Ghost stories of Poole, the most haunted town in Dorset

Imagine we are in the 18th century and Poole is a busy coastal English town, with ships coming in from all over the North America. They atmosphere is smokey and dark, with tall wooden ships being unloaded from the goods arrived from The Newfoundland: white wine, olive oil and salt. On one side of the Quayside the pottery factory is working the clay into pots, over pit fires. It’s hot, it’s smoggy. A little bit further up, in the market, merchants are gutting their fish in the street, throwing the remains in the water.

Near the custom house and the town’s cellars, a young woman takes over as the landlady of The New Inn, a pub where the sailors use to stop by after coming back from months spent on the sea. The pub is one of a kind, with beams on the roof, wooden panels on the walls and a beautiful large fireplace. On the outside, the oriel windows are completing the black and white timber framing of the building.

Hundreds of sailors pass the young landlady’s door step each week, and she fells madly in love with one of them. They promise to marry each other on his return to Poole, after a several months voyage on the sea. She waits for him anxiously but on the night of his return, a powerful storm hits the harbour and many ships sink. With a broken heart, seeing that her lover’s ship didn’t arrive after the storm, she decides to hang herself of a wooden beam, upstairs in the pub. The sailor however is alive, his ship was just delayed. He arrived in Poole the following day and rushes to see his fiance. He finds her dead, hanging from the beam. He is heartbroken and upset. He takes his knife and cuts the rope down and, with a feeling of despair and grief, he stabs himself in the heart.

Back in the 21st century, Poole is a different town, with a modern Quay, a beautiful promenade and a lot of pubs one near the other. Among them, The New Inn is now called The King Charles and the story of the two lovers is still on the lips of everyone who steps in for a pint. It is said that the pub is the most haunted places in Poole and that the ghosts of the sailor is still present, after so many years. A lot of unusual things have happened in this pub, from coins being moved around to people feeling nudges but nobody around them. Many times you can hear steps going up and down the stairs and breathing sounds, but there isn’t anyone there.

Sometimes, a quiet female voice can be heard crying… “Help me! Help me! Help me!”

No wonder Poole is said to be one of the most haunted places in Europe.

Granny Cousins Ghost Walk of Poole Old Town

This is just one of the many stories that I found out by taking part in Granny Cousins ghost walk around my town, one of the best things to do in Dorset. I have been wanting to join this tour 2 years now, as it only takes place in the summer school holidays and for Halloween. Granny Cousins and her helper, Red, are two local Victorian characters who take you back in time to experience the stories of this ancient port town and discover the friendly (or not so friendly) ghosts still living here. It is a truly entertaining and interactive walk, with many unexpected moments where your heart might jump a little out of your chest. And what better place to pass by through, on this walk, then the local graveyard?

The storytelling and the interaction it is so good that there are times in which you can actually feel that you are back in time, on that dark alley, seeing the murderers of Agnes Beard running away through the mist. Who is Agnes Beard? You’ll have to join the tour to find out.Β  πŸ™‚

Granny Cousins Ghost Walk of Poole Old Town

Granny Cousins is actually Michelle O’Brien, an award winning actress involved in many local projects. Currently, besides Granny Cousins Ghost Walk of Old Poole Town you can also see her in the Anne Frances Bankes at Kingston Lacy House every weekend and in Mothers & Daughters: I’m Glad I Asked at the Bournemouth Arts by the Sea Festival event at Shelley Theatre, on the 10th of October.

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Traveler. Dreamer. Cat lover. Wondering around the world with my backpack and my camera. Contributing to make the world a better place.


  1. What a brilliant idea, and such a sad love story! It is such a clever idea to make it interactive and I image quite eerie with heartbreak and all that brings.

  2. I always find ghost stories like this fascinating. How awesome is it that people actually turn it into something you can watch. I think it’s a great experience and I wouldn’t miss this for the world.

