WHO would live in Britain’s most haunted house? Former prison sells for £240,000 despite reports of a satanic goat, flying objects and a presence trying to push people down the stairs
- Two-bedroom cottage in Essex, known as The Cage, was medieval prison
- Paranormal expert John Fraser interviewed people with experiences at house
- Former owner fled after spotting ghost standing near her son’s cot
- Three people have now told how they experienced moving objects there
A property dubbed Britain’s most haunted house has finally sold for £240,000 after almost three years on the market, despite reports of a presence trying to push people down the stairs.
The two-bedroom cottage in St Osyth, Essex, known as The Cage, served as a prison from medieval times until 1908, and more recently became famous after owner Vanessa Mitchell abandoned the house because of unexplained footsteps, slams and shadows inside.
She put the property up for sale for £180,000 in February 2016, after a ‘satanic goat’ was allegedly caught on CCTV, and in January 2018 a paranormal investigator was caught on film appearing to transform into a witch.
It’s now been sold for £60,000 above the asking price, despite a new report revealing the sighting of a female figure in an upstairs window, flying objects and doors mysteriously opening.
Paranormal investigator John Fraser, from the Society of Psychical Research, has interviewed three people that experienced strange happenings at The Cage for a new report that aims to get to the bottom of what really happened inside the house.
They were invited to a caravan nearby to re-live the unnerving movements they had experienced in the property, and he’s shared their accounts exclusively with FEMAIL.
Vanessa Mitchell (pictured), from St Osyth, Essex, abandoned the two-bedroom house after seeing a man ‘wearing modern clothing’ standing on the stairs
The house carries a plaque on its wall explaining how alleged witch Ursula Kemp was imprisoned there before being hanged as a witch in 1582
Paranormal investigator John Fraser gives a talk on his findings at The Cage in St Osyth, Essex, to enthusiasts in London
THE OWNER’S EXPERIENCE
The property’s original owner, Vanessa Mitchell, contacted the paranormal investigators in 2010 after enduring repeated strange sightings at the house.
On her first day in the house she said she saw the figure of a tall dark male walk from the states that on her first day there she turned and saw a figure of a tall dark male walk from the Cage room into the Lounge.
In the following weeks and months she claimed to have experienced doors slamming or opening with no wind to push them, taps turning on and off, door latches rattling, the old chain from the original prison swinging, and the hall stairs door crashing open as though it had been violently pushed.
But the final straw came when, in 2010, she saw a man standing at the top of the landing wearing modern day clothes.
‘He wasn’t a burglar, he was a ghost of a man and standing very near my son’s cot’, she said.
The final straw came when a CCTV camera picked up the image of what she claims was a ‘satanic goat’ roaming the premises.
After moving out she let the property out to a friend, who left four months later, and then to a young couple with a child, who abandoned the house within two months.
Strange images captured from CCTV cameras at the property appeared to show a satanic goat claimed Vanessa. Three other people have now also spoken about their experiences at the house
WHAT OTHERS EXPERIENCED
A FORMER INHABITANT
This individual, who lived in the house with Vanessa for a time, told Mr Fraser about what she experienced.
‘While none of the witnesses had experienced quite the intensity of the phenomena as the owner, their testimony did in fact prove very interesting indeed,’ wrote Mr Fraser.
‘A friend who moved into The Cage almost immediately after Ms Mitchell experienced the door latch being undone in her bedroom room (later used as Ms Mitchell’s child’s nursery/bedroom) and the door swinging part the way open on numerous occasions.
‘She also had numerous occasions of objects – normally clothes – disappearing and reappearing in places where they were most unlikely to have ever been put.
‘An interesting point to note here is that a second person who sometimes kindly visited the property when no one else was at home reported experiencing exactly the same phenomena – thus negating the possibility of practical jokes, at least by a physical entity.
‘As well as the day to day mysterious events they were also witness to some significant one-off incidents.
‘This in particular included the strange appearance of an important document relating to a past resident on the kitchen surface.
