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Weird Suffolk

It sounds like the opening to a corny joke, but for those who worked at the Bird’s Eye factory in Lowestoft, and those who had worked or lived close to the site for hundreds of years beforehand, it was no laughing matter.

They searched through the lonely earth for them, climbed through the briar and bramble - and finally, the detectorists found the treasure said to have been guarded by a ghost in a Suffolk field.

During the reign of King Stephen, a curious incident occurred in the village of Woolpit where two green children from a twilight world appeared as if by magic.

There could be few more potent anti-smoking warnings than that demonstrated by Grace Pett in April 1744.

It’s a holy stone which, if stories passed down through generations are true, has helped grow an entire village.

Mary I’s reign was steeped in controversy, tragedy and blood with the Tudor queen said to have been “the most unhappy lady in Christendom” – and in a quiet corner of Suffolk, some believe her legacy has thrown a curse over a field which refuses to yield a crop.

Other ghosts tend to stake their claim to a particular place or a particular time, but the Grey Lady of Bury St Edmunds doesn’t like to conform to stereotypes – she has been spotted all over the town and at different times of the year, making her Bury’s most famous (undead) resident.

In the dark, dark wood, there’s a dark, dark secret: a fantastical beast that’s part giant dog, part muscular bear and part enormous ape – is Suffolk home to the curious Shug Monkey?

Everyone knows that back seat drivers are the most annoying of passengers, but when the passenger in question is a manifestation of evil who tries to cause you to crash your car, it takes the concept to a whole new level.

It was Norfolk and Suffolk’s unexplained humming noise which fed suspicions of an alien invasion or UFO activity and which could only be heard…by women.

He’s a ghost with a social conscience who angrily returns to Seckford Hall in Suffolk to protest the 
fact that the money he bequeathed to the local 
poor was actually embezzled by rich people who 
had no need for it.

If you have reason to be on The Causeway in Needham Market, take a moment to consider that you are taking the same journey as those who have given the bridle way its name for ‘causeway’ is a variation of ‘corpse-way’.

The Devil is a cunning handyman – why dig a ditch yourself when you can employ the little people or giants to do your work for you?

Through the darkness the devil dog of Suffolk came, red eyes glowing like hot coals against fur blacker than the night, a malevolent shadow in the Leiston graveyard whose presence hinted at misfortune in the future.

It’s considered bad luck to give knives to newly-weds, cross the path of a nun on your wedding day or for a bride to use her married name before the ceremony: but you’d think it would be good luck to spot a holy warrior king on your big day.

It’s a time-worn story of star-crossed lovers thwarted by a tyrant and a ghost unable to break free of the earthly chains that tie her to a certain wood – but this Thornham Magna spirit has a rose-tinted twist.

If only stones could talk – what stories could the baffling boulder of Hartest tell, and would its tales need to be censored for those of a delicate disposition?

According to legend, a changeling is when a fairy child is left in a human child’s place while the human is whisked away to a different land.

In a dark, dark wood, there’s a dark, dark path and on the dark, dark path there’s the remains of a gibbet used to hang those with dark, dark hearts.

Bad luck has already befallen the hilltop church of Westleton – its spire collapsed in high winds in 1776 and its replacement fell when it was hit by a German bomb in World War Two – but it’s no more than you’d expect for a building with both a witch and a devil in residence.

While his skin could not be saved from the gallows, it could be used to bind a book telling the grisly story of the Red Barn murder trial that sent him to his death.

The waters around Orford Ness, the largest shingle bank in Europe, are famed for the secrets they hide.

Everyone has heard of haunted houses - but in Suffolk, there’s a house which itself is the ghost, appearing and disappearing in front of incredulous onlookers.

It didn’t pay to be unpopular during the Witch Trials of the 1640s and in particular, it didn’t pay to preach the Catholic liturgy at a time when doing so left you branded a “scandalous minister” or to be a Royalist in a Parliamentarian area.

It is said that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned – but in Boulge in Suffolk, the woman in question who haunts the village in a coach pulled by headless horses is so furious that she’s known locally as the Queen of Hell itself.

A reader has sent in a picture of a ghostly figure standing in the window of Akenham Church - can you spot it?

A small but thriving village, Hollesley’s unusual claim has been somewhat foreshadowed by the mysterious UFO sightings in nearby Rendlesham Forest where a series of unexplained lights in the sky in December 1980 became the UK’s Roswell.

Children would scurry past the gap in the hedge to the east of All Saints Church in Icklingham, through the gap was a path which, according to local legend, belonged to a witch and her ghostly white rabbit – and if you caught sight of her, she would claim your soul.

In the fairytales, the creature lurking beneath the bridge ready to claim the souls of unsuspecting passers-by was a troll.

There’s little more quintessentially English than a village hall, it’s the heart of a community, a hub for social activities, the place where parish business is conducted and where villagers gather together.

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