  3. Such a nice way to relive the stories, it’s like you’re in a movie shooting, cute!
    I just hope that It won’t backfire on you and become a reality *Evil laugh*
    Thanks for sharing.

  4. I’ve been to the UK many times but never to Poole. I guess it is a little of the well beaten tourist track. We do similar ghost tours of The Rocks in Sydney and they also seems to revolve around pubs lol. I will be sure to check this out when I am next in the UK

  5. Whoa! Goosebumps! When you started with “Imagine…” I did. I really visualized a small coastal town, with dark smog covering the skies… gothic, very much like the city of Gotham… and then boom! A girl commits suicide and then the sailor did the next day.

    I used to live in an apartment. I go out and in front would be a staircase going up to the other floors. That is where a girl had hanged herself. So you see, I have sensed the presence of ghosts at one time or another.

  6. Such a tragic love story but nonetheless symbolizes their sincere love for each other. Though i would want to hear stories as such, i prefer not to be at the exact location as i tend to imagine things. Also, would love to read the story than be told to me through play.

  7. Ghost stories are sometimes interesting if they’re not too much scary. I remember the stories an uncle in our family used to tell us but we could easily make out that those stories were not true.

    I’m not sure if I’ll be up for a ghost tour πŸ˜›

  8. I’ve kind of been interested in doing a ghost tour, story, etc., but I’m very sensitive to these energies and choose not to, but hear they can be fun and scary, etc. We have some great ones in the US. The beautiful city of Savannah, GA and I’ve had my own experience in New Orleans, LA without even trying to have one.

  9. And that is a true story? That she hung herself and he stabbed himself in the heart, what a tragedy but truly a testament to the concept of true love. I like the sound of the tour, especially seeing as it is so interactive too!

  10. When I was a kid I always loved to watch Pirates of the Caribbean, so it wasn’t so hard to imagine this. I could hear that Hans Zimmer pirate song in the background. I am not a fan of horrors or anything scary. My heart is terrified even when I see a spider. But, cut to the chaise, I love tragedy more than comedy. This love story is just perfect the way it is. If they lived more maybe there feelings would change. At least, they died for their love.

  11. I must admit, I almost didn’t want to read your post haha! I don’t watch scary movies (not even the trailers) but hey, this is not so bad πŸ™‚ Just a really sad love story πŸ™ The ghost walk sounds really fun though! As for me, I would be waiting at the local pub lol.

  12. I loved the costume of Michelle O Brien. It gives you the creepy feeling that you’re in that era and something really bad is going to happen as you walk down the streets. I can imagine her voice speaking to the group in a soft voice just so you’d pay more attention to what she is saying. It must have been really fun to attend the ghost walk tour and im not even sure how Im gonna react if I was there.

  13. What a hit, especially during Halloween! I want to go on a Ghost walk as well as all the scary things are definitely up my street and I’ve never been to one which is a shame. The voice repeating the same things sounds about right – I’ve watched many a Most Haunted episode to know a real sighting πŸ˜‰

  14. A love story that lives πŸ™‚
    Your writing really did make me imagine every description… and for me, image of ghosts stick to my mind for a really long time… I keo imagining them at night πŸ™

  15. How devilishly fun! I would be scared, though. I never participated in a ghost tour, but I believe I have witnessed someone who was “possessed”, as they say, by some kind of evil spirit. It was in church one time. Yikes!

  16. Britain’s past has so many hidden tales and this recreation is a very nice entertainment for tourists. To be able to re-live and see with your eyes the characters, the atmosphere of those times – priceless.

  17. It sounds like a nice play to watch especially during the halloween season! It’s really exciting and it definitely immerses you in the story of the ghost that haunts the town!

  18. How fun to go on a real ghost tour! They have a lot of ghost tours around the US, but I wonder if they are actually real or made up.

  19. When I was a kid, I was obsessed with stories like this! I definitely would love visiting this place as I have never heard of this story. Thanks for sharing!

