Fortean Traveller

blessmycottonsocks

Antediluvian
Joined
Dec 22, 2014
Messages
7,689
Location
Wessex and Mercia
Had a half-day to myself this Bank Holiday Monday so, on a whim, Googled for spooky places to visit in Hampshire.
Along with the usual haunts, I spotted a reference to a little village on the Hampshire/Wiltshire border, called Vernham Dean.
It was hit hard by the plague in 1665. Many villagers fled the area up Conholt Hill on a Roman Road known as the Chute Causeway in an attempt to isolate themselves from those infected. The village priest promised to bring the refugees food and water, but instead, did a runner himself. Legend has it that a bent, sobbing figure in old priest's garb has been spotted, trying eternally to atone for neglecting his congregation in this manner.
As Vernham Dean was under an hour's drive for me, I couldn't resist checking it out - and the presence of an ancient village pub that actually pre-dates the plague, convinced me it would be 3 or 4 hours well-spent.
Sadly, no ghostly priests spotted, but here are my photos anyway:

Climbing Conholt Hill:
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View from the top:
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Chute Causeway, looking East and West:
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The pub and a well-deserved pint:
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https://www.mysteriousbritain.co.uk/hauntings/vernham-dean/
 

Ronnie Jersey

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Nov 22, 2021
Messages
2,095
When I attended my last Ripper walk the guide made the point that the setts in Mitre Square were the originals and we were walking on the same stones that Jack the Ripper walked upon.
Now Mitre Square has been developed and all the setts are gone, replaced with bog standard City of London paving stones. Outright vandalism!
Oh you guys are so lucky, that is my dream - to go on the Jack The Ripper walking tour!
That, and the Ilkley Moor, to see where the alien photo was actually taken, to try and figure out just what was photographed there!
 

Endlessly Amazed

Endlessly, you know, amazed
Joined
Aug 6, 2020
Messages
1,105
Location
Arizona, USA
Oh you guys are so lucky, that is my dream - to go on the Jack The Ripper walking tour!
That, and the Ilkley Moor, to see where the alien photo was actually taken, to try and figure out just what was photographed there!
I want Haunted London tour and Stonehenge (the stones, not the beer).

Maybe the spookiest place in the US I have been is the Wupatki ruins at night in the moonlight and the desert wind.
Edit: I just checked and Wupatki is still closed from the big Tunnel Fire.
 

Ronnie Jersey

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Nov 22, 2021
Messages
2,095
I want Haunted London tour and Stonehenge (the stones, not the beer).

Maybe the spookiest place in the US I have been is the Wupatki ruins at night in the moonlight and the desert wind.
Edit: I just checked and Wupatki is still closed from the big Tunnel Fire.
Well I do want to get to the Lizzie Borden House, which is still standing in Fall River, Massachusetts, and is a bed and breakfast.
And the Amityville Horror House is worth a visit, just to walk past, I want to see it for myself.
Also Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas.
 

Endlessly Amazed

Endlessly, you know, amazed
Joined
Aug 6, 2020
Messages
1,105
Location
Arizona, USA
OK, this one isn't haunted, but certifiably creepy: Warren Jeffs' old polygamous house is now a hotel. Yes, you (and several other people if desired) can now sleep in the big bed! This is actually very convenient as a base camp for touring southern Utah's scenery. Mr EA and I almost stayed there, but covid 2020 struck instead. BYOB.

240 E Utah Ave., Hildale, UT 84784
 

Ascalon

Abominable Snowman
Joined
Jul 3, 2009
Messages
898
Perhaps it is not quite so Fortean, but I think this experience is worth sharing.
We recently had a family outing to a place called the Fourknocks, which is an anglicisation of the Irish Fuaircnoc, meaning cold hill.

It is an ancient passage tomb. From the mesolithic era, it is at least 5,000 years old. It was extensively excavated and preserved and now has a concrete dome that protects it, but mimics the earthen shell it would have had when in use.
fourknocks-aerial.jpg

It is an unusual site, as it is accessed via a style in the hedge of a nondescript rural road in county Meath, home to many such sites. A fenced pathway leads up a hill surrounded by crop fields, to a small enclosure.

