How to spot ghosts in Cambridge this Halloween

There are things in Cambridge even scarier than a 9 AM

Before you begin

If you wish to try your hand at ghost-hunting this Halloween, it’s best to be prepared for all eventualities.  Supernatural beings are said to be most active at either midnight or 3:00 AM, which is known as “the witching hour” (or as we Cambridge students call it, “the essay writing hour”).  Since the temperature in Cambridge has really dropped in the last week, we would recommend wrapping up warm.  Experts recommend bringing a thermal imaging camera, and an EMF meter to detect changes in electromagnetic fields.  We would recommend bringing a torch and a phone.

Christ’s – Christopher Round

The water may not be the only cold feeling you get (Image credit: David Hallam-Jones, edited by Declan Boyd)

In Christ’s College, keep your eyes peeled for a phantom circling the trees by the swimming pool.  Alas, this ghost is not taking photos of the pool to post on Instagram and flex his college’s one personality trait – he is the ghost of Christopher Round, a former fellow.  In the early 1800s Christopher Round’s friend, Philip Collier, kept being promoted above him.  They both fell in love with the same woman, but she chose to marry Phillip Collier instead of Christopher Round.  The next night Phillip Collier’s body was found in the swimming pool in extremely dubious circumstances.  It is said that Christopher Round’s spirit wanders around the area at night, wracked by guilt at the death of his former best friend.

Corpus Christi – James Betts and Catherine Spencer

Hunt as many ghosts as you like, just don’t step on that grass (Image credit: Bilyana Tomova, edited by Declan Boyd)

Corpus has its own pair of ghost lovers, James Betts and Catherine Spencer, with their own legend. It’s very much your typical romantic story: boy meets girl, girl’s dad disapproves of boy, girl locks boy in cupboard to hide him, girl forgets about boy, boy dies in cupboard, girl realises mistake and dies of horror… Okay, so maybe it’s not quite your typical romantic story.

The two can reportedly be seen walking hand in hand through St Bennett’s churchyard, where Catherine was buried, or, as the porters claim, running through the corridors of college.

Girton – The Grey Lady

Not quite as exciting as Hogwarts (Image credit: Rodney Burton, edited by Declan Boyd)

Next up, the Grey Lady. No, Harry Potter fans – unfortunately it’s not Helena Ravenclaw, as much as we would all love Cambridge to actually be Hogwarts. This is the Girton Grey Lady, who is said to have haunted the college since the 19th century. Her residence is in what is now called the Old Wing, but has also been known as Taylor’s Knob. Lucky her.

She probably isn’t a ghost most of us need to worry about too much, since it’s unlikely she can be bothered to make the journey into Cambridge proper. That’s right, come for the ghosts, stay for the Girton jokes!

King’s – Barrett

You can take a photo for your Instagram story while you look for ghosts (Image credit: Ella Fogg, edited by Declan Boyd)

King’s is home to one of Cambridge’s more eccentric ghosts, that of a man named Barrett, who kept a coffin in his room. Then one night he was unfortunately found dead in it. The story goes that his screams still echo around the college on the anniversary of his death.

Queen’s – The Musical Ghoul

Perhaps ghost piano music would be good to study too? (Image credit: Mihnea Maftei, edited by Declan Boyd)

If you happen to be passing by Queens’ President’s Lodge, pause and have a listen through the quiet. Rumour has it you can hear the sound of a piano being played in the night in the oldest section of the building. No one’s ever tried to get rid of this ghost because apparently it’s actually pretty good…

Other Ghosts

Cambridge is one of the most haunted cities in England, and there are many other colleges where there have been sightings of the supernatural.  Trinity is said to be haunted by a particularly vengeful porter. Magdalene’s founder Thomas Audrey and Clare’s founder Elizabeth de Clare are rumoured to have liked their colleges so much that they never left.  Mysterious paranormal activity has also been spotted at Catz, Emmanuel, and Peterhouse.

We hope that you have a great Halloween, whether you see 18th century ghosts or 21st century drunken freshers.

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