Staff from a Canterbury Christ Church building have claimed it is haunted. Employees at Hall Place – one of the oldest buildings at the university – have reported hearing voices, seeing mysterious figures after dark and even discovering fruit bowls turned upside down.
Ben Whorwood, security staff at Hall Place spends most of his shifts in the evening: “Late at night, I’d be sat at my desk and I’d see silhouettes walking past multiple times. I’d check to see if anyone was there but there’d always be no one.”
He’s also experienced doors opening and closing repeatedly – despite being the only person in the building.
Ben is not the only staff who has experienced unusual activities. Catering staff member, Cheryl Wren said:
“We’d come back in the morning and we’d find the fruit bowls turned upside down. The plates of cheese and crackers would move around.”
Employees have said that previous workers refuse to go back due to the uneasy atmosphere.
They’ve concluded that many of the ‘paranormal’ activities that occur in the building are the playful spirits of previous occupants of Hall Place.
Due to the rich history of the manor, it’s not a surprise that it has housed a few deaths in its lifetime.
Hall Place is a manor house that dates all the way back to Elizabethan times. It was owned by prominently wealth members of society until occupied by Canterbury printers during the 1960’s. It was then bought by the construction company Wiltshires Ltd in 1990, then purchased and renovated by Canterbury Christ Church University in 2003.
Security staff, Ben, became fascinated with the history of the building and conducted his own research.
He said: “The history of the building is that it was owned by a high ranking officer, he lived here with his wife and brother. He was killed in the war – after a short space of time, his wife followed his death in this building. As well his brother.”
“A medium came in and they said that there was a spirit here but they’ve moved on.”
Canterbury ghost expert, John Hippisley has had his fair share of ghost experiences at Hall Place. Investigating the place back in September 1991, he believes Hall Place possesses a ‘negative energy’.
The ghost expert also said that he felt ‘a feeling of unhappiness and misfortune like nothing I felt before’.
Previous staff members contacted a ghost medium to investigate in the building after paranormal activities became increasingly frequent.
Ben said: “A medium came in and they said that there was a spirit here but they’ve moved on.”
However, odd happenings such as items moving around and silhouettes creeping around after dark continued despite the ‘spirit’ supposedly moving on.
The old staircase
Ben wasn’t the only security staff to have felt the presence of a ghost. According to staff, many of the paranormal encounters occur around the old Victorian staircase.
The security staff said: “A gentleman who was locking up the building at night said he was by the staircase when he heard someone say, “Excuse me?” in a woman’s voice. But he was completely alone.”
The Victorian staircase is apparently the most paranormally active area in the building. It’s said to be haunted by ladies talking and ascending. This statement is included in the ‘Hall Place – A short history…” wall sign located by reception.
Angela Pamplin, a staff member that has worked at Hall Place for over six years, also dislikes the supposed haunted stairs.
The receptionist said: “At the bottom of the stairs around the corner, that’s definitely where it feels eerie. I don’t like using the toilets down there.”
Numerous visitors have commented on the smell of fresh tobacco around the building. The smell would be harsher around the stair cases and at the barn.
Marianne Patten, catering staff offers an explanation to the stench.
She said: “Well they said that the old groundsman who lived at the old barn was called Mr Gardener. And that he smoked a lot of tobacco. That would explain why people smell tobacco on and off the property.”
“We’d come back in the morning and we’d find the fruit bowls turned upside down.”
There are even cases of the ghost posing as a customer at the café.
Catering staff, Cheryl Wren said: “One time I was doing the dishwasher and noticed someone by the counter so I shouted out, “Just a minute!”. But when I got there, there was no one.”
Marianne Patten, who has worked at Hall Place for three years would find food items mysteriously moved around.
She said that the yoghurt pots would be moved around as if it was ‘thrown off the shelves’.
Cheryl initially thought that there was a simple explanation to the weird activities: “At one point I thought it was other staff playing tricks on us. But we asked reception and it never is.”
The supposed ghosts at Hall Place seem to have favourites with who they interact with. As the staff who has worked at the manor the longest, Angela Pamplin, has only ever heard of these ghost stories.
Angela said: “But I’ve never experienced anything myself. Just what people have told me.”
Hall Place is located just off the A2050, minutes away from CCCU’s main campus.