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Haunted Surrey by Rupert Matthews
Author Rupert Matthews takes us on a ghostly journey through Haunted Surrey in his latest book published by The History Press. Growing up in Surrey, the author has collected and researched a series of spine-tingling tales of apparitions, spectres, spirits from around the county, some are well know and others are possibly new to the readers. The local knowledge and passion for the area comes through in his introduction, telling us of childhood spooky houses he avoided and the legends he grew up listening to. This clearly grew into more than just a passing interest as Rupert Matthews is now a member of both the Ghost Club, the worlds oldest paranormal research society and the Society for Psychical Research.
The book is split into five chapters each covering an distinct area of Surrey, with Guildford taking a chapter on it own to cover the multitude of resident ghosts and spirits that dwell in the town. Surrey is a county rich in history so you would expect tales of folklore and ghosts that date back centuries, and this book doesn't disappoint.
The author draws on historical and contemporary sources to give us as many accounts as possible including ghostly monks at Newark Priory, a ghostly carriage at Horsell pulled by four headless horses and accountably the most famous haunted building in Dorking, the White Horse Hotel. It started out as a local commandery for the Knights Templars and is now thought to be haunted by two separate ghosts. Matthews is able to give us his own insight into local stories as well as quoting local residents that have talked to him about their experiences, it's these details which add to the credibility of the book and make it a valuable reference for anyone exploring the county.
If I was to be slightly picky – and this really is me just being picky, I would have liked the content page to have listed the accounts in each chapter for easy use, and also to have included a reference list and index – it might not seem much but I think it would have helped readers who are not that familiar with the area or just want to find certain locations. Some more research could have led to slightly longer accounts however if readers want to delve into more detail this book will certainly set them off in the right direction to do their own research.
Overall it's a good local book, giving straightforward accounts and including the history of surrounding areas supported with black and white photos or illustrations.
Paperback: 96 pages
Publisher: The History Press Ltd (1 Sep 2011)