Haunted Norfolk

Tales from the Underground Street

Super Spooky Norwich

I love a good local Ghost story, I love it, even more, when that ghost story is told in a historical context in a historical location.

Recently I had the privilege of being able to go on the Norwich City Shoebox tour, this guided tour takes you under CastleMeadow in the city centre to an underground street.

A street that while it certainly feels spooky is actually just historically interesting. How it came to be and why it was buried in the way that it was.

Like most things its to do with blood, murder and money.

It’s a cute underdog story involving the king restricting building in Norwich in all places save from a ditch that had been dug years and years ago by men held at spear point that had since been used to house the city’s waste. To force the people of Norwich to clear out this gross sewer he granted permission to build in it.

People cleared it, though it took 80+ years, and built houses and shop fronts. Though it never lost its reputation for being a bit grim and soon became a very poor area with a lot of crime. The rich bigwigs decided they’d build their own street thank you very much and they did, higher up, alongside Castle Ditch Street. They even put up a wall so they wouldn’t have to look at the ditch street.

Naturally, this upset the shop keepers who were now invisible to all reputable customers. So they banded together and went up to the second floor of their shops and homes and laid wooden beams across from their windows to the rich people street and ran their shops from up there. Over timeDitch Street with built over completely and walled off.

Not particularly spooky, but interesting.

There are a few local ghost stories attached to the area, though they are more to do with the Castle and Norwich as a whole than Ditch Street. I intend to share these over the coming letters.

Reviews - Films

Film: Last Night in Soho

Today once again in the spirit of the spooky season, I’d like to talk about a film that’s perfect for a cold Halloween night.

Last Night in Soho, a 2021 British horror film. It was released in October 2021. Last Night in Soho was directed by Edgar Wright, who also worked on the screenplay with Krysty Wilson-Cairns.

Summary

The story is about Ellie, who is dreaming of becoming a designer and is fond of the music and fashion of the sixties. She moves from Cornwall to London to study fashion. Ellie’s mother died when Ellie was a child and Ellie sees her ghost in mirrors.

Ellie has trouble fitting in and her snob roommate doesn’t help. So Ellie moves into a studio flat, in a building owned by Alexandra. On the first night in her new flat, Ellie has a vivid dream of the sixties and sees a girl, Sandie who is looking to become a singer and she inspires Ellie to design a dress. Ellie has another dream in which Sandie gets a singing job and lives in the same flat Ellie lives in. 

Continue reading “Film: Last Night in Soho”
Famous Horror Writers

RIP Peter Straub

Yesterday we lost Peter Straub.

For those of you who are not familiar with this gentleman by name you may still have read his works, he was a prolific writer of dark fantasy, horror and thrillers.

My favourite of his was Ghost Story, which I have already spoken about on this website and TikTok.

He has been nominated for a dozen World Fantasy Awards and won four of them, as well as 14 Bram Stoker awards. His last novel was A Dark Matter published in 2010, though he published short stories and novellas since then.

He also worked with Stephen King on The Talisman and its sequel Black House.

It was actually Stephen King’s tweet that made me aware of Peter Straub’s passing.

King called Straub a “good friend” and “amazingly talented colleague and collaborator” “Working with him was one of the great joys of my creative life.”

Folklore

Folklore: Gashadokuro

Solid ghosts

Today I am writing to talk to you about the Gashadokuro.

The gashaokuro, also known as the odokuro, come from Japan. They are classified as a ghost or spirit, but they do have a physical substance to them aka they are not incorporeal.

Appearance wise the gashaokuro look like epic skeletons, they are around 80-90 feet tall. They gnash their teeth as they walk which I can only imagine as being very loud given their size.

They are pulled together from the bones of people who died from either starvation or warfare. Naturally, as you can imagine anyone who died in this awful manner would be pretty miffed. This makes the gashaokuro full of anger, rage and bloodlust.

Any angry bloodthirsty spirit worth its salt is going to eat people.

The gashaokuro roam the countryside during the night hunting people to drink blood from. If they locate someone, they will stalk them silently somehow before ambushing them and biting their heads off and drink the insides. There is no way to fight off the gashaokuro, the only thing you can do is run when you hear a ringing in your ears as this is the only warning you will have. Though honestly, outrunning a gigantic skeleton? Unlikely.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

The gashaokuro appear throughout modern culture both as themselves and as the inspiration for other monsters.

The gashaokuro have appeared in video games such as Chrono Trigger with the character Zombor, there are a fair few of them popping up in Castlevania. There is a gashaokuro in AdventureQuest Worlds it is a forbidden Beast of Chaos.

They also appear in animation, such as Hellboy: Sword of Storms, and the Studio Ghibli movie Pom Poko.

Lastly, they are also seen in manga and some of the subsequent anime such as InuYasha and Inu x Boku SS.

Lastly, though I’ve not seen this confirmed anywhere I got very distinct Attack on Titan vibes when I was researching this creature.

Reviews, Reviews - Books

Review: Ghost Story by Peter Straub

Stories matter

Today I am writing to talk to you about Ghost Story, a novel by Peter Straub. The book was published in 1979 by Coward, McCann and Geoghegan and was turned into a film in 1981. Today we will be talking about the novel, not the film.

I’ve been struggling to write this blog for a while as I find it tricky to express what it is I liked about this story. I also think its one of those ones that is best experienced first hand rather than second hand after having everything spoiled by me in a review. So, with that in mind, this will be brief.

Summary

Photo by Monstera on Pexels.com

As I said above this is a difficult story to summarise as I really don’t want to spoil it, so I will be brief.

The story is told by five men, all of whom are lifelong friends, Frederick “Ricky” Hawthorne, Sears James, Lawrence Benedikt, John Jaffrey, and Edward Wanderley, who has been dead for one year. They have dubbed their little group the Chowder Society and meet every so often to tell ghost stories.

However, since Edward’s death they have all been suffering from nightmares and fear that their own sordid past is coming to get them. They write to Edwards nephew, Donald, for aid. Donald arrives and tells his own story of a broken relationship and a suspected murder which he cannot prove.

The chowder society reveal their past, a story of Eva Galli, a beautiful woman, who met an untimely fate. Don suspects that she was a shapeshifter and has returned for revenge.

Continue reading “Review: Ghost Story by Peter Straub”