A little-known fact about Essex is that we have been the setting for countless ghost stories and ghoulish tales. All you have to do is type ‘haunted Essex’ into Google and you get over 570,000 results.
But if you wanted a ghoulish encounter where should you visit? And are there any in Harlow?
For centuries it’s been said that lots of spirits, phantoms and ghouls reside in the castles, manors and churches of Essex. Lucky for us though, none of these scary stories or horrid tales is about Harlow, so we can all sleep well tonight!
Don’t worry though, we are making The Harvey Centre a hot spot this Halloween with our own Halloween event on Saturday 28th October from 11am-4pm. So you won’t have to venture far to get a fright, but if you were a bit further afield and wanted a scary adventure this Halloween, we’ll tell you some tales and suggest some creepy places in Essex.
So without further ado, let’s get started Muhuhahaha…
Kelvedon Hatch bunker was built in 1952, it was built as an air defence station, part of a programme to fortify Britain’s defence network. The bunker was designed to house up to 600 people, military personnel and civilians in the event of a nuclear attack.
The bunker itself is 125 feet underground and you enter through a creepy tunnel in the bungalow. Now if that isn’t scary enough, rumour has it that Kelvedon Hatch bunker is also haunted by numerous ghosts. It’s thought that the bunker was built on a burial ground…possibly two, which were unearthed during the bunker’s construction.
It’s believed by some, that this is the cause for the paranormal activity at the bunker.
Others believe the foreman for the bunker is the one who is haunting it. He went missing during the construction of the bunker, and it’s thought that he was in a cement accident and ended up buried there. Nothing was ever found in the cement, so it stands to reason that he could still be in there…somewhere.
Some others believe, and this one is our favourite, that the ghosts are the soldiers of the bunker who were posted there, returning from the grave to man the station in case of any future threats of nuclear attack.
You’ll be pleased to know the bunker is no longer operational and is now a tourist attraction, so you can go there for a tour. Over the years numerous patrons have described hearing growls, footsteps and loud bangs that cannot be explained. Some even speak of stones being hurled at guests. Creepy or what!
In 1588 Queen Elizabeth rallied her troops at Tilbury Fort to fight against the Spanish Armada, currently, it’s an English Heritage site. It has a rich history and you can take tours of Tilbury fort to learn about it, including a ghost tour.
It’s said that ghosts of soldiers can be seen manning the walls at night and they disappear when you approach them! It’s also been claimed that you can hear phantom soldiers marching day and night from the parade grounds.
We can’t give too much away about Tilbury Fort or we would ruin the tour for you, but it definitely has a rich history in the paranormal world.
While you’re in Tilbury, nip down the road and visit the Coalhouse Fort. Next, to the River Thames, the fort was built in 1874 to defend London and neighbouring areas from foreign invaders.
Over the centuries it has been used regularly by the military and has also been a hotbed for ghostly encounters and strange mists. Eerie voices, footsteps, children’s laughter and the sound of heavy things scraping along the floor, can all be found at this home of the paranormal.
The most active place in the fort is the washroom, where it is claimed an evil presence known by workers as Harry, lives. The longer someone stays in the washroom with Harry, the angrier Harry seems to get, and the more eerie things get too.
Once a Victorian mansion, Borley Rectory is well known throughout the country as being “the most haunted house in England”.
It is said that around 1362 a monk and a nun fell in love while at the rectory, it is believed that due to their unrequited love the rectory is haunted. Legend has it they both lost their lives for their love and that it is the nun who is roaming Borley Rectory, searching for the monk in the hope that they can run away together and live happily ever after. Sounds like a haunted version of Romeo and Juliet if you ask me.
In 1938 the Borley Rectory was destroyed by fire, but its reputation as a place for the supernatural still lives on.
Manningtree was the place where the Witch Finder General, Matthew Hopkins lived.
Hopkins and his assistant Witch Pricker, John Sterne were very active during the height of their witch-hunt, accusing over 400 people of being witches.
Hopkins was buried in Mistley Heath and it is said that his ghost appears during full moons by the village pond, where he held numerous witch trials!
Remember now, we are just recounting stories, stories shrouded in mystery that has been passed down throughout the ages. But why not make your own frightening story this Halloween with us at The Harvey Centre? You can become a dragon master, fly on a broomstick, meet our fortune tellers or even endure a zombie invasion, each of which is suitable for young people and adults alike.
All in all, Essex is a pretty spooky place, and this Halloween, why not make your Halloween as fun and frightening as you want it. Even if you don’t want to visit some of the above eerie destinations, you can still have frighteningly good fun this Halloween with us at The Harvey Centre.