A still from the forthcoming feature film, Winifred Meeks. Written and directed by Jason Figgis. Produced by me. Starring Lara Belmont and introducing Julie Abbott as Winifed Meeks.
St Peter's Church in Westleton, Suffolk dates back to about 1300. A local legend claims that Old Nick himself lives below a small grating near a door in the church. Near to this is a 14th century fallen gravestone known as the ‘Witches’ Stone’. It is claimed that grass will not grow over it.
It is said that if you put a piece of straw in the grating and run round the church seven times, anti-clockwise, the straw will either vanish or you'll hear the Devil rattling his chains below the surface. A word of warning if you do decide to carry out this ritual ...... you must never look at the grating until the end of your run!
A local told me that the story was invented by smugglers to deter locals from visiting the churchyard at night. Smugglers were believed to have used the crypt to hide contraband from the revenue men!
The latest issue of Psychic News magazine features my investigation of haunted Dunwich and the Suffolk and Norfolk Life magazine features my interview with Steven Farrell, musician and filmmaker.
I've teamed up with Irish film director, Jason Figgis, as a producer. I've now completed three productions with Jason - Simon Marsden: A Life in Pictures, The Grey Man and Winifred Meeks. The last, a haunted house picture, is currently being edited for release next year.
This Suffolk village is thought to take its name from pits dug to trap wolves. The area is said to be the haunt of one such animal, caught and killed centuries ago. A farmer was once out looking for a lost calf and claimed to have seen it emerge from a hole in the ground. He rushed for his gun, but lost it in the moonlight. He then noticed that it had left no footprints and concluded that he had seen the phantom wolf.
For some reason, the ghostly wolf is only said to appear after a fall of snow.
St Gregory’s church in Sudbury is said to be haunted by the ghost of Simon de Sudbury, Archbishop of Canterbury, who was murdered during the Peasant’s Revolt of 1381. His skull is still preserved in a case in the church. A truly grizzly exhibit!
His body was buried in Canterbury Cathedral. Some believe that his ghost still restless because he wishes his head to be reunited with his body.
I have already written about the haunting of Potsford Gibbet in a previous post but would like to share with you another interesting legend connected with the wood. According to tradition, there was a large stone or boulder next to the gibbet which screamed if you kicked it with your heel. Whether this story started circulating after the execution of Jonah Snell is not known.
It appears that the stone has long since vanished as a recent visit to the wood failed to locate it.
The August issue of Psychic News sees me interview Jason Figgis about his latest film documentary on Simon Marsden, the photographer and author. www.psychicnews.org.uk/
Catch my interview with TV and film actor Reece Ritchie in this month's Suffolk and Norfolk Life magazine. www.suffolknorfolklifemagazine.com/
Gun Hill is said to be haunted by the figure of a soldier. He is always seen standing next to one of the six cannon that can be found on the hill. He literally lost his head when one misfired.
Sutherland House is home to a phantom lady. The red haired women is said to be waiting for the return of Lord Sandwich, who was killed in a 17th Century sea battle with the Dutch. Footsteps and the sound of doors opening are heard on 28th May, the anniversary of the Lord's death.
Southwold is also known as the haunt of a less than ghostly being. On the 21st October 1938, local fishermen claimed to have seen a grey coloured sea monster swimming near their boat. The beast was described as being over 65 feet long.
John is a producer, TV/radio presenter and writer living in Suffolk