The Cage and The Old Courthouse Inn: Great British Ghosts (S2, E1)

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Great British Ghosts heads to Essex to uncover the dark and spooky secrets of the Cage and the Old Courthouse Inn, CHRISTINE MILLER reviews

Great British Ghosts
Great British Ghosts

The Cage, St Osyth

For this episode in the second series of Great British Ghosts, Michaela first visits an infamous property in St Osyth, Essex, which has been named the most frightening house in Britain. 

The small cottage known as the Cage dates back to the 1700s, when it was used as a holding cell for those awaiting trial. 

Owner Vanessa Mitchell shows Michaela around the property. Although she has owned the Cage for seven years, Vanessa only managed to live in the cottage for three of them due to the large amount of unsettling paranormal activity she, and others, witnessed there. 

The Cage Medieval Prison in St Oysth, Essex, where Ursula Kemp was imprisoned before being hanged as a witch in 1582.
The Cage in St Oysth has quite the grisly, grim past

A Dark History

Conditions for those awaiting trial would have been grim in the Cage; there was no light, it was cold, damp and extremely unhealthy. Up to 13 women, accused of being witches were held in a tiny room in the property at one stage, although even children, whose only crime was to steal a loaf of bread, were kept here also. One of the original chains prisoners would have been kept in remains on the wall and Vanessa explains that it will swing on its own when no breezes or drafts are present. 

Endless Paranormal Phenomena

All manner of activity has been reported at the Cage – pillows get thrown around the rooms by unseen hands, shadows have been witnessed, and one tenant was even physically knelt on when she was in bed one evening. 

That isn’t all, however. 

Doors rattle, door knobs turn, scratching has been heard from underneath the floor, items are moved, the sound of people walking up the stairs when no one else is in the house has been reported on various occasions too. Eerily, black shadows have been seen in and around the property and have even allegedly been photographed.  

Spirit photographer Ron Bowers has visited the Cage on many occasions and has been able to take photos of the long-dead residents of the building, in his own words, without manipulation and in front of a room full of visitors. You can view some of his photos, taken in the Cage, here.

Vanessa tells Michaela of a terrifying and equally perplexing experience at the property when her friends came to visit. While Vanessa was busy making tea in the kitchen, a large red puddle of liquid miraculously appeared on the floor of the living room. One of her friends, a major in the army, confirmed that the strange liquid was indeed blood! 

Every medium that Vanessa has had investigate the cottage has said the same thing – there are most certainly bodies underneath the floors of the Cage. Could this be the reason behind the large amount of paranormal activity occurring in the building?

The Activity Becomes Dangerous 

Vanessa explains that the activity became increasingly stronger, to the point that it was becoming physically dangerous. Chris Palmer, a local Essex paranormal investigator is just one of those who claims he was pushed when holding an investigation at the property. Turning around to see who the culprit was, he was surprised to see that there was no one there, that he could see, anyway. He called out for a member of his team, only for him to then also be shoved in the back also, leading him to topple down a flight of stairs. He was luckily unharmed.

Chris confirms that the Cage is the most frightening place he has ever been.   

The Old Courthouse, Great Bromley

For Michaela’s next Great British Ghosts adventure, she travels to the Old Courthouse Inn (now known as The Courthouse) in Great Bromley, Essex, which was a 17th-century coaching inn that did once serve as a courthouse throughout its long history.

The Old Courthouse Inn, Great Bromley, Essex.
The Old Courthouse Inn, Great Bromley, Essex is full of ghostly activity

Ghosts Caught on Camera

With lots of strange things reported to happen throughout the building, Michaela speaks with the same spirit photographer from earlier at the Cage, Ron Bowers, who believes he has also caught on camera some of the spirits that linger on in the inn. 

What he shows Michaela are a series of some rather startling photographs which appear to show distinct human-shaped shadows. 

Unseen Forces and a Spectral Maid

Michaela next speaks to the landlords’ daughter, Sammy-Jo, who explains that throughout the building she gets the intense feeling of being watched by unseen eyes, to a point where it becomes petrifyingly unnerving. She says it feels, at times, that the presence, whatever it is, strongly objects to her company. She also claims her boyfriend once saw the ghost of a woman dressed in a Victorian maid’s uniform in the bar who walked straight past him, only to disappear in thin air. 

A television in the pool room which was turned off at the mains would mysteriously come on every evening at exactly 6.15pm. It scared the landlords’ son so much, that in the end he refused to enter the room again.  

What did you make of this episode of Great British Ghosts? Perhaps you’ve visited the Cage or the Old Courthouse Inn? Let us your thoughts, or experiences in the comments section below!

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