People are more likely to see a ghost or a supernatural apparition in Cornwall than almost anywhere else in England. PsychicWorld.com collated a list of 11,700 paranormal sightings across the UK to find the nation’s spookiest places, including 328 sightings in Cornwall alone.
For every 10,000 of the population, there were around six (5.76) paranormal sightings in Cornwall, the fifth highest rate in England. Only people living on the Isle of Wight (7.62 sightings per 10,000 residents), Wiltshire (7.58), Herefordshire (7.27), and Somerset (7.11) had more chance of seeing a ghost.
The figures, collated from paranormal databases tracking sightings across the UK, show that ghosts riding on phantom horses are the most common apparition. PsychicWorld.com tracked 526 examples of people witnessing this type of ghostly phenomenon.
Read more: The sea monsters and paranormal phenomenon that haunt the coast of Cornwall
That includes the spirit of the killer Michael Morey – executed in 1736 for the shocking murder of his grandson – who is reputed to ride a phantom horse around a barrow in the Isle of Wight at midnight. The second most common paranormal phenomena are sightings of mythical creatures (451), followed by fairies (380 sightings), and shucks and hellhounds (374). Headless ghosts remain popular with 380 reports, while the classic image of a spectral “white lady” has also endured with 349 sightings to date.
Among the most bizarre paranormal reports are the 15 instances of “hell gates” – supposedly an entryway on Earth, into hell. While shows like Stranger Things and Buffy the Vampire Slayer have kept them in the public consciousness, reports of hell gates are extremely rare with only 15 in the UK, including one said to lie at the bottom of a garden pond near a church in Albury, Hertfordshire, and another within the aptly named Hell Hole Wood in Yorkshire.
Paranormal encounters and ghost sightings in Cornwall
- Sightings in and near the Jamaica Inn
In January 2007, ghost-hunters said they believed sightings of a mysterious figure walking along the A30 at night may be the first glimpses recorded in Cornwall of a phantom hitch-hiker. Two taxi drivers returning to South Wales from Cornwall Airport Newquay separately reported such a sighting on the dual carriageway between Bodmin and Launceston not far from the inn.
In 2017, a poltergeist was thought to have been caught on CCTV dropping a wall phone in the Inn. The suspected ghost made the phone fall off its base and the spooky episode can be seen in a video a ghost hunting group shared with CornwallLive.
- George the ghost who likes Stella Artois
In September 2003, a four-pack of lager mysteriously flew across an aisle in Penzance‘s Co-op in Queen’s Square and was captured on a security film. ‘George’ the ghost, as he was called by staff, had inexpensive tastes – a four-pack of Stella Artois had been captured on video inexplicably flying off the shelf and into the aisle.
General assistant Roger Smith had just closed the store when the spooky incident happened at 10pm. “This place has always had a spooky reputation, especially with paperwork being moved around, but this is the first time anything’s been caught on camera,” he said at the time.
“I don’t personally believe in ghosts but I was very confused by it. At the time it happened, everybody was in the cash room. The four-pack came straight out – they didn’t just fall straight down on the floor, but ended up a good 18 inches to two feet out of the aisle. They weren’t on the edge of the shelf either, but quite a way back. It’s not trickery, or any of the staff doing it – you’ll just have to take my word for it.”
- Bodmin Jail’s ghosts
In November 2018, 32-year-old ghost hunter, Tony Ferguson, a man who claims he can “communicate with the other side”, suspects he caught the full figure of William Hampton, a jealous man who strangled to death his young lover after she dumped him. Full story here.
Paranormal manager Kirsten Honey also caught on camera what looks like the ghost of an agitated woman. You can read the story here.
- The monk of Pengersick Castle, Praa Sands
Many have said they saw a spectral monk, especially around the small forest at the end of the medieval garden.
- The White Lady of Godolphin
The White Lady apparition is said to walk along the path leading from the house to the Chapel. She is thought to be the figure of Lady Margaret Godolphin, wife of the first Earl, who died in child birth.
CornwallLive has put together a list of Cornwall’s most believable ghost sightings and paranormal events. You can read it here.
Get ready to Discover Cornwall
Cornwall is unique – there’s no place like it on the planet. With its stunning beaches, glorious countryside, ancient traditions and fierce sense of identity, it’s no wonder millions of people visit the county every year.
With this in mind, Discover Cornwall has been launched to highlight everything that makes Cornwall special, from the quirky to the fascinating and the historical to the downright weird and wonderful. Discover Cornwall will help you find out about the county regardless of whether you’re a local or a visitor. From the best fish and chip shops and pasty sellers to insightful reads into the more isolated parts of Cornwall, Discover Cornwall will help open your eyes to everything this special county has to offer.
To Discover Cornwall, click here.