The Haunted Homes of England,
How eerily they stand,
While through them flit their ghosts–to wit,
The Monk with the Red Hand,
The Eyeless Girl–an awful spook–
To stop the boldest breath,
The boy that inked his copybook,
And so got ‘wopped’ to death!

from “The Haunted Homes of England” by Andrew Lang
(Read the rest here.)

Borley Rectory (shown here) has been called the Most Haunted House in England. Though the house was built after our time and has since burned down, the ghosts must have been around for much longer and reports of their activity continue.

The legend goes that a monk from Borley Monastery had fallen in love with a nun and both were killed when caught trying to elope. Here’s a photo purportedly of a monk walking near a grave on the grounds. Click here to read more about the hauntings at Borley.

The National Trust has just released a list of the 10 most haunted historic houses in England. I’ve been to only one of them–Dunster Castle–but did not see its famous Green Man, alas.

I do love the whole idea of weird phenomena. While touring the area around Loch Ness I kept my eyes peeled–in vain–for the monster. When at stately homes reputed to house ghosts (tour guides often make a point of mentioning them) I kept a lookout but never saw anything. Sigh…

My only possible brush with the paranormal occurred at my first visit to a friend’s Civil War era house in Pennsylvania and it could all just be overactive writerly imagination, since my friend had already boasted of how haunted the house was. I felt shivery the whole time I visited, although I’m hardly ever cold and it was a warm summer day. When touring one of the upstairs bedrooms I got a strong impression of having a young child hanging on my leg. My friend told me one of the most active ghosts in the house was a small boy who often liked to attach himself to motherly visitors. Yes, I was spooked. But that was my first and last ghost encounter and I’m not convinced it wasn’t my imagination.

I still love the idea of ghosts and will probably put one in a story someday. I know there have been a number of Regencies with ghosts in them but have to confess the only one I’ve read was Eileen Putman’s THE PERFECT BRIDE, which I enjoyed very much.

So do you believe in spooks? Have you ever had a haunting experience of any sort? Have you visited any of these famous haunted homes and what did you see? Do you have a favorite romance with a ghost in it?

In any case, Happy Halloween! Don’t eat any more candy than I will! 🙂