Haunted Trees and other Myths & Legends of the Forest

 
Devil's Hideout

Location: Llanrhos (Clwyd) - The Devil's Tree (old oak tree)
Type: Legend - Old Nick
Date / Time: Eighteenth century?
Further Comments: Contained within the branches of this old, withered oak tree, Old Nick sometimes hides. The troublesome Devil would leap onto the backs of men as they passed, draining their energy and not letting go until they reached home or somewhere safe.


 
Wish Tree

Location: Loch Maree (Highland) - Oak tree on St Maol Rubha (aka St Maree)
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: Famously visited by Queen Victoria in 1877, the bark of the wishing tree is covered in coins and other pieces of metal which have been hammered in. The tree is now dead, apparently caused by copper poisoning. The removal of any of the metal was said to result in misfortune.


 
Cursed Stairwell

Location: Loch Nell (Argyll and Bute) - Loch Nell Castle
Type: Curse
Date / Time: Still present?
Further Comments: The staircase was made from a tree considered holy, and a series of disasters befell all those who were involved in cutting it down and moving to the building. The castle is also home to phantom music.


 
Civil War Soldier

Location: Loughton (Essex) - Small wooded path near Loughton Hall
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: 2000
Further Comments: Reported by a local girl, only the top part of this phantom soldier was visible.


 
Jester

Location: Macclesfield (Cheshire) - Maggoty's Wood
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: A figure has been reported dancing about the woods, their clothing adjourned with bells. The grave of the last 'real' jester in England is housed in this wooded area, and it is believed that the shade is he.


 
Fairy Tree

Location: Maesteg (Mid Glamorgan) - Exact location not known
Type: Fairy
Date / Time: Nineteenth century
Further Comments: A knarred and knotted tree was thought to be home to a group of fairies from Ireland, and ill luck fell upon anyone who picked up deadwood from under it.


 
Man with Missing Heart

Location: Maidstone (Kent) - Vinters Valley, path alongside reserve and woodland
Type: Unknown Ghost Type
Date / Time: 1 October 2003, 11.45pm
Further Comments: Walking home along a dark woodland path, near the Vinters Valley nature reserve, this witness observed the upper torso of a man in clothing that could have dated from the early nineteenth century, with long tied back blonde hair. There were no visible features, but the witness said that the ghost 'moved in a grotesque puppet way'. Other than having no visible legs, the witness also observed the entity had a large black hole where his heart should have been. The entity crossed the path from left to right, vanishing into a fence.


 
Catherine Ferrers

Location: Markyate Cell (Hertfordshire) - Area around the priory
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: Seen riding her horse topless, and swinging around tree branches without a stitch on, the ghost of the highwaywoman Ferrers continues to create the same amount of havoc that she did whilst living.


 
Racing Driver

Location: Marlow (Buckinghamshire) - Finnamore Wood
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: A phantom coach driver takes is said to dash through the wood, whipping his horses to breakneck speed.


 
Woman riding Horse towards Clouds

Location: Mayland (Essex) - Skies over the village
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Night
Further Comments: This sight could only be seen while looking through the branches of a certain tree in the area. However, the tree has since been cut down...


 
Hooting Goblin

Location: Mickleton (Gloucestershire) - Woods in the area
Type: Fairy
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: Recognised by his extremely loud call, normally heard around midnight, this fellow has never been seen.


 
Cat People

Location: Minstead (Hampshire) - New Forest
Type: Fairy
Date / Time: 1920s
Further Comments: It was said around this time that several little people climbed the trees of the forest, possessing catlike attributes for better balance.


 
King William II

Location: Minstead (Hampshire) - New Forest, the Rufus Stone
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: 02 August (reoccurring)
Further Comments: Murdered (allegedly) on this spot by a close friend, William II is now doomed to rise on the anniversary of his death and walk to Winchester.


