Haunted Cromer

04 April 2018

You won't find the Scooby Doo Gang taking up residence in Cromer anytime soon but our small town does have somewhat of a

You won't find the Scooby Doo Gang taking up residence in Cromer anytime soon but our small town does have somewhat of a paranormal past.

One of our most famous ghouls is Black Shuck. A large, black apparition of a dog often seen on the cusp of the waves of Cromer beach. This dog is rumoured to be waiting for an owner who went to sea but never returned. A lot of local legends have been attributed to this mysterious dog. Including the tale of a beautiful maiden being dragged from the pier and under the waves by a large canine. Another is the story of a child lured to the sea by a canine companion, once paddling in the shallows the dog began growling and barking at the boy until a group of nearby fisherman rescued the child. Though when the men tried to find the dog it was nowhere to be found. The most famous attribution of Black Shuck is to the internationally renowned tale of  the 'Hound of the Baskervilles' by Arthur Conan Doyle who was reportedly staying at Felbrigg Hall at the time he wrote it.

Another haunting takes place beneath the waves of Cromer Beach in the submerged settlement of Shipden. This small town was lost to the ocean in the 15th century and right up until the 18th century you could still see the Shipden Church Tower at low tide. Local gossip has it that in the dead of night if you stand on the beach or the end of the pier you can still hear the horse and carts trekking through Shipden. Another tragedy is linked to the Sunken town of Shipden; late in the 18th century a small pleasure steamer from Great Yarmouth found itself impaled on the church tower resulting in the death of two of its passengers. What remained of the steamers passengers were promptly rescued however both the boat and the church tower were blown up in the hopes of avoiding another tragedy.

Cromer Pier has had the most spectral encounters of anywhere in Norfolk. Even featured on the popular 'Most Haunted' television show, Cromer Pier has a fascinating history of a ghostly nature! Visitors to the pier have claimed to see ghostly apparitions walking the length of the Pier in Mediaeval garments, no doubt residents from Shipden looking for a new home. Another phantom is the ghost of Dick Condon who is one of the best loved figures in Norfolks history, having solely revived Cromer Pavillion it is said his shadow has been seen crossing the stage and his infamous laugh echoing through the corridors. Staff at the Theatre have claimed various tales of poltergeist activity taking place, inclusing smashing glasses, falling chairs and one very notable instance of self locking doors!

Legend also has it that our sister town of Sheringham has had the most surprising of nautical visitors; in the form of a Royal Mermaid. In the 15th century rumour has it that a congregational choir enticed the Mermaid to the shore with their singing at All Saints Church in Upper Sheringham. Though she had laboriously crawled her way over a mile and a half to the doors of the Church the Beadle refused her entry, slamming the door in her face. Not to be deterred she took a perch on a bench near the entry to the Church. It was here she reportedly succumbed to the elements. Today it is said that the spot on which she died never truly dries as her essence remains, waiting to be given entry to the Church. Small carvings of the Mermaid can be seen throughout Sheringham.

Our very own Red Lion is also, according to myth, home to its very own maritime visitor. There is an underground tunnel network throughout Cromer which stretches from the Red Lion all the way into the woods. These tunnels, though no longer in use and mostly blocked up, were used by sailors to smuggle alcohol and other contraband into Britain in the 1800's. One unlucky miscreant, by the name of Ramsey Stewark, met his untimely demise in these tunnels when apprehended by the local constabulary. His spirit still walks the tunnels, visiting all the public houses and our very own cellar. Though he is very rarely seen, a few of our own team have reported feeling 'watched' in the cellar and the sound of shuffling boots near the bricked-up arch at the back.

Naturally all these tales can been taken with a pinch of salt, but with such a rich varied history in Cromer, can we really be sure some of it isn't watching us?

- J.James