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Monday, 17 October 2011

The Ghosts of Dunwich by John West

It is hard to believe that this quiet village was once one of the most prosperous towns in England. Over the centuries coastal erosion has resulted in most of the town, including nine churches, being lost to the sea. It is said that you can still hear sunken church bells ringing out a mournful tune. Local fishermen believe that they are only heard before a storm.

The ghosts of the town’s former inhabitants – including a man dressed in Elizabethan clothes - are thought to haunt the shore below the cliffs. The ghostly laughter of children has also been heard. The ruins of Greyfriar’s monastery are supposedly haunted by the obligatory phantom monks.

There is a tradition that three crowns were buried in East Anglia to protect England from invasion. One was hidden in Dunwich but was lost when the town fell into the sea. Another was discovered in Rendlesham in the 18th century but was melted down for the gold. The third remains buried somewhere along the coast. M.R. James based his classic ghost story ‘A Warning to the Curious’ on this legend. Or did Mr James invent the legend himself?

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Ghost hunting in Leiston Abbey and two members of the team have a spooky encounter!

Another successful investigation completed. We spoke to local pupils who told us about one particular area in the abbey where strange knockings and voices are heard at night. Searches of the area have always failed to provide a rational explanation!

Two members of the team had a strange encounter with 'something' just off the ruins of the Chapter House. We had just finished filming and were taking a few pictures for this website. Suddenly, a black shape the size of a dog appeared from nowhere as they were discussing the day's events. It rushed passed them and vanished into a wall! Unfortunately, I was walking in front and so missed it! So what was it? Could it have been Black Shuck, the legendary ghost dog that is said to haunt East Anglia?

Black Shuck is common in East Anglia and there are recorded sightings of the ghostly dog dating back centuries. Shuck may derive from the Old English word scucca meaning "demon", or even possibly from the local dialect word shucky meaning "shaggy" or "hairy". Black Shuck is sometimes referred to as the Doom Dog, or "Grim".

Black Shuck from an old woodcut

I have checked local records and can find no record of any 'Shuck' sightings at the abbey. However, I did find an account of a similar sighting from nearby Leiston Church. Lady Rendlesham, in the early part of the 20th century, witnessed a ghostly dog in the churchyard. It leapt over the low churchyard wall, and disappeared towards the sand hills.

Here's the film.

The Felixstowe website can be found at