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Deal Castle's Ghostly Sailor

Listed under Paranormal in South East England, United Kingdom.

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I grew up around Deal in Kent, and the squat little Tudor castle always seemed to embody tedium rather than excitement, squashed as it is between the edge of Deal town centre and the grey, very British seafront. I was dragged there on numerous occasions on school trips, to observe what an excellent defensive outpost it must have been for Henry VIII, and how its curved bastions form a perfectly symmetrical Tudor rose shape, and how its collection of 119 cannons was exceptionally impressive back in the 16th Century. It is surrounded by a huge, deep moat and the main road that runs past the gatehouse at the front is built somewhat higher than the base of the original structure, so all that is visible from the car window as you go past is a big, curved, dark wall. A local amateur dramatics group used to run ghost tours there, winding down from the chilly, salt-sprayed battlements through the musty museum rooms, which detail the history of the castle from it's construction through to its use in World War II, to the admittedly quite creepy passages which run through the outer battlement walls. It was here that my friend and I, near-penniless sixth-formers, decided to spend a bright autumn afternoon reminiscing about the 'good old days'. It seemed like the perfect place for a chat - not a single human soul to eavesdrop on our gossip, except for the receptionist, who could take payment for any cannon-shaped keyrings and Tudor rose bookmarks we might take a fancy to. We left the best until last, and followed the narrow spiral staircase down to the dark passages, which are lit only by the tiniest arrow-slits and flood in bad weather, when the sea overreaches the beach and seeps through the empty moat into the walls. For some reason, rather than sticking to light-hearted subjects, we fell to talking about the Goodwin sands opposite, and the innumerable sailors who lost their lives there. Somewhere in the region of two thousand ships have been wrecked on the sands, believed to have once been the island of Lomea. At one point we turned a corner in the dingy passageway and fell silent, one after the other; an intense cold had swamped me and then my companion immediately afterwards (since the passage was only wide enough for one, walking crab-wise). We guessed that perhaps the angle of the tunnel around the corner was better positioned to receive a blast of cold air from the sea, but there did not appear to be any wind present - in fact, rather the opposite: the air seemed unusually still. A moment later it seemed to pass, and we continued our conversation and headed back up to the gift shop. We both found items we wanted to buy, but when we looked for the receptionist, she was nowhere to be seen. We replaced the items and, as we walked towards the exit and stepped back onto the drawbridge, my friend hesitantly whispered, "you don't think it was a ghost… do you?" As I opened my mouth to say "no", the ancient, heavy oak doors slammed shut right behind us with immense force, causing the whole bridge to shake. We ran…

Written by  JCCabbot.

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