Illustrated Ghost Stories 2. The Screaming Skull of Burton Agnes Hall


For the second video I covered the bizarre phenomenon of Screaming Skulls. A distinctly English folklore there are tales of human skulls the owners of which have requested them to remain in the places they inhabited in life. It’s believed to be linked to Celtic beliefs about the importance of the head. Some believed the skulls to be a good luck heirloom to be passed down for generations to ensure the fortune of the family. In this video we looked at three tales of screaming skulls.

Anne Griffith, The Screaming Skull of Burton Agnes Hall 

Katherine ‘Anne’ Griffith was the youngest of three sisters living at Burton Agnes Hall, East Riding of Yorkshire. Daughters of Sir Henry Griffith, Anne was besotted with the building her father had done. She believed it to be the most beautiful house ever built. One day not long after the completion of the work Anne fell victim of a violent mugging, less than a mile from their home. Anne was brought home to the hall suffering from a blow to the head sustained during the attack. She asked her sisters to promise her that once she died they would remove her head from her body and keep it within the walls of the home she loved so much. Days after the attack, poor Anne died of her injuries. However the sisters broke their promise and Anne’s body was buried whole in the churchyard 

A week after Anne’s funeral the first strange occurrence was reported. A loud crash was heard in the hall, like that of a large piece of furniture falling over. On investigation no source of the noise could be found. A week later doors were heard banging violently throughout the home but immediately ceased upon investigation. After this many strange sounds were heard at the hall. Footsteps hurrying up and down the corridors. An unseen figure ascending and descending the stairs quickly. The inhabitants of the hall had become greatly unnerved by the occurrences.

A Grisly Sight

The sisters remembered their sister’s dying promise that they had broken and hastened to make good their word. Anne’s casket was exhumed and within lay a grisly sight. Her head had inexplicably removed itself completely from her body. Her body remained preserved and yet her head was withered and almost completely skull like. This strange sight convinced the sisters that Anne was the source of the strange goings on at the hall. They returned her body to the home and fulfilled their sisters dying wish.

From this day on whenever the skull was removed from the hall, more bizarre experiences were recorded. One tale accounts a maid throwing the skull from a window where it landed on a manure load below. To the shock of the maid and the Waggoner the horses pulling the load refused to move, despite all efforts, until the skull was removed. On one occasion some time later the skull was removed and buried in the garden by the hall’s current occupiers. A terrible wailing and screaming was heard throughout the property until the skull was brought back indoors. It is said tat Anne’s skull remains at Burton Agnes Hall, hidden within a wall so as not to scare visitors. 

As always you can find the Illustrated Ghost Story Videos on my Youtube channel and can support the project through my Patreon page.

Illustrated Ghost Story 1: The Gray Man


I thought it might be nice to start adding the stories that I’ve been covering on the blog so you guys can revisit them in the written format if it takes your fancy.

The first video tells the tale of The Gray Man of Bellister Castle. It is said that the ghost of the Gray Man wanders the grounds of Bellister Castle in Northumberland at twilight. An elderly man in tattered robes with a gruesome gash from forehead to chin and a bloody beard. A vision feared by all that has been suggested to sometimes be an omen of death.

The Tale of the Gray Man

The tale of the Gray Man begins on a stormy night at the castle. The Blenkinsops occupied the castle for some centuries. On this night an old minstrel arrived seeking refuge from the storm outside. He was granted refuge, but as the night wore on Lord Blenkinsop grew paranoid. He suspected that his unannounced visitor was a spy for his enemies. After entertaining his hosts the minstrel noted the change in the Lord’s demeanour towards him. He sensed that his welcome had taken an icy turn. The monsters decided that the cold of the storm outside was preferable to the frozen welcome of his host and fled the castle during the night.

A Grisly Demise 

Unfortunately for our poor minstrel, the Lord took his flight as an admission of guilt. Where the minstrel sensed danger and fled the Lord only saw a guilty conscience returning to the ones who had sent him. Enraged, the Lord set the dogs and his men on the poor elderly man. Accounts differ as to whether the minstrel was savagely torn to pieces by the Lord’s dogs, or that the dogs merely halted the man’s escape following which the Lord’s men captured him and hanged him from a nearby tree.

It has been some decades since a sighting of the Gray Man has been reported, and perhaps the Minstrel has found peace at last.As always you can find the Illustrated Ghost Story Videos on my Youtube channel and can support the project through my Patreon page.