The Paranormal Database

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

Home > Reports: Places > Rivers & Waterways

Ghosts & Folklore from Rivers & Waterways

Jewish Cries

Location: EC3 (Greater London) - Old London Bridge
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: This area of the river under the bridge is thought to be the location where dozens of people with Jewish faith drowned in 1210, when a ship removing them from the country sank. Their screams and cries have been reported in the area.


Location: Edale (Derbyshire) - River Noe
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: The endlessly repeating sounds of a boy's scream, followed by dragging and ending in a splash, are all that remain as evidence of a murder which occurred by the river many years ago.

Spectral Brethren of Monks Crewing a Barge

Location: Ely (Cambridgeshire) - River Ouse towards Ely
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Weather Dependent: Misty evenings
Further Comments: Chanting hymns, these ghosts are said to escort an open coffin containing a body of a woman as they head towards Ely. The body is that of Saint Withburga, taken from her grave at East Dereham by monks acting on the orders of the Abbot of Ely.


Location: Ettrick Waters (Borders) - River
Type: Fairy
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: Shellycoat was the name given to a playful water spirit which dressed in a shell covered jacket. He normally carried out his antics while hiding in the river, trying to lure the gullible forever closer to the cold waters.

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 sing their song around Christmas.

The Vikings are Coming

Location: Exeter (Devon) - River Exe
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: A local legend has it that a ghostly Viking long ship complete with an angry fighter passes up the river.

Lady in Grey

Location: Finchale (Durham) - River near Finchale Farm
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: After her son was thrown into the river by her husband (having discovered the child was not his), this woman dived in after the boy - both were presumed drowned, although their bodies not found. The bones of a boy were said to have been found in the 1940s by a fisherman who buried the remains near the abbey, although the lady in grey still walks the area looking for her son. The river is also said to be haunted by others who were caught out by strong currents.

Luminous Water Horse

Location: Flemingston (South Glamorgan) - River Thaw and marshy land in the area
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: Early Nineteenth century
Further Comments: The water horse found here helped an old man cross the marshland without incident. Within hours of appearing, the marsh was flooded by a freak tide. Another story says that people can often feel frightened in the area for no real reason.

Kitty Garthwaite

Location: Gillamoor (Yorkshire) - River Dove
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: Kitty drowned herself after being jilted by her lover, having told him that she was pregnant. She now hates men to such a degree, that she has been seen naked, luring men into the water to kill them.

Water Horse

Location: Glyn Neath (West Glamorgan) - Area where rivers meet
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: A traveller once climbed on the back of a white stallion in this area, which flew him many miles before fading into mist and dissipating.

Rotting Carcass

Location: Gourock (Inverclyde) - River Clyde
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: Summer 1942
Further Comments: The decaying body of a strange creature, with neck as long as the body, was discovered by two local council workers. They estimated the length to be around twenty-eight feet (just under nine metres). The men were ordered to destroy the corpse by the Royal Navy, who were using the area at the time. Another serpent sighting in the area occurred in 1913; this time the creature was alive and well and swimming in the river.

Blue Lady

Location: Great Abington (Cambridgeshire) - Field next to the churchyard, and the river
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: A phantom blue lady is said to cross this field. Her journey starts at Great Abington church, where she floats straight over the river, and ends at Little Abington church where she is said to vanish.

Poisoned Horses

Location: Great Ayton (Yorkshire) - Area near the river
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: The sounds of poisoned horses neighing haunts this area - a story tells how thirty men and over a dozen horses died after drinking poisoned water from this river. The river itself is said to reflect the dead soldiers, if one examines it for long enough.

Maid of Rokeby

Location: Greta Bridge (Durham) - Waters where the two rivers meet
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: This entity, dressed in white flowing clothes, patrols the banks of the river after dusk. A monk is also reported to do the same, having taken in own life in the river many years previous.

