Cambridge’s Most Haunted

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I didn’t have a very thrill­ing pre-Halloween week­end. I was struck down by the bug that’s been going around locally, and stayed in and watched Stranger Things instead. I was temp­ted to get a pump­kin to carve, but build­ing work next door has displaced mice that have tried to come into my flat. At the moment they are deterred by cotton wool and strong-smelling orange and lemon­grass essen­tial oils, but I’d rather not tempt them in with a large ready cut pump­kin to eat.

In the summer I went on a ghost walk in Cambridge via work. The guide told stor­ies of myster­i­ous cloaked figures on roofs, and Black Shuck the giant black ghost dog, and also poin­ted out this spot, at the back of Peter­house College, where it joins onto a grave­yard, as the most haunted place in town. I am not really a believ­er in the super­nat­ur­al, I’m more inclined to skep­ti­cism, but I do enjoy a good ghost story, and I’m a firm believ­er in atmo­spheres, at least. Some places are just full of it, (like Kit’s Coty).

(Obvi­ously CW: Death, ghosts, haunt­ing, suicide, graves. Plus perhaps Tories)

Before the guide told us anything about the lane, she asked if anyone had felt strange walk­ing there. Many people in the group, includ­ing me, had felt strangely elated and light-hearted walk­ing along the first part of the lane, which then turned into a leaden, heavy feel­ing once turn­ing the corner towards this gate. She said this was very common, and told us the story of how the student accom­mod­a­tion over­look­ing the grave­yard has been exor­cised multiple times, after appar­ently being haunted by the ghost of Fran­cis Dawes, a member of staff who hung himself in 1789 and was buried in the grave­yard. This is also the college that has the repu­ta­tion of being the most Tory (and the most gay-friendly, which seems a very strange combin­a­tion). I’m not saying there’s a correl­a­tion between the unspeak­able evil lurk­ing in the grave­yard and the future polit­ic­al affil­i­ation of the alumni, but…

(The combin­a­tion of lines on the gate and build­ing look quite Illu­minati-like here too, don’t they?)

This spot at the back of the grave­yard is the epicentre of the heavy feel­ing. I returned to the spot anoth­er time alone, in the daytime, to see if the place was still creepy in sunlight. Even on a bright sunny day, it defin­itely was. It feels damp and cold and dismal even if the weath­er doesn’t. Perhaps it’s some kind of air pres­sure or atmo­spher­ic thing.

The lane is also home to this wonder­fully creepy build­ing, the perfect place to acci­dent­ally house arte­facts of eldritch horrors. It no longer houses archae­olo­gic­al exhib­its, but is now a library, which is just as good for haunt­ing.

I went for a walk inside the grave­yard. The first part was cheer­ful and sunny and had birds singing. The back part (which backs on to the creepy place in the lane) was over­grown, and well, I didn’t really fancy going in there.


The church next door, which lies on the cheer­ful part of the lane, really is quite cheer­ful, and was host­ing a fête on the day I visited.


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