  20. Wow. I couldn’t imagine myself participating in a ghost walk and much more on a ghost hunting. If I was in that place, I could have went home early and without finishing the stories. This kind of stories though is also popular here in the philippines. Sometimes it’s demonstrated as folk tale but sometimes it’s just the old story to explain such unexpainable happenings around.

    kudos to you for participating in a ghost walk! did you capture a ghost on your camera btw?

  21. It’s really amazing to read stories like this. This both inspires me or makes me imagine sorts of things. It would also create scary vibes. πŸ˜€

  22. Very sad and tragic story there: all a bit Romeo and Juliet-like (or a bit like what Thesues’ dad did after he killed the Minotaur…but anyway I digress). I’ve never been on a ghost walk, but it’s something that I’m sure would be interesting, so long as I can avoid soiling myself of course! Failing that, a pint in the pub while swapping ghost stories is more my bag πŸ˜€

  23. That is sad πŸ™ I love reading and listening to ghost stories. I always want to scare myself and tickle my imagination

  24. What an amazing idea. Great work with the pictures. I loved your post and haven’t read something so innovative till now.

  25. Ghost tours always fascinated me! I did the similar tour in St. Augustine, Florida and it gave me the goosebumps. Loved reading about the haunted stories of Poole!

  26. Wow ! The opening lines really took me back in time. It felt as if I was right there. Such a tragic end to that love story.
    Not sure if I would do a Ghost Walk am a scary cat.

  27. What could be better than visiting a local graveyard… at night? Maybe, even some neighboring dog would howl like a wolf, and a couple of bats would zoom around. A little bit of adrenalin after a day of walking around the town. Seriously, though, kudos to Granny Cousins for making a visit to Poole more memorable.

  28. What a sad but romantic story, the one of the two lovers! I would love to take part of the tour, since I like a lot this kind of storytelling about places I visit.

  29. I love your style of writing, I could totally visualize your description! I always find ghost tours very interesting, they’re great to discover some unknown stories.

  30. This would be a great deal of fun, I am sure because I have done a couple of these. One in New Orleans in the U.S. was a haunted tour and I loved it. Will look Granny up if I am ever in this city.

  31. This surely looks like a spooky, but fun experience especially that an award-winning actress helps complete the experience. How I wish I can experience this too. Thank you for sharing your experience.

  32. Seems like ghost themed tourism. Interesting concept. Hopefully I can join some day!
    And this post reminds me of my stay in a haunted hotel in Rajasthan, India. πŸ™‚

  33. Wow, that’s so cool! There’s something scary about it! And just when you start with “Imagine” I felt it! It felt real! I love the writing! It’s cool!

  34. OMG I so want to do this I love ghost tours and this looks so much fun. I live in Bristol UK and have lots of friends in the Poole area so looks like I’m paying them a visit really soon so I can go on this tour. Was it scary?

  35. Your writing is excellent! I was super engaged with the story and when you came back to the 21st century I was super disappointed that I wasn’t reading a 400 page book! Maybe that is your next project? πŸ™‚

  36. I love a good ghost tour! I did one in New orleans and it felt so spooky hearing the stories as you walked around at night! I never knew Poole had so many ghostly connotations, but then again, I guess most of England does! Sounds like a great trip!

  37. I was scared of the ghosts, hear ghost stories scared me. Even yesterday I was also afraid when working at night. I heard a strange noise in a quiet place, after hearing a strange sound and then I ran. Hahahhahaa

  38. A ghost tour is one of those thing that sounds like a cliche, but can be awfully fun. I’ve only been on one, in Edinburgh, Scotland, and it was brilliant.

  39. This is a great post however sad. Haunted areas do freak me out, but they are still fun to explore and get educated. It is unreal that the story was true and ended so tragically. Thank you for sharing this dark history and the ghost tour details!

  40. Whoaaa, these stories are definitely scary! And just in time for Halloween, too. Thank you for sharing, and with such descriptive prose – I had goosebumps!

