May I wish you all a happy and prosperous New Year. May all your dreams come true in 2017!
Many people hang a holly wreath on their door at Christmas but few realise the original reason for doing this.
Christmas was thought to be a particularly dangerous time as ghosts were said to be more active.
Holly was believed to protect households from supernatural forces. It was felt that any troublesome spirits would be caught up in the prickly leaves as they tried to enter the home, thus preventing them from causing any further mischief! In England, unmarried women would also tie a piece of holly on their beds as a further protection from the spirit world.
Holly leaves would also be placed underneath the pillow in the belief that the sleeper would dream of their future.
The 12th century Norman keep is said to be haunted by Queen Isabella, mother of Edward III. She was the lover of Roger Mortimer and had her husband, Edward II, murdered in order to secure power for herself and Mortimer.
Edward III eventually seized power from his mother and had Mortimer executed. It's claimed that following the execution, he had Isabella imprisoned in the castle. She eventually went mad and supposedly died there in 1358. Since then, her tortured screams have been reported echoing from the upper rooms of the keep.
Sadly, much of the legend surrounding this tale is untrue! Isabella did indeed live at the castle but was free to travel to her other properties and actually died in Hertford in 1358. She was buried in Greyfriars by Newgate in London. Her ghost is said to haunt the site of the graveyard, holding the heart of Edward II in her hands.
However, people still claim to hear screams and maniacal laughter coming from the castle in the early hours of the morning. So if not Isabella, who or what is behind the terrifying sounds?
To catch a falling leaf in Autumn means good luck as every leaf caught means a lucky month in the year ahead.
Barsham's main claim to fame is that Lord Nelson's mother, Catherine Suckling, was born here in 1725. It can also claim a haunted church!
Footsteps have been heard in the chancel and the apparition of a lady dressed in Georgian clothes has been seen in the building. Lights have also been known to switch themselves on and off on their own. Some claim the phantom to be the ghost of Nelson's mother. Why she should haunt the church - if it is indeed her - has yet to be explained.
The churchyard is also haunted by the figures of people in medieval dress. A nearby plague pit is held to be the reason why the spirits still linger here.
The nearby rectory has a room, with a priest hole, which is claimed to be haunted by ghostly lights and footsteps. A poltergeist also moves objects in other parts of the rectory.
Finally, a phantom coach and horses, headless of course, is said to appear in the village every Christmas Eve. It makes for Hassets Tower in Norwich and is said to carry members of the Blennerhassett family. The coach returns to the village before sunrise.
A 19th century English tradition held that it was disrespectful to point at the moon. To do so would bring evil upon the person doing it.
A new moon seen over the right shoulder is said to be lucky. If you look at the new moon over your left shoulder it's unlucky.
To see a new moon through glass is said to be unlucky.
Turning over coins in your pocket brings good luck if done at the first new moon of a New Year. You must also bow to the moon three times. This will ensure that you will have money all year round.
The railway line running into Felixstowe is said by locals to be haunted by the phantom of a young girl who was struck down by a train many years ago.
It has always been considered unlucky to walk on a grave. Not only was it thought disrespectful but you also risked being grabbed by the spirit of the person buried there. Pregnant women were advised not to walk over graves as it could result in their child being born with a club foot.
This is considered to be one of the most intriguing photos ever taken of an apparition.
The Reverend K.F. Lord took this picture of the altar of his church in North Yorkshire in 1963. When the photograph was developed he was shocked to discover a shrouded figure standing in front of the altar.
The photo and negative were thoroughly examined by photographic experts who confirmed that the figure had not been caused by double exposure. There were also no signs that the photo or negative had been tampered with. Further analysis showed the figure to be at least nine feet tall. However, it should be noted that the figure may have been standing on the top step with the lower part of the robe hanging over the lower step.
The Church of Christ the Consoler had been built as a memorial to Frederick Vyner who, aged 23, was captured and murdered by brigands in Greece in 1870. His mother used the money collected for his ransom to commission the architect William Burges to build the church (constructed between 1871 and 1876) in the grounds of her home at Newby Hall.
The church did not have a reputation as a haunted building prior to the photo being taken. Nor had it been built on the site of an earlier church or religious building. The apparition has not been seen or photographed since.
The screech of a Barn Owl flying past the window of a sick person was seen as a certain omen of death.
The Barn Owl's screech was also regarded as a warning that cold weather or a storm was at hand.
A rather odd belief was that if you kept walking around an owl, it would keep turning its head until it had wrung its neck!
Raw owl's eggs were used as a sure fire way to cure drunkenness. And owl's eggs, cooked until they had been reduced to ash, were used in potions to improve eyesight.
Owl broth was believed to cure Whooping-cough.
To see an owl is regarded as good luck in Northern England.