demeanour upstairs and a little girl who tries to encourage guests to play hide and seek.
Despite being a ruin, Okehampton Castle still has its own ghost, a woman who poisoned men who attempted to make her their wife! She makes a nightly journey to the castle from Dartmoor to pick a blade of grass before returning – the story says that when the hill is bare, her penance will be completed.
And no story of hauntings in Devon is complete without mention of the Hairy Hand of Dartmoor. If you ever travel across the moor near the Postbridge area and you are on a motorbike, beware of someone trying to force you off the road. You may not see the Hairy Hands but if they get control of your ride, you may be joining them in the afterlife!