The Cambridge Ghost Book

Robert Halliday & Alan Murdie

 

An original paperback

first published in 2000 by Fern House

19 High Street, Haddenham, Ely, Cambs CB6 3XA

01353 741229

 

© Copyright Robert Halliday & Alan Murdie 2000

All rights reserved

 

ISBN 1 902702 07 7

 

Introduction

 

Cambridge, England, has been the setting for a wide variety of supernatural phenomena, and can claim to be one of the most haunted locations in the British Isles. Its history – and even its geographical setting – have made it an important centre for the observation of paranormal activity.

A settlement was established in Roman times at the southern edge of the Fens, an area of marshes and swamps which was not properly drained until the seventeenth century. As its name suggests, Cambridge originated as a crossing point on the River Cam, which flows into the River Ouse and then to the Wash.

Cambridge thus stood at the northernmost point where travellers could avoid the Fen marshes. It developed into a centre of communications and a trading point for boats from the Fen waterways, becoming the county town of Cambridgeshire in the tenth century.

 

It is now generally agreed that groups of scholars wishing to pur-sue higher education first came to Cambridge in 1209; Uni-versity education has continued without interruption ever since.

Much of the distinctive character of Cambridge is derived from the University buildings, in particular the colleges. Peterhouse, the oldest of these, was founded in 1284, as a place where university students and staff could live and study, while Robinson College was opened as recently as 1974.

Officially created a city in 1955, Cambridge is now a commercial and administrative centre, and a thriving tourist resort, with a University of international importance.

 

Ghosts and hauntings have been observed in Cambridge for centuries. The city is packed with historic buildings. A rich variety of eccentric and unusual people have lived in those buildings, and their activities may have left a lasting impression on the historic fabric.

Some Cambridge students have been sufficiently interested in psychic phenomena to record and analyse their own experiences of the supernatural, and study the experiences of others. In the nineteenth century, members of the University formed the Ghost Club and the Society for Psychical Research. Partly because of this, the archives of the Society for Psychical Research, one of the largest collections of paranormal studies in the world, were deposited in the University Library in 1991.

T C Lethbridge (see T rinity College), a paranormal investigator who lived and worked in Cambridge, was the first person to suggest that ghosts often appear in damp areas, and that supernatural discharges might therefore be conducted through water vapour. This led him to reason that the location of Cambridge – on a river near the Fen marshes – might make it a fertile breeding ground for ghosts.

Scholars such as M R James and Arthur Gray have drawn on their knowledge of University life and traditions to write ghost stories which have further developed the city’s supernatural heritage.

 

The authors inaugurated the Cambridge Ghost Walk in 1998. It has attracted great interest from residents, tourists and students alike. Some people coming on the walk have told us about their own experiences, which have been often proved fascinating.

This book recounts some of the ghost stories associated with Cambridge. We have as far as possible investigated and authenticated each story, and we hope that all our readers will find something here to hold their interest.

 

 

Back To Top Of Page

Return To The Blurb