This bewitching season, we're looking into Exeter's haunted, yet absolutely fascinating past. We spoke to the spooky experts and those who work daily within the city's haunted buildings... read on if you dare!

St Nicholas Priory

We spoke to St Nicholas Priory, about the paranormal activity at Exeter's oldest building:

"St Nicholas Priory is known for its tranquil atmosphere off the beaten track and away from the hustle and bustle of the city. However, sometimes in the evening, when the building is closed to the public and we are putting the priory to bed for another night, my colleagues have reported footsteps where nobody walked, and doors closing in parts of the building that were closed and shut up. Ghost hunters and investigators have had sighting of a ghostly monk wandering the corridor, and they heard the pitter-patter of little feet above their heads. Are these harbingers of inhabitants of the building, remnants of days past? Some memory of the little children the nuns looked after in the Great Hall? Or just people’s wish for something else out there they can connect to… no better night to find out for yourself than All Hallows’ Eve, when St Nicholas Priory opens the doors to all to explore the threshold of time between past and present. A night of mystery and magic."

St Bartholomew's Cemetery 

We spoke to Sue Gardner, local author of Haunted Exeter, about her chilling encounters in the city:

"Old St Bartholomew’s graveyard is quite spooky and good for some atmospheric pictures, I thought. Off I went with my camera and took some shots of a large gravestone with a cross on top. I also took some pictures of other graves. Walking back to the entrance I took a few random pictures of squirrels in a tree as well. I sat on a bench to check what the pictures were like and was annoyed to find that the pictures of the large gravestone with the cross were not on the camera, but the other shots in the graveyard and squirrels were. Thinking that I had pressed the wrong camera setting, I went back to try again carefully checking the settings. I checked that the pictures were on the camera this time. They were.  I sat on the bench again and took more squirrel pics (I love them). Then I had another look at the gravestone pics. They were not there! The squirrel ones were. Freaky!

Later I met a friend who laughed, saying that I was letting the haunting subject get the better of me. She was a total unbeliever in ghosts. The following day we went to the graveyard together. She took some pictures of the same large gravestone, checked that they were on the camera, sat on the bench, looked for the pics again. They were not there. Even more spookily, when we went back to look for the large distinctive gravestone again, it had disappeared! We searched the area for it to no avail. Neither of us have been to St Bartholomew's graveyard since!"

Exeter Quay at night

Sue also gave us a spine-chilling tale about Exeter Quay: "If you go to the quay at night you may possibly see a strange and scary sight. Out of a strangely isolated patch of mist a Danish Longship might emerge. On the bows a scary warrior with a face full of hatred may shake his sword in the direction of the city. Are these the ghosts of Danish invaders who once pillaged Exeter?"

The Turks Head

We spoke to the Turk's Head about their spooky sightings:

"Head on over to one of the oldest pubs in Exeter, The Turk's Head, if you dare... enjoy a brew from the bar and sit in the top room which overlooks Waterbeer Street. It was this street where many prisoners of the Guildhall were hanged for their crimes. It's rumoured that you can still see their souls wandering the streets... and if that's not enough to entice you along, did you know that the original room where many prisoners were kept, still stands in its original form within the Turk's Head cellar. So, who knows, that beer you buy could have been made by The Turk himself."

Local author Sue also told us a story about The Turk's Head:

"The Turks Head on Exeter High Street was supposedly the favourite pub of writer Charles Dickens. He first came to Exeter as a junior newspaper reporter and later when he became wealthy he moved his parents to nearby Alphington and visited them often. Like many famous writers he loved to observe people and it is said that he would sit quietly in the corner of The Turks Head watching the antics of the often drunk inhabitants. A thin bearded man in Victorian dress has been dimly seen in ‘Dickens Corner’ on a number of occasions. If any Modern day pub goer approaches, the apparition disappears!"

How to find out more

Hear chilling stories about many of the historic buildings in the city with the Exeter Red Coat Guides. Book onto the Ghosts & Legends tours every Thursday and find out why Exeter is known to be one of the most haunted cities in the country - suitable for all ages!

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Want to read more about Exeter's haunting past? Purchase 'Haunted Exeter', a novel written by local author Sue Gardner, promising to appeal to Ghost hunters looking for a fright!

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St Nicholas Priory
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