If one of the items on your bucket list is owning a haunted British pub (wait a minute – aren’t they ALL haunted?), then grab your checkbook and head to Hurst Green in Lancashire where the Punch Bowl is up for sale. It’s said to be haunted by Ned King, a friend of fellow notorious 1700s highwayman Dick Turpin, who was captured at the Punch Bowl and hanged from one of its trees.
While Turpin’s ghost seems to be everywhere, Old Ned stays mostly at the Punch Bowl, where he and his horse Black Tarquin have provided the usual strange noises and other paranormal disturbances. Exorcisms were performed there, most recently in 1942, but locals say he’s still around and will be sold with the building. The Punch Bowl is a popular stopping site for haunted tours but is no longer open as a pub.
If you lose out on the bidding for the Punch Bowl, don’t go trying to buy the haunted Severalls Hospital in Colchester. The former psychiatric hospital is up for sale too but the current owners (the North Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust) want ghost hunters to stay away. The site was abandoned in 1997 and its dilapidated condition makes it dangerous for unaccompanied visitors.
And then there are the ghosts. Built-in 1913, Severalls at times had up to 2,000 patients, mostly women. Some women were sent there because they were raped or had a child out of wedlock, others because they were “moody. It was notorious for experimenting with electro-convulsive therapy, lobotomies and worse. Not surprisingly, many former residents have stayed. In the 1960s, two gardeners saw shadowy figures in the garden that disappeared when they approached.
The sellers of Severalls Hospital have torn some of the buildings down and would like the grounds to be used for development other than as a paranormal tourist attraction. The sellers of the Punch Bowl, not to mention thirsty locals, are hoping the buyer repairs, remodels and reopens the haunted pub.
Ned King probably feels the same.