MICHELE EVE describes a property in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, so haunted, it is known as The Ghost House…
There are areas in the county of Gloucestershire that are quite beautiful; some wooded, some open landscapes, mined quarries, lots of sweeping hills and meandering waterways, all which have played their part in how the county has evolved. Part of that landscape are the ghosts that haunt the areas and the houses of those who have made Gloucestershire their home.
The haunted house I want to tell you about, was a large house in Lydbrook, which is part of the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley. The original house was set on a hill but was torn down when the railway was put into place so that the limestone that was quarried could be transported. Another house was built, further away from the train track. The house was called Hill View and was built in the 1870s. It was to become later known, by the locals, as the Ghost House.
It is said that a previous resident of the house, a retired lighthouse keeper, had seen a female ghost, dressed in a riding habit and one time, he had even seen her riding a horse on the grounds of the house. In fact this house became the centre of those looking for evidence of ghosts and for Spiritualists, who were to go on and build a small church nearby the Ghost House property. This group of people would become involved when the new owners purchased the house.
Beit Kebir, a ‘big haunted’ ghost house
It was in the 1930s that the house was sold to a Mr George Jones and he planned to live there with his wife, teenage son and their 4-year-old adopted daughter. The house needed alterations so Mrs Jones and the children stayed away whilst Mr Jones, with the help of local builders and decorators, undertook the renovations. The Joneses’ renamed the house and called it Beit Kebir, which means ‘Big House’ in Arabic. Mr Jones had been travelling the world in his working life and had held an official post, working for the Egyptian government.
It was one autumn morning when a decorator was working on a room upstairs, that Mr Jones, who just walked in through the back door of the house after gathering firewood, saw a young woman wearing a brown riding habit. She entered the open front door and ascended the stairs. She stopped half way and stared down at him. Mr Jones thought she had come to see the decorator so he placed down the firewood that he had been collecting and went upstairs.
When he got to the room where the decorator was and asked after the woman whom he had seen. The decorator laughed as he thought Mr Jones was joking with him as no woman had come up the stairs, let alone visit him! Mr Jones was rather taken aback at this and as he recalled what the woman had looked like, he realised that all the floorboards were bare and she had made no sound as she walked.
Mr Jones described the woman as early 20s, with dark long hair and a rosy complexion. He was to see her 2 more times after this, always in the same area of the house and always in the morning hours. He was afraid to tell his wife what he had seen as he didn’t want to scare her. Mrs Jones later said that a relative had recently told her that a woman was meant to haunt the house and Mr Jones replied “I know as I’ve seen her.” Mrs Jones thought her husband was joking but saw from his facial expression that he wasn’t.
The family finally moved into the house and the woman was never seen by any adults, it was the 4 year old daughter who did. She would ask Mrs Jones “Who is the lady in the other room?” and when they investigated the other room, no one was there. The playing of harps was also heard within the house, despite there being no such instrument in the property.
Word soon got round about the ghost and the ghostly music and the Joneses’ were soon approached by the local spiritualist group, who wanted to hold a seance to help find out who the ghost was and what she wanted. The group believed this spirit to be earth bound and strong to appear during the day so they wanted to help to move her on.
A strange disembodied voice heard by spiritualists
The spiritualist group held several seances at the house. At the first seance, nothing happened but in a later seance, a strange disembodied voice was heard by all the attendees. In the dark, the voice said “ You must be brave, there is nothing to fear. You will see it again and you must meet it halfway”. Whether this meant that one of the family was to meet the ghost halfway up the stairs, it is not known.
Mr Jones also undertook his own investigations and found that the previous owner, a Mr Russell, had an adult son, who had been engaged to a young woman but that young woman had died when riding a horse during a hunt. Could this have been the ghost?
Although I can find no further reports on this particular haunting, I did find out that the small church, built by the Spiritualists, is said to have been burnt down by a mysterious fire in the 1950s.
It would also documented that after this happened, a local resident was taking a walk on a path by these buildings and was about to use the stile when he saw a young woman, who he described as wearing a dark billowing dress with a hood approach so he got out of her way so she could use the stile first. She climbed over the style and when she was over, the man did the same thing but when he did, the woman had completely vanished.
Was this the same ghost that had haunted the Beit Kebir house? And were the hauntings so vivid due to the area having a vast amount of limestone underfoot? Limestone is attributed to have paranormal properties, which attributes to the Stone Tape theory, which is where a ghostly figure repeatedly does the same thing, over and over again. similar to a recording.
MICHELE EVE is a blog writer of her own paranormal encounters and a collector of others spooky experiences. She has a deep interest of all things paranormal, especially in her adopted county of Gloucestershire. She also writes about folklore, strange deaths and burials, which can uncover some very strange backstories.You can find her at the Mystical Times Blog website www.mysticaltimesblog.com