White Cat

Location: Gunthorpe (Nottinghamshire) - River Trent, riverside road leading to West Stockwith at the end of Commonpiece Lane
Type: ABC
Date / Time: 1890s
Further Comments: This light coloured feline was the size of a pig and was said to have vanished when a local man tried to kick the creature.

Old Bailey

Location: Hesketh Bank (Lancashire) - Newearth Lane and the nearby riverbank
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: 1900s? Riverbank haunting said to be on a Friday night (reoccurring)
Further Comments: Old Man Bailey was reported to be frequently heard cackling late at night, still looking for his son, Andrew Bailey, who locked him in a loft and left him there. In turn, Andrew is said to haunt the riverbank, scaring any young couples courting in the area.

Caesar's Stag

Location: Holwell (Dorset) - River Lydden, Vale of Blackmore
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: A white hart killed by Sir Thomas de la Linde was said to be a magical, immortal creature which carried a golden ring around the neck placed there by Caesar.

Frail Shadowy Form of a Girl

Location: Horning (Norfolk) - Ferry Inn
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: 1500s onwards, seen once every 20 years?
Further Comments: Raped and murdered by a group of monks, the twenty five year old girl in the green dress has been observed gliding through the bar of the inn, disappearing into the river outside. She has also been seen along the riverbank close to the abbey.

Four Metre Eel

Location: Inchnadamph (Highland) - River in the area
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: November 2003
Further Comments: This oversized eel (or eel-like creature) was seen swimming in the river - locals have claimed the creature has been around for the last ten years or so, both here and by Loch Assynt.

First Nessie Sighting

Location: Inverness (Highland) - River Ness
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: AD 580
Further Comments: Contrary to popular belief, it was in the River Ness and not Loch Ness that St Columba drove away a water monster which had attacked and killed a local man. When told about the attack, the Saint asked one of his followers to swim across the river to fetch a boat on the opposite bank. As the creature surfaced to eat its latest victim, St Columba made the sign of the cross and the creature fled.


Location: Island of Mull (Argyll and Bute) - River by Moy Castle
Type: Fairy
Date / Time: 1500s
Further Comments: The Bean-nighe is a Scottish spirit, an ill bringer who would be seen washing the clothes of those soon to die. This creature has long breasts, slung over her shoulders, and if she were grabbed from behind, the Bean-nighe would say whom the clothes belonged; if yours, she could change fate. The owner of the castle, upon seeing the creature, tried to grab her but failed - he died in battle the following day. As if this entity were not enough to contend with, the area is haunted by a headless horseman.

Two Mauds

Location: Kempsford (Gloucestershire) - River and Lady Maud's Walk
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: Two different Lady Mauds are said to haunt here. The first Maud cries out for her son who drowned in the ford - Maud's husband left her shortly after the death. The second Maud was murdered by her husband who mistakenly thought she was having an affair. This latter phantom is said to emerge from the water and pass along Lady Maud's Walk, heading towards the Old Vicarage.


Location: Kilkenny (County Kilkenny) - John's Bridge
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Weather Dependent: Misty mornings
Further Comments: The bridge collapsed in 1763, the accident sending a crowd of people into the river below and many to their deaths. When there is a slight mist over the river, some believe those who drowned can be seen.

Mustard Grinders

Location: Kirkby Stephen (Cumbria) - Skinkrith Bridge and River Eden
Type: Legend - Old Nick
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: According to local legend, anyone who places an ear in an opening to the rock can hear a low grumbling that was thought to be employees of the Devil crushing mustard seeds. Jingling Annas also haunts the bridge - her hands reduced to stumps by the manacles she was forced to wear.


Location: Lanercost (Cumbria) - Banks of the river
Type: Fairy
Date / Time: Pre-nineteenth century
Further Comments: These northern fairies would play merry havoc near the rivers, frightening horses and riders alike.

Quick Links
Contribute to the Paranormal Database

Reports: Places
View Reports: Places

Reports: Type
Reports: Type

Reports: People
View Reports: People

View the Paranormal Database Calendar