In Search Of Britain’s Haunted Castles by Marc Alexander & Paul Abrahams
I’m always enthusiastic about new books that take a tour of this country highlighting great places to visit and sites to see, it’s even better when the book concentrates on Haunted locations, and in this case focussing on castles across England, Scotland and Wales.
This new book by authors Marc Alexander and Paul Abrahams is published by The History Press and takes the reader on a gazetteer tour of the UK stopping off at some of the country’s best known haunted castles as well as some perhaps lesser know ones that are equally good to visit.
I always think this kind of book is great for family days out, or people holidaying in the UK and looking for what’s in their area, as well as tourists perhaps planning to take in a few locations in one visit. In this respect it’s a very well presented book, featuring a castle location map, information on the history of each castle, details on visiting and following an easy A-Z format.
The Authors have clearly spent time looking into each location, collating up documented information and presenting this information to the readers along with photos of the castles where possible.
As I live in Cumbria I thought I’d look at my ‘local’ castle’s first to see what this book could tell me about them, the information on Carlisle Castle is fairly good, after a short history it gives the account of a skeleton found bricked up in the castle walls, a phantom lady was seen by a soldier stationed at the castle back in the 1800’s and it’s presumed to be the ghost of female skeletal remains found. The soldier unfortunately died hours later, presumably from shock, with his bayonet embedded in the wall where he must have ‘attacked’ the apparition.
I then moved onto Muncaster Castle, which I would implore you all to visit at some point, it’s a fantastic castle, still a family home of the Penningtons after 800 years, has stunning views over the Eskdale valley, a World Owl Centre, and one of the most well-known ghosts in the county – Tom Fool. This is where this book falls down slightly in my estimation as I have been involved in an ongoing investigation at Muncaster for nearly 20 years now (and that normally makes me feel old so I don’t mention it too often!)
There is nothing really new in what is written and I was disappointed that the article features out-dated information on the haunting. It refers to it being haunted by King Henry VI and a young headless carpenter boy. These old stories were written prior to the 1980’s and don’t bear any relevance to the reported sightings and experiences at the castle. There is enough current information out there that it should have been fairly easy to write an accurate brief account.
The problem I then have is it throws into question the accuracy of the other locations. I’d like to think that the rest of the book is as accurate as possible, it’s always hard when authors don’t include references but you have to take it on face value and hope for the best!
On the whole it’s a good basic book though, and would be a useful addition for planning visits on your holidays or looking for somewhere interesting to visit for the day, but for serious ghost hunters I’d recommend doing some additional research first!
Paperback: 144 pages
Publisher: The History Press (June 1, 2012)
Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 4.8 x 0.5 inches