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Examining folkloric, paranormal & cryptozoological locations in the UK and beyond

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Phantom Bells and Ringing Forteana


Location: Burton on Trent (Staffordshire) - Outside Saint Chad's church, Hunter Street
Type: Environmental Manifestation
Date / Time: 01 April 2012, between 09:15h - 09:30h
Further Comments: Two bell ringers standing outside the church waiting to ring for Sunday service heard the peeling of a set of eight bells. The next nearest church only had six bells, while the only two churches with eight bells both denied their bells were operating at the time.

Heavy Bell

Location: Burton on Trent (Staffordshire) - King Edward Place, heading towards corner of Rangemore street
Type: Environmental Manifestation
Date / Time: April 2012, 23:00h
Further Comments: Two bell ringers with first-hand experience of every bell in town heard an unfamiliar ringing coming from the direction of the Audi supermarket, the sound different to the nearby town hall clock and that of Saint Modwens, a church with bells that could be occasionally heard from the area. The supermarket was built on the site of the Holy Trinity church, which had a heavy bell that would have had a similar note depth to the sound the bell ringers heard.

Looking down at Carbis Bay, Cornwall.

Ringing Bell

Location: Carbis Bay (Cornwall) - General area
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: 1930s
Further Comments: The gentle pealing of a small bell could be heard by many people over a period of years. It was widely believed to indicate the presence of a kindly unknown entity.


Location: Chesterfield (Derbyshire) - Rosehill House (since demolished and replaced by the town hall)
Type: Poltergeist
Date / Time: 1830s
Further Comments: This large house was subjected to the continuous ringing of any bell on site. The occupier eventually tired of the strange phenomenon, and no one would take up residence after his departure.


Location: Cleethorpes (Lincolnshire) - Unidentified church with a well
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: It was once believed that bells could be heard ringing deep within the earth if one placed one's ear on the ground.


Location: Colston Bassett (Nottinghamshire) - St Mary's church
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: The ruins of this church are said to be haunted by the gentle ringing of bells (long since removed) and of hymns being sung. Candlelight has also been spotted in the church, though upon investigation the building is always empty and unlit. A strange moaning is heard underground and was thought to come from a concealed tunnel.

Bell Overboard

Location: Comber Mere (Cheshire) - Waters of the lake
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: After the nearby abbey fell into ruin, the bells were taken across the lake towards Wrenbury church - one bell fell overboard and can sometimes be heard ringing.

Sunken Church

Location: Conisby (Lincolnshire) - Area outside the village called Sanclif or Sancliff
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Unknown, but bells can be heard once a year on an unknown date
Further Comments: An area of rock was known as the Sunken Church, with some people believing it was the place where a church and the congregation were consumed. The bells could be heard pealing once a year.

St Patrick

Location: Croagh Patrick (County Mayo) - General area
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Most common during Lent
Further Comments: Climbers in the region sometimes hear the ring of a hand bell, which encourages them to keep climbing to the summit, though they never see the bell or bell ringer. The consensus of belief is that the bell is rung by St Patrick himself.


Location: Cromer (Norfolk) - Off coast
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Weather Dependent: Prior to storm
Further Comments: The church of Saint Peter is reputed to exist off the coast of Cromer, where a town called Shipden once stood before being taken by the sea. The church bells could be heard ringing just prior to a storm.


Location: Crosby (Isle of Man) - St Trinian's Church
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: This monster, an ogre-like entity, was stirred by the ringing of the bells of this church - it tore off the roof while trying to silence the peals. Another story says that the roof is missing because demons would throw it to the ground after each repair until either the locals eventually gave up trying to fix it, or local tailor Timothy Clucas tricked the Buggane into exploding its own head.

Lost Bell

Location: Danbury (Essex) - Bell Common
Type: Legend - Old Nick
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: Having stolen the church bell, the Devil dropped it on the common, where it sunk into the earth. The bell is said to still be buried there today.

Black Tom of Scothill

Location: Dewsbury (Yorkshire) - Dewsbury Parish Church
Type: Legend - Old Nick
Date / Time: 24 December (reoccurring)
Further Comments: Black Tom is the name of the bell in the church and is tolled the number of the year (ie, in 2007 it was tolled 2007 times) to ensure Old Nick does not visit the village during the following twelve months. The last peal must occur on the stroke of midnight to ensure success.

