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Spooky Woodchester Mansion
August 9, 2011 6:19 AM   Subscribe

Woodchester Mansion is in many ways the perfect setting for a Haunted Mansion (flickr photos). A favorite of ghost-hunters, its not hard to see why. It is a neo-Gothic mansion whose construction was suddenly abandoned in the 1870's and it remains virtually untouched since then -- scattered Victorian tools, fireplaces hanging in mid-air, stone gargoyles.
It also sits by itself in a secluded valley, now owned by the National Trust, where cars are not allowed. Oh, also, did I mention the bats? As of July 2011, 181 adult bats and 91 babies were recorded living in the mansion's belfry. There's a bat-cam.
posted by vacapinta (16 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
It looks like the type of castle that the gentleman with the thistle-down hair would live in.
posted by NoMich at 6:29 AM on August 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


Three of us were standing in the middle of this room when two stones suddenly clattered down from somewhere.

That feeling of imminent collapse would make any visit thrilling, I imagine.
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:35 AM on August 9, 2011


mysteriously abandoned mid-construction in 1873.

I don't think there is much mystery here. I see lots of houses abandoned mid-construction and the usual reason is lack of money. Perhaps the owners were wiped out during the Panic of 1873 which triggered a six year depression?
posted by three blind mice at 6:36 AM on August 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't think there is much mystery here.

Yeah, the fifth link pretty clearly shows that the original builder was really obsessive and way over budget and time, and his heir realized that it would be cheaper, both in outright cost and the cost of yearly operation and maintenance to build a smaller house from scratch. Which is a pity but unsurprising.
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:41 AM on August 9, 2011


Why would there be ghosts in a house no one ever lived in? I thought the prevalent trope was that someone had died there, preferably by murder, in order for a property to be properly haunted.
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:42 AM on August 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


awwww....look at them stretching their little wings
posted by DU at 6:43 AM on August 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Why would there be ghosts in a house no one ever lived in? I thought the prevalent trope was that someone had died there, preferably by murder, in order for a property to be properly haunted.

Reasonable explanations have never dissuaded people from finding ghosts.
posted by dubold at 6:45 AM on August 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Why would there be ghosts in a house no one ever lived in?

They dissed an ancient Celtic burial ground? Paved over a Roman temple? Filled in the Moon-Bog? You can always get a ghost from somewhere.
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:52 AM on August 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Used to live nearby and I've visited often, also had friends working on schemes to retrain as stonemasons as they renovated the main building. Great place for a Sunday stroll, there's a lake with a boathouse too - and Woodchester was also once the site of a Roman Villa with an impressive mosaic floor.
posted by Abiezer at 6:56 AM on August 9, 2011


Why would there be ghosts in a house no one ever lived in? I thought the prevalent trope was that someone had died there, preferably by murder, in order for a property to be properly haunted.

The only things required for an unsettled spirit to take residence in a specific location are that the observer have a bad case of nerves, and the observers camera have a smudge of dust on the lens.
posted by FatherDagon at 6:58 AM on August 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


It does look kinda Squatchy.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:02 AM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


this is a great post! the bats are soooo cute :)
posted by supermedusa at 8:07 AM on August 9, 2011


I love how the bats are named.
posted by Jess the Mess at 10:29 AM on August 9, 2011


Why would there be ghosts in a house no one ever lived in?

Don't we have an answer right here? . . . the original builder was . . way over budget and time . . . AND ONLY MOVED THE HEADSTONES!
posted by hawkeye at 11:16 AM on August 9, 2011


vacapinta : Oh, also, did I mention the bats? As of July 2011, 181 adult bats and 91 babies were recorded living in the mansion's belfry.

Does the UK have a shortage of bats?

Would they like to borrow some from my attic?

/ Actually, I quite like my bats, because they mean I have relatively few bugs despite living near a swamp.
// Still a nuissance when one gets into the house and the cats go nuts in three dimensions (rather than the usual two) trying to get at it.

posted by pla at 5:07 PM on August 9, 2011


We had a lone bat that lived in my warehouse in downtown Austin for about four years. He was there when we moved in, and his way in and out was through the crack at the top of a metal overhead door. He'd fly to the top of the door, land on it briefly, then drop through the crack to the outside. The building had been unoccupied for 6 years when we moved in, so he was used to that door being closed all the time, and when it was up at duck and he needed to fly out, it confused him, and he'd circle around underneath the open door where it slid back above the opening. I took me a little while to realize that as soon as I'd shut the door, he'd go on out in the usual way. It always took people a little aback when I'd see him circling, and say "oops, I've got to let the bat out," then go shut the door.

He got into the front office by flying down the hall once or twice, and freaked a couple of customers out good one time. This poor woman with a big bleach-blond poofy-do was standing there, waving her arms around in panic and screeching "DON'T LET HIM GET IN YOUR HAIR!!" I never knew that was even a thing with people, and I think I accidentally laughed at her before I realized she was serious -- she somehow believed that the bat was going to fly into her hair and get stuck.

I kinda miss the little guy -- I think he was a Myotis velifer.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:36 PM on August 9, 2011


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