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Spine-Chilling Tales of Ghostly Guests!

Tamworth & North Warwickshire Times, 11th March 1999

“GHOSTS may be figments of some people's imagination but staff at Tamworth Castle claim the 800-year old building is riddled with visitors from the other side - and they have tales to prove it! Legend has it that the castle is haunted - claims that have escalated as staff and public visitors alike experienced strange feelings and seemingly inexplicable events. But none more bizarre than those over the past months.

It appears the resident ghosts aren't too happy with new furniture - that's if you believe a story by Ann Williams who worked there for nine years helping run the gift shop.

Ann, who lives in Wilnecote, says a day doesn't go by when she does not experience something she can't explain. Thoughts of ghosts don't normally frighten Ann but she admitted to being scared witless by the latest spooky chapter.

"It was a typical dark winter's night. The rain was lashing down and it was extremely windy which probably explained why the Castle alarm system went off," she said. "As a key holder, I was called out at around 11 p.m. after the police had been alerted. Once they'd inspected the Castle and found no signs of an intruder, they left me alone to wait for an engineer to reset the alarm."

"As I sat in the reception area I heard the odd footstep here and there. Nothing new. In fact I even smiled to myself and thought they (the ghosts) were on the move. But the sounds got louder and the noises became more apparent. As clear as day, I could hear a lot of footsteps, as if there was a crowd in the room above me, as well as the dragging sound of tables and chairs being moved on the wooden floors."

"I wasn't immediately bothered by it all until suddenly this aura came all over me and I instantly felt an overwhelming presence. Though most of us here at the Castle feel some kind of unexplained presence almost on a daily basis, this was far different to anything before. or the first time ever I felt as though I wasn't supposed to be in the building. Don't ask me why, but I felt it, so I dashed outside and ran straight into the engineer."

"It was his first visit to Tamworth Castle and he'd got lost which explained why I'd had to wait for more than an hour and a half. But what he told me sent a further shiver down my spine. Though he was expecting to be met by someone, he was shocked to see me. Puzzled, I asked why, and he said while walking up the Castle path only moments before he'd seen someone looking out of a window. He said he simply waved and the `person' stepped back into the darkness. But it wasn't me, that's for sure. I'd waited on the ground floor and anyway, by the time he saw the image, I was running outside. When I asked him to point to the window in question, he indicated the Ferrers Room, which is the one where all the noises had come from."

"That is now our curator's office which has just been fitted with a new circular meeting table and chairs. They're not in keeping with the antiques at the Castle and I suppose the ghosts don't like them - though when I investigated they'd not been moved an inch."

As her tale circulated among castle staff, a further spine-chilling story came to light. June Hall, another long standing member of staff who is fearless of ghosts, recalled opening up one morning with a colleague, Val Lee, and walked into the room which houses the Tamworth Story exhibition. "I was struck in the face and momentarily blinded. It felt like sand had been thrown at me. When Val came in behind me, I was bent over trying to clear my eyes and shaking my top. Then Val and me saw a blue mist swirl around the room and out of the window:"

Two ghosts have long been blamed for haunting the landmark. One is the Black Lady and the other is the White Lady.

The first is said to be the ghost of St Editha who one night appeared to Lord Robert Marmion and ordered him to restore the Nuns who had been expelled from the Castle and Polesworth Abbey by one of his ancestors. The White Lady is said to roam the battlements weeping for her murdered lover who met his end on the Lady Meadows below  the Castle.”