In 1978, I was working the summer season at East Dene Hotel, an old Victorian Mansion, in the Isle of Wight. The Hotel stood in its own grounds on the clifftops overlooking the sea, at the Eastern end of the lovely old village of Bonchurch. It was a live-in job in those days, and before the season started properly, I had a room in the main house, before moving with the rest of the male staff to the adjacent Turret house a few weeks later. On more than one occasion I was awakened through the night, with terrible banging and crashing noises as though someone was throwing furniture about outside of my room.
The first time it happened I opened the door and looked out, the noises stopped immediately, there was nobody there, and nothing had been moved. I went back to bed and made sure that the door to my room was locked. I awoke the next morning and wondered if it had been a dream, but it happened on several other occasions while I was there, so I knew it wasn’t a dream. I never dared look outside of my room again after that first time. I mentioned it to Mrs Titcombe, who was the manager along with her husband, and she told me that she had often heard those same noises during the period when the Hotel was not open to the public in the winter months, and especially if she was there alone, when her husband was out somewhere. I worked in the Kitchen, and there was a little stable yard, and some old stables outside of the kitchen, at the rear of the house, where we used to prepare the Veg and potatoes, as one of the stables had a sink in it. I was in there at about ten oclock one warm sunny summer’s morning, preparing the veg for that days meals, it was a very narrow space, especially with the sink and the electric potato peeler in there. I was leaning over the sink eyeing the potatoes, and singing away to myself,( or should I say trying to sing) when I felt two hands on my shoulders and someone brush past behind me.
I thought it was another member of staff coming to give me some help, I turned to see who it was, and nobody was there. I felt a cold shiver run down my spine, and I shot out of there as fast as I could. Other members of staff also experienced strange occurrences, including items going missing, and eventually turning up in a completely different part of the Hotel.
Although I never actually saw anything, there was certainly some weird things happening at that Hotel. I am not given to flights of fancy, I have never in my life had any other experiences like the ones that I had at East Dene in the summer of 1978.
(Many thanks to my lovely friend Lyndy, who has allowed me to show, and edit her photograph of East Dene used here).