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Spooky stories

With Halloween just around the corner, it’s time for some spooky stories…

1. Abbey House

Tucked behind Newmarket Road in Cambridge sits what is purported to be ‘the most haunted house in Europe’. Abbey House was built on the site of a dissolved Augustinian priory. In the late nineteenth century the building was let out to families and, from 1904 to 1910, it was the home of a Pembroke fellow named J C Lawson. Lawson and his wife were awoken on their first night in the house by the sound of loud banging at midnight, for which they never found an explanation. Three years later his family began to see a woman dressed like a nun walking through the rooms and disappearing into the walls. The children saw her particularly often whilst they were in bed and she reportedly guarded the professor’s wife during periods of illness. She was thought to be ‘the Gray Lady’, a nun of the Benedictine nunnery St Radegund (now Jesus College) who used to come to the house through a secret underground passage in order to meet her lover. Apparently she continued to appear several times per month during the spring, standing at the bottom of the beds and then disappearing into the curtains. However, there have been no recorded sightings for several decades, which some put down to exorcisms performed by clergymen in the late twentieth century.

(Source: Jennifer Westwood, Haunted England: The Penguin Book of Ghosts)

2. A staircase

In the mid-1980s one student living about the Pembroke Porters’ Lodge became convinced that her room was haunted. Rumour has it that a fellow used to live in the room, but moved out because he became convinced that it smelt of rotting flesh. Nobody else could detect the smell and the bedders cleaned thoroughly before the student was allowed to move in. The smell never returned, but slowly odd things started happening. The shower would turn on in the middle of the night. The student would turn her lights out, leave her room and get down the stairs only to look back up and see that the lights in her room were on again. Several times odd noises in the early hours caused her to shoot out of her bed and run downstairs to the Porters’ Lodge in search of company. Was it all a case of faulty electrics, or could there be more to the story?

3. College bar

Last year a zombie was sighted in the College bar bearing a remarkable resemblance to a member of our bar staff, Haydn. Another member of staff managed to capture this photo:


For the duration of the zombie’s stay, Haydn was nowhere to be found. They next day he returned to work unharmed. The zombie has not been seen since. However, rumours are circulating that he may return to the College this evening for the fancy dress Halloween event…

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