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Portsmouth Ghosts, Folklore and Forteana

Fox Terrier

Location: Portsmouth - 44 Laburnum Grove
Type: Post-Mortem Manifestation
Date / Time: Circa 1910
Further Comments: Elliott O'Donnell wrote that a medium who receded here believed her home to be haunted by several cats, which were mistreated by a former owner of the property. The medium also detected the presence of a fox terrier.

The murdered sailor returned.

Murdered Sailor

Location: Portsmouth - Blue Posts Inn (destroyed by fire in 1870)
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Pre-1870
Further Comments: This inn was haunted by the ghost of a sailor murdered therein. His corpse was secretly buried in the courtyard, though in 1938 a gravestone was placed in the area thought to house the body.

Jumping Keyboard

Location: Portsmouth - Cash Converters, London Road, Fratton
Type: Poltergeist
Date / Time: 2003
Further Comments: Two workers in Cash Converters reported seeing an analogue synthesiser fly three metres across the shop floor, hitting a CD rack. The former owner of the keyboard told the manager she had sold the item because of experiencing similar problems at home.

Frog Fall

Location: Portsmouth - Copnor area
Type: Other
Date / Time: Circa July 1954
Further Comments: Many tiny frogs were said to have fallen from the sky during heavy rainfall.


Location: Portsmouth - Former Greyhound public house, now a private residence
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Early twentieth century?
Further Comments: The site where John Felton assassinated the Duke of Buckingham was widely believed to be haunted by the tragic figure.

George and Emily

Location: Portsmouth - Groundlings Theatre, Portsea
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: The ghosts of two children, Emily and George, are said to be among the nine (or ten) phantoms at home within this Georgian Theatre.

Jack Aitken

Location: Portsmouth - Harbour area
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Weather Dependent: Windy weather
Further Comments: Hanged for attempting to commit arson in a naval dockyard, Aitken's body was then displayed in a gibbet - the chains of which can still be heard clinking in the wind.

First World War Soldiers

Location: Portsmouth - Hayling Avenue
Type: Unknown Ghost Type
Date / Time: 1930s
Further Comments: A woman walking down the road walked by a detachment of soldiers travelling in the opposite direction. She noticed they were wearing an old style of uniform. It was only when she looked back and realised the soldiers had vanished did she know she had witnessed something strange.

Shaking Bed

Location: Portsmouth - HMNB Portsmouth, HMS Nelson, Saumarez block (now demolished)
Type: Other
Date / Time: September 1990
Further Comments: A witness reported waking up after the room fell cold. He could feel something sitting on his legs, but nothing could be seen. After several minutes, the bed began shaking violently, and the witness felt his legs being lifted slightly, before the top half of his body was also lifted at a forty five degree angle.

Flashing Lights

Location: Portsmouth - HMNB Portsmouth, Leviathan Block
Type: Other
Date / Time: Pre-2013
Further Comments: It was reported that journalists working on the Navy News newspaper would see flashes of light emerging from the corridor outside their office. An uncomfortable feeling would accompany the light.

Buster Crabb

Location: Portsmouth - Keppels Head hotel
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: One of two hotels claiming Crabb spending his final night here, the Navy frogman is said to haunt the building. Crabb vanished while attempting to spy on a Soviet warship which docked at Portsmouth during the Cold War.

Clothes Thrower

Location: Portsmouth - Private house along Agincourt Road
Type: Poltergeist
Date / Time: 1992
Further Comments: At its peak, the entity in the house pushed an occupant down the stairs. It also scattered clothing around rooms and snatched items from people's hands. A blessing performed at the house was said to make things worse.


Location: Portsmouth - Private residence, Copnor area
Type: Poltergeist
Date / Time: 2001-2009
Further Comments: A homeowner was forced to move after experiencing several years of scratching noises, footsteps, and having the duvet removed from the bed during the night.

Evaporating Man

Location: Portsmouth - Railway bridge, St Mary's Road
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: 2002
Further Comments: A driver slowed to take a better look at a man who stood on the side of the bridge which did not have a footpath. The driver thought that the man did not 'look right', which was proved correct as the driver watched the figure evaporate in the rear view mirror.

Pool of Blood

Location: Portsmouth - Royal Portsmouth Hospital (no longer standing)
Type: Other
Date / Time: 1940s-1970s
Further Comments: Local folklore says that the operating theatre had a pool of blood on the floor which could never be cleaned, no matter how hard the staff tried to remove it.

Buster Crabb

Location: Portsmouth - Sally Port hotel
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: One of two hotels laying claim to Crabb spending his final night here, the Navy frogman is said to haunt the building. Crabb vanished while attempting to spy on a Soviet warship which docked at Portsmouth during the Cold War.

Murdered People

Location: Portsmouth - Site of the White Garter public house
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: When the White Garter was pulled down, dozens of bodies were found under the building - it is thought that a landlady and a male 'friend' murdered and stole goods from many of their guests. The ghosts of the murdered people are restless and have been seen around the public house or felt as they pull the sheets off beds.


Location: Portsmouth - St Agatha's church
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: 1954-1970
Further Comments: While the church was used for storage, a rumour existed of a ghostly figure which haunted the site. More recently, a local legend speaks about ghostly nuns in the area, although there is nothing to suggest there was a nunnery here.

Dark Figure

Location: Portsmouth - St Ann's Church, Dockyard
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Summer 2018
Further Comments: Having worked in the building before many times without incident, a member of the chaplaincy team had two fleeting glances of a dark figure standing on the balcony, looking over the edge as if watching the witness. The figure was described as curious and unthreatening.

Looking for Child

Location: Portsmouth - St Mary's Hospital
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: 1969
Further Comments: A ghostly woman in a dressing gown was once said to wander the hospital looking for her baby, who had died of unknown complications.


Location: Portsmouth - Theatre Royal
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: 1980s
Further Comments: A brown coloured figure was once seen sitting in the empty theatre. A piano was recorded playing a single note in the building after closing time when all the doors had been closed and locked. Another story says an actor who cut his own throat here in the 1880's is said to remain earthbound.

Victorian Barmaid

Location: Portsmouth - White Swan inn, Guildhall Walk
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: This unfortunate woman was murdered by her violent husband after he returned from sea.


Location: Portsmouth - Wymering Manor
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: 2000s
Further Comments: The oldest building in the city, Wymering Manor is said to be home to several apparitions and cold spots. The sounds of children whispering have also been reported, although one former resident went on record as saying the phantoms were 'quite nice and quite friendly'.

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