The Flames of Stalbridge Manor – a ghost story

The Flames of Stalbridge Manor

An extract from The Flames of Stalbridge Manor:

‘Instinctively, I turned and there before me was the most horrific vision. For it was just that, a picture of intense suffering but one completely noiseless as if it were a silent dream. The flames leapt around the woman, ripping holes through her torso, lifting and wrapping the strands of her hair into a glowing ball of fire. I could see her lips contort as if to scream but no words came forth, only a splatter of fire upon flesh. I grappled with the beam behind me as if to force myself away but I was gripped by fear and found myself bound by the spectacle. The burning figure approached reaching out towards the beam that supported me, but without firmness she passed through it toppling into the void. I turned to see the flames extinguish in the darkness leaving no trace of the poor woman. Suppressing a shriek, I fell to my knees, peering at the open doorway, watching it shut violently upon itself.’

The Shrieking Pit

The shrieking pit

Follow the north coast of Norfolk in early summer and you’ll come across a landscape of cornfields bathed in the rich red glow of poppies. Tucked away from the coastal road, a couple of miles inland from the seaside town of Cromer, you will come to a village that hides a painful secret.

Here you’ll find Hungry Hill, ready to devour the spirit of any traveller wishing to scale its deceptive height.

Half-way up the hill lies an unremarkable lane; travel its lonely path and you’ll come to a deep hole in the ground surrounded by grey-green willows.

The trees guard the pit with sinister outstretched branches entwined in a mesh of green and brown. Battle through the curtains of foliage and you’ll find yourself standing at the edge of a gloomy willow-hung hollow known as The Shrieking Pit.

Even in spring or summer, it’s a far from inviting place; for here, dismal shades bathe a stagnant pool and mournful shapes bow to it. The air is lifeless and leaden, suppressed by the paucity of hope.

The shrieking pit
Visit the spiritless hollow if you must; but if you do, ensure that it is not February 24th when the air is damp and the light so dim that you are barely able to see the edges of the pit. For on this day, you may hear something that quickens your heart and prickles your skin: a wailing voice, centuries old, carried forth on icy air through the creeping branches; the voice of Esmerelda, once so young and fair, back from her grave! Continue reading