Unsolved Mysteries of the World


Haunted Athelhampton House

Season 6, Ep. 10

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.

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The Haunted Old Idaho State Penitentiary Part Three

Season 6, Ep. 15
Welcome to Unsolved Mysteries of the World Season 6 Episode 15, The Old Idaho Penitentiary Part IIIIn the 1940s and 1950s the Idaho Penitentiary again was suffering from overcrowding and a new cell house was constructed. Cell Block #5 held the worst of the worst with maximum security cells, a death row, its very own indoor gallows and drop house.This housing unit is rumoured to be the most haunted of all the buildings on the property, even though, only one official hanging took place within. It was also that last State sanctioned execution in Idaho taking the life of Prisoner # 9509 Raymond Allen Snowden in the most unethical way.On the evening of September 23rd, 1956 Cora Lucille Dean drove to the Hi-Ho Club in Garden City, where she intended to have a few drinks and play the slot machines. Here she met a young man named Raymond Snowden who she found no only attractive, but fun to be around. When the two had a few drinks, Snowden wanted to take things a bit further and pressured Cora. When his advances were denied he threatened Cora in a frightening manner asking her to choose between rape and death. Cora obviously taken aback chose neither and that made Snowden angry who produced a pocket knife and stabbed Cora 29 times.The body, which was found the next morning by a paper boy, was viciously and sadistically cut and mutilated. An autopsy surgeon testified the voice box had been cut, and that this would have prevented the victim from making any intelligible outcry. There were other wounds inflicted while she was still alive — one in her neck, one in her abdomen, two in the face, and two on the back of the neck. The second neck wound severed the spinal cord and caused death. There were other wounds all over her body, and her clothing had been cut away. The nipple of the right breast was missing. There was no evidence of a sexual attack on the victim; however, some of the lacerations were around the breasts and vagina of the deceased.Snowden took the dead woman's wallet hailed a passing motorist and rode back to Boise. There he went to a bowling alley and changed clothes. He dropped his knife into a sewer at a Cigar Shop and threw the wallet away. Then he went to his hotel and cleaned up again. He put the clothes he had worn that evening into a trash barrel outside the hotel.Police narrowed in on Snowden almost immediately as eye-witnesses pointed out that Snowden had left with Cora that evening from the Hi-Ho Club. Police also, remember Snowden from a previous encounter as to which he boasted he was going to sever the spinal cord of his then girlfriend because she was irritating him.They found the weapon, the same one they remember him previously threatening with, still covered in blood in a sewer grate near Hannifin's Cigar Shop. Another eye-witness placed Snowden there and that was enough for an arrest to be made.During the trial it was brought to the attention of the media that Snowden had boasted of two other murders, but they were never confirmed. A detective magazine at the time dubbed Snowden, "Idaho's Jack the Ripper" in view of the viciousness of the crime.Snowden was found guilty and sentenced to death. He took up residence in Death Row with his door in view of the indoor gallows to which he would make his way to on October 18th, 1957.At 12:05 he was brought into the gallows room and met with the Chaplain. The noose was placed around his neck and the witnesses in the viewing room got their first look at Snowden. The door sprung just 45 seconds later. Down went Snowden and the crowd gasped. It seems the Warden and those responsible for carrying out the deed did not measure Snowden's height or weight, and s such the counter-weight was not calculated correctly. Snowden fell, but he did not break his neck instantly. Instead, in the catch room, he struggled and swung about for 15 minutes until he finally died. Some say it was an oversight, while others believed the authorities did this on purpose to make Snowden's death one of suffering.Snowden's hanging was the last of a total of ten men to occur at the prison and his body was buried in an unmarked grave on prison property. Some believe that Snowden haunts his Cell, Cell Block #5 and the hanging room. But Snowden may not be the only soul still doing time at the Pen. There are a total of 129 recorded deaths within the walls.Due to overcrowding and the treatment of prisoners serious riots occurred in 1952 and again in 1971. The 1973 riots proved to be the end of the Old Idaho Penitentiary as riots burned down several buildings and damaged others beyond repair. The 416 resident inmates were moved to the new Idaho State Correctional Institution south of Boise and the Old Idaho Penitentiary was closed on December 3, 1973, never to see another living soul imprisoned behind its stone walls.If you are interested in the Old Idaho State Penitentiary you can visit them daily where tours are conducted by volunteer staff. Special events around Halloween turn the prison into one goulish haunted attraction. More recently, the Pen has been giving Paranormal Investigation Tours.Special thanks to all those volunteering to keep such a historic gem alive. Thank you to the Idaho State Historical Society for their excellent resources and dedication. We will attach a bonus episode that was produced by the staff of the Idaho State Pen with funding from the Idaho State Historical Society.It focuses in on the prison's only double hanging. If you like what you hear, head over to their youtube page to see additional videos.We will leave you now with the words and memories of prisoners and staff from the Old Idaho State Penitentiary.Until Next Time.....Be good.