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Cornwall's haunted castle

By This is Cornwall  |  Posted: October 14, 2008

  • A 'ghost' at Pendennis Castle. Pictures: Toby Weller

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EVER wanted to spend the night in a haunted castle or delve deeper in the murky past of one of Cornwall's most iconic landmarks?

If you have a taste for the gruesome, a passion for the unexpected or an urge to meet a ghostly presence face-to-face then Pendennis Castle in Falmouth is the place for you this Halloween.

As caretakers of one of the country's oldest and most haunted properties, English Heritage has delved into its ghastly past and created a haunting tour of Pendennis Castle that's sure to get everyone's spine tingling this Halloween.

With family-friendly tours running from Monday, October 27 to Sunday, November 2, would-be ghost busters will be treated to knee-trembling tales of the many ghosts said to roam the castle walls.

Visit the usually off-limits Tudor Kitchen where the spirit of head cook Maude is said to wait, walk the underground tunnels guarded by soldiers of the past and listen out for the sound of horses hooves thought to belong to ill-fated horses eaten by their desperate owners during the civil war siege.

Jane Rowe, visitors operations manager, explains: "Pendennis Castle dates back over a tumultuous 460 years, incorporating a number of battles.

"As such, perhaps it's not surprising that it's thought to be home to at least eight different ghosts, including a lieutenant governor, scullery girl and head cook.

"All our haunted tales are based on sightings that have been reported time and again by different sources, and visitors are always eager to hear how they can be linked back to actual historical events and people.

"But don't worry, our Haunted Halloween event places the emphasis on fun not fright and activities are suitable for all ages, although places on the ghost tours are limited so book early."

Children can also enjoy daily face-painting sessions and take part in a range of ghoulish games and activities. All children eating in the tea room, and sporting Halloween fancy dress will be treated to a spook-themed cookie.

Grown-ups can also test their nerve with a spot of adult only spook spotting on the night of October 30 and indulge in a free hot drink and pasty on arrival – pre-booking for the evening tour is essential.

Ever the intrepid reporter, I was invited to take a tour around the castle, a little before the witching hour to learn more about its deceased residents.

Guided by torch light the tour begins in the castle, where tales of treachery, murder and mystery are given at atmospheric boost by the sounds of creatures of the night.

Even the most hardy soul would find it hard not to jump at every cold breeze on your neck or hoot of an owl, but safe in the guidance of knowledgeable spook hunters Jean Paul and Charlie, we were assured that we had nothing to fear... yet.

Covering all the castles haunted 'hotspots' we learnt more about the castles residents that refuse to leave, some nice and some nasty.

It would be easy to think that this is a traditional castle of departed knights and kings, but Pendennis' significant role in the World Wars means that you could find yourself face to face with a modern day spook.

From civil war to siege Pendennis you take a whistle stop tour of the castle before heading to truly the most frightening place in Falmouth, The Half Moon Battery and Ammunitions store.

Emotive in the daylight, the wail of sirens and gunfire from the tapes used to simulate war-time conditions set all your senses on edge in the dark and it is no wonder this is where those who nerves are jangled tend to leave the tour.

If you are lucky those who have passed may communicate with the group through guide Charlie who will be on hand to do some Dowsing around the castle.

There's is not much more I can tell you without ruining the monsterous secrets of the night, but one thing for sure, everyone on the evening tour will be full or high spirits, and may just be joined by one or two more...

What: Haunted Halloween (suitable for all ages, except the very young)

Where: Pendennis Castle, Falmouth

When: Monday, October 27 to Sunday, November 2, 11am to 4pm, tours take place at 11am, 1.30pm and 3pm

Tickets: Adult: £5.50/ Concession: £4.40/ Child: £2.80/ Family £13.80. English Heritage Members: Free. Pre-booking advisable

What: Haunted Tour (over 16s only)

When: Thursday 30 October 7.30pm, hot drink and pasty on arrival

Tickets: Adult: £12/ Concession: £12/ English Heritage Members: £10. Booking essential

Box office: To book and for tour accessibility information please call 01326 316594, for additional general information about Pendennis Castle visit www.english-heritage.org.uk/pendennis

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    Tracy Leivers, The castle bedroom  |  March 14 2010, 7:56PM

    While looking through the photos we took while at the castle a photo my husband took of me sitting on the bed showed half a dozen orbs surrounding me, the brightest one was right next to my face!!