Cambridgeshire is, of course, an incredibly historical county. Its gothic spires, gloomy pubs, chilling cloisters and even burial grounds can leave the imagination reeling.
But for some, the ghosts which the mind naturally conjures in spaces so steeped in history are more fact than fiction.
Here are some of the most chilling ghost sightings reported across Cambridgeshire. We’ll leave you to decide which you believe…
The village of Alconbury, Cambridgeshire, is supposedly haunted by a nun. It is believed her ghost jumps out in front of passing cars, forcing them to swerve dangerously.
The nun’s body was originally found at Hinchingbrooke House, the site of a former convent which is now part of Hinchingbrooke School (but which hosts the acclaimed ‘Horror at Hinchingbrooke House” every Halloween). The legend states that she ran off with a monk and became pregnant, and both were subsequently executed. Several people have claimed to see the nun around Nun’s Bridge over Alconbury Brook and the now sixth form…
In the 1960s, there were reports that a B-17 Flying Fortress had made a perfect landing at RAF Bassingbourn, and went on to complete the fulling required landing pattern as well. However, no crew were found on-board. When people entered the aircraft, all that was found were copies of radio communications and the pilot’s log. The log stated that the aircraft was damaged and the crew were badly injured, but it was, in fact, in perfect condition.
There were subsequent reports in 1994 of the aircraft moving silently overhead, whilst in 2004, a man who lived on the former airfield site reported seeing a pair of legs in dress uniform, and sounds of the aircraft starting up.
After Clare College was founded by Richard De Badew in 1326, it was refounded by Elizabeth de Clare in 1338. De Clare went on to be known as the Black Widow of the Cam. She was married three times, the first marriage being when she was just twelve years old to the wealthiest man in England, but he died shortly after their marriage. The same then happened after her second marriage, and her third husband died of food poisoning. By age 26, she became the wealthiest woman in Europe, but rumours of her seeking a fourth husband led to her torture and inevitable death. Her ghost apparently haunts the river, and hates all men.
One of the most iconic ghost stories from central Cambridge is that of the lions that sit outside of the Fitzwilliam Museum. The legend says that, on the stroke of midnight, the lions leave their posts and drink from the gutters of the street outside the museum. Others say that they even disappear into the museum itself.
A scholar at King’s College, who went by the name of Barret, had a room in the Gibbs Building in which he kept a coffin. He was heard screaming at night, but was ignored as he was just considered to be eccentric. Eventually the screaming stopped, which aroused suspicion, and when the other scholars tried to enter his room, they found that his room was locked. Eventually, they broke down the door to his room and found him lying dead in his coffin with a “peaceful smile” on his face.
The Gibbs Building was never used as accomodation again as the inhabitants found it impossible to sleep due to sounds of screaming in the middle of the night. The college attempted to exorcise the building, but proved unsuccessful.
A man who who was returning home from a shop on a summer’s night in 1999 drove along Longstanton Road, between Bar Hill and Longstanton – an area that has no street lighting. He noticed a figure walking along the side of the road, with their back turned towards the man. When allowing space to drive past the figure, it jumped out at him, and revealed the fact it didn’t have any facial features.
When he looked back, the figure had vanished.
St John’s College
Much like Emmanuel College, St John’s has also been home to a large number of ghost sightings. Doctor James Wood was an incredibly poor student of the college who couldn’t even afford to light his own room. Despite having to resort to using the light coming from the other dormitories in order to even study, he went on to become the master of the college. His ghost is said to still be present within the college on dark nights.
Perhaps a more haunting story is that of James Ashton, a student who was found brutally stabbed to death in his room in 1746. His friend, John Brinkley, was accused of the murder, but his father’s lawyers ensured he was not charged. Brinkley subsequently fled the college and never returned, whilst the ghost of James Ashton has been heard screaming in the First Court of the college.
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