Alton Towers is set in 500 acres of superbly landscaped grounds in the heart of Staffordshire and is famous for housing the UK’s number one paid for tourist attraction. In the midst of the rides and parkland is the gothic mansion of Alton Towers.
The history of the site dates to the 8th century when a fortress stood under the control of Ceolred, King of Mercia. He was a young king who only ruled for seven years until he turned insane, many believed it was a curse.
The house and estate itself, was originally called Alveton Lodge, or Alton Lodge, during it’s early life and was the summer residence for the Earl and his family. When Charles became the 15th Earl, he took more interest in the house and its grounds and decided to extend it. A.W. Pugin (the architect involved in the equally haunted Woodchester Mansion) was hired along with other architects and craftsmen to create what would become an outstanding example of gothic architecture. In the early 1900’s however, the house began it’s demise, when a lack of funds prevented the family from taking care of all the maintenance on the house, it was sold in 1924.
For many years there have been reports of paranormal activity at Alton Towers ranging from a strange lady in black to the disturbing atmosphere of the chained tree.
It is believed that a curse was placed on the Talbot family after a previous Earl neglected an old man. It is claimed that he said ‘For every branch on the Old Oak Tree here that falls…, a member of the Earl’s family will die. Since then every branch of the oak tree has been purposely held together by chains to stop branches falling. You may think that the curse is just folklore however that doesn’t stop the constant rumour that the black arts has been performed there and that if you visit the tree on a dark moonless night you’ll meet a stranger dressed in black.
The towers itself have a foreboding atmosphere which is not surprising since there is over 1500 years of recorded history on the site. A Lady in Black has been spotted several times walking the corridors of the towers as she glides by a faint smell of sweet perfume has been noted. One visitor in the 1950s saw her peering from out an upper floor window before disappearing. Another time during the 1980s one of the Towers staff asked her to leave the building believing it was a member of the public, when she disappeared in front of them they realised the truth!
Another ghost can be found in the music room. A presence of a man has been sensed and the sounds of heavy footsteps thundering towards the room have also been reported. The same footsteps have also been heard in the banqueting hall but on this occasion a shadow is usually seen passing in front of the doorways.
Poltergeist activity has also been reported many times, visitors and staff alike have had small stones and objects thrown near them. It can startle even the keenest eyed visitor and is always seen coming from a horizontal position suggesting it was thrown from nearby!