Smugglers, Ancient buildings, and steeped in history. No wonder then that Sussex has its fair share of ghostly sightings and goings on. Some stories have been told for centuries and have now become more folklore than haunting, but still they are told to quiet the old and scare the young.
The modern age has evolved some widely-circulating stories of its own, each with its own typical pattern, and at least one of these, 'the Phantom Hitch-Hiker', has cropped up in a Sussex setting.
A motorist, so the story goes, gave a lift to a girl who was hitching southwards on the London to Worthing road. As he passed through Horsham, he felt a great longing for a cup of coffee, so he stopped at a wayside cafe; the girl refused to get out, so he left her sitting in the car.
When he came back, she had disappeared, and he could find nobody who had seen what became of her. He was so worried over what might have happened to her that he decided to telephone her parents (for she had mentioned their address); to his horror, he learnt that their only daughter had been killed three years before, run over while hitching a lift outside a Horsham cafe.
Definitely demonic are the spectral packs of 'wish hounds' or 'witch hounds'; as late as the 1930s it was possible to find Downland shepherds who claimed that they, or more often their sheepdogs, had heard them sweeping past overhead, as they hunted the souls of the damned through the sky.
The great windswept height of Ditchling Beacon is said to be the site of such a spectral hunt; one can hear the cry of the hounds, the horses' hooves, and the huntsman's horn, but nothing is ever to be seen. The belief can lend itself to deliberate exploitation; round Fairlight Cove, smugglers and their allies used to fill the ears of credulous folk with tales about 'wind hounds', fierce unearthly creatures that raced along the cliffs on certain nights - the nights when cargoes were due to be landed.
Old vicarage: Sudley Road, Bognor
Now demolished, this building demonstrated a variety of strange and unexplained happenings. Footsteps were often heard upstairs and dragging over the floor when no one was there. Slamming doors, rattling windows, sightings of an apparition. Although the vicarage has now gone, sounds of digging can still be heard in the old garden area up to this day.
Nan Tuck of Buxted: near Uckfield
Nan Tuck was a girl who lived in the village of Buxted near Uckfield who was accused of witchcraft. She was found dead in what is now known as Tuck`s Wood hanging from one of the trees. Although what actually happened will never be known, she was more than likely lynched by the villagers who then concocted a story of suicide to cover up their own implications in this tale. Whatever occurred, local legend has it that you may see Nan Tuck running down the lane that bears her name. Still running from the villagers who accused her of witchcraft!
Buck Barn Crossroads: Horsham to Worthing road
Sightings of an old man sitting on the milestone or crossing the road were quite common before the road was turned into a dual carriageway and the road now has a reputation for being a black spot for accidents.
The locals tell stories about a ghost of a girl who was killed in a motor accident. Most sightings occur late at night and has been seen quite recently.......
If you have a tale of strange happenings or ghostly goings on and would like to share it with others, then contact me with an E-mail to let me know about it and I shall post it on this site for all to read..........
Other Reputedly Haunted Sites
Jacob's Post, Cuckfield Park
Ockenden Manor, Cuckfield
The King's Head, Cuckfield
Danny House, Pyecombe
The Pound, near Angmering
East Street, Brighton
Hurst Road, Eastbourne
The Mermaid Inn, Rye