Tuesday, 19 November 2013


Barry Van-Asten


all images Copyright Barry Van-Asten

Friday, 1 November 2013


by Barry Van-Asten

Shaftsbury Theatre, Dawlish Warren
The theatre is said to be haunted by the ghost of a long dead thespian who still walks the stage, turning lights on and off.
Mount Pleasant Inn, Dawlish Warren
This old Inn was once frequented by smugglers and now it is reputedly the home of disruptive poltergeists who like nothing better of an evening than to have a 'smashing time'! Also not too far away is the Smugglers Inn where it is said a murder took place in one of the rooms and now a nasty entity likes to strangle people in their sleep in that room.
White Hart Hotel, Okehampton
The White Hart is a 17th century coaching Inn which was licensed in 1623. There have been reported poltergeist activity by an entity named 'Peter' by staff and locals and even the supposed ghost of Judge Jeffrey's 'hanging' around!
White Hart Hotel (corridor)
There have also been sightings of a woman in a long black cloak!
Exeter Cathedral
The cathedral is known to be haunted by the spirit of a nun who has been seen quite regularly walking near the south wall of the nave. Her manifestations seem to occur in the evenings at seven o'clock.
Exeter Cathedral
There have also been sightings of  phantom monks in the cloister area of the cathedral.
Exeter Cathedral
The Cathedral Green outside the cathedral was once the main graveyard for the city in the 17th century and it's not surprising the area has had many manifestations from a three-headed entity and a disembodied hand touching passers by to dark shadow figures in the nearby alleyway from South Street to the cathedral. In 1283, a cathedral choir leader named Walter Lechdale, by all reports an 'unpleasant and dishonest man' was murdered as he walked to his lodgings nearby. His ghost has been seen in the top vestry of the cathedral.
Royal Clarence Hotel, Exeter
The Royal Clarence Hotel in Exeter's Cathedral Yard was built in 1769 with some parts of the house dating to 1500's. The house was built on the site of Sir Walter Raleigh's father's house and spectral sounds of coughing may well be old Walter, enjoying a pipe of tobacco or two!
Two haunted locations, Exeter
Number 46 (Thorntons) and number 47 (L'Occitane) the High Street, Exeter have both reported disturbances by poltergeist activity with stock being re-arranged and thrown about!
The Ship Inn, Exeter
The Old Ship Inn, Martin's Lane off the High Street was once the favoured haunt of Sir Francis Drake who lodged there in the 16th century and was 'banned' for his obnoxious, drunken behaviour! Apparently, he still likes to pop in now and then!
The Ship Inn
Martins Lane is also said to be haunted by the ghost of a weeping woman.
View of Royal Clarence Hotel with Well House Tavern to the left
The Well House Tavern at numbers 16 and 17 Cathedral Yard is owned by the Royal Clarence Hotel. There are reports of classic poltergeist behaviour such as turning lights on and off and a ghostly figure of a woman in a long flowing dress known as 'Alice' seen gliding past the serving hatches and the strong lingering smell of perfume.
The well at the Well House Tavern
The Well House was built in the 15th century and the well from which it gets its name is either Roman or Norman. The three top floors were added in the 17th century.
Skeleton at the Well House Tavern
The legend is that the skeletal remains which are on display in the cellar are that of a nun and a monk who threw themselves down into the well so that they may be together in death!
Okehampton Castle
Okehampton Castle on the Northern edge of Dartmoor dates from around 1086 and it is the largest castle ruins in Devon. It is certainly an eerie sight to come across in the twilight when no-one is around and it is reputedly haunted by the ghost of Lady Mary Howard. She is said to appear at midnight and walk, or some say ride in a carriage constructed of human bones driven by a headless rider, which travels from the castle to Tavistock, following a great black dog with burning red eyes. Lady Howard, legend says murdered her four husbands and she did indeed marry four times. She was born in 1596 and her father, Sir John Fitz killed two men and later took his own life by stabbing himself in 1605. Mary married Sir Alan Percy, who died; then she married Thomas Darcy, who also died before marrying Sir John Howard in 1612. Sir John died in 1622 and Mary married once more around 1628 to Sir Richard Grenville, who presumably died also! Mary died at the age of 75 in 1671!
 all images Copyright Barry Van-Asten

Thursday, 25 April 2013



Barry Van-Asten

St. Nicholas Church in Pluckley, Kent


The eastern end of the beautiful 13th century sand-stone Church

The church and the churchyard are reputedly haunted by two female ghosts who were members of the Dering family. The 'Red Lady' married into the Derings and she is said to wander among the graves mournfully in search of her baby who died at birth and was buried in the churchyard in an unmarked grave. It is a possibility that the child was illegitimate and was therefore not allowed to rest in the Dering vaults inside the church. The mother (the 'Red Lady') died not long after and rests in the family vaults.
Pathway to the entrance of the Church
The other female ghost who haunts this location is the 'White Lady' who was the beautiful wife of Lord Dering. She sadly died young and his Lordship, wanting to preserve her beauty, had her laid in an airtight lead coffin wearing a white dress and holding a single red rose upon her breast. There was then a further series of lead coffins and finally she was sealed in an oak coffin and placed in the Dering chapel. The 'White Lady' walks within the church near to her vault in the Dering chapel.
The Church has two isles and two chancels
The Dering Chapel
The south chancel is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary and belongs to the Dering family who were Lords of the manor from the 15th century to the early 20th century. Richard Dering of Surrenden esq rebuilt the chancel in 1475. There are frequent lights seen and knockings which eminate from the burial vaults.
Greystones House

