ANDREW HOMER looks for the truth behind the mysterious ghost that returns to Dudley Castle each Halloween…
Dudley Castle plays host to a plethora of ghosts and has featured previously on Spooky Isles. The most famous ghost here being Dorothy Beaumont but the castle also has its own anniversary ghost.
As the name suggests, this is an apparition that allegedly appears at the same time each year. In this case, it is a Halloween ghost.
Whilst Dorothy Beaumont was most definitely a historic figure, the identity of the old woman who is said to haunt the castle keep is far less clear.
The local story is that she lived in the grounds of the ruined castle with her black cat.
Almost inevitably, in some versions she is described as being a witch. In reality, if she existed at all, she is likely to have been some poor old soul who had lost her home and possibly her mind.
There are at least three versions of what happened to her one Halloween.
In one, she committed suicide by hanging herself from the top of the keep with the dead body of her cat lying on the ground below. In another, she threw herself and the cat from the keep.
Gruesome death replayed at Dudley Castle every Halloween
Perhaps the saddest version is that she was discovered up on the keep one Halloween by a group of youths. Accusing her of being a witch, they put a rope around the old woman’s frail neck and threw her and the cat off the keep to their deaths. She is supposed to replay her gruesome death each Halloween.
These stories are as much local legend as anything else but nonetheless there have been strange sightings up on the castle keep around Halloween and on All Hallows’ Eve itself.
On one such occasion, two police officers attended after being called out to investigate an intruder up on the keep one Halloween night. They decided to split up with one officer staying down below in case the trespasser tried to escape, whilst the other officer climbed the steep stone steps to the top of the keep.
As he walked from one end to the other guided by the light from his torch, it was clear to him that there was nobody up there. The other officer down below though was having a very different experience.
From where he was standing, it was clear that there were two people up on the keep. His fellow officer was being closely followed by a second, smaller figure who followed him from one end of the keep to the other.
Fully expecting to be greeted by his colleague accompanied by the miscreant under arrest, he was amazed to discover that his colleague up on the keep had seen nobody else, and had certainly not been closely followed as clearly observed from down below.
In the late 1990s, Dudley Castle was particularly active and the author was involved in a number of serious paranormal investigations on the Castle Hill Site.
On one such occasion, we were told of an incident that had recently occurred on the night of Halloween. It concerned a group of about 15 people who were doing a charity ghost hunt. We were able to talk to the group leader and get the full story first hand.
They had split into two groups with one half going up to the keep whilst the other half stayed down below in a little building known as the Round House. The group up by the keep could clearly see a figure walking back and forth along the top.
They came back down to the Round House and described what they had just seen to the others. They were having none of it including the group leader, and assumed they were making it up just to scare them.
Nevertheless, the whole group went back up to the keep not expecting for one minute to see anything. They were wrong.
Clearly visible against the moonlit sky they all saw the figure slowly walking up and down on top of the keep. There was no mistake and everyone in the group saw the same thing.
Unfortunately, this was a charity group hoping to raise some money and have some mildly scary Halloween fun and not a paranormal research group. This was definitely not what they had signed up for. Consequently, nobody had the nerve to go up and see who or what was up there. They spent the rest of the night in the Round House with the light on!
As a postscript as we were conducting regular paranormal investigations at the castle, we instigated something we nicknamed the ‘lone walk’.
One of our team, including the author, would volunteer to go up on the keep alone and be observed from down below. The phantom figure never did put in a spectral appearance for any of us.
Have you seen a ghost at Dudley Castle on Halloween? Tell us about it in the comments section below!