6th October 2004
Berry Pomeroy is a location that I have heard and leant so much about over the last few months that when we found we had a few days free the temptation to pay the castle a visit was just too great.
Ever since I first met Steven he has talked about his previous visits to Berry Pomeroy and all the books I’ve read on the castle have set such a picture of the site that once we’d made the decision to go the there my expectations were high.
There is a long list of possible ghosts that reside at the castle. The White lady, who is the spirit of Margaret Pomeroy, imprisoned by her older sister for twenty years and was finally allowed to die by starving to death. The Blue Lady, the daughter of a Pomeroy who gave birth to her father’s child. It is believed that she strangled the child though some versions of the story say it was actually her father who killed the baby. The two Pomeroy brothers who leapt to their deaths on horse back when the castle lay under siege, rather then surrender to the enemy. Isabelle, a servant who died trying to save her mother from being raped and the illegitimate daughter of a Pomeroy. These are just some of the ghosts related to the castle. There are more, including that a gardener carrying a scythe who haunts the grounds. Surrounding the castle there is also a haunted wood that has produced many ghost sightings.
We made an early start on the 6th Oct and were on the road by eight thirty. Four and a bit uncomfortable hours later we arrived at Berry Pomeroy (I own an original Mini which though very reliable is rather small and basic. No fancy luxuries for the valiant paranormal investigators I’m afraid).
We had decided to camp the night at a campsite near the castle and we were very lucky to find a site that was very close to the castle. The owners of the campsite told us that the windows of the large house they owned were actually from the castle itself. I have to admit the windows were exactly the same as the windows from the Seymour section in the castle.
We sent the tent up as quickly as possible, eager to head to the castle to do the day tour. It was then that we discovered in our haste to set off in the morning that we had forgotten to pack a sleeping bag. This was not good news as the day was rather cold and windy and the night wasn’t going to be any better.
Deciding we had to make the best of it we drove down to the castle. As we made our way down the road and caught our first sight of the castle the first word that came into my head was “Awesome”. The castle just seems to appear in front of you and is how I imagined it to be plus much more. Though mostly a ruin the parts of the castle that still stand strikes an imposing view, especially the rampart that leads to Margaret’s Tower, which Margaret, the White Lady, supposedly walks at night at twelve fifteen.
We paid our entrance fee and walk through the gate, into Berry Pomeroy itself.
Due to the weather being rather rainy and the fact we only had a couple of hours before the castle closed, we decided to spilt up. I headed up the winding stairs towards the rampart. I have to say I didn’t pick up on anything as I was walking around the various locations within the castle, all of which I recognized from Steven and Paul’s reports in the diary section. I took still shots in all the rooms plus camcorder footage for the up coming DVD. I didn’t pick up any light anomalies myself. Geoff however to get some orbs in Margaret’s Tower. The only physical sensations I did experience were of nausea and sickness both times I sat in the White Lady’s prison. I tried a bit of dowsing while there, however I was very conscious of the other visitors (the mortal variety, not the spirit) listening to me down in the cell, apparently talking to myself. I’m not sure if this limited my results but after several attempts at making contact with any resident spirits I’d only managed to pick up on a male, who was possibly a soldier stationed there. As I made my way back up the stairs I did pass a couple, who both gave me a funny looks. Obviously heard me “talking to myself”.
We both continued to cover the castle in the hope of either picking up on anything and to collect footage. This was difficult and rather frustrating with the outdoor shots as it kept raining. It took me four attempts to film outside Margaret’s tower. Every time I left the cover of the doorway a downpour would start. I had the distinct feeling that someone had it in for me. As four o’clock drew near, the time the castle closed, we left Berry Pomeroy for the time being to get ready for our night time vigil. At this point I had to say I hadn’t felt anything that would confirm to me the reputation that Berry Pomeroy castle had gained. I hadn’t felt scared or as though I was being watched or listened to (except by the couple who’d heard me dowsing) In fact I thought that it was a nice pleasant place. That wasn’t an opinion I was to hold onto for very long, I’m glad to say.
