Alton Towers Mansion

 

The Ghosts of Alton Towers Mansion

 

Due to the narrative on the ride that is built into part of the Towers called Hex, many people know the legend of the Chained Oak and the curse attached to it. According to the story, the Earl was travelling home one dark and stormy evening sometime in the 1840s when his carriage was stopped by an old woman in the road. She begged for a coin from the Earl, but had her request denied and was ordered to leave his land. As the carriage drove away, the scorned woman placed a curse on a nearby oak tree. "For every branch that falls from the tree, a member of your family will die!"

In the following days, as the weather worsened, a branch was broken from the tree. Shortly after, a death did indeed take place within the Talbot family, supposedly the Earl's son, suddenly and unexpectedly. Fearing the words of the old woman, the Earl ordered that the branches of the tree should be chained to prevent any further tragedies. The old oak tree remains chained to this day. 

Having been fortunate enough to visit Alton Towers on several paranormal investigations, I have heard of many ghosts said to haunt the building. Perhaps the most well known, is a woman dressed in dark robes who is believed to have been a governess. She is seen throughout the building, including down in the kitchen areas, smelling strongly of perfume. 

There are not many published ghost stories from Alton Towers, so I shall tell you about spirits picked up by mediums whilst on my investigations, and the activity I encountered. 

On the ground floor, in the room farthest from the entrance, the spirit of a very large man was detected by a medium. He believed this man to be a cook. On another occasion, the spirit of a monk was also said to be in this room. We experienced loud 'clicks' around the room on two of my visits. 

Whilst down in the kitchen area, during a vigil, we had small pebbles thrown in the room around us.

In the Banquet Hall, the ghosts of two young girls were said to be with us. The medium specifically told me they were attracted to me and stayed close to me in that room! A spirit called John, believed to be the first Earl of Shrewsbury was also mentioned in this room. During a vigil, we all heard what sounded like a ghostly party in another room, a large amount of people chatting at once. 

An ouija board was apparently used by some young people in one of the top rooms. They made contact with a spirit, described later by a priest as 'not human'. Terrified, they fled, leaving their belongings behind. 

The music room is another site of common encounters. Whilst we were there, we heard footsteps walking towards us in the room, we could clearly see no one was there. 

During free time, myself and a friend went outside to the brick tunnel that leads to the gardens. We were plucking up the courage to walk down the tunnel when we heard howling coming from somewhere on the grounds. We didn't think it to be paranormal, and were wondering if any animals were kept in the park (having never visited before) When we returned inside and explained our experience, we were told by the hosts that there were no animals in the park at all. I know you are reading this and probably thinking 'fox'. However, I have lived in London and heard probably every sound a fox is capable of making. This certainly wasn't a fox! Later on, back inside on a group vigil, every member of the group heard the same howling from outside, the windows no longer contain glass. We could not come up with an explanation. 

Alton Towers is one of the most active places I have been lucky enough to attend and I would highly recommend a visit. 

The History of Alton Towers Mansion

 

Nestled amongst the many rides of Alton Towers Theme Park lies the original Alton Towers, known in it's day as Alton Lodge. The house is hundreds of years old, but there have been settlements on the site, known as Bunbury Hill, dating as far back as 1000BC when it was an iron age fort. In 700AD, the land became the site of a fortress of Saxon King Ceolred Mercia. 

The gothic ruins we see today were originally a summer house for the John Talbot, the first Earl of Shrewsbury, and his family. By 1800, the building was in the hands of the fifteenth Earl, Charles Talbot. He had big plans for the development of the house and grounds, which began in 1800. The work was planned to take place over the next fifty years, up until 1852. By 1811, major work on the house had already taken place, and it was now known as Alton Abbey. 

Following the death of John Talbot, the sixteenth Earl, in 1852, very costly legal battles took place amongst the family for rights to the house. Henry Chetwynd Talbot won the battle, but the costly fees left him unable to pay for repairs desperately needed to the house. It was he who opened the grounds of Alton Towers to the public for the first time. 

Around 1918, many of the Shrewsbury properties were sold and in 1924, Alton Towers and it's estate was sold to local business men. During the Second World War, the army used the estate for a training centre for cadets. During this time, no repairs were carried out, and the Towers continued to fall into disrepair. 

In the 1970s, the now abandoned house found new owners. They carried out restorative work on the house including reinforcing floors and ceilings. As well as this, a few attractions were placed around the grounds for visitors. This was the early beginnings of the theme park we know today.