Steeped in mysterious folklore and swathed in superstition, the Baliwick of Guernsey, which includes Guernsey, Aldernery and Sark, has a truly intriguing history. As the nights get darker and Halloween approaches, you can unearth the island’s macabre secrets while staying at one of Red Carnation Hotels’ Guernsey residences this autumn. From a creaking 800-year-old haunted mansion to an abandoned military hospital, here are historic Guernsey's spookiest locations.
The grand Sausmarez Manor was built in the 13th century, but extensions have been pieced onto it over the years, making this a very atmospheric home with ample shadowy nooks for spirits to linger. Numerous hauntings have been reported here over the years, and visitors can take a ghost tour to absorb chilling tales about the mysterious nanny of 28 children, a ghoulish doll’s house and the late master of the manor who continues to wander the halls.
Saint Peter Port
Quiet country lanes, moonlit cobbled squares and old, crumbling graveyards watched over by mottled stone angels set the scene for a creepy lamplit tour of the capital Saint Peters Port. Learn about the spookier side of the island, including the 16th-century witch trials and Guernsey’s notorious history of smuggling and piracy. It’s rumoured that a sinister canine, La Bête de la Tour (The Beast of the Tower), bound up in chunky iron chains that rattle in the wind, still prowls the streets of the city at night.
Legend has it that Vale, on the northernmost tip of Guernsey, is roamed by another ghoulish hound. The grisly form of Tchen Bodu has fiery red eyes, snarling teeth and pitch-black fur. A sighting is considered to presage death, so venture into the grassy expanse of L’ancresse Common, where he is said to hunt, after dark at your peril.
The German Military Underground Hospital
An echoing, concrete shell that’s almost invisible from above ground, the German Military Underground Hospital was built by slaves during the Nazi occupation of Guernsey in 1940. Many involved in the construction suffered terribly, having to use dangerous explosives to excavate the vast cellar, and sometimes using their bare hands in lieu of spades and picks. Venture into this chilling structure for a haunting – and fascinating – peek at Guernsey’s history.
Folklore enthusiasts will love Guernsey’s magical Invasion of the Fairies yarn, which is considered to have played out in the silvery sweep of Vazon Bay. Wander the craggy, coastal landscape and hear the renowned story of a beautiful local woman whose stunning looks so enchanted the mischievous fairies that they flooded through a sea cave near Vazon Bay in order to marry all of the women living on Guernsey. A bloody battle ensued between the local men and the magical beings. While the men were victorious, some say today’s locals have descended from the fairies.
Discover Guernsey’s fascinating history and spookiest locations when you join us at The Duke of Richmond Hotel.
Image credits: lead image © iStock/chris2766. Guernsey sunset © iStock/chris2766. St Peter Port © iStock/kmsh. Vazon Bay © iStock/VFKA.