CHRISTINE MILLER looks at episode four of Great British Ghosts as Michaela heads to The Red Lion Hotel & Kelvedon Hatch Nuclear Bunker
For this episode of Great British Ghosts, Michaela heads to a haunted nuclear bunker, but not before a trip to Colchester, which is said to be the oldest town in Britain, and in particular, to The Red Lion Hotel.
The Red Lion Hotel
The Red Lion Hotel dates back to the 15th century, and the reception area was used by Oliver Cromwell for his first People’s Parliament. The building is said to be haunted by not one, but three separate ghosts.
A local historian, Derek Wray, takes Michaela on a tour of the establishment and tells her a few spooky stories along the way, including the story of a chamber maid called Alice Catherine Miller who was murdered in 1638. Her tragic tale goes that a powerful Justice of the Peace lusted after the young girl. He offered her freedom, a better life, love and money, and soon she was utterly besotted. However, she became pregnant and the Justice wanted nothing at all to do with her upon her revelation. In fact, he beat her so violently in a small upstairs room within the building as a consequence of her news, that he managed to kill her. In a feeble attempt to make her death appear to be a suicide, he unceremoniously threw her lifeless body out of the window and onto the cobbles below.
Alice is a very prominent ghost within the walls of The Red Lion Hotel. It is not unusual for her to move objects around, but she also touches people, and some have even claimed to have spoken to Alice. Various paranormal groups have claimed to have taken photos which show Alice’s shadow stalking the ancient corridors of The Red Lion Hotel.
She has been known to interact with children also – one excited and animated young boy suddenly fell very silent, and told his mother when asked, “the grey lady told me to be quiet”, (this is one of Alice’s names) and another young boy’s mother awoke in the middle of the night to find her son playing a game with an unseen force. The rather spooked woman fell back asleep with the light very much staying on.
Another story goes that the assistant manager was staying at the hotel one night and, as you do, he booked himself into the best room in the establishment. Perhaps soon wishing he had chosen another bedroom, he awoke at 3AM in an utter panic – he was shaking and felt intensely uneasy, which was only about to increase. He glanced over to the rocking chair nearby, only to witness it begin to gently rock, and then, to his utter horror, a seated figure began to form out of thin air in the chair. One foot on the floor, Alice (or so it is believed to be) continued to rock herself. The manager and Alice made eye contact, and then she spoke to him saying, “are you alright?”, to which he lied saying something like, “yes, I am OK”. At this, she simply nodded and ever so slowly began to disappear. The chair continued to rock for moments after Alice’s departure.
Michaela opts to spend the night in Room 7, which is considered the most haunted bedroom in The Red Lion Hotel before moving on to her next location in Essex. Sadly, we do not find out what, if anything, occurred during her overnight stay.
Kelvedon Hatch Nuclear Bunker
The second location featured in this episode is located underneath an unassuming, slightly dilapidated farm building where Kelvedon Hatch Nuclear Bunker lies, or as Michaela describes it, “a concrete coffin for 600 people”. A relic of the Cold War, the bunker was built in 1952, and was finally decommissioned in the early 1990s.
It is, without doubt, an eerie place.
Paranormal investigator, Chris Arnold, takes Michaela for a tour around the bunker. Just inside the main entrance, he explains that footsteps were heard by two members of a paranormal group, who turned to see a ghostly figure walking towards them rather purposefully; the duo legged it.
Further to this, Chris explains that a solid, female apparition in military uniform has been witnessed ordering people to get out, that they shouldn’t be in the bunker.
Michaela asks Chris, if people did not reside within the bunker, how is it that there are reported sightings of ghosts within the bunker? Chris states that there would have been people staying here for up to two weeks at a time when carrying out drills, and there is record of one death on site. A foreman drowned in the wet concrete that was being plunged into the 10 foot thick blast-proof walls. It is said, his hat was found on top of the concrete the next morning by his coworkers. Chris believes that this man’s ghost could possibly be responsible for some of the paranormal activity reported in the bunker.
The pair next move on to the sickbay area of the bunker, which Chris believes is particularly haunted. There are reports of dark shadows flitting about this area, and many mediums have allegedly picked up on a demonic entity residing here. Chris also says that the ghost of a “freakishly tall elderly lady” has been witnessed in the room.