The house on Station Road was built in 1863 and from 1890-1924 it was the residence of the local curate and was known as the Rectory Cottage. The house and the lane outside is known to be haunted by the spirit of a monk who at one time lived at Greystones (or possibly another house which stood on the same site). It is said that the monk was infatuated with a lady who lived at nearby Rose Court.
Rose Court House
Rose Court is dated somewhere between 1660 and 1760 and it is haunted by a lady who was the mistress of a member of the Dering family. The monk who lived at Greystones fell in love with the lady and when the lady killed herself from eating ivy and poison berries, the monk is said to have died shortly of a broken heart. A good story, even if the facts don't fit completely as Greystones house was built later in 1863 and the lady is definitely from the Tudor period, but maybe there existed a previous house at Greystones? The haunting is said to take the form of whispers and snatches of conversations being heard and dogs barking.
Pinnock Bridge
Crossing the Pinnock stream, Pinnock bridge seems like any ordinary little bridge, but there is a tale of an old gypsy woman who would gather watercress from the stream. After her toil, she would sit upon the side of the bridge to smoke a pipe and drink gin. On one fateful day she spilt her gin down her shawl and a spark from her pipe ignited the alcohol and she went up in flames. The ghost of the old gypsy woman has been seen on many occassions sitting on the wall of the Pinnock bridge.
Pinnock Bridge (opposite side)
Fright Corner and Screaming Woods
A highwayman reputedly haunts the location at Fright Corner. At the road junction, on the triangular, grassy mound of earth where there is now a signpost, there once stood an old hollow tree. It was the favoured haunt of a local highwayman who liked to lurk in its trunk and jump upon unsuspecting victims. One man, hearing of this, decided to venture to Fright Corner and finding the tree, thrust his sword hard into the trunk, thus ending the highwayman's life and criminal ways!  The woods near here were called Fright Woods but were later changed to Frith Woods. Just along the Smarden Road taking the left turning, you will find the entrance to Dering Wood, known locally as 'screaming wood'. It is said that those who foolhardedly venture into the woods at night will hear a tormented and agonising scream from deep within the woods.
The Black Horse Inn
 This 14th century Inn was originally a farmhouse that was encircled by a deep moat. The Inn also served as the house of the local bailiff from where the Dering estate was managed. It is haunted by a playful spirit who likes to hide items belonging to staff and customers.
The Dering Arms
Built in the 1840's the Dering Arms was originally a hunting lodge and it stands at the approach to Pluckley Railway Station. It is said to be haunted by the ghost of an old lady who likes to sit at a table by the window and look out.
At approximately 11.30 p.m. on Saturday 20th April 2013 my fellow paranormal investigator and I decided to do some 'ghost-hunting' in the churchyard. Having previously been told by an investigator of 'Scream Paranormal' who were doing an investigation at the Black Horse Inn, that the wooden porch at the rear of the church is usually quite active, we decided to focus our attention there. After several minutes and no activity, I had the distinct feeling that we were concentrating on the wrong area and we decided to move closer towards the church.
Porch at the rear of the Church.

We took a sequence of eighty-four photos in the churchyard, all the time talking to and trying to communicate with the ghost of the 'Red Lady' who supposedly haunts this location. On reaching the small mound of graves (above) we both had the sensation that there was a presence nearby. Photos (using a flash) were at first taken at random and then hearing sounds as of someone walking close by, the camera was immediately turned towards the sound and the photo taken.


Is this the Red Lady?
The image above was taken after the previous photo and shows a strange mist that was not visible to our eyes. The mist seemed to appear sporadically in the same location as if circling us. Also notice the light anomalies (orbs).

From another angle
At this point I began to make an EVP (electronic voice phenomena) recording, asking questions but on hearing it back nothing of any significance was captured.
More orbs
Mist and orbs (porch entrance in the background)
Seconds later, the mist is gone.
 More light anomalies
At the sound of twigs snapping, the mist returns
Seconds later, it is gone again
The fourth appearance of the mist
Instantly the mist has gone in the next photograph, seconds later
The mist begins to take shape once more
More orbs are visible
We took the photos while holding our breath to eliminate the possibility that we had caught this on camera. We also purposely breathed out while taking the photo and the camera did not show any signs of mist. It had been a reasonably hot day and the night had turned a little chilly but there was no visible breath or any natural 'mist'.
The last appearance of the spectral mist
The last photo taken as the bells rung at midnight
Of the eighty-four photos we took many were found to show light anomalies and six of the photos had captured this peculiar mist which seemed to have an intelligence and motion of its own.
And so ended our investigation at Pluckley churchyard