Chilling Tales At Castle -
Guide Tells Of
Ghostly Footsteps
By Robert Brooks
Chillingham Castle, is this the most haunted castle in Britain? Is this Britain's most haunted castle? From the moment you take a step through its enormous wooden portals, Chillingham Castle chills you to the bones.
Cyril Robson, who is the long-serving guide to the fortress near Alnwick, Northumberland, says in the 11 years he has spent showing visitors around the fortress, near Alnwick, he has gone from being open-minded on the subject of ghosts to being convinced there is another dimension to the place.
"I have no doubt there is something - a presence - there. Working here you become very aware of it.
"The strongest feeling you tend to get is that somebody is standing behind you, or has just walked right past, and that is especially strong in the Great Hall."
But it isn't always just about an odd feeling, he adds.
"You often hear noises," says Cyril. "Two are heard the most - the first is the sound of a woman's footsteps, very soft and dull, thought to be the wife of Lord Grey, who died in 1702. The swish of her taffeta dress has also been heard.
"The other is from a secret meeting held in the chapel during the reign of Henry VIII, which was disguised as a library because Chillingham was a Catholic house. Four or five voices can be heard, but no words are discernable, and they get louder as if the conversation is becoming heated. Then it fades away."
Other legends are well-documented. Chillingham is one of the few places which can boast of not having just one ghost appear at a time, but a whole procession, as was witnessed by one startled house guest as it silently filed through the castle's Italian Garden.
Hunting horns have also sometimes been heard, while tales also speak of a "black beast", a presence of pure darkness which roars on moonless nights from atop the courtyard balcony.
But perhaps the most famous ghost story, concerns the so-called "Radiant Boy" and dates back centuries.
It was last noted in 1919 when a brilliant apparition of a glowing child was seen to silently emerge from a wall and drift across the corridor.
Witnesses say his clothes were like those seen in paintings dating from the Restoration period of the 1660s, when Charles II was on the throne.
But it was in 1923, when workmen opened up the very same wall while installing new water pipes, that the skeleton of an 11-year-old boy was uncovered . . . dating back to the 1660s.
After the exhumation he was given a proper burial - and was never seen again.
But the 14th century North-umbrian fortress will be closed on Halloween tomorrow. . . not because it's too scary for the public, but because it is the home to art expert Sir Humphry Wakefield and only open during the summer.
Chills at Chillingham
What should have been a four-day stay at Chillingham Castle for a group of seasoned ghost hunters back in 1996, turned into the kind of experience they had only previously read about and seen in the movies.
The six-strong team of the Ghost Research Foundation, from Lancashire, experienced a variety of ghostly goings-on and left after just two nights.
Three reported being left cold with fear by an "aura" at the main gate, while another felt an ominous weight on his shoulders. Another was convinced she had been grabbed by unseen hands and shaken awake.

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