The ghosts of Pluckley
Pluckley, in Kent, is said to be England’s most haunted village according to the Guinness Book of World Records. It is reputed to have twelve ghosts.
Pluckley is a very attractive and old settlement, nestled in the lush Kent countryside not far from Ashford. It was the setting for a television version of The Darling Buds of May and is chock full of lovely old houses - many of which have the distinctive arched double or triple Dering windows. These are named after the local aristocratic family.
It seems that ghosts also enjoy a pleasant environment. Sightings include a phantom coach and horses, which has been seen in several locations around the village; the hanging body of a schoolmaster in Dicky Buss’s Lane; and a Red Lady, reputedly a member of the Dering family, who haunts the churchyard of St Nicholas’s Church. A small white dog has also been reported in the same location
People have also reported a long-dead highwayman loitering at the aptly named Fright Tree, where he was killed in a swordfight years ago. They’ve seen (and heard) the Screaming Man, a brickworker who died smothered with clay at the brickworks. And there’s the White Lady, a spectre who haunts St. Nicholas’ Church.
The church is also the venue for a strange, dancing light, which has frequently been seen in the upper section of one of the windows. It is often accompanied by the sound of knocking coming from the family vault under the floor.
In the early 1970's, in the hope of recording supernatural phenomena, a group of psychic researchers persuaded the then rector, the Reverend John Pittock, to allow them to spend a night locked inside the church.
Armed with their cameras, tape recorders, thermometers and other apparatus, they settled down to watch and wait.
When the vicar came to let them out the next morning they complained of having spent an uneventful night, the boredom of which had been alleviated only by the vicar's dog, who had come to visit them from time to time. "Actually," the vicar commented, "I don't have a dog."
One of the most charming apparitions is along Station Road. More than one person walking along here has heard the sound of a man and woman chatting happily, accompanied by a dog's playful yapping.
Closer and closer they get until they are virtually upon you, and then the phantoms fade as they pass along the road – much as they have done for as long as anyone can remember.
Even the pubs at Pluckley can boast a ghost or two. The Black Horse is home to a phantom who moves objects around. Other ghostly activity has included: an unseen hand that lifted cutlery from the dresser and arranged it neatly on the side; a spot in the kitchen where the pet dogs would stop abruptly and bark at something, or someone, that only they could see; and an upstairs room that the dogs refused to enter.
Still, no reason not to call in there for a pint!
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