Haunted Horsham: Shadowy figure walks into traffic on the A24
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The man has been spotted among traffic at Buck Barn crossroads – now a notorious accident blackspot.
“One motorcyclist was certain he had hit the man, but when he came back to find him, there was no sign of anyone ever having been there,” says Horsham Museum assistant curator George Graham.
He also recounts the tale of a murderer called John Weekes who became the last person in Britain to be executed by ‘crushing’ in Horsham in 1735.
John and some other men had broken into a house in Fittleworth where they murdered the occupant, Elizabeth Symonds, and robbed the place.
The judge at John’s trial ordered him to be crushed. “He was chained to the ground in the prison yard, in full view of the public, and the goaler put more and more weights on a board on his chest. When around 400lbs were placed on him, he was in his death throes and the gaoler himself stood on the board to finish him off,” said George.
The gaoler was wheeling Weekes’s body towards the graveyard at St Mary’s when he stumbled and dropped the body. He picked it up and carried on to the graveyard.
"Days later he was walking by the exact spot the body was dropped, and although he was a man in good health, he mysteriously dropped dead on the spot,” said George.
The tales are just some of the eerie events that have happened in and around Horsham over the centuries which is perhaps not so surprising as Horsham’s history goes back to the year 947.
Sussex World journalist Joe Stack had a more recent encounter with the supernatural when, in around 2013 he and some friends were poking around the old groundskeeper’s cottage by Horsham Cricket Club.
"It had been left to rot years before and as bored teenagers we loved the idea that it could be haunted or that strange characters might lurk behind the boarded up windows,” said Joe.
“Peering through the slats in the window we could see the place had been trashed, and there was graffiti all over the walls but, other than making each other jump, nothing really happened. That is until we got in the car to leave.
“One friend who had been taking pictures from the boundary of the cottage began to cry. We asked her what was wrong. She was terrified and said she could see a face in one of the pictures she had taken.
“We all looked at the picture and agreed. Just in front of the silhouette on the right stands what looks like a tall shadowy child looming over them.”
The 12th century manor house of Amberley Castle is renowned for its own famous ghost – a young girl named Emily who is said to haunt the castle and battlements.
It is said that she fell in love with a clergyman who lived in the castle but he rejected her after finding out she was pregnant. Heartbroken, she jumped from a tower and her presence is now said to be felt around the castle.
Back in Horsham town centre, the Causeway is reputed to be visited at night by a ghostly figure which walks towards the 13th century St Mary's Church before disappearing.
Further afield, the Weald and Downland Museum at Singleton – which rescues crumbling old buildings by dismantling them from their original sites and rebuilds them on the museum site – is said to be haunted.
People have reported hearing mysterious footsteps and seeing furniture move of its own accord. A woman in a long dress is said to walk between the buildings and shadowy figures have been reported hanging around an old medieval shop.
Paranormal activity has also been reported on a South Downs hilltop – Chanctonbury Ring near Washington.
It is famous for its ring of beech trees that were planted in 1760 and the discovery of a Roman temple buried directly beneath them.
There have been stories over the years of phantom horses, spirits, aliens – and UFO sightings.