Alton Towers – The Chained Oak Legend

November 15, 2017

Charlene Lowe Kemp

Most know Alton Towers in Staffordshire for its thrills as a theme park, but did u no that one of the Rides The Hex, is based on a nearby oak tree named the Chained Oak.

There is two stories surrounding the old oak, one is a fabricated story to tell the thrill seekers who visit the Alton Towers attraction and the other told by many local Alton Villagers.

The facts are that the tree does indeed exist and there is indeed chains attached, There’s also a set of stone steps leading up to it and a clearing circles the tree. Mysterious indeed because someone must have spent a lot of time and resources on completing all this, but you wont find much more information from local historians or guide books regarding if the legend is in fact true, this kind of information would have to be based on your own opinion by talking with the locals themselves.

The story goes……

On an autumn night in 1821, The Earl of Shrewsbury was returning to his home, Alton Towers, when, mysteriously an old man appeared in the road. The coach stopped to find why he was there, and the women (some accounts recall it is a man) begged for the charity of a coin.
The Earl cruelly dismissed him, so the old man placed a curse on him. The old man croaked: “For every branch on the Old Oak Tree here that falls… a member of the Earl’s family will die.”
The Earl dismissed him and carried on his way…But that night, a storm brewed up, and a single branch from the old oak tree broke and fell.
Later that very same night, the son of the Earl  suddenly, and mysteriously died…..
The next day, the Earl ordered his servants to chain every branch together to prevent other branches from falling.
So… we have a ‘chained oak’.

The Chained Oak, lying as it does in Barbary Gutter, did indeed once sit next to on an old carriage-way that once wound its way from Alton Abbey, later known as Alton Towers.

The 16th Earl, in particular, would have used this carriage-way to get to St Giles Church in Cheadle, to visit and attend mass at the now famous church. It is also very likely that it was indeed the Earl who would have ordered the chaining, as no other person would have had the authority or the resources to carry out such an operation. However, the order may have been for quite different reasons than the legend would have us believe.
Both the 16th Earl, as well as his predecessor, was responsible for the planting of thousands of trees on their estate lands around Alton. With age these trees often come under threat of collapse due to the burden of their own weight, and what is likely is that the Earl ordered these to be secured by chains to preserve them, as this tree in particular, was highly visible in its high position, just off the carriage-way, but id have to argue why only this tree? when there is many others, very similar, in the surrounding area with none!

So… is the legend real,  Did the Earl really order the oak chained up? Or did later generations chain it up in a spirit of fun and mischief?
Or…. here’s the biggest question… Could the tree really be cursed?

Ghost Sightings

The ride Hex is reported to be one of the most active areas. The ride is located in the mansions old armoury and picture gallery  People that queue for the ride have often reported seeing children dressed in Victorian clothing as well as being hit by objects and stones.
In the main area of the Alton towers, the presence of a large man has been felt around the Music Room, often accompanied by footsteps. The footsteps have also been heard around the Banqueting Hall, along with the large dark outline of a person.

The most common paranormal occurrence is the sighting of a lady in a long dark dress strolling through the corridors of the house. When she’s seen you often smell a strong aroma of perfume. She apparently takes on a very lifelike appearance with one member of staff believing her to be a guest who was in the park after hours. She told her she wasn’t allowed in here and needed to leave, the woman did as she was asked, but slowly faded away much to the fright of the staff member.

Alton Castle

Also nearby to Alton towers is Alton castle. People often confuse the two and assume they are the same place, they are not.

Since 1442, the castle was in the possession of the Earls of Shrewsbury, who from the beginning of the 19th-century made their home at nearby Alton Towers.  By the mid-19th-Century the castle was mostly in ruins. John Talbot, 16th Earl of Shrewsbury, commissioned Catholic architect Augustus Pugin, who was already working for the Earl at Alton Towers, to construct a new gothic castle/country house on the site. Most of the 12th-century ruins were demolished to make way for the new building which was designed to look like a French or German medieval castle. The earl also commissioned Pugin to develop the surrounding area on castle hill.

