Tales of Godalming ghosts to send a shiver down your spine!
By The Editor
31st Oct 2020 | Local News
It's the witching season again, and with the dark skies, windswept streets and night falling early what better time to snuggle up with some tales of the supernatural in Godalming?
We dusted off the history books and unearthed some local stories to keep you spooked this Hallowe'en...
The most famous ghost in town is that of Peter The Great, Tsar of Russia, who visited The King's Arms Hotel in the High Street with his entourage in March 1698. The group was said to have feasted magnificently, and partied rumbustiously, and perhaps the Tsar and his men enjoyed their visit so much they didn't want to leave, for it is said that the sound of heavy boots being pulled off and dropped on the floor can be heard in one of the bedrooms in the small hours.
Brook House, in Mint Street, was built towards the end of the 18th century for the Woods family: it is now offices. The building is said to be haunted by the ghost of a woman, who is sometimes also seen outside in the small garden at the back.
A little further along Station Road is a fairly new development, Orchard Place, built on the site of a large house of the same name.
A young woman, whose family were the last occupants of the house before it was demolished, claimed to have experienced unsettling phenomena, including the sound of children's voices, taps being turned on, furniture being moved and windows being opened while the occupant of the room was asleep. The most unsettling incident occurred when the toddler of the family fell down the stairs, and said he had been pushed by a ghost.
It was later discovered that the house had been built on the site of an Anglo-Saxon graveyard.
The other side of the station, an unknown figure is said to walk the grounds of The Meath. Dressed in a cloak, the figure can only be seen by moonlight. Popular legend has it that it's Bonnie Prince Charlie on the prowl.
Church House in Church Street is said to be the most haunted house in Godalming, haunted by an old man in Victorian clothes, and the sound of footsteps has been heard on the stairs.
Anglers tell of a creepy atmosphere at Busbridge Lakes, and there is even a rumour that if you fish there alone late at night a ghostly nun will slip out of the water and pull you under.
A woman in brown is said to haunt Loseley House. She has been seen several times standing near the staircase, staring with wide black eyes. Witnesses say they haven't felt threatened by her though, which is reassuring.
The Alan Paine knitwear factory at the bottom of Brighton Road, now demolished, was said to have been haunted by a ghost that walked across the factory floor just one night a year (it's not recorded which night). On the anniversary of each ghostly perambulation the supervisor would order the machines to be pushed back to the sides of the room to allow him (or her) free passage.
One year, so the story goes, some of the apprentices moved the machines back into the centre of the room before leaving for the night. When they returned to work the next morning they found the machines had been moved all over the place, not one still standing in the place they had left it the night before.
A vaguer story tells of a flap in Godalming in December 1894, when a figure with a luminous face and white clothing took to frightening people travelling late at night. The events caused much outrage at the time, but no-one was ever caught and held to account for carrying out the terrifying pranks.
Up on the edge of town, in May 2005 Winkworth joined the list of places where the 'Surrey Big Cat' has been reported. Sightings of a large animal, variously described as a lynx or a puma, have been made for nearly half a century.
The episode was filmed by a man from Guildford. His film, shot on a camcorder, showed a sandy coloured animal strolling through the trees near the boathouse.
Further out, and more recently, the A3 near Milford was the scene of a strange event in November 2010. An off-duty police officer was forced to brake to avoid a motorbike heading towards him on the wrong side of the road.
The officer stopped, but on looking in his rear-view mirrors couldn't see any sign of the motorcyclist. After the event he also recalled looking to his right as he swerved, but the rest of the bike wasn't visible.
Under the 'other weird things that have happened' tab we can file the story about a Witley resident who, in August 2008, saw what he described as a red ball of fire hanging in the air outside his home.
"It was a perfect circular ball, the length of a London bus, unbelievably vivid, like a ball of fire, but with no flames, no edges to it, and it didn't move," he told reporters at the time.
One can only imagine his terror as the light erupted in a blinding flash, followed by a huge clap of thunder. Fortunately he was unhurt, but two large fir trees in the garden of the flats were badly damaged. Unfortunately his neighbour, who had been in the garden at the time, had to be treated in hospital after being enveloped by the flash.
It was decided at the time that it was ball lightning, a very rare weather phenomenon, which caused extensive damaged to electrical equipment throughout the block of flats.
Do you have any creepy tales of apparitions and strange events that you would like to share? Get in touch, we'd love to hear them.