 
Faceless Woman in Carriage

Location: Mutford (Suffolk) - Mutford Big Wood
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: While moth spotting, a woman watched as three men on horseback pulled up beside her, escorting a coach. The witness reports seeing a woman inside, wearing a cloak, and with feathers in her hair, but her face consisted of smooth flesh - no eyes, nose or mouth were visible. After the witness screamed, the coach and horses rode off.


 
Chicken Eater

Location: Myross (County Cork) - Forests in the area
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: 1921
Further Comments: After the local population of chickens took a dive, the problem was blamed on an unpleasant creature which one local man spotted in the nearby woods. The witness said he passed the monster as it sat on a rock - the size of a dog, the creature resembled a cat, though it had a tapering, bald tail.


 
The Demon Oak Tree

Location: Nannau (Gwynedd) - Ceubren yr Elbyl
Type: Environmental Manifestation
Date / Time: Pre 1813
Further Comments: An oak tree which was once used to conceal a dead body was considered haunted; locals were fearful of walking by the tree at night. The tree eventually fell and was destroyed, though some say that the oak sometimes comes back.


 
Bleeding Yew

Location: Nevern (Dyfed) - Yew Tree in churchyard
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Still present
Further Comments: The second yew tree on the right on entering the churchyard is known as the Bleeding Tree - blood can be seen dripping from the stump left by a severed branch.


 
Evil People

Location: Newcastle (Gwent) - Former site of castle
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: This site of a former motte and bailey castle is said to be haunted by the spirits of all those who have committed evil deeds. The site was also home to a mighty oak tree in which fairies lived. When a storm damaged the tree, a fallen branch was used by locals as firewood, although those who burnt the wood had their homes set alight by the upset fairies.


 
Screeching Ploughboy, Killed by Master

Location: North Benfleet (Essex) - North side of A13 near Fanton Hall, Screeching Boy's Wood
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: 1734 onwards
Further Comments: The wood takes its name from the headless ploughboy who was murdered by his master, and is occasionally seen and heard around the location. Some say the screams stopped after the farmer confessed to the crime many years after the event. Another version of the story states the ploughboy was not murdered at all, but knocked down by a horse drawn carriage.


 
Pool of Water

Location: North Tawton (Devon) - Cottle's Wood
Type: Legend
Date / Time: When the country is threatened
Further Comments: A normally dry ditch near the wood is said to mysteriously fill with water whenever Britain is threatened, or a major public figure dies. Another version of the tale says the water appears prior to the death of a prince, and then quickly dries again once the man has passed away.


 
The Ghosts' Promenade

Location: Outer London: East Barnet (Greater London) - Church Hill Road
Type: Other
Date / Time: 1930s
Further Comments: So many phantom encounters along this road led to a Justice of the Peace to name it 'The Ghosts' Promenade'. The ghosts were said to include headless humans and dogs, and phantoms in the trees.


 
Joanna's Tree

Location: Outer London: East Barnet (Greater London) - Oak Hill Park
Type: Other
Date / Time: Early 1930s
Further Comments: The oak tree under which eighteenth century prophetess Joanna Southcott once sat and received a vision that she was mentioned in the Book of Revelation burst into flame on a clear summer's day.


 
Giant Shadow

Location: Outer London: Havering (Greater London) - Frank's Wood, now known as 'the brickfields', near Moor Lane, Cranham
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: 2002
Further Comments: A black shadowy figure, standing two and a half metres tall with no discernible features, gave chase to a group of friends as they left the wood.


 
Jane Seymour

Location: Owslebury (Hampshire) - Marwell Hall
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: The family once owned this property, and Jane is thought to haunt the surrounding grounds. The shade of Anne Boleyn has also been reported loitering near a row of nearby yew trees.


 
Ninety Nine Yews

Location: Painswick (Gloucestershire) - Churchyard
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Still present
Further Comments: Ninety nine yew trees stand in this churchyard. It is said that it is impossible to grow another yew tree in the churchyard, as the devil always comes and removes it. . .


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