A beautifully warm August evening and the promise of some interesting stories, encouraged 38 walkers to convene outside Torquay Museum for Paul’s spooky stroll to Chelston, regaling us with tales of the ghostly sightings and apparitions which have haunted the bay over the years, including grizzly murders, tales of terror and explained events.
He began with the ghostly apparition seen in the Old Farmhouse section of the Museum in 2015. The photograph (reproduced in our gallery here) was taken by the Manager, Carl Smith, after midnight, who said ‘There was no one else present when the photo was taken so we are at a loss to explain it. It is a bit of a mystery, and there seems to be no other explanation.’
We progressed then down on to Monpellier Terrace and stopped below the imposing St. John’s Church, overlooking the Harbour, to hear the story of the phantom organ player. It all began on 19 November 1883 at the funeral of Henry Ditton-Newman. Henry died from pleurisy at the age of 39 and was to be buried in Torquay Cemetery. According to reports, poor Henry hadn’t completed his musical career at the time of his death and was seen to play the organ at his own funeral. This was witnessed by the vicar, the Rev. Mr. Hitchcock, who saw and heard the recently-deceased organist sitting at the console and accompany the singing. Intriguing reports of supernatural organ playing and unearthly footsteps then went on and off for years.
With the ghostly pipes echoing in our ears…. we made our way down Fleet Street and along the sea front towards Torre Abbey. A busy area this evening with the fair in town and the warm air drawing crowds to the seaside and some even having a dip in the calm waters.
The next tale is of perhaps Torquay’s most famous ghost.