A GHOULISH night of ghostly history is promised tonight at Chalkwell Hall, when local authors Syd Moore and Rachel Lichtenstein give readings uncovering the truth about scary local legends.
The event, Tales From Beyond the Grave, takes place in the building in the park, which is said to be dripping in ghostly history.
Rachel, famous most recently for her book On Brick Lane published in 2007, among other successful titles, will talk about the history of the house, and stories relating to it.
She says: “At the first Village Green festival I had a stall where I welcomed peoples’ stories. One lady in her eighties said she remembered seeing a woman in the house, in a Victorian grey, silk dress, up in the attic.
“She is known as the Grey Lady. I would like to know if anyone else has any other stories about this lady.
“Chalkwell Hall is such an historic building.
“It is one of the oldest houses built in the whole Southend area and I also discovered there were Celtic burial mementoes found there, so the area is a very ancient place.
“A chalk-lined well exists under the house, that is the reason Chalkwell has its name.
“I think it will be great to hear other peoples’ stories too.”
Rachel will also be reading an Edgar Allen Poe story, the Woman in the Attic.
Syd Moore has recently seen her first book, the Drowning Pool, published and is number one in the Amazon horror charts. Based on the local legend of the Sarah Moore sea witch, Syd will not only be reading an extract, but will also be talking about how she researched the story.
This will include a spooky anecdote of how she got the idea in the first place. This happened when she came across a photograph of Canon Walker King, the rector of St Clements, with his family standing outside the then Rectory – now Leigh library. Syd says: “This inspired me to write a ghost story, because in the photo you can see two faces behind him trapped in the panes of window glass.
“I suppose in a contemporary photo it would look like Windowlene, but it really does look like faces. I wondered why nobody had picked up on this before, it is really phenomenal, and that is how the idea for a ghost story came about.”
Syd will also be reading an extract from the novel she is writing at the moment, part of her two-book publishing deal.
“It is about Matthew Hopkins, the witchfinder general,” said Syd. “The main character in it visits Colchester Castle and something starts happening to her in the dungeons.”
The evening has been organised by Chalkwell Pop Up, the team which by day runs the Chalkwell Pop Up occasional cafe in Chalkwell Hall.
Alongside these fireside tales will be a light supper, courtesy of Chalkwell Pop Up.
People are invited to bring their own drink as well as some paranormal experiences and tales for discussion.
The event starts at 8.30pm and is for adults only.
Tickets cost £10 and can be bought from the Book Inn, 49 Broadway West, Leigh, or from Metal at Chalkwell Hall, Chalkwell Park, London Road.