Trail of The Unexpected: Ghosts in Newport

'A hooded figure whisks down an alley'

The evening began in the cosy Wheatsheaf Inn on St Thomas's Square in the island's capital, Newport. Here, on Wednesdays at 8pm, you find a gentleman clad in a Victorian cloak and clutching a lantern. He is Marc Tuckey, guide and raconteur for a stroll around town that may well haunt you for days (and possibly nights) to come.

The evening began in the cosy Wheatsheaf Inn on St Thomas's Square in the island's capital, Newport. Here, on Wednesdays at 8pm, you find a gentleman clad in a Victorian cloak and clutching a lantern. He is Marc Tuckey, guide and raconteur for a stroll around town that may well haunt you for days (and possibly nights) to come.

With a no-nonsense command of "Follow me" he ushers you off on the trail that condemned men trod about 300 years ago as they took their last steps en route to the gallows. They were sentenced in what is now the tourist information office off the High Street. This, Marc tells you, was the courthouse. You realise as you stand and gape at the exterior that it is a rather lovely building, too. But then you're jolted from your reverie by the fleeting sight of a robed and hooded figure, who whisks down an alleyway to the left.

Meanwhile, Marc, apparently unaware of this, rounds off his brief history of the courthouse with the tale of a strange grey figure recently seen scurrying past the building and disappearing into thin air. Quite beyond the content of his story, his delivery is impeccably chilling - and thrilling. He is evidently well versed in drama techniques.

As you follow him down Watchbell Lane you soon realise that he's not the only actor involved in the evening's entertainment. The hooded figure abruptly reappears, jumping out from a dark doorway and causing you an embarrassing squawk of surprise and, it has to be said, a frisson of fear. As he runs off, he is chased by another ghoulish creature, wearing a cape and a gruesome mask. A clichéd piece of play acting? Possibly. But on a misty evening it sets your imagination racing.

Marc leads you on, stopping outside a beauty salon to explain that the timber-frame building used to be the Sun Inn and that is still haunted by a young French girl who once worked there. You move on slowly, pausing for more stories on the way to the electricity shop. This was the site of the gallows where the condemned men met their end. And, according to Marc, they are buried underneath your very feet. You half-expect more spectral apparitions and twitch uneasily at the mundane sound of bottles being smashed into a bottle bank around the corner. As Marc guides you on, you're suddenly confronted by the hooded figure again, and you laugh uneasily at the encounter.

So the walk continues. Over the next 45 minutes you meander around town being fed tales of murder, misery and revenge by Marc. Along the way you also glean a great deal about the history of Newport and are led to appreciate the finer points of its architecture. But most of all you're spooked. How convincingly depends, of course, on your predisposition for such matters.

Back at the Wheatsheaf Inn at the end of walk, Marc and his fellow actors stopped for a pint and a chat. Had he ever encountered a ghost himself? "The Isle of Wight is one of the most haunted places in the world," was his elusive reply. "But some explain this by pointing out that large numbers of pirates, smugglers and wreckers operated from the island, and that they made up stories to frighten people into staying at home while they went about their business. So who knows..." And does he believe all the tales he tells? An enigmatic smile was the only answer on offer.

Marc Tuckey's 90-minute ghost walks of Newport take place on Wednesdays from 8pm, price £5. He also offers ghost walks at the Botanic Gardens, Ventnor, on Mondays; Appuldurcombe House, Wroxall, on Tuesdays; and Yarmouth on Thursdays. For more information call 01983 520695 or visit www.ghost-tours.co.uk

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Investigo: Finance Analyst

    £240 - £275 per day: Investigo: Support the global business through in-depth a...

    Ashdown Group: Data Manager - £Market Rate

    Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Data Manager - MySQL, Shell Scripts, Java, VB Scrip...

    Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - Bedfordshire/Cambs border - £32k

    £27000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - near S...

    Recruitment Genius: Class 1 HGV Driver

    £23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This successful group of compan...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

    Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

    As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
    The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

    The Interview movie review

    You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
    Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

    How podcasts became mainstream

    People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

    Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
    Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

    A memorable year for science – if not for mice

    The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
    Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

    Christmas cocktails to make you merry

    Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
    5 best activity trackers

    Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

    Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
    Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

    Paul Scholes column

    It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
    Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

    Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

    2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas