Pluckley Village, Kent has been called the UK’s most haunted village, with over 15 active spirits and not all of them friendly. But the woods next to this village is what caught our attention. Pluckley’s ancient screaming wood. But what is screaming ?
Pluckley Village & Forest
The legend of the screaming woods began when the Guinness Book of Records published that Pluckley was Britain’s most haunted village. The village itself is haunted by more than twelve ghosts, but some say it may even be forty… That would surprise anyone who has a knowledge of the history of the area. It is a place of death.
But then, people slowly people began to turn their attention to the adjacent Dering Woods. This forest is inexplicably active. So many reports started flooding in of ear-splitting screams coming from within the forest, both day and night. There are also shadows that are well known for following those across the forest who have the balls to enter.
It has been suggested that the most prevalent spirits within the forest are those of an 18th century Colonel who killed himself in the shrub, as well as a highwayman who was captured by the local villagers during the 18th century, nailed to a tree and then had his head cut off…
Funny enough, similar to the Ballybolly forest this site is home to one of the world’s oldest Neolithic sites. Is it possible that these sites are giving off some strange kind of energy acting as a fuel for these ghosts to act out ? It’s a theory, but isn’t that how facts are created?
The Ghost’s Seen at Pluckley
There have been over forty, yes forty ! different ghosts are seen at Pluckley, both within the forest and the village. All of them are active, but not in the kind of way that you would see on most haunted. We are talking smashing objects against the wall, following you around the location, blood-curdling screams, and psychical attacks and attachments. There are a few who have been identified and here are their stories.
The Hanging Colonel
In an area of the adjacent forest called Park Wood, there is an old army Colonel seen marching around the forest. He committed Suicide by hanging himself from a tree. People have seen this guy hanging from a tree and walking up behind them. He has been seen been a sad expression and sometimes he has even reached out to visitors to the forest, is it possible he is trapped like so many others in the forest ?
The Ghostly Highwayman
Along the Smarden Bell Road, there is a junction that has been dubbed Fright Corner. He was taken and killed by angry villagers, who were tired of his killing and stealing. They took him to the forest, nailed him to a tree and took off his head…
His screams are said to be part of the horrific symphony that gives the screaming woods its name. But that’s not all, he is actually known to jump out from behind trees and terrify hikers ! That is not alike anything else we have heard before, and it is fudged up.
In the village of Pluckley, there was an old wooden windmill that dated back to the 19th century. In 1939, lightning struck, it burned and eventually crumbled.
The old miller called Richard ‘Dicky’ Buss hung himself after the loss of his business. People have seen this spirit standing, with empty eyes simply staring at the spot where his old mill once stood. Some even say that during a lightning storm he is seen hanging…
The Phantom Monk
On the edge of the village, there is a large white house called Greystones. The house itself was built around 1863 when it was originally called Rectory Cottage. This is the domain of the Phantom Monk. He is often seen around and within the house, he is best known for being the cause of avid poltergeist activity within.
The Tudor Lady
Near to the Greystones, is another tiny cottage, Rose Court Cottage. It is well known for being haunted by Pluckley’s Tudor Lady. Legend tells us that she was friends with the monk mentioned above, possibly even a secret love affair.
Following his death, she also committed suicide by drinking a potion made up of some poisonous ivy berries taken from the forest. *Starting to see the pattern yet? She is seen walking around the grounds surrounding the cottage, sometimes even with her two faithful pooches.
The Dering Arms
One of the oldest buildings within Pluckley village. It dates back to the 1840’s and it was used as a hunting lodge serving the Dering Estate. Today it is a B&B, and one of the most haunted in the world.
There is a lot of poltergeist activity within, chairs scrape along the floor, footsteps are heard banging up the stairs and objects are pushed off the bar to smash on the floor. But what unsettles guests most of all is the old lady seen sitting by the window. She is said to wear a Tudor period style dress with a bonnet. She is known to be seen sitting in a chair by the window and then simply vanish into thin air.
The Headless Coachman
What ghost story would be complete without the Headless Horseman? Well, this one has been seen around the village. He has been seen driving a black carriage led by 4 cryptic black horses. The ghostly vehicle is seen mainly on Maltman’s Hill, but also around the village a lot.
The Screaming Man
In the 19th century, a man died after falling into a clay pit at the old brickworks. He is heard screaming through the night. This, of course, is only residual but still creepy af all the same.
The White Lady
Along the street in the village, the 13th-century church stands out more than any other building. The churchyard holds the Dering family vault and inside the church itself people have seen a white lady, she has been described as young and beautiful.
The Red Lady
The Churchyard is also haunted by the Red Lady. She is thought to be the ghost of Lady Dering who the child was stillborn. She is seen around an unmarked grave. She herself was buried at the top end of the church those placed on top of her tombstone.
Both she and the White Lady are seen in and around the church, and when they are not seen they are heard. Clicking footsteps are heard within the church, they sound like someone walking in high heels…
The White Dog
This one is awesome. There is actually a white dog seen around the church. It looks like a pretty normal dog with white hair. It follows people into the church, sits with them, some have even stroked him. He is also seen sitting and staring straight forward from the church.
Later, when guests have asked the priest about the dog. He has revealed that the dog has been seen around the area for hundreds of years, he used to belong to a former priest who worked in the church. That fits with the fact that the dog is known to disappear. Even sometimes whilst being stroked.
The Hanging Schoolmaster
Dicky Buss Lane is haunted by the ghost of a schoolmaster who committed suicide there by hanging himself from a nearby tree. He did this just after the WWI. The children actually found him hanging on their way to school.
He is seen today, hanging from that same tree dressed in a frock coat and striped trousers…
The Watercress Woman
Just next to the Pinnock Bridge, a misty pink apparition has been seen. The locals tell tales of an old gypsy woman who used to sell watercress by the road and harvested from the fields just next to the road itself.
She died when she fell asleep smoking her old pipe. The embers from her pipe fell onto her straw bed, and she burnt to death.
The Black Horse Pub
In the center of the village is its most haunted building. The Black Horse dates back to the 1470’s when it was a dry-moated farmhouse for the Dering family.
The spirit responsible is thought to be a little girl called Jessie. She is well known for hiding people clothes from them and smashing pint glasses on the floor, in the bar area.
The Screaming woods is an awesome location, they even do nights where you can brave it out in a tent. it is definitely worth a shot, if you don’t believe in ghosts go stay a night there and then see what you believe.