Trapped in a haunted house for­ever

I’m stuck with my haunted house - for­ever Vanessa Mitchell, 45, from Es­sex

Chat It's Fate - - Contents -

Tuck­ing up my sleep­ing baby son Jesse soundly in his cot, I tip­toed down­stairs to do the iron­ing. A sin­gle mum, I had a ton of chores to get on with while he was nap­ping – but as I be­gan to run the iron across a shirt, a sud­den noise made me jump right out of my skin.

Jesse’s Thomas the Tank Engine toy had started trundling across the room - of its own ac­cord. As I watched, ter­ror welling up in­side me, one of his bat­tery­op­er­ated toys started flash­ing and mak­ing loud noises, too.

The room had gone icy cold. Some­thing was very wrong here. Panic welled up in­side me. Jesse! Putting down the iron, I raced out of the liv­ing room – but as I got to the foot of the stairs, I froze. There on the land­ing, just by the open door of Jesse’s room, was a strange man, star­ing down at me.

I couldn’t see his face. He was wear­ing mod­ern clothes - brown trousers and a white shirt – but I knew he wasn’t real.

Be­fore my eyes, he faded and van­ished. I rushed up through the space where he’d been and into the bed­room.

Jesse was still fast asleep in his cot. I stared down at him, my heart beat­ing hard, won­der­ing what might have hap­pened if I hadn’t rushed up­stairs so quickly…


I’d thought I was get­ting a bar­gain when I’d bought my pretty lit­tle cot­tage in St. Osyth, Es­sex in 2004 for £148,000. It was cute and cosy, just right for a sin­gle per­son, as I’d been back then. ‘Why is it called The Cage?’ I’d asked the es­tate agent dur­ing the view­ing. ‘It used to be a witches’ prison,’ he mut­tered. Per­haps I should have asked more ques­tions then – but I didn’t. I loved the fact that the cot­tage was such a quirky slice of Bri­tish his­tory.

I moved in straight away and started dec­o­rat­ing it - but be­cause of its char­ac­ter, I felt it was im­por­tant not to make too many changes.

‘What do you think?’ I asked my friend Jane* when she came around to check out my new pad.

‘Sorry, Vanessa,’ she shiv­ered, ‘But there’s a re­ally neg­a­tive en­ergy about the place.’

Some of my other friends said the same. By now, I’d learned from the neigh­bours that one of the house’s pre­vi­ous own­ers had com­mit­ted sui­cide in the house – in fact, just a year pre­vi­ously. He’d hanged him­self in 2003.

I’d seen spirit since I was a lit­tle girl, but even so, when the door at the foot of the stairs started to open on its own, then bang shut, I put all thoughts of the su­per­nat­u­ral out of my mind. I didn’t be­lieve there could be an ac­tive, hos­tile haunt­ing go­ing on right un­der my very nose.

But when I fell preg­nant in 2008, the weird ac­tiv­ity in the house be­came im­pos­si­ble to ig­nore.

When I was eight months preg­nant, I was walk­ing across my bed­room when I felt some­thing shove me hard, right in the small of my back.

I fell hard onto my side. I lay there for a mo­ment in to­tal shock. What on earth had just hap­pened?

Luck­ily, the baby was OK – but once he was born, I started to get se­ri­ously wor­ried about pro­tect­ing him from the dark forces that filled the cot­tage. Of course, that was when the pol­ter­geist ac­tiv­ity started. Fur­ni­ture moved round, cush­ions flew off the sofa – and most ter­ri­fy­ingly of all, blood spat­ters ap­peared on the floor…


I thought I was get­ting a bar­gain when I bought it!

Within months, I’d be­come se­ri­ously de­pressed. I knew the house was to blame. I was so scared in my own home that I’d of­ten sleep with all the lights on and my head un­der

the cov­ers! Once I saw the man out­side Jesse’s room, I knew I had to take ac­tion. I no longer felt safe. I re­searched the his­tory of The Cage and dis­cov­ered that it had been a lo­cal prison for cen­turies. It was the hold­ing cell for 14 witches ex­e­cuted in the 1580s, the most fa­mous be­ing a mid­wife called Ur­sula Kemp who was said to have hexed a baby girl. Plague vic­tims were also sent here to die. What with the sui­cide as well, it was no won­der the place was haunted. In an ef­fort to get rid of the evil in the house, in 2008, I in­vited medi­ums, ex­or­cists and spirit pho­tog­ra­phers into The Cage. They were all shocked at just how ac­tive the place is – but none of them man­aged to move the spir­its on. The word spread quickly about The Cage’s haunted his­tory and it’s

now been the sub­ject of sev­eral doc­u­men­taries. Jesse and I moved out into rented ac­com­mo­da­tion while all this was go­ing on – and we’ve never moved back in!


Over the last decade, I’ve tried and failed to sell the house. Two years ago, it was on the market at £269,000 – and the es­tate agent who went to do the val­u­a­tion at the house took some great photos of orbs fly­ing about! This year, I put it on with an agent for £250,000, but there were no tak­ers. I’ve taken it off the market now, re­signed to the fact that I’m go­ing to be the owner for the fore­see­able fu­ture. I’ve got the deeds to the house so I know that I’m the only per­son to have lived at the house for more than three years in over 300 years! I run ghost tours at the house, and we’ve taken some amaz­ing photos over the years. We have cam­eras run­ning 24/7 now, to pick up any un­usual ac­tiv­ity. I’ve even had the house ex­ca­vated to see if there were any bod­ies buried there. We found var­i­ous bones and teeth and ob­jects - all very creepy. And, strangely, the ex­ca­va­tion seemed to make the haunt­ing worse! One medium told me that the house wants to ‘talk.’ Well I’ve owned it for 14 years now and it’s re­vealed a lot to me, but I’m still wait­ing for it to share all its dark se­crets…. Check out Chan­nel 4’s True Hor­ror series this month for a docu-drama about The Cage. To book a tour of The Cage, visit the Face­book page. Vanessa’s book Spir­its Of The Cage is avail­able from Ama­zon, priced £11.34.

We found bones and teeth un­der the house

Trapped: Can’t sell house It looks so pretty and in­no­cent

Ter­ri­fied ten­ants: Never last long

Liv­ing room: Para­nor­mal ac­tiv­ity

Man on the land­ing: Who was he?

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