HAUNTED HILL HALL
Hill Hall stands rather majestically amidst overgrown grounds near the small village of Theydon Mount in Essex. An Elizabethan Manor House that fell into series decline in later centuries, it was eventually utilised as a women’s’ open prison in the 1950’s, but later closed and renovated in 1986; the purpose, apparently, to open it to the public as an excellent example of 17th century architecture. (The building has massive painted Muriel’s that decorate the walls and ceilings which were apparently a prime object for preservation). It is supposedly haunted by a melancholy white firure; that of a woman who has been sighted in the Hall and outside in the grounds, usually near a large ornamental pond not far from two long since disused tennis courts.
In the early summer of 1986, the members of the British Psychic and Occult Society gathered in the grounds late one night with the intention of spotting – and possibly photographing – this phenomenon.
At precisely 2.15 am a pale figure was seen approximately 150 yards distant emerging from the back of the ruined mansion, which glided quite rapidly across a spacious lawn before promptly disappearing near beside an artificial pond.
As it moved it cast no shadow despite bright moonlight. When it did not re-emerge the site of its disappearance was inspected and, although nothing further was seen, quite unexpectedly a “whispering female voice” echoed quite distinctly across the water.
The actual words, unfortunately, were indiscernible but there was a distinct impression that it intended to be heard, as if trying to convey some message. An attempt was made to photograph this figure but, although this was clearly visible, this was unsuccessful.
Encouraged by the apparent appearance of this spectre, however, later, more thorough enquiries were made about last known occupants of the Hall and its history.
Perhaps expectedly, many stories about the Hall turned out to be unsubstantial or so vague as to be misleading. But as for the ghost itself, this seemed to have become firmly embedded as part of the house’s history:
Essentially, the story went that the ghost was that of an Elizabethan maiden who was doomed to ‘wander the earth’ after her death – penance for causing the death of two rival suitors who fought a duel for her affections, but ended up killing each other.
Whether this story was based on original fact was, of course, impossible to discover.
But the figure itself was witnessed by three unsuspecting people and, ghost or otherwise, this certainly seemed to give it some credence in present day reality.
DAVID FARRANT ©