Ghostly Getaways

Dubbed the most Haunted Island in the UK, the Isle of Wight now hosts many ‘ghost walks’ and paranormal investigations, but none more so than on Halloween. This year there are several spooky events that you could take part in and there are even nearby places where you can stay that are reputed to be haunted.

Northwood House, Cowes

For three nights only, on October 29th, 30th and 31st, you are invited to Come and Walk with the Ghosts of Northwood House. Hosted by their resident historian and ghost expert, Tim Wander, this will be more than just a ghost walk, with tales of recent paranormal investigations that have been carried out in the house. Spanish flu victims were treated in the cellars, there’s a WWII operating theatre and a duel was once fought in the grounds. Henry the pirate ghost is said to roam, as is the Matron of the now abandoned servant’s wing.

Stay: Dating from 1704, the Anchor Inn is said to be haunted by the ghost of a broken-hearted local lad who committed suicide in the stables. He’s said to be wearing a white shirt and dark trousers…

Garlic Farm, Newchurch

Bane of all evil spirits, and vampires of course, garlic is said to keep you safe against those of goulish intent. It certainly does keep you healthy and you can learn all about how it does this and sample the garlic grown at the Garlic Farm at a Ghost Stories family supper on Saturday October 20th. Hosted by celebrated local ghost expert Marc Tuckey, you’ll learn all about Isle of Wight Ghosts and Haunted places, including a few reputed to haunt the Garlic Farm and local area. 

Then on the nights of Friday 26th and Saturday 27th October there are Dark Nights Lantern Trails following ancient paths through fields and woodland around the Garlic Farm. Light up sculptures, art installations, music and performance will entertain you along your way and this year’s theme is Isle of Wight dialect and folklore. Walks start at 6pm from the Garlic Farm car park and afterwards there will be music from the Dollymopps. Lantern Workshops will be available at the farm in the run up to this event.

Stay: The nearby 500 year old Pointer Inn in Newchurch has its own friendly ghost, a short, plump elderly lady. The late Ivy Welstead, who was landlady there during the 1950s and early 60s, met the friendly apparition coming through the back door of the pub, but could see right through her. She reckoned, from the clothes that she was wearing, that the ghost must have lived about 200 years ago.

Fright Night at the IW Steam Railway – Havenstreet

On Saturday 27th October it’s Halloween Fright Night - Dare you ride the ‘Train of Fright’? 

This truly unique and scary night sees everyone dress up as witches, wizards and ghouls to take the ghost train through the deserted night time countryside.

Walk the colour changing haunted forest and woodland creep and listen to spooky tales of the railways ghostly inhabitants.  Greg Chapman and Bloodstone will be terrifyingly entertaining in the Station Yard, while Haven Falconry’s are hosting their ‘Owl-o-ween’ experience –enter at your peril. With a bar open until 11pm and dancing to the Timewarp at the end of the evening, this is set to be a seriously spooky affair.

Stay: It was at the Wheatsheaf Hotel in Newport where a man died after taking part in a duel at Carisbrooke Castle. Just 28 years old and recently married, it took him two days to die from his shoulder injury in that hotel room. Is it his ghost that guests have seen sitting on the end of their beds?

Day of the Dead at The Cow Co - Afton West Wight 

The infamous Halloween Tap N Ale returns to Tapnell Farm’s Cow Co restaurant with another Day of the Dead special on October 27th, 2018 from 7pm till 1am. Dress up in your finest Day of the Dead costumes and embrace the true spirit of Día de Muertos with a live performance from the island’s very own Mariachi band, Vote Pedro. Kicking off the Halloween party in style, Vote Pedro have previously graced the stage of some of the biggest festivals in the south, including Bestival, Common People, and Rhythmtree. Then throw some monster shapes to the Galactic DJs, and jump into the creepy photobooth for a memento to take to the grave. 

Stay: The Longstone National Trust cottage beneath the standing stone at Mottistone is reputed to be haunted. Off grid, with photovoltaic cells for power, the lights at Longstone Cottage have an alarming tendency to flicker off at a moment’s notice. And some say they have met a man dressed in period clothing, who claims to live there, on walks to the Longstone. Will he be in residence the day you stay? 

Puckpool, Ryde

Bloodshed at Park of the Dead is an immersive horror experience at Puckpool Park from October 24th to 28th, but book now as it’s filling up fast. The brief is:

“With civilization as we know it gone and no official government running the country, only small pockets of survivors struggle to live in a zombie infected world.

The surviving groups have taken refuge in a variety of abandoned strongholds like hospitals, factories, prisons and any other suitable facility. With food, drinks and supplies running short and harder to find its becoming survival of the fittest.

It’s only a matter of time until rival groups come to a ‘head to head’ battle for each other’s supplies and control of the land.”

Warnings: “You should be aware that it could be a high intensity experience that is not for the faint hearted. You should expect loud noises, flashing lights, disorientation, close quarter encounters, extreme darkness and moments of madness.”

Stay: The Ryde Castle Hotel was built in 1833 for Jonathan Dashwood, and many distinguished people lived, and died, within its walls. During WWI it was used as a Red Cross Hospital. Spirits have been detected here, and not all of them are friendly…

Jo Macaulay

30 September 2018

By Jo Macaulay in Articles