Unsolved Mysteries of the World
Haunted Athelhampton House
Historic houses are a common sight in the English county of Dorset. One in particular situated near the picturesque town of Dorchester is among the best preserved medieval houses in all of England, and reportedly the most haunted.
House is a perfect example of an English manor house built in the early Tudor architectural style. Its construction was begun by Sir William Martyn in 1485. Pieces of the original medieval furniture can still be seen in the interior today - Elizabethan carved panels, ornate ceilings, and impressive artwork decorate the rooms, as in Tudor times.
In 1891, Alfred Cart de Lafontaine purchased and restored the manor house. However, he is most remembered for creating the beautiful gardens around the house, influenced by the Arts and Crafts movement of the time.
Throughout the years the house has had many hands and in 1957 the manor house was purchased by Robert Victor Cooke and today it is in the ownership of his grandson.
Athelhampton House was said to be haunted as far back as the 1850s and is considered among the most haunted houses in England. People have reported seeing a ghost of a woman nicknamed the Grey Lady, a dark silhouette of what is believed to be the ghost of a monk, and the most famous ghost: a pet ape. There are dozens of reported sightings of each of these ghosts as well as many other strange phenomenon.
One report that stands out at this location is the pair of duelists in the Great Chamber. One day a woman was trying to relax and read a book in the Great Hall when two unknown men burst into the chamber in the middle of a sword fight. The woman continually pulled on the bell rope for the servants but nobody arrived. She turned to her side and carried on reading while the fight continued until one of the men were cut on the arm and left the room.
Later that day the woman reported the incident to the owner and he replied puzzled at the whole thing. He stated, “I can’t understand who the men were you had seen, as all the guests of the hotel were here at tea, so you would have seen them”. Still to this day the two men have never been identified, although the house is believed to have had connections to the Royalists during the Civil War.
The wine cellar adjoins the Great Hall and is said to experience tapping from a ghost known as ‘Cooper’. There is not much known about this particular entity or why Cooper is haunting this particular location.
Various owners, staff and guests of Athelhampton House have all seen what can only be described as a Grey Lady. The current owner of Athelhampton Mr Robert Cooke, has reported seeing her in the early hours passing through the walls in the bedrooms.
A dark apparition that looked like a monk was seen by one of the housemaids in broad daylight. The woman became aware of footsteps behind her in one of the corridors. She quickly turned to see the monk standing outside the bathroom door. It is believed that this person was the Catholic priest to the Martyn family. Other witnesses have seen this monk-like apparition on the property and in the garden.
But the most talked about ghost of this old manor is that of the pet ape that is said to have been entombed, accidentally within the walls of the building. Today, witnesses claim to hear the pet ape scratching and clawing his way to try to escape.
But headlines in the Sunday papers have runaway with the story. One of the Sun's headlines reads: The ghost of a masturbating ape haunts the hallways of a grand country estate in Dorset
The article continues to say The ghost of a randy monkey haunts the halls of a grand English country estate – where romantic spook-hunters flock to tie the knot.
Titillated tourists can often hear the saucy spectre laughing while masturbating in Athelhampton Hall in Dorset, near Dorchester.
One tourist, dad-of-three John Morrison, 41 from Derby, who took his entire family to the estate, spoke excitedly about the spanking spook
He said "We heard that Martyn the monkey who haunts the house loves to scratch his privates while swinging around.
"We didn't see him, which is a shame, because it would have been a real sight.
"Apparently he's not terrifying - quite friendly is what we heard.
According to the local legend, the unconventional Martyn family did have a pet ape which was free to wander the halls.
And when one of the Martyn daughters had an unhappy love affair and decided to kill herself, the compassionate monkey began following her around.
When she climbed a set of hidden stairs to a secret room, the ape trailed behind, and watched as she took her own life with the door bolted.
By the time the family's search of the house and grounds eventually located the room, the ape had starved to death next to her body.
Now its ghost haunts the hall, often scratching at the panelling of the secret room and staircase in an eternal, frantic attempt to escape.
Athelhampton reputation as a haunted house date back centuries and the curious have ventured into the house to seek the spirits there. In 2002, the show Most Haunted featured the manor in one of their earliest investigations – their first season and their first taped episode. This was at a time when there was less drama, less screaming and less fakery. But keep in mind as you listen that Darek Acorah, the supposed psychic, is in this episode grunting like a great ape. To our relief he does not masturbate.