A brief history of Canterbury Ghost Tours
Directed by author and ghost historian, John Hippisley, Canterbury Ghost Tours has been conducting its fabulous guided walks in the colourful city of Canterbury since 1995.
Recognised as Kent’s premier award-winning ghost hunter, John has maintained a strong interest and belief in the supernatural world ever since he witnessed a recently departed school friend standing over him whilst in bed at public school in the late 1970s.
Since this teenage happenstance, he has had many supernatural encounters, most recently whilst attending the Big Brother auditions in Borehamwood, Herts.
On this particular day, John had arrived early and parked in a nearby leisure centre car park. Upon arrival, he had noticed a little girl stood alone; her head was bowed and it looked like she was crying. As he approached her, he felt a strong feeling of coldness, but proceeded. Closer still, the little girl looked at him as if she could see right through him.
Unperturbed, John approached, only to hear the little girl announce: “My mummy and daddy love me very much.” An odd thing to say out of the blue, he replied: “That is all well and good, but you should be with them and not standing alone in a busy car park. Where are your parents?”
The little girl looked at him with a pointed stare and directed her finger towards the leisure centre entrance. John turned to see two adults and a small child in a pushchair; the child was screaming, and the parents looked frazzled.
“I am John Hippisley. You have nothing to fear from me, I will take you over to your parents,” John reassured the girl, to which she replied, “thank you”, and politely reached out her hand. As he grabbed it, he noticed it was icy cold, despite it being a relatively sunny day in May.
John walked slowly towards the parents, before exclaiming: “Your daughter tells me that you love her very much, yet you have a funny way of showing it leaving her in a car park alone!”
The mother looked shocked, “Did you say our daughter?”
“Yes,” replied John quizzically
“Our daughter died five years ago on this very day. Are you sure you mean our daughter?”
“I am awfully sorry, I had no idea she was deceased. She is here with me now,” John said, as he looked down at the tear-filled little girl beside him. “Don’t cry little one, your mother knows you are here, as does your brother.”
The girl walked forward and tried to hold her mother’s hand, but could not grasp it; instead, she reached and stroked the hair of her brother. John could see the brother’s hair was being ruffled, but by now had realised that she could not be seen by her parents.
Shocked by the reaction, he was about to back off when the mother said: “She died chasing butterflies from her room. She was standing on a chair and reaching out of the window when she fell!”
“I am sorry. I did not mean to cause any distress,” replied John, “she told me that she likes the new wallpaper in her old room.” At this, the mother cried out and the husband – who had remained motionless throughout, as if unimpressed by John’s intrusion – put his arm around her. John turned and left, making his way to the auditions.
John can’t guarantee you will see a little girl on one of his popular Canterbury Ghost Tours – which start at 8pm every Friday and Saturday night outside Alberrys Wine Bar in St Margaret’s Street – but he can assure you that you’ll have lots of fun, with plenty of interaction and fascinating stories along the way.
The tour itself only covers a few streets and is therefore not a very long walk, but as John always explains, ‘he’s built for comfort, not for speed.’ It is, however, conducted on the most haunted streets in the city, with a rich history that spans over the millennia.
From the tale of the couple who had a tempestuous relationship that ended in double tragedy to the students who played with a Ouija board in the same location only to regret it, this event really is one of a kind. The tour also covers the problem Canterbury folk suffered during the English Civil War, along with the witchcraft acts enacted by Mathew Hopkins (as witch finder general) during that period.
If you are into history, humour and haunting, then this is the perfect tour for you. It’s on all year round and conducted in all weathers. As john is keen to point out, ‘rain goes right through a ghost’, so wrap up warm and bring a brolly, for the Ghost Hunter awaits.
For more information, call 0845 519 0267, visit www.canterburyghosttour.com or email the ghost hunter on firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, you can just materialise outside of Alberrys Wine Bar at 8pm on any Friday or Saturday night.Tickets Adults £10 Children £8.50 Concessions £9.50 Family (two adults and up to three children) £30