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A Dead Duke In The Lyndhurst Park Hotel


Back in the 1970's I was living in Southampton, England, and working as builder. It was a good time for me; I was earning enough money, had a good set of mates, and no family relying on me. I was young and free and enjoying life.

My experience with the supernatural goes back to that time. I was on a building project in a village in the New Forest called Lyndhurst, and we were working on extending an old hotel (the Lyndhurst Park Hotel). It had just had new owners and they wanted to give it a revamp to go with its new name (I'd always known it as The Grand).

Right from the start something felt wrong. Whenever you went on site you got the feeling that you weren't supposed to be there, like someone didn't want you there. You'd feel freezing cold even though it was a hot, sunny day; you'd forget things, get confused. A lot of the others said they saw a face watching them from a window in the empty hotel, but I never did see it myself. For me it was mainly the feelings at first.

The hotel is right on the High Street so it's in full view of whoever wants to look. Quite often passersby would hang about and watch us work, and a lot of the locals would make a habit of it (a lot of them less than happy with the extension to the property).

After a while me and the rest began to notice a particular old man staring up at us watching, always on his own, and usually after the light had started to go. He was certainly memorable as his clothes were strange and very old fashioned, almost like he was in a costume, but subtle. A few times we tried to go down to talk to him, but by the time we got there he was always gone.

Anyway, it was when I was checking on the electrics in an older part of the hotel that I had the encounter. I was in a long corridor and saw a figure at the other end. When I called to him I saw it was the old man, so I challenged him, saying he shouldn't be in here.

"You should not be here," he replied.

"Come on mate."

"Who are you and why are you here?"

"I'm a builder, you have to go."

"I am Duke Stackpole, and you have to go."

At this point I tried to touch him, to urge him out. When I did my whole arm went numb and ice cold, I got this sharp pain in my head, and everything started spinning. The man seemed to grow, and his eyes got bigger and bigger until they filled everything. I woke up to a couple of the other guys over me, asking if I was ok. It was an hour later, and I had a splitting headache. I got checked out by a doctor but he couldn't explain it. When I eventually told some of the others about it, a couple of them told me about similar experiences they'd had (which I won't share, as they aren't my stories to tell).

About twenty years later I came to the Lyndhurst Park Hotel to stay for a couple of nights, on a weekend holiday to the New Forest. The feeling I had going in there was very strange. I had a restless night and couldn't sleep, so I got up to go and get a night cap from the bar. I opened the door of my room, looked down the corridor, and standing at the end of it, just standing there and watching me, was the old man. Exactly as he was twenty years ago. I stared at him, backed off back into my room, packed and left that night.

I haven't been back to Lyndhurst since. I got talking to a local historian in the Hobbit Pub in Southampton a couple of years ago, and after a few Guinnesses I related my stories. Apparently Duke Stackpole had lived and died there in the early 1800's, back when it was a mansion called Glasshayes. According to him, the builders who first worked on turning the place into a hotel would see his ghost regularly, starting fires and telling them to leave. According to local stories, once a year on the anniversary of his death music can be heard in parts of the house, and anyone who finds its source is whisked away to join the Duke's dance of the dead.

Those are the stories, anyway, and I can't account for any but my own. The one thing I do know is that I won't be returning in a hurry to investigate.

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Comments about this paranormal experience

The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, MDaviesEndrol, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will participate in the discussion and I need help with what I have experienced.

roylynx (guest)
8 years ago (2016-06-21)
Wow! Thank you very much for sharing this encounter!
So until today, Duke Stackpole is still wondering in the building? That is awesome!
I have heard that spirits can take as long as 400 years to disappear (pass away to the other side).
We still have 200 more years to be able to experience that! Another place for me to go in the future, when there is a chance! I hope you are OK now.

Blessing from São Paulo

OksanasPole (3 posts)
8 years ago (2016-06-20)
Wow, that was a close encounter of the first kind when he actually touched you!
Tweed (33 stories) (2475 posts)
8 years ago (2016-06-18)
Oh yeah, it was about the wiki article it says:

"...some of his paintings are held today in the Wallace Collection, London."

Not sure if that means his portraits or not, but you could always give them a call and ask. Or just drop in, admission is free, gotta love that.
Tweed (33 stories) (2475 posts)
8 years ago (2016-06-18)
Hi again MDavies,
Just wanted to leave you a link to another member's experience, which describes a similar painful sensation. Not sure if you really want to 'relive' it through someone else's experience, but sometimes it helps knowing we're not alone in some weird as heck encounter. Linky:

Uhh there was something else but it's escaped me.

I agree with Manafon, you ought to give those 'British Society of Psychical Research' folks a call. 😊
Manafon1 (6 stories) (712 posts)
8 years ago (2016-06-17)
Hi MDaviesEndrol-- I found your account very interesting. Of particular note is when you mention trying to touch the figure. You state that your arm went numb and became ice cold, this was then followed by a sharp pain in your head and the room spinning before you blacked out. These elements do seem to strongly suggest some form of a mental connection between you and the apparition of the Duke. This mental or telepathic connection is made even stronger when you state the man seemed to grow and his eyes appeared to get bigger and bigger until they "filled everything." You also state you felt a sharp pain in your head after attempting to touch the figure and woke up with a splitting headache.

A Dr. Arthur Guirdham believed that, "attacks of migraine in people so disposed can be precipitated by extra sensory perception of a telepathic nature." Although Dr. Guirdham stresses that most migraines are indeed not related to anything paranormal there is evidence to suggest they sometimes could be. The numbness you felt (referred to as paraesthesia), is something noted in people suffering from migraine. The paraesthesia you mention in your account is of special note, "The patient may have numbness and tingling of one side of the face, one side of the tongue and one arm. This occurs sometimes in what is called sensory migraine, where these symptoms, together with eye disturbance, are the main symptoms... These auras are vibratory experiences. Vibratory perceptions of this nature are, in the presence of other symptoms of ESP, to be regarded as psychic." In other words your experience seems like a very fine example of a telepathic communication with a somewhat tetchy spirit.

In the wikepedia link on the Duke that Tweed included in her comment, it states that builders working on the site (of the Lyndhurst Park Hotel) first in the early 20th century and then again in the 1970s were berated and sometimes even attacked for disturbing the Duke's "property." I have to say that your experience, with all the subtle bits of detail you provided, certainly does suggest you had an intense run in with the ill tempered Duke. This intensity is clear when you state you actually passed out. This really does not only suggest a powerful telepathic link but an unfriendly and powerful one at that. I would urge you, if you haven't already, to contact the British Society of Psychical Research and give them your account. Your attention to detail is exactly what they hope for in their case study reports.

Thanks for sharing your fascinating encounter. I can understand why you have no desire to return to the hotel. Hopefully you can appreciate that you experienced a rare interaction with a spirit and even though it wasn't a pleasant one can, in some small way, consider yourself lucky to have had it. These brief interactions with "the other side" just don't happen with such detail (including words exchanged) every day. Man, I can just visualize those eyes of the Duke getting bigger and bigger. Great account.
Tweed (33 stories) (2475 posts)
8 years ago (2016-06-17)
Hi MDavies,

You selected the need help option so I found this and figure it's the ghost in question:
No paintings or likeness representations unfortunately.

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