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By Hannah Hardy
“I’ve never been one, for being afraid
or running away from a fight,
but I shiver with fear, whenever I hear
things that go bump in the night.” Graffiti Poet
When the moon is full, and the Oxford wolves are howling in Magdalen park and the ghost of C.S Lewis patrols St. Mary’s passage why not take a walk on the dark side and invite some fear into your lives. What am I talking about? For those of you who haven’t noticed Halloween is fast approaching. That’s right. The time for ghost and ghouls to come out and play! So why not tempt fate and go for a little ghost tour?
The Oxford Ghost tour is part of the walking tours run from outside Trinity college. For £8.00 you can spend the night stalking phantoms in the shadows at some of Oxford’s most notoriously haunted places. The tours are run over Friday and Saturday evenings at 4:00 and 7:30, but special tours will go out every week day of Halloween and for 90 minutes you take a loop from Balliol, down to Oriel and Deadmans pass back up through New college lane. Sure it is creepy and uneasing… especially if you go to one of the colleges in question but, the tour is also filled with much more. As an international student coming to Oxford for the first time this tour provided enough history, myths and stories to keep me up for quite a few nights. Although my tour didn’t see a ghost it has been known to happen in the past, our tour guide did provide “photographical evidence” of a ghost on Queens lane seen last Christmas… spooky!
Lets get serious now though, if you don’t believe in the supernatural then maybe you won’t be as scared as a wimpy girl from Canada. But, you might be interested in the history this tour conveys most of which opens up a completely different side to Oxford, a much more mysterious and deadly side… Oxford is the setting for Morse and Lewis after-all! The tour takes you back to the civil war in Oxford, back to the Victorian era with its horrific Oxford workhouse and insane Beadle and to Oriel’s famous red hot poker… don’t know what I am talking about? King Edward II, re-founder of Oriel college in 1362, murdered in a fashion that suited his lifestyle… Not heard that one? Have you ever been to the Bodleian upper reading room and seen a book out of place? Maybe it was King Charles I who after being denied leave to take books from the Bodleian in 1645 can be seen at night running around in the upper reading room pulling books from the shelves reading one line and placing it back in an endless game of fortune telling- both with and without his head! I could go on and on with endless stories I heard on the tour but that would take away from the enjoyment of doing it. So if you are looking for something traditionally spooky around Halloween why not give the ghost tour a go… if you’ve got the balls?
“You may laugh and scoff, if it’s spooky I’m off
at the first sign of something not right,
it’s true what I’ve said, I’m afraid of the dead
and things that go bump in the night…” Graffiti Poet