Reculver Towers & Roman Fort

by MJ Wayland

The haunted Reculver Towers of the mediaeval church built on a former Roman fort are a well-known landmark on the North Kent coast. It is also a location that harbours some unusual hauntings. Reculver was an important Roman fort by the name of Regulbium and controlled the northern entrance to the Wantsum Channel separating the Isle of Thanet from mainland England.

In Saxon times the Abbey of Saint Augustine stood here, unfortunately, most of that site has now crumbled into the sea. The imposing remains of the church are a reminder of this period. When the church of which the towers formed part was demolished in the early 1800s, the towers were left as a navigational aid for shipping.

The location that has a very strange and unusual presence about it that even in the middle of summer there is something unmistakeably “wrong”.

“Sinister hooded figures approached the towers that night. It was a stormy night and every time the lightning flashed you could see the hooded ones stood in between the towers of Reculver” 

Witness Recollection

The Ghosts Of Reculver Towers

Some believe it could be the ghosts that are to blame for the feelings of edginess, others think it could the skeletons of the children found or even possibly the remnants of ritual activity. The ghosts of Reculver are numerous and still actively haunt the location today.

The ghostly cries of a baby are often heard in the grounds of the fort and churchyard and yet no source can be found. Also reported is a ghostly sword fight also takes places on the cliff’s edge allegedly between a smuggler and a custom’s officer.

Nearly two thousand years after leaving the site, Roman soldiers are still witnessed patrolling the fort, one stands on sentry duty for which seems for all eternity.

The Hooded Ghosts

Only a few years ago Fortean Times published an account in which the police was called out to investigate the multiple sightings of hooded figures floating above ground between the twin towers. One of our associate websites received a sighting on Reculver Lane, the single route lane that takes you to the twin towers.

“The couple were heading along the darkened lane at around 11 p.m. when Leigh’s boyfriend suddenly braked hard. Fortunately, their speed was not great, around 20 mph.

Even so, Leigh was thrown forward in her seat. When she looked at her boyfriend to see what had happened, he was staring straight ahead and shaking. He said he had seen a man walk across the road in front of them. He was dressed in a dark overcoat, with plain trousers, a pointed hat and shoes.

But this man had a slight see-through appearance. He had stopped momentarily to look in their direction before walking into the hedgerows on the other side.

Leigh’s boyfriend was convinced it could not have been a real person. As Leigh pointed out, if it had been, there was nowhere for him to go. The hedgerow was undisturbed. The only building in the vicinity was a church; around that only dark-shrouded fields.”

Leigh believed the description fitted that of a fisherman or farmer, speculating that he may have died in the area.

Historical Evidence & Ghost Sightings

While proof is certainly hard to obtain in some circumstances, at Reculver the ghosts have a real historical foundation. During the 1960’s excavations were conducted with the fort and they revealed several skeletons of infants beneath the walls of a barrack block.

Researchers in the past have speculated that these were ritual sacrifices to ensure the protection of the fort, by establishing a genius loci – a spirit of place or guardian. One theory is that it could be the genius loci that attract certain elements of magick societies.

“Experienced magic/occult users generally use these five elemental levels of sensation to acquire a consciousness of their environmental conditions – including the genius loci. Tools to use to acquire this consciousness include observation and invocation. Emotion is the prime fuel for magickal operations of most sorts, and experienced magick users actively seek out positive places of power where evocation can be practised to focus various emotional energies. For example, if one determines a place makes one feel creative, and one has magically explored it by observation and meditation, it may well be a good place to focus energies in spell work for creativity.”

George Jackson

Could this kind of activity be “fuelling” the ghosts as such or could the magicians be leaving their own marks or thought forms behind? One group investigating the site is UK Paranormal Investigations.

They have been investigating the paranormal for a number of years and have investigated Reculver on several occasions with some amazing results. During one investigation they were able to capture some evp samples from within the right hand tower.

They report “Once we had retrieved the Dictaphone, we all went and sat in the car and played back the recording. There were a few strange sounds and there was sounds of the door rattling quite badly, which could not of occurred naturally as the door was made of heavy iron.

As we had walked away from the Dictaphone our voices had been caught on the tape, and over the top of our voices, a much higher voice could be heard saying, “Don’t strangle me”. After that we took a recording in the car, and to our surprise a voice came over the top of ours and said ‘F***king scum’.”

Reculver Towers is still a mecca for amateur ghost hunters with many visitors wandering it’s ruins on Saturday night. I can’t help feel that we have to discredit many of the EVPs recorded at the location due to noise pollution from other groups, but also there seems to be radio pollution from local radio stations and taxi companies. Whatever is happening at the Towers needs to be thoroughly investigated and researched. Sadly fifty years after major ghostly activity was reported, nobody has ever took the time to continue the research and deliver an accurate picture of the phenomena of the site.

Photo by Jack B on Unsplash

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