A modern steel door secures the site, but here is the unique element: the key to the door is available from a local farm house, some hundreds of meters down the hill. For a security of €20, redeemable on return before 6pm, you get the key to enter the tomb.

It only really dawns as you climb the hill, and stand before the ancient doorway that you have the key to enter a place that was already in use for centuries when the builders at Giza first surveyed their site.

As you enter, dipping below the low lintel, now reconstructed, your eyes adjust to the gloom but light boxes in the protective roof illuminate the key points. There are three recessed chambers in the walls in which the remains of multiple individuals, some burnt, some not, were discovered.

The carvings are spectacular, and a decent phone with a low light camera mode captures their contours well.

Ae6GeC.jpg

The designs are fairly consistent across many of these sites, with the triple swirl, zigzags and other familiar motifs.
UWICYv.jpg

zEI9pd.jpg


A distinctive feature of Fourknocks is what is thought to be one of the earliest depictions of a human face in these kinds of sites.
oOJ6Nx.jpg


The sheer joy of being able to take one's time to explore and absorb this little place, without crowds or restrictions, without officials telling you this or that, just one's self and a sense of wonder is truly inspiring.

The immense age of the place, and the skill and labour that produced it so long ago just make each moment quite special. We sat atop it, and ate a picnic, and spotted the hilltops all about us, and looked in the direction of the other notable archaeological finds.

And lastly, we made our way carefully, not wanting to trample the crops that grow right up to their edge, the two other such mounds that lie within meters of this carefully preserved one. One can't help but wonder, what this little complex must have been like some 5,000 years ago, on this small hill whose name still bears some testament to its character.

Our day there was warm and hazy, made all the more heady with the pollen and barley scent heavy in the air.

We wandered away from the place to return the key deeply moved by a sense of wonder and admiration, knowing there are few places where such proximity and intimacy can be experienced with such ancient historic artefacts.
 

blessmycottonsocks

Antediluvian
Joined
Dec 22, 2014
Messages
7,689
Location
Wessex and Mercia
Paid a lunchtime visit to the ruins of Basing House in Hampshire today.
It was the site of a significant battle in the English Civil War between owner John Paulet and his royalist garrison and some 6,000 of Oliver Cromwell's New Model Army.
Basing House, built on the site of an old Norman Motte and Bailey castle, had held out against parliamentarian attacks for three years before Cromwell sent in an irresistible force of his "ironsides" to storm the place.
Parliamentarian artillery breached the walls after the first day and the siege was over after a couple of days' fierce fighting.
The house was mostly left in ruins and the royalist defenders were slaughtered. The official record is that 74 royalists were killed, although many more barricaded themselves in the house's cellars and were burnt alive when the parliamentarians torched the place.
Well enough of the history lesson. Today, the place has a remarkably peaceful vibe, with the walled garden being particularly beautiful and my wife and I determined to come back sometime soon with the grandchildren for a picnic.
The elderly museum curator who greeted us and gave us the potted history did say that ghost tours are popular here, notably around Halloween. A quick Google revealed that Cromwell's ghost is reported to manifest itself here on occasion.
Here are a few of my photos from the day, showing the great barn (which survived the war almost intact) and the now exposed cellars where many poor souls were burned to death. Oh and I also spotted a curious little "Fairy Door" carved into the end of a tree stump.
Well worth paying £8 to visit and there's a lovely river-side pub just a short walk away too.

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https://www.haunted-britain.com/basing-house.htm
 
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Ascalon

Abominable Snowman
Joined
Jul 3, 2009
Messages
898
Had a day out with my teenage lads yesterday, and first stop was a lovely country spot where there was no one but ourselves.
The Leac an Scáil portal dolmen is some 6,000 years old and impressive for its size.
Rf6I33.jpg

Teenager for scale.
 
