With Halloween just around the corner, we wanted to share with you our favourite Cornish mysteries, superstitions and spine-tingling tales!
Knockers: Naughty or Nice?
Knockers are said to be mischievous little sprites that live below the ground. The myth around them remains hazy – some say they knocked on the walls of the tin mines to warn the miners of collapses, others say they knock to trap the mine workers! Some people believe they are the spirits of miners who died in accidents, but they are more commonly told to be naughty little creatures that like causing mischief and playing tricks on miners.
Don’t say the C word!
Did you know that superstitious miners will never say the word ‘cat’ when they are down a mine? They believe that just the presence of a cat around a mine is bad luck – and if one is found inside the mine, workers will cease to work on that level until the cat was caught!
The Lost Bells of Lyonesse
If you hear ghostly bells ringing at Land’s End in the middle of the night, don’t put it all down to your imagination. Many have claimed to have heard the bells ringing out in the dead of night, and there are a couple of explanations… The first says the ringing comes from the church at Land’s End and is the product of
a long-dead captain whose ship was lost at sea. The second tells of the lost town of Lyonesse, a town that used to join Land’s End to the Isles of Scilly 40 miles away across the Atlantic. Locals will claim that on sunny and still days you can see the rooftops and tree stumps, but have you ever spotted the church spires of the lost town of Lyonesse?
Wicked Wheal Coates
Wheal Coates, near the gorgeous fishing village of St. Agnes, is home to the Towanroath mine that drops all the way through the cliff to the sea. On a calm day if you drop a stone through the grate that covers the top of the mine and then listen really closely, you’ll hear the splash an age later as the rock reaches the ocean. At low tide, you can walk the length of Chapel Porth beach and find the cave that provides access to the base of the mine. Legend even has it that this dangerous mine is haunted by the workers lost below the ground.
The most haunted place in Cornwall?
Jamaica Inn can possibly claim this title, with many people travelling far and wide to spend a night in the creepy courthouse. There’s a plaque on the floor that marks the area where someone literally died in the exact spot, reported sightings of a distressed, ghostly mother and her wailing baby, and spooky, phantom hooves can be heard on the cobbles in the yard. Do you think you could last the night there!?
The Museum of Witchcraft and Magic
This collection in Boscastle is the most unbelievable sight to behold. You will find a witch-dunking chair, a whole host of homeopathic herbs and plants, voodoo dolls and love charms. The museum is dedicated to European witchcraft and magic and there is no place more weird and wonderful in The Duchy. Even if you don’t believe in magic at all, it’s an incredible experience and being located so close to Tintagel, the legendary Cornish town where King Arthur lived, there is no place better to spend All Hallow’s Eve – unless you scare easily!
For the ultimate spooky experience there is no place more terrifying that Bodmin Jail. This largely ruined building was built in 1779 and is a historic former prison, right on the edge of Bodmin Moor. 55 executions took place here, and it was renowned for it’s public hangings. You can even explore the Jail after dark by taking park in the ‘Haunted Prison Tours’ where grown men have been known to run screaming from the cells! Think you’ve got what it takes to last a night in the prison?
Trerice Manor, located just down the road from The Bowgie, is steeped in history and spooky tales. This glorious mansion was built in 1573 and is tucked away down winding Cornish lanes, hidden from the hustle and bustle of neighbouring Newquay. The two ghosts who haunt this beautiful building are said to be a scorned scullery maid, who shows her presence by dropping the temperature and bringing a strong scent of lilac, and also a stable boy who was trampled to death by his own horses. If you fancy a local, ghostly experience – Trerice is stunning, interesting and very possibly totally haunted…
Feeling spooked and inspired? We dare you to visit a few of these places… And here’s a just a little heads up; don’t say rabbit in a boat, wash your face with the morning dew of May Day before the sun rises and remember that snails are lucky.