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Ghost stories of Mid Sussex

PARANORMAL investigators Scott and Rebecca Simpson were called to Cuckfield in search of ghosts.

Ye White Harte Inne in Cuckfield was built in 1881, but is the site of two much older cottages dating from the 14th century and is reported to have its own resident ghost.

A spectral figure has been sighted on a number of occasions gliding past from the main door at the front in the direction of the kitchen at the back and Hurstpierpoint husband and wife team Scott and Rebecca are carrying out some spooky research.

The couple, who jointly run The Spirit Parlour, were invited by landlord Jim Ayling to investigate reported paranormal activity in the pub.

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Mid Sussex has more than its fair share of ghostly phenomena. Here is a sample of reports of its spectral landmarks:

BALCOMBE TUNNEL

Three First World War soldiers killed by the London to Brighton express train are rumoured to haunt Balcombe Tunnel.

They have been reported going into the railway tunnel there and then fading away from sight.

One sighting took place in the Second World War when two soldiers taking refuge during a bombing raid were confronted by their phantom counterparts.

CLAYTON TUNNEL

The scene of the worst train crash recorded in 1862 which claimed 23 lives and left 176 passengers injured.

The accident happened when an excursion train crashed into another which had stopped in the tunnel.

Since then there have been reports of screams, cries and the sound of crunching metal from this tunnel. The field nearby where the bodies were carried out and laid is also reported to be haunted.

THE KINGS HEAD, CUCKFIELD

Nicknamed Geranium Jane, the ghost is supposed to have met an untimely death when hit by a flying flower-pot.

Jane is is thought to have been a serving maid in the 19th century who was seduced by her employer and either became pregnant or over-possessive.

Reports say parts of the building are subject to unexplained noises, objects moved of their own free will and certain areas suffer from an extreme chill.

OCKENDEN MANOR, CUCKFIELD

Along with its three star plus Egon Ronay, Michelin Red Star, and three Rosette Restaurant Award, the Elizabethan Manor house is said to be home to a sad but friendly ghost, the grey lady.

With 22 suites or rooms, a priest hole and a reputation for having secret tunnels and passages, the historic house was made for it.

The ghost is believed to be a chambermaid killed when a tunnel leading to the Kings Head in South Street used by her to meet her lover collapsed.

A minor quake caused the collapse and her crushed body was eventually found amongst the rubble. It is said her ghost can often be seen running to and from the old tunnel entrances.

DITCHLING BEACON

Much more sinister are the spectral packs of 'wish hounds' or 'witch hounds' reputed to haunt the Downs.

As late as the 1930s shepherds claimed to have heard them sweeping across the skies hunting the souls of the damned.

Ditchling Beacon is said to be one of their haunts where people have heard barking hounds, horses' hooves, and sound of the horn with nothing ever seen.

CUCKFIELD PARK

'Wicked Dame Sergison', who died in 1848 at the ripe old age of 85, is thought to still haunt Cuckfield Park.

She was an uninvited guest at her daughter's marriage in 1890 when the ghost turned up at the wedding party to put a dampener on the proceedings.

From time to time people have spotted a shadowy figure in the corridors and guests have reported the feeling of 'a presence' on the main stairway.

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