JAY HOLLIS went on a Hertford Ghost Walk for Halloween and was overwelmed by the sheer numbers of ghosts in the English town!
I went on a ghost walk in Hertford recently, on the last Friday night of October (29th). It was something I’d been wanting to do for a while as I believe that Hertford may be one of the most haunted towns in the country and having lived there for seven years I have a soft spot for the place, despite moving away nine years ago.
The ghost walks are held each year in the run-up to Halloween and so I won’t provide a ghost-by-ghost run down of the night’s guided tour, in case anyone reading this may want to join one of these walks in the future, but what I will say is that it was very enjoyable and informative. I highly recommend going on one if you get the chance. Our tour guide, Elizabeth announced at the start that we would be getting, in her words, the edited highlights as Hertford is so full of ghosts, and that started me thinking… How many haunted locations are there in this medium-sized town?
To find an answer to that question, or at least get a pretty good idea, I dug out my copy of Ruth Stratton’s Haunted Hertford (History Press, 2012) and counted fifty-two locations within a half-kilometre radius (1km diameter circle) from the town centre. Add to that a further three that were mentioned during the ghost walk but not listed in Ruth’s book and you have an impressive fifty-five haunted locations – and some of those boast more than one ghost! I think it would be hard for any town to compete with that.
The count was less than ten when I did the same exercise for Enfield town, as the majority of haunted locations featured in Haunted Enfield are dotted around the wider borough, although I’m sure there are others within the radius that haven’t yet come to my attention. But then the same could be said of Hertford.
There are lots of locations in Hertford where what I would call ‘mild poltergeist activity’ has occurred; objects being moved, taps being turned on, unexplainable knockings and footsteps, etc, but there have also been plenty of apparitions.
The list of Hertford’s other-worldly residents is extensive although the identities of most are not known. In no particular order there is a Victorian doctor, two Georgian ladies, an English Civil War ‘Cromwellian’ figure, an Edwardian lady, a bowler hatted man from the 1950’s, at least four Victorian men and as many Victorian women, a young girl dressed in rags and a thin, pale dishevelled man (seen in different locations, not together), a nun, a fair haired child, a weeping young woman, an angry housekeeper, two Roman soldiers, a horse, two dogs and a monk seen carrying an apple.
There is also the sound of a baby crying at one location, always at the same time of night, and in another a game of billiards is occasionally heard being continued, so it is believed, by a group of men killed during a Zeppelin air raid in 1915.
I have no explanation for why Hertford seems to be more paranormally active than other towns, except to say that it is an old town dating back to Saxon times, with over a thousand years of history and many of its old buildings still standing. It might also be worth mentioning that Hertford is where four rivers meet, the Rib, Beane, Lea and Mimram as it is said that running water has an effect on paranormal phenomena, although I’m not sure I believe it myself.
So come on then, I’m laying down the gauntlet. Who can give me a town with more haunted locations within a half-kilometre radius than Hertford’s 55? Perhaps we can create a Spooky Isles Haunted Towns Leaderboard.