Twenty Five Clangs

Location: Didlington (Norfolk) - Church
Type: Post-Mortem Manifestation
Date / Time: 14 November 1956
Further Comments: A local policeman reported the bells of the locked church rang 25 times, marking the anniversary of the death of a landowner. The officer entered the church to investigate, finding the bell rope swinging, but no one there.

The coastline of Dunwich, Suffolk.

Church Bells

Location: Dunwich (Suffolk) - Sea
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: Once a busy port town, sea erosion has reduced this location to only a few dozen houses. The church that once stood on the cliffs has been washed out to sea, and it is said the bells still ring on still moonless nights. Divers exploring the ruins of the old town that once stood on the cliffs have often reported a strange feeling that they are not alone under the sea.

The bell house at East Bergholt church, Suffolk.

Missing Steeple

Location: East Bergholt (Suffolk) - Church
Type: Legend - Old Nick
Date / Time: Bell house still stands
Further Comments: Night after night, during the construction of the church, the Devil appeared and pulled down the steeple. The builders finally gave up building the tower, and the bells now stand in a little bell house.


Location: EC4 (Greater London) - St Andrew by the Wardrobe, Queen Victoria Street
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Still present
Further Comments: Gabriel, one of the bells in the church and once at home in Avenbury (Herefordshire), is reported to ring when death strikes the Rector of its old parish.

St Paul's Cathedral, London.


Location: EC4 (Greater London) - St Paul's Cathedral
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Twentieth century (sounds), December 2019 (transept figure)
Further Comments: Haunting the All Soul's chapel area, the holy man is wears archaic clothing, thought to be hundreds of years old. His whistling is known to be so loud it upsets people who have come to the church to find peace. There are also reports of children crying which sounds as if it comes from the far east section of the crypt, and the sound of footsteps in various parts of the building, heard when there should be no visitors to the site. In 2019, a staff member working in the North Transept reported a figure or figures on the South Transept walking along behind the iron barrier, fifty feet from the cathedral floor. The figure(s) appeared holographic, slightly luminous and were not fully formed, and moved from west to east twice within five minutes. St Paul's is also home to the bell Great Tom, which is said to strike incorrectly prior to the death of a royal.


Location: Ellesmere (Shropshire) - Colemere (aka Cole Mere, aka Crose Mere, aka Crosmere) lake
Type: Legend
Date / Time: 21 May (reoccurring)
Further Comments: Sunken bells on a long forgotten chapel can still be heard ringing from the mere. One version of the story says they ring to mock Oliver Cromwell, who pulled down the church, while another version say they ring on St Helen's day, the patron saint of the chapel.

The Rector's Wife Bell

Location: Elm (Cambridgeshire) - Elm Vicarage near Wisbech, now known as The Old Shires
Type: Crisis Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: The wife of the rector was the only person in the village to hear the bell, but it always foretold a death within a couple of days of the tolls.

Sound of Silver

Location: Evesham (Hereford & Worcester) - River
Type: Legend
Date / Time: 24 December (reoccurring)
Further Comments: Hidden in the river when the local abbey was closed for business in 1539, the silver bells still ring their song around Christmas.

Speeding Cyclist

Location: Eyam (Derbyshire) - Road between Eyam and Stoney Middleton, and dales in the area
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Mid twentieth century
Further Comments: A squeaky bicycle with a ringing bell has been heard approaching various witnesses at speed - they move out of the way and turn to see where the sound is coming from, but nothing can be seen. A few people have reported spotting the phantom cyclist, who quickly vanishes from view.

Dancing Girl

Location: Farnham (Surrey) - Farnham Castle
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: Though long since removed, the bell that was once housed in the castle tower can still be heard to chime. A shadowy figure haunts the guard room, while the long gallery is home to a phantom monk. Lastly, a little dancing girl haunts a staircase, where she collapsed and died. Outside the castle, on the hill where it stands, disembodied footsteps are heard.

Off the coast of Old Felixstowe.


Location: Felixstowe (Suffolk) - Coast off Old Felixstowe
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Circa nineteenth century
Further Comments: It was believed that the bells from sunken churches could be heard ringing off the coast here.

Lost Village

Location: Ferryside (Dyfed) - Estuary
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: An ancient village is submerged under these waters, and sometimes the toiling of the old church bell can be heard from within the estuary.

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