The screaming skull

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screaming skull
The screaming skull

Bettiscombe Manor, a manor house in the village, is known as “The House of the Screaming Skull” due to a legend dating from the 17th century. Other ghost stories are also associated with the manor.
Legend has it that the skull is that of a Jamaican slave. John Frederick Pinney disposed of the Nevis estates and returned to the family home of Bettiscombe Manor in the early nineteenth century, accompanied by one of the family’s faithful black servants. While in his master’s service, the servant was taken seriously ill with suspected tuberculosis. As he lay dying, the servant swore that he would never rest unless his body was returned to his homeland of Nevis. When he eventually died, John Frederick Pinney refused to pay for such an expensive burial and had the body interred, against the servant’s dying wish in the grounds of St. Stephen’s Church cemetery. After the burial, permissive ill fortune plagued the village for many months and continuous screams and crying could be heard coming from the cemetery. Other disturbances were reported from the manor house; windows would rattle when there was no wind and doors slam of their own accord. The villagers could not take much more and went to the manor to seek advice. The body of the servant was subsequently exhumed and the body taken to the manor house. In the process of time the skeleton has long since vanished, except for the skull where it has remained in the house.

Over the years many attempts to get rid of the skull have been made only to find soon after it’s removal that screams and other strange phenomena would soon follow it’s removal and not cease until it was placed back inside the manor. One instance the skull was thrown into the depths of a nearby pond, by a resident of the manor – he was said to be so appalled by the appearance of the skull that he immediately ran outside and threw it into the local pond. The resident was trouble by screams and moans all night long and the next day quickly retrieved the skull and replaced it back inside the manor where it resided for a while nice and quietly. The owners of Bettiscombe manor are now never bother by the skull – they of course never remove it from it’s home in a box in a bureau drawer.

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