Elsewhere on the Enfield Haunting website, we explored the Aokigahara forest, otherwise known as the Suicide Forest. That creepy plot of land earns the title of the most haunted forest in the world. But it’s possible that you’ve heard stories of Epping Forest.
Epping Forest, like Aokigahara, is known to be haunted. This 5,900 acre woods is the scene of stories involving witchcraft, murder and even battles. So it’s no wonder the locals claim it’s haunted. Read on to find out everything you need to know about Epping Forest.
If you were to search Epping Forest on a map, you’d see not only a plot of land with a rich wooded landscape, but you’d also discover that there’s a community which surrounds it. Epping Forest is a market town where thousands of visitors flock each year. Those visitors enjoy the “flea market” type shops, the historical reenactments and the steam engine tours.
But within the district lies the forest itself. This forest is steeped in history, and is famous for alleged ghost sightings. People have claimed to be pushed or shoved within the woods. The ghost of Boudicca, the Queen of the Iceni tribe has been spotted. And a mysterious ghost rider has been seen as well. He sits atop a black horse wearing a tricorn hat and a cape.
Other, less commonly spotted ghosts have been reported at Epping Forest. A headless horseman has been seen riding through the woods. A young girl, whose death appears to have been a drowning, has been seen. And a biker and a horse-drawn carriage are sometimes seen in the woods.
Epping Forest is arguably the most haunted forest in the UK, and one of the most haunted forests in the world. But the reason for this isn’t necessarily the forest’s ghosts. It’s Hangman Hill.
Hangman Hill, Epping Forest
There are dozens of restless spirits which are said to roam the woods within Epping Forest. But it would seem that there’s a ghost who is most vengeful. The identity of this spirit is unclear; what’s apparent is the harm he intends to cause.
When visitors park at the base of Hangman Hill, located within the forest, they’re surprised at the phenomenon. After shifting their vehicles to neutral, they begin to feel the car move – they’re rolling uphill.
Some visitors claim that when their vehicle reached the top of the hill, the car simple stopped, still pointed uphill. The locals believe that these vehicles are being dragged uphill by the spirit of a hangman. That hangman had dragged criminals to the noose centuries ago.
You may have heard of the Highwayman. Dick Turpin was an English criminal who lived in the early part of the 18th century. At the beginning of his criminal career, Turpin was known for more petty crimes, like shooting chickens. As time went on, his crimes became more severe, such as robbery and rape.
Though legends would have it that Dick Turpin was a highwayman, he more frequently broke into farmhouses and committed his robberies from homes local to Epping Forest.
Dick Turpin’s was executed by hanging in 1739. He was to be hanged, but the Highwayman made such an ordeal of his own death that it was almost spectacular. Marched through the streets of York, Turpin bowed to onlookers. A troupe of hired mourners followed the man to the gallows, where it’s reported that he jumped to his own death.
Turpin’s Cave was a known hideout for Dick Turpin, the most famous Highwayman in history. Visitors to Epping Forest say that the cave is still a hideaway for the criminal – his ghost has been seen here on more than a dozen occasions.
Epping Forest has several small bodies of water. And many of them are said to be haunted. For example, there’s the drowned girl mentioned previously; she doesn’t linger at the water, but instead roams the forest.
Around 300 years ago, a young couple fell in love. Unfortunately, that was a relationship which wasn’t meant to be. Societal obligations kept them apart until ultimately they committed suicide together in Epping Forest.
Now known as the Suicide Pool, the water is now murky and dark. No birds sing there and no animals visit the lake. Visitors who visit Epping Forest claim that the pond draws them in, and they feel a pull to commit suicide themselves. Throughout history, suicides have been committed at the pond, including a woman who killed herself and her young child.
The Suicide Pool isn’t marked on a map. There was a contest about 50 years ago in which contestants were challenged to find the pond. One woman claimed to know the location, but refused to tell. She said the pool was “evil beyond measure.”
Tours of Epping Forest
But creating your own tour of Epping Forest is actually easy to do. In fact, you can start off in Enfield, the home of Janet Hodgson. Epping Forest is only 15 miles from the site of the alleged Enfield haunting.
Maps of the forest are available at the official website, and you can check out the landmarks on those maps. There are, of course, popular tourist spots. You can rent a boat on the lake or you can visit tourist attractions like Loughton Camp or Connaught Water.
But don’t be afraid to explore Epping Forest. Some of the more haunted spots aren’t marked; you’ll have to walk the forest to find them. Take your own, unguided tour of Epping Forest and you just might spot the ghost of Dick Turpin or feel your car rolling uphill.