Gory ghost stories amid fort's dark secrets
PUBLISHED: 15:24 17 September 2018 | UPDATED: 15:58 17 September 2018
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Felixstowe's Landguard Fort is reportedly the most haunted place in Suffolk and walking among its many nooks and crannies is an eerie experience, even during the day.
One of the ticket office staff told me how he was challenged to lean against the door of one of the three rooms in the tunnel to the left of the caponier, pushing it shut.
The next moment, he was thrown into the middle of the tunnel. The room behind the door was empty.
Another recounted the tale of a family from the 95th Rifles re-enactment group, who were staying overnight in the Chapel Bastion. They were woken twice in the early hours several years ago by the sound of a woman moaning and muttering in a foreign language but found no-one.
Could it have been the ghost of a Portuguese woman whose paymaster sergeant husband was executed by firing squad for leaving the fort without permission? He’d done so to protest her innocence after she was accused of stealing a lace handkerchief.
Insane with grief, she threw herself from the upper rampart walkway into the dry moat in 1753. Some wonder if she’s still looking for the real thief to this day.
The Chapel Bastion is popular with the passed over, with the presence of a possible plague victim around the same time also having been sensed. He is said to have haunted the fort since around 1770 when he died in the Chapel Bastion, imprisoned because he brought back a plague from India and was locked in to stop him spreading the disease.
Over on the Holland Bastion a ghostly musketeer was seen during the Second World War, walking from the fort towards the current day right battery.
Soldiers at the time weren’t keen to patrol that part of the building. Dogs behave very strangely there even now.
His route is very close to the line of the wall of the 17th Century fort, leading to speculation he may’ve been the lone musketeer killed when Dutch admiral Michiel de Ruyter sent 1,600 musketeers, pike men and armed sailors to test its defences in 1667.
Perhaps he’s still watching for invasion forces today.
I admit getting the chills a couple of times, the curse of an overactive imagination that turns a branch scraping the bedroom window into a full-blown house invasion to my wife’s chagrin. A few of my photos came out blurry though.
I may’ve been right when passing the bath house, rumoured to house the spirit of a First World War soldier.
The reason he died is disputed. He either drowned towards the back of the casement after fooling around with some of his brothers-in-arms or he was beaten first for either stealing or for snitching on them to their superiors and then was dumped unconscious in a bath of boiling water.
One of his alleged attackers hanged himself from a hook in the magazine corridor ceiling, which can still be seen, but there’s no mention of his ghost haunting the halls.
Other sightings include the image of a sailor looking out of a top window visible from the road, strange lights, the sensation of being pushed on the top floors, a spectral stallion seen during the Second World War and even some phantom steps.
The next organised ghost hunt at Landguard Fort is October 13, 8pm-2am. Visit Ghost Hunt Events for details. Pick up Richard Bradshaw’s Things That Go Bump in the Fort book too for the full story behind the above sightings and more.
From October 20 to 26, 10am-4pm, there will also be a spooky trail for youngsters. More information on the Landguard website.
Have you seen a ghost at Landguard Fort – tell us your story on our Enjoy Felixstowe More! Facebook page.