After a quick trip into Torbay and then back to the tent for a sleep we set out at about quarter to ten to walk to Berry Pomeroy Castle. In a car the trip takes about ten minutes if that, walking however it did seem to take a lot longer then the twenty or so minutes it actually took, which is not surprising as it was a dark windy night and we were walking along narrow, tree covered roads. The last part of the walk meant walking through the haunted wood and I have to admit that on my part that was when the uneasiness first set in. I’m still not sure why I started feeling uneasy at that point when I’d been okay at the beginning of the walk. Maybe it was the almost certain feeling that our approach wasn’t going unobserved. After a quick confidence building chat from Steven, via mobile phone,
We came out of the wood and there loamed Berry Pomeroy Castle looking very ominous. Just as we cleared the wood, we were greeted by a noise that almost froze the blood in my veins. The front gates were rattling very loudly this was followed moments later with a second rattle, by which time my brain had kicked in and I realized that the gates were being moved by human hands not spiritual. Just as I had gathered my nerves our ears were accosted by a shrill, pitching scream and I’m ashamed to say caused me to scream in response. Nerves were a tad frayed at this point. The second scream however led me to respond with an angry shout something along the lines of I wasn’t about to be frightened again. The cause of all this commotion was in fact a group of about eleven teenagers who had found a way into the castle and were larking around. Geoff shone his torch and aimed his camcorder on the rampart and caught three or four of the kids leaping on the rampart, pretending to be vampires. We decided that as I was a little on edge at this point that it would be best to back away for a bit so we took shelter outside the closed tea-room and waited in the dark to see what would happen. The teenagers continued on for a bit and we observed a light flicking in Margaret’s tower. I assume that it was a group of the teenagers with torches, as I had no evidence to believe otherwise.
After a while we heard two of the lads coming back over the wall in great haste talking loudly and rather nervously. As we were sitting quietly in the dark, they didn’t know we were there so we were able to overhear their conversation. One lad was saying that he had just seen a crouched glowing figure with glaring eyes looking straight at him. I can’t confirm as this was true or whether he was just trying to scare his friend. After a little while the rest of the teenagers appeared and we made our presence known. After a chat the group finally departed and we were left alone. We had started to walk towards the castle when I found myself unable to move. I felt as if very unfriendly eyes were watching us and I just couldn’t take a step nearer. It was agreed that we should head back to the tearoom for a bit so that I could calm down. As we settled back in our original position the feeling that we were being watched increased and I had the distinct feeling there was someone standing behind me on the left. At one point we both heard a cough. Geoff however, having a better view of the front of the castle (my view unfortunately was partially blocked by the corner post holding up the tea-rooms roof) saw a mist drifting along the path in front of the castle which was followed a little after by a shadow going across the inside of the gate. Now anyone who knows Geoff will know that he is not easily unnerved and I use him as a gauge to judge any situation such as this and as soon as Geoff turned to me and said that he was beginning to feel worried and like we shouldn’t be there I knew that it was time to leave. I myself was experiencing an increasing feeling of unreasonable fear and we were definitely not welcome there. I also felt that if we pushed our luck and stayed longer that something bad would happen.
So as there were only the two of there it was decided at eleven fifteen that for the sake of our safety that the best the to do was to depart the castle. We made the walk back to the campsite as quickly as possible and by the time we were sitting back the tent I began to feel much better. I strongly believe that the presence of the teenagers in the castle joking and messing around had angered the spirits who viewed their behaviour as disrespectable. Even after the group had departed they weren’t about to a calm down anytime soon and Geoff and myself were not welcome to stay either. I do wonder what would have happened if the teenagers hadn’t been there that night. Would we still have experienced the same sensations of hatred emanating from the castle?
We left the campsite at eleven o’clock the following day and decided to pay Berry Pomeroy Castle a final visit. As we approached the car park I looked across at the castle and though I didn’t feel the fear that I had felt the previous night, I did feel differently then I had done when I had visited the castle the day before. A lot more respectful that’s for sure. We decided that instead of going back into the castle that we would go down the path behind it and take a walk along the path that runs along the bottom of the valley. As we walked along the path and over the bridge I looked up the hill at Berry Pomeroy castle and I have to say it was a breath-taking sight.
Geoff and I wandered along the path getting some extra footage. Geoff then said he was going to climb up the opposite hill, up to the Killing Ground, where they used to kill the game. I thought better of another steep climb this year and stayed at the bottom of the valley and did a bit of dowsing. My first attempt with my crystal pendulum wasn’t very successful. I picked up on a young female possibly between 15 to 20 years old. I then tried my new silver pendulum and got a better result. I picked up on the energy of a man by the name of Jack. He was stationed at the castle as a soldier. I was having a bit of a chat with him and he indicated that he was happy for me to be there when I felt the hairs on the back of my neck go up. I should mention at this point that the whole time I had been there on the path I got the distinct feeling I wasn’t alone. I asked Jack if it was him causing my hair to stand up. He answered with a no. I asked him if whomever it was messing with my hair was happy with me being there. He answered with another no. I started to feel fear creeping up on me again. I then asked Jack if he would look after me and he answered with a yes. That did make me feel better and fortunately just after that Geoff came back down the hill. After a little more filming the time had come to say our farewells, for now, to Berry Pomeroy Castle and so we headed back to the car and started our journey back home.
This was our first, but definitely not our last visit to Berry Pomeroy Castle. I have now joined with many others that have visited this ancient castle and have been caught forever under her spell.
By Samantha Styche.