‘This was not the immediately previous residents and so could not have been put down to something simply having been left behind.
Paranormal investigator Brad Mac was gobsmacked to see a colleague of his – known only as Debbie – ‘transform’ into a witch while he and five others spent the night at the house in St Osyth village, Essex
‘She also sighted orb-like lights filling the living room along with Vanessa, and was witness to a Coke can sliding across the table in the living room.
‘She also reported that after she had stopped living in The Cage, on one of her return visits she had found it extremely difficult to enter the premises.
‘This was beyond being just nervous – more like a feeling of having to “wade” through the door.’
This inhabitant, along with two others, was also present on the day Vanessa moved out of the house.
‘Perhaps the strangest and for that matter the best witnessed incident of all was when three people were helping Vanessa move out of the premises.
‘There was a loud bang from upstairs heard by the three ladies who were all on the ground floor which happened at the very instant a friend had pulled up outside in his van and seen the shadowy figure of a lady in one of the bedroom windows.
‘It is this sort of coordination of testimony that can very much help to strengthen a case.
When Vanessa first bought the Cage for £148,000 in 2004, she claimed she was unaware of its history. The final straw came, however, when she saw a man wearing modern clothing standing on the stairway
A FRIEND AND REGULAR VISITOR
This person visited the house often to look after it while Vanessa was away.
‘As well as the incidents previously mentioned there were at least two other unique incidents that they reported as being totally inexplicable.
‘The first involved when she was tidying up in the kitchen alone and was hit by two soft objects on the back of the head.
‘On turning round she found that two sugar sachets (previously stored with others on the opposite work surface) were lying on the floor and had apparently been the objects that had struck. This was sufficiently unnerving for her to have the urge to ring up Ms Mitchell to report it.
‘The other incident of special note was after stacking up books in the Cage room again when alone, found them shortly afterwards to be randomly-strewn all over the floor – in a way that could not have happened if the stack had simply collapsed.
‘They also reported the feeling as if she was about to be pushed from the top of the stairs.’
A FRIEND’S FRIEND
‘A third friend of Vanessa’s also tried to help around the house when he could, and during one of these times when repairing an electrical fault at the top landing he also felt a force physically trying to push him down the stairs.
‘On leaving the living room for a short while, he also found that a large vase had repositioned itself without explanation from the floor of the living room into a hole that he was helping dig beneath the floorboards in a search for interesting artefacts.
‘Perhaps most interesting, however, his witnessing of the door latch move in the nursery/bedroom and the door being opened at such an angle that it appeared to be being violently moved.
‘This not only corroborates Nicole’s testimony but gives a sense that this was not simply a badly-hung door – something we found no evidence for during a basic inspection during our recent visit.’
John Fraser has a new book entitled ‘What People are saying about Poltergeist!’, p. 282, which will be published in July 2020 by 6th Books.
Is this Britain’s most haunted house? The Cage in Essex that was once a prison for witches
The Cage, which was formally a medieval prison, played a role in one of England’s most famous witch hunts, in which eight women died.
Located in St Osyth village in Essex, it served as a prison for those convicted of witchcraft in the Elizabethan era.
Fourteen women were imprisoned while awaiting trial, including Ursula Kemp who was executed in 1582.
The Cage, which was formally a medieval prison, played a role in one of England’s most famous witch hunts, in which eight women died
She was reportedly the most powerful and notorious of all the women, making her living as a midwife and a healer.
She had a reputation for removing spells from locals who thought they were being attacked by black magic and many would go to her for medicines.
The building was still being used as a jail right up until the early 20th century.
One recent previous owner was Vanessa Mitchell.
The 37-year-old moved out in 2012 amid claims she had encountered 12 ghosts at the two-bedroom cottage.
She said the ghosts tried to hit her from behind, pull her hair and tried to shove visitors down the stairs.
Ms Mitchell said she also spotted a shadowy figure lurking over the cot of her infant son, Jesse.
However, the final nail in the coffin came for her when a CCTV camera picked up the image of what she claims was a satanic goat roaming the premises.