  41. A Ghost walk is something new to me. I myself like to visit haunted places and always intrigued by ghost stories. While I was reading the first paragraph of this post, could actually feel the spooky atmosphere of Poole. Really good writing and an interesting read

  42. The poor landlady!

    There are so many fascinating stories hidden away in the history of a place, but it’s often so hard to find them. Thanks for sharing this one, and for the tip about where to find more!

  43. I always love a good ghost story! Heading to Poole next week, what a shame I’ll miss out on the tour… I will have to stop by the pub and see if I see the ghost πŸ™‚

  44. I love a good ghost tour, but oh god the acting is so bad sometimes. This looks like a really well done show, and definitely hooks into some of the key reasons tourists love England πŸ™‚

  45. Sounds super interesting and mysterious! Your writing takes me right there as if I’m hearing the story in person. However, since I’m a wimp I’ll opt to listen to your stories instead of taking the tour myself. Thanks for sharing πŸ˜‰

  46. That was such a sad story. I’m ssooooo not a fan of horror stuff, but this is actually quite interesting. Will I be joining ghost tours in the future, I’m not sure. Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

  47. That is a fascinating story indeed. I mean the sad love story that ends in the angst and heart break of the sailor. No wonder that the aura still looms large on the pub.

  48. Great story, i like the way you showed love and scare in a same time..I am fan of horror stories, movies and found this very interesting. Thanks, i enjoyed reading this

  49. Ooh, interesting idea! When I was younger, I really love ghost stories but not anymore. I easily get scared these days. Haha! I think this is such a nice concept to have a ghost tour and have other people appreciate it.

  50. This is a good one! I’m a bit curious about the whole tour, plus the ghost stories but it will take me a lot of thinking to join one! I’m not a horror/thriller fanatic, but you write kinda well! πŸ™‚

  51. You have written so beautifully about such a tragic love story! Kudos to touch for doing the ghost walk, I’m not so brave. I’d live to experience modern day Poole, but first strange noise and I’d be out of the pub like a rocket!

  52. Looks like great fun to me! My wife loves ghost stories and Halloween! She always drags me to all the Halloween festivities! I will have to keep this in mind for a future stop on an adventure!

  53. I love hearing ghost stories from old buildings. It’s fascinating to speculate about the “other realm”, but totally gets the best of my imagination- I’m super jumpy! I’ve never done a ghost tour before, but I think it would be way fun to work as a tour guide!

  54. It’s a sad story! Such a pity she lost hope to soon and that it had to end this way.
    I’m glad the tour was nice though ;). I always really love any type of Halloween events. Love horror/ scary stuff. So this sounds great to me!

  55. Gosh , look at all these comments , took me a while to scroll down LOL. What a great piece of read , well , of course …look at the comments ! I love this kind of stories .. and anything related to old medieval England. Brilliant , I will share that post with my British friends on FB , I am sure they will love it. Great post !

  56. This seems more of a tragic love story that coincidentally involved ghosts. Loved your writing style! hehehehe… Now, if you come by here in the philippines, there are a couple of Haunted mansions that you may like if you’re into this thing. One in Pampanga, and another in Baguio City. Hope you do get to visit here soon! πŸ˜€

  57. It is heart touching and tragic story and at the same quirky and scary. I believed taking up a haunting tour would be an amazing experience but your pictures of the granny itself makes me feel uncomfortable, not sure how long it will be before I quit πŸ˜‰ Thank God we did not take up one in Edinburgh.

  58. I used to visit Poole all the time as a kid, but I hadn’t heard of this tour. It looks really interesting, I love hearing historical stories when I travel, however, I am really easily scared and don’t think I could manage a ghost tour!!!!

  59. Oh I love ghost stories! Even if I can also be a chickensh*t. haha! These ghosts are really, literally hopeless romantics – sadly leading to their tragic demise!

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