The castle has once been a boarding school which closed and is 1996 it was established by the Archdiocese of Birmingham as a Catholic Youth Retreat Centre, to which it is to this day. So unfortunately you are in able to look around.

There are some reports of ghostly sightings at the castle, but these are not as documented as well as nearby Alton Towers, In one forum a gentle stated

I went to Alton Castle school which had a ghost called the Grey Lady. She was regularly seen by the pupils

So how to get to the chained Oak Tree

  • Use this address: Chained Oak Farm Farley Lane, Alton ST10 4BZ.
  • Below is the building you are looking for when you know you have got there, if you come to Alton Towers entrance, you have come to far, turn back round, it is only a short distance from the main entrance of the theme park.
  • If you walk pass this building you will see a foot path, it is very muddy, so be aware.
  • Carry on walking through this area and you will see the Chained Oak to your right.

On my Visit the whole area has some kind of creepy mysterious energy to it, approaching the tree and while at the tree, it certainly does have a feel to it, whether that is something paranormal or simply me aware of the legend, ill leave you to decide and have a visit for yourselves……



Creepy TRUE Tales Tuesday – The Ghost of The 9/11 Red Cross Worker

November 15, 2017

Charlene Lowe Kemp


Lt. Frank Marra, now retired, was one of the police officers tasked with sifting through the rubble of the World Trade Centre towers in September 2001. It was only in 2013, while conducting interviews for a 9/11-related book called Hallowed Ground, that he remembered encountering something paranormal during his long hours of work at the site.
One of the detectives who was also being interviewed mentioned hearing about a ghostly tale of an old Red Cross worker that appeared to some of the officers while they were working. The woman tried to serve them coffee and sandwiches, as was the Red Cross duty during World War II. Upon hearing the detective talk about this, Marra remembered seeing a black woman dressed in a Red Cross uniform appearing several times while he worked. She held a tray of sandwiches and disappeared every time he strained to get a better look at her.
Several police officers who were also stationed at the site after the attacks claimed to have seen large shadows and “black masses” among the debris. After seeing a medium about his experience and hearing that he may have witnessed a soul collector guiding spirits to the hereafter, Marra truly believes that this is what he saw.

The Grave Of Mary Hart – Who was Buried ALIVE!

November 14, 2017

Charlene Lowe Kemp


Mary Hart, who, according to urban legend, haunts Evergreen Cemetery after she was accidentally buried alive in 1872.

Her gravestone reads:
“At high noon just from, and about to renew her daily work, in her full strength of body and mind, Mary E. Hart, having fallen prostrate remained unconscious, until she died at midnight October 15, 1872 — born December 16, 1824.”
The tale goes at 48 years old, Mary E. Hart, as she was known in life, just dropped to the floor one day at midnight. Believing to be dead, her family had her buried at Evergreen Cemetery.  However, one night her aunt had a terrible nightmare that Mary was not actually dead.
The aunt eventually convinced the family to exhume the body, and when they open the coffin, they found Mary’s nails bloodied from scratching and a petrified look on her face. It is believed that Hart may have suffered a stroke and when she fell to the floor, her family believed she was dead and So they buried her, not realizing she was still alive.
The epitaph on her gravestone offers a foreboding warning in bold black text: “The people shall be troubled at midnight and pass away.” Some believe anybody caught in the graveyard after midnight or who desecrates her grave would die shortly thereafter. While the quote is from the Book of Job in the Old Testament and, in context, is a statement about being resigned to fate, some locals over the years have interpreted the phrase to mean Hart hated the world enough for burying her alive to curse it with her final epitaph.
Hart’s gravestone is at the back of the cemetery, on the path that parallels the iron fence that separates the graveyard from Winthrop Avenue, with many people coming to visit, leaving coins and wondering whether the myths and tales are true.