Nicola Kirk: Author and Collector of Paranormal Stories and Other Strange Encounters

Drive Carefully: Because if you crash and burn, there’s nowhere left in Pluckley for you to haunt.

Pluckley… oh, Pluckley!  Surely this place has got to be the ghost hunter’s Valhalla.  Often reported as being the most haunted village in England, such is its reputation even the car show, Top Gear, felt the need to visit and spend the night there whilst finding out what it would be like to live in a car for 24 hours (you can view this encounter from 6:26 of the attached You Tube link – Richard Hammond being stalked by a pizza delivery guy has got to be worth a watch):

Will Top Gear Survive The Night In Pluckley?

So, what makes Pluckley such a scary place to live?  The number of ghosts terrorising the population varies, but the most popular ones are listed below:

  • The spectre of the highwayman Robert Du Bois speared to a tree at Fright Corner (even though the tree is now gone);
  • The pub “The Horse Inn” is haunted at night when you can hear the screams from inside of the lady of duke.
  • A phantom coach and horses, allegedly manifesting in the vicinity of Maltman’s Hill;
  • The ghost of a Gypsy woman who burned to death in her sleep;
  • The black ghost of a miller haunting the ruins of a windmill near “The Pinnocks”;
  • The hanging body of a schoolmaster in Dicky Buss’s Lane;
  • A colonel who hanged himself in Park Wood;
  • The screaming ghost of a man being smothered by a wall of clay at the brickworks;
  • The Lady of Rose Court, who is said to have eaten poisoned berries in despair over a love triangle;
  • The Phantom Monk of “Greystones”, a house built in 1863. There is a suggestion he may have been the unrequited love object of the Lady of Rose Court;
  • The White Lady of Dering, a young woman apparently buried inside 7 coffins and an oak sarcophagus who haunts the churchyard of St Nicholas’ Church – knocking has been heard coming from beneath the church at night – is the White Lady trying to escape from her coffins?;
  • The Red Lady, reputedly an earlier member of the same ancient Dering Family who also haunts St Nicholas’. The legend of the Red and White Ladies seem to overlap. A third ghost has apparently also been reported in the same place.
  • The Screaming Woods (Dering Wood), an area of forest outside of town supposedly haunted by the ghosts of many who became lost in the woods. It was given its name because you can supposedly still hear their screams from inside the forest at night.
  • Three other buildings in the village are also said to be haunted.

(List of ghosts courtesy of Wikipedia)

Knocking Heard Coming From Beneath St Nicholas’ Church, Pluckley:

 Is The White Lady Trying To Escape From Her Numerous Coffins?

Quite a list, I’m sure you will agree!  The Dering Family star quite heavily in the history of Pluckley; they even have their own chapel in Pluckley’s Church of St. Nicholas and the ghosts of various women from the Dering family appear to find it impossible to leave the village and head off into the spiritual sunset.

A bit of logical thinking (something I am occasionally capable of if I’ve had enough chocolate) helps to dispel a couple of the ghost stories; take, for example, the mystery of the Screaming Woods.  Let’s not kid about here: the alleged screaming that can be heard at night is probably a fox.  When those little sods start barking of a night, it sounds like someone’s shut their fingers in a car door.  Sure, some die hard believers out there will frown at this explanation, but I remember the first time I heard a fox scream.  It was the early hours of the morning and the unearthly screeching I heard quite convinced me that a woman being murdered in our back garden.  But, as ever, people hear what they want to hear and logic be damned.

Phantom Fare: Are you going my way?

Another story that popped up while I was nosing about was that of a taxi driver who picked up a fare on an ‘unnamed road’ in Pluckley village.  The man climbed into the back of the taxi but when the driver turned to ask where he wanted to go, the back seat was empty.  Alas, this story is the stuff of urban legends.  There are countless tales from all over the world reporting similar encounters.  Are there fleets of ghosts out there who fancy a quick ride around in the back of a taxi or a good Samaritan’s car, or is it just another urban myth created to keep the ghost hunters entertained?

If finding the time to head to Pluckley for a nose about proves to be hard to come by, you can always have a look at the following link, which takes you on a ‘walking tour’ of the village and regales you with interesting tales of what you might find there:

Apparently the tour is about four miles long in total if you walk it, so take your oxygen tent…


©Nicola Kirk and 2011


  1. I saw that you had Pluckley online ….so I send an excerpt from my unpublished manuscript on Haunted Kent if you are interested…
    “Any record of investigations in Kentwould not be complete without at least one mention of Pluckley, and I shall not disappoint. I have spent time at Pluckley in both the Black Horse Pub and the Church back in the September of 1996. The pub is almost 700 years old and is the oft reported scene of some poltergeist activity : items move across the bar, tidies, and sometimes hides coats and wallets. These invariably turn up much later. We were informed on our visit to Pluckley that the “paranormal ” had occurred the day before witnessed by two diners in the restaurant part of the premises at about at 2pm. The two who were sitting next to a vacant table, watched as a piece of cutlery removed itself to from the cutlery drawer at the side of the room, slowly move through the air and lay itself on the vacant table next to them. At St Nicholas Church & Churchyard we staged an evening’s preliminary reconnaissance investigation as it is alleged that the sounds of knocking can be heard coming from beneath the church at night, often accompanied by a flickering and fluttering light inside the empty building. An apparition associated with the Church and the graveyard is the so called Red Lady. Local legend asserts that she is searching for the grave of her young child. A group of ‘psychic researchers’ once persuaded the vicar to lock them in the church all night to await theappearance of the Red Lady – without success I should add. When the rector released them in the morning, they informed him of a white dog, which they had presumed it was a normal animal. All of which sounded interesting, and I had always wanted to go to Pluckley and investigate. On our investigation, we got some interesting sounds, which indeed did sound like knocking and which always stopped as we approached from our separate positions. The sounds seemed to emanate from a variety of locations but always around the immediate area of the central aisle leading to the altar. At one point my colleague heard what he thought to be the sound of bird’s wings flapping, as though a small bird had got trapped in the church and was desperately seeking a way out, I didn’t hear it and a quick search proved that there was no bird in the church. At a late stage in the proceedings, just as the light was fading we heard footsteps. I was positioned close to the door, a short way inside the church, and my friend positioned along the aisle and near to the altar. The “footsteps” faint as they were seemed to start from just inside the door, walk out to the central aisle, turn left and then continue towards the altar, fading out before they reached it. We both heard the footfalls as they passed us but there was only the sound, there was no cold spot, no smells associated and no feelings of a presence with us. As the light finally faded out, and not wanting to find ourselves locked in as the unfortunates at the start of this picee found themselves, we moved our location into the churchyard and positioned ourselves for a while at the Dering tomb, and later at other locations around the churchyard – but we were without success.”
    — Christopher J Huff M.A.

  2. I’ve got this book from a shop and pluckly Kent is said to be the most haunted village in the UK

  3. alicevstheworld said:

    I’ve really got to visit Pluckley one day. It’s definitely on my ‘Haunted Places’ bucket list.

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