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Sie

Junior Acolyte
Joined
Mar 18, 2019
Messages
43
Paid a lunchtime visit to the ruins of Basing House in Hampshire today.
I visited there in the summer. I was inspired to go because I went to a talk by a historian who has published a book about the siege: The Siege of Loyalty House. In the Q&A after the talk one lady in the audience said that as a child she and her parents had lived in a house in the grounds but her parents moved away because of the strain of living in a house that was not only very old and difficult to maintain but also badly haunted.
 

Bad Bungle

Tutti but not Frutti.
Joined
Oct 13, 2018
Messages
3,883
Location
The Chilterns
I went for a walk last May to get a little exercise and scenery but wanted to make it short (hot day). A quarter mile down my road to the village, footpath entry behind the bus-stop, pass a farm, turn left at the cows and head back to my road through the fields - 10-15 mins max.
It took one and three-quarter hours, as the yellow-dirt road just went on and on through the Vale of Aylesbury and civilisation vanished. Eventually came to the back of a hill and I had an urge to sit and rest, there was just 'something' about the place that was very fortean. Finally decided to carry on, taking a picture of the hill as I passed the otherside. Love round hills with a lone tree (or two) on top - reminds me of illustrations in picture books I pored over as a young child. There's more to the walk before I got unlost, still can't work out from maps where I'd gone wrong.

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Anywhoo, I was having Afternoon Tea at the Village Hall last Sunday and was introduced to George, who has a good grasp of local history (he's an Archivist at the County Museum) and the subject got onto Anglo Saxon graves. I asked about the location of one nearest to me and the penny dropped we were talking about the round hill from the year before. In 1906 a local Antiquarian had got permission to dig and found a few bones and a weapon and declared these to be Saxon. So not a barrow as such although the hill-top had been modified to accommodate the grave. I'm retracing my footsteps in Spring as there's the site of medieval Eythrope village somewhere nearby, wiped out by Black Death and now just lumps and ridges in the field.
 

SimonBurchell

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Sep 15, 2001
Messages
1,351
Location
Somewhere in the labyrinth
I went for a walk last May to get a little exercise and scenery but wanted to make it short (hot day). A quarter mile down my road to the village, footpath entry behind the bus-stop, pass a farm, turn left at the cows and head back to my road through the fields - 10-15 mins max.
It took one and three-quarter hours, as the yellow-dirt road just went on and on through the Vale of Aylesbury and civilisation vanished. Eventually came to the back of a hill and I had an urge to sit and rest, there was just 'something' about the place that was very fortean. Finally decided to carry on, taking a picture of the hill as I passed the otherside. Love round hills with a lone tree (or two) on top - reminds me of illustrations in picture books I pored over as a young child. There's more to the walk before I got unlost, still can't work out from maps where I'd gone wrong.

View attachment 61037
View attachment 61038
View attachment 61039
View attachment 61040

Anywhoo, I was having Afternoon Tea at the Village Hall last Sunday and was introduced to George, who has a good grasp of local history (he's an Archivist at the County Museum) and the subject got onto Anglo Saxon graves. I asked about the location of one nearest to me and the penny dropped we were talking about the round hill from the year before. In 1906 a local Antiquarian had got permission to dig and found a few bones and a weapon and declared these to be Saxon. So not a barrow as such although the hill-top had been modified to accommodate the grave. I'm retracing my footsteps in Spring as there's the site of medieval Eythrope village somewhere nearby, wiped out by Black Death and now just lumps and ridges in the field.
That reminds me of a walk a few years ago. I was hiking from Sparkford to Somerton, Somerset, and was somewhere near Babcary. I was following a river bank towards a field boundary, with a copse running up the hillside ahead, on my side of the river. I started to get a strangely powerful sense of place, hard to describe, emanating from the direction of the copse, quite a powerful sense of presence. Over the stile, into the next field, this powerful feeling now coming from my left, where I found Wimble Toot, a Bronze Age burial mound. Obviously frequented by modern pagans, because there were recent offerings of flowers, and a few bits of ribbon tied to the trees:

Wimble_Toot_01.jpg
 
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