The Scariest Places In Kent

Blue Bell Hill, Oxney Bottom And Many More

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By Neil Arnold

It’s late, it’s foggy, and the headlights of your rain-spattered vehicle are constantly fighting to puncture the grey haze ahead, battling to sweep aside the thickening gloom, in order to pick out the route ahead. As your eyes concentrate on the misty road, suddenly a figure steps into the road from the woods on the left, it is a woman, rain-soaked. However, before you can stop in time she has floated in front of the car, stared quickly into your tired eyes and fell under the front of the vehicle. You slam hard on the brakes, skidding to a halt, the image of her face stuck in your mind. She may be dead, or injured badly, writhing on the wet road under your wheels. You leap from your car, rush around the bonnet, awaiting to be met by the horror of the female you have mown down. However, when you reach the front of the car, there is no sign of the figure, no traces of a body.

Incidents such as this reek of folklore, it is the crucial ingredient that makes any campfire tale or friend-of-a-friend yarn so exciting, but at Blue Bell Hill in Kent, such reports are more than legend, and that is what makes this village, near Maidstone, one of the most scariest places in Kent. Over the years many villages, towns and even stretches of road in the county have been immortalised for their ghostly tales and eerie connections. Some places, like the village of Pluckley, have been made famous, almost inaccurately by a certain set of phantasmagoric appearances, despite the fact that the true hauntings of the location have never truly been portrayed. Kent, just like any rural county in Britain, is ancient, its history embedded in the structure of old buildings, crumbling castles and dark, sinister woodlands. Locations such as Pluckley and Blue Bell Hill may have many more spirits than people realise, but their most famous hauntings have become legend, somewhat clouding the darker truths which lie deep within their mystical pathways. 

Other places across the county are just as eerie though, a variety of spectres often stepping through the tear in the fabric of time, from hellhounds to Romanic recordings, from ghostly echoes to phantom smells, there is an abundance of spooks and apparitions that drift aimlessly and with purpose, many as harmless shades unaware of the present climate, whilst others very much in tandem with modern events. Many spirits are almost run-of-the-mill, but what are the scariest locations in the Garden Of England ?

Any place can be eerie, especially during nocturnal hours or during a flashing storm, but some places have an aura that even during daylight can cast morbid shadows. Reculver Towers, to the east of Herne Bay, are the eerie remains of St Mary’s Church, which sit at the mouth of what was known as the River Wantsum. Skeletons of babies have been discovered in the Romanic ruins, the two dark towers which are said to harbour sinister forces which may have been remnants of ritualistic activity. Reports of hooded figures and eerie cries are frequent in the location. 

Dover Castle is another of those spooky locations, so much so that its eerie inhabitants have been the focus of many television documentaries, and covered in a number of books. The castle, which dates back to the twelfth century, is naturally cold and atmospheric and its spirits are very much remnants of the past, a ghostly drummer boy, cavalier-type figures, strange noises and banging, which have been recorded on video, and eerie cries feature strongly in the lore of the castle. It must be said though that castles in general are eerie places, but there are so many almost pleasant haunted locations, a countless many in fact, but it is the lure of the sinister which appeals most. 

Margate’s Theatre Royal is an extremely haunted building, being the second oldest theatre in the UK. Eerie footsteps, gliding figures, the ghost of a suicide victim, mysterious lights and cold spots have all been experienced whilst at Margate’s Dreamland Theme Park, more strange happenings often take place, eerie whisperings, footsteps and dark shadows terrify staff at the Fun Park, making it an incredibly weird location that has attracted much attention from the media.

Ghosts are common, especially if we consider that if everyone exists as a form of energy after death. Roads, houses, barns, fields, toilets, pubs, churchyards, you name it, they are haunted. Tunbridge Wells has an abundance of apparitions from the spooks of the Pantiles to the ghostly children of Rusthall’s Beacon Tea Garden, Chatham’s Historic Dockyard has several phantoms, in fact, most of Kent is haunted, but depending on the legends, some are considered scarier than others. Not even an abundance of books have managed to adequately capture the spirits of Kent, and whilst through the years many legends do indeed fade, they never die, because there is always someone out there to resurrect these ghosts, in turn creating the scariest places.

(Neil Arnold is Kent's foremost authority on big cats, you can find out more about his work here.)