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THE HAMPSHIRE HOUSE OF DEATH

Posted on: December 13, 2013

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I first read about the haunting of Hopfield House, Waterlooville, Hampshire, many years ago in Joan Forman’s book ‘The Haunted South’. I did some recent searching on the Internet, and it would seem the legend of Hopfield House is still going strong.

Hopfield House was built in the 19th century, in the middle of a hop field (ta da!). It was a very classic Victorian house, with gables, creeping ivy and extravagent gothic touches. The sort of place that needs to be constantly loved and cared for if it’s not to end up looking like something out of the Addams Family. One old photograph I’ve seen of it reminds me of Borley Rectory in Essex (which reputedly was once the most haunted house in the world). The man who built it was one Edward Fawkes, reputedly a self-made businessman, who like so many prosperous Victorians, wanted to build a house that would be an extravagent pile worthy to found a dynasty in.

Fawkes seemed to have a positive obsession with his descendants living in the house though, and he decreed that the house was to always stay in the family. When his grandson came to inherit the house though, he found it too big for his needs, and decided to get round his late grandfather’s edict by renting it out. The first ones to move in were a childless couple, who unfortunately were heavily into Spiritualism. The atmosphere of the house got too much for them, and they claimed that the ghost of old Fawkes had appeared, threatening retribution on them if they didn’t depart immediately. They duly did so.

The couple sub-let it to a middle-aged widow and her grown-up daughter. The widow was found dead in her bed one morning, it is said “with a look of horror” on her face. Understandably her daughter moved out. The Fawkes family had enough and finally sold their ancestral home. It was bought by a retired army captain and his wife, and this is where the story gets truly bizarre. The retired army captain was found dead in the hallway one day, with one of his own Indian daggers plunged into his back. The murder was never solved, and his widow moved out.

In the 1920s the house was bought by the Dalton family. One of the daughters, Sheila, related the family’s horrific experiences at the house directly to Joan Forman. Sheila said she had hated the house on first sight, sensing its evil atmosphere, but her father was insistent that he wanted it. One night, during their first Christmas at the house, Sheila felt something heavy smite her on the head when she was getting ready for dinner in her bedroom. On another occasion she woke up to find herself lying under her bed, even though it would have been very difficult for her to roll under it.

The story was to get much more disturbing though. Sheila’s brother, a popular young man who was doing well at Oxford, suddenly took himself into the basement one day and inexplicably shot himself. His mother never got over his death and died soon after.

The house was eventually sold to Hampshire County Council, who converted it into flats. At first it was assumed that the horrible curse of the house had finally been laid to rest, but rumours still persist of strange happenings at the house. The Hampshire Ghost Club has some interesting stuff about it on their website, with one contributor saying that it looked neglected and sinister (though it was added that it has been done up since, and looks better as a result). Another commenter, who lived opposite the house during their childhood, said they had often seen shadowy figures at the windows.

There have been occasional comments from people who have occupied the flats there. Some claim there is nothing at all odd about the place, others report strange occurrences, so it would seem the jury’s out as to whether the haunting is still on-going. And I did read one claim of an empty flat which is kept locked …

Merry Christmas y’all.

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