Weird Suffolk: The haunted ruins of Greyfriars Friary, Dunwich
Impressive stone walls illustrate just what a huge building this once was, fragments of the old refectory and kitchens have been identified along with a precinct wall and two gatehouses, an artist’s impression at the site reveals how the friary looked at the height of its prosperity.
It was a place much-loved by villagers as the Franciscan friars were popular in Dunwich thanks to their acts of charity which helped the town folk who were poor or in trouble, but nevertheless, its ruins are said to be plagued by supernatural forces.
Mysterious lights have been spotted at the friary, thought by some to be the strange Hobby Lanterns, dancing lights which would try to lure people towards the edge of the nearby cliffs to a watery end. The Hobby Lanterns are most often spotted in the darkest part of the night between Michaelmas Day and Christmas Eve.
Terrified witnesses have also reported seeing ghostly monks wandering around the ruined remains, their long-dead chants carrying across the field on the wind, while others have reported that the spectral figure of a man, striding along in angry search of his adulterous wife who ran away with her lover.
Most famous of all was a visit from the region’s most famous dog: Black Shuck.
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In 1926, Ethel Rudkin had travelled from Winchester to Dunwich for a holiday with her mother. On a hot summer’s day, she was walking along finding pieces of pottery which had been exposed by erosion with her six-month-old puppy. Suddenly, she had the feeling of being watched.
Looking up, she saw a large black dog “rather like a Retriever”, with its mouth open, looking fierce in the ruined abbey. She hurried away and later told fisherman Chris Watling about what she had seen – he told her that she’d seen a local sheepdog, but when she insisted that the dog she had seen was nothing like his description, he turned on his heel and fled.
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Mrs Rudkin was sure that he had taken fear because he realised she had glimpsed the famous black dog of Dunwich.
The Friends of the Unknown Paranormal Research team visited the site in January 2018, with recording equipment and recorded a range of Electronic Voice Phenomena which they say reveals voices which answer questions, including one which tells investigators that it is standing “behind” them, while Ghost Findings TV who visited at the same time, heard voices, chanting and saw unexplained lights.
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