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

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Tree & Woodland Ghosts, Folklore and Forteana

Cedar of Lebanon

Location: Bretby (Derbyshire) - Tree on the grounds of Bretby Hospital (no longer standing)
Type: Curse
Date / Time: Tree felled during 1950s
Further Comments: A local legend said that Lady Margaret had thrown herself off a tower here, her blood spilling on the tree which resulted in it being cursed. If a branch fell from the tree, a member of the family residing at the hall was said to die soon after.

Tall Man in Black

Location: Brightling (Sussex) - Wooded area north of Darvell reservoir
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: 1996
Further Comments: This spooky figure is reportedly the ghost of a local drug dealer murdered in the middle of the twentieth century.


Location: Bristol (Somerset) - Stapleton Woods
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: This phantom figure approaches unsuspecting witnesses as if trying to say something - he then proceeds to walk straight through them.

Isambard Kingdom Brunel

Location: Bristol (Somerset) - Leigh Woods
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Brunel Unknown, teenager's experience in 2014
Further Comments: Brunel's shade has been reported near the site of the suspension bridge - he designed the structure but died before it became operational. In 2014 it was reported that two teenagers who spent the night in the woods had heard a child's voice and had photographed a ghostly figure (although the photographic image could have been pareidolia).

Ancient Evil

Location: Burwash (Sussex) - Gladwish Wood
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Twentieth century
Further Comments: Kipling called this wooded area evil, and strongly disliked the place. One ghost hunter reported it to be haunted by a farmer named David Leary, hanged after being accused of poisoning his landlord - it was later discovered that a heart attack had caused the landowner's death. Leary's angry spirit returned to the wood and has not left since.

Ghostly Black Dog

Location: Burwell (Cambridgeshire) - Burwell to Snailwell - path southeast, by a belt of trees leading to the A11
Type: Shuck
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: Another shuck legend, though details are sketchy.

Evocation via Tree

Location: Cadley (Wiltshire) - Oak in Savernake Forest
Type: Legend - Old Nick
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: Running around the tree known as Big Bellied Oak seven times (or twelve) at midnight was said to bring forth the Devil.

Christ's College, Cambridge.

Mr Round

Location: Cambridge (Cambridgeshire) - Christ's College, Mulberry Tree in Garden
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Midnight on nights of the full moon (reoccurring)
Further Comments: A tall, elderly gentleman wearing a beaver hat, Round is said to have murdered the only doctor who had the skill to save his dying girlfriend - thus his ghost walks the grounds in the area around the mulberry tree in regret.

Jock Barefut

Location: Careston (Angus) - Castle and general area
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: Hanged for stealing a branch from the laird's favourite tree, Jock's swinging shade is sometimes seen dangling from trees in the neighbourhood, when not running through the castle.

Horace Wimpole

Location: Carlisle (Cumbria) - Woodland near Heatherleigh Hall
Type: Crisis Manifestation
Date / Time: Late nineteenth century?
Further Comments: A former owner of the property wrote that he saw the ghost of Horace riding on a black horse several times, always just prior to the death of a loved one.

Disembodied Voices

Location: Castle Coombe (Wiltshire) - Parsonage Wood
Type: Unknown Ghost Type
Date / Time: Winter nights (reoccurring)
Further Comments: The phantom ranting of a small crowd has been heard in the forest after dark - those who continue to listen have reported a piercing scream that finally lays quiet the voices.

Don't Talk

Location: Caterham (Surrey) - Tree on High Street
Type: Curse
Date / Time: Tree still present
Further Comments: Local legend says a witch was executed on this tree, cursing it while dying. Something untoward is supposed to happen to the loved ones of those who talk beneath the branches, while highly superstitious folk hold their breath while scampering past.

Fiery Eyed Hound

Location: Chapmanslade (Wiltshire) - A36, Black Dog Woods
Type: Shuck
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: As the name of the location suggests, this wooded area is home to a black dog whose eyes glow as red as hot coals. To see him means death within the year. One story says the hound once belonged to a man killed in a duel; the dog tore out the throat of the surviving fighter.


Location: Cholderton (Wiltshire) - Tress at Yew Grove
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Still present?
Further Comments: The yew trees here create a sad and oppressive atmosphere - some believe this to be related to pagan sacrifices once executed by druids.

Shadowy Figures Dancing Around Grave

Location: Chrishall (Essex) - One mile away from Chrishall, a yew tree marking a mass grave.
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: The yew tree marks the sight of a mass grave of plague victims, killed when the old town hall was set ablaze. The ghosts of those buried are said to dance around the tree, as a warning that the grave must never be disturbed.

Clapham Wood in Sussex.


Location: Clapham (Sussex) - Clapham Wood
Type: Other
Date / Time: 1700s-present
Further Comments: The local woods are thought to contain evil - there have been several disappearances here, and lights have been seen in and over the tree line. Dogs are reported to stay away from the area, reacting badly if forced too close.

Maire Rua

Location: Clarecastle (County Clare) - Carnelly House driveway
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: Marie was a tough woman who, during her lifetime, received a pardon for two counts of murder. Legend says she was buried in a hollow tree, and as a result her ghost haunts the driveway.

Dancing Trolls

Location: Cleveland (Yorkshire) - New Marske Woods
Type: Fairy
Date / Time: Around midnight
Further Comments: Small troll-like creatures are said to party and play jovial music in this wooded area. They welcome anyone who shows no fear of them.

Dancing Pixies

Location: Clocaenog Forest (Clwyd) - General area, & Craig Bron Bannog hill
Type: Fairy
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: The little people have been seen in this area for many years now, often dancing the night (and day) away.

Tall Stalking Man

Location: Colchester (Essex) - Greenstead woods
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: 1983
Further Comments: A witness stated that when she was a child with a friend in the woods, they both had seen a tall man with a wide brimmed hat, but he lacked facial features - even when they ran away the entity stayed behind them for a while.

Victoria Road, Colchester.

Fairies Playing around Trees

Location: Colchester (Essex) - Victoria Road
Type: Fairy
Date / Time: 1960s
Further Comments: An inhabitant of the road watched a group of fairies dancing around an old tree trunk.


Location: Cowes (Isle of Wight) - Tree in Northwood Park
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Twentieth century
Further Comments: Thought to be the ghosts of young boys who died of Spanish Flu in 1918, the ghosts of these lads remain in better days, playing around and climbing a large tree. The park is also said to be home to a phantom nun.


Location: Craigie (Ayrshire) - Dead tree (exact area not known)
Type: Curse
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: With her dying breath, a witch hanged from this tree cursed the area around it, ensuring nothing would ever grow.

Murdered Miller

Location: Cromarty (Highland) - Navity Wood
Type: Post-Mortem Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: This ghost appeared to a local postman and another gentleman as they passed through the wooded area - it is thought the ghost told them who his murderer was, though it appears the two witnesses did not act on the information provided.

Old Hag

Location: Cromarty (Highland) - Nearby moorland and wooded areas
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: Many ghostly figures have been reported here; armoured knights, old hags, and other figures which run through the trees laughing and screaming. There is also a story about a beautiful woman who tries to lure men into swampland to drown.

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