Spooky stories on Brownsea Island
A creaking branch, a snapping twig, or one of Brownsea's past inhabitants?
Walking through the woodland on a chilly autumn evening as the sea mist rolls in through the dark, it is easy for your imagination to wander. Those eyes you can see peering back at you from the darkness, are they the eyes of weary drowned smugglers looking for their lost treasure on the island, or just the Sika deer out for an evening stroll? The heavy footsteps pacing up and down on the decking at the Outdoor Centre, could they be those of the Roman Legionaries that were once stationed in the area, or perhaps those of peacocks looking for any remaining crumbs from the summer visitors.
Some visitors have reported seeing a boy in a strange outfit on the campsite in the evening. Sometimes he asks for direction to the farm to collect the milk for his family or sometimes he is just seen passing through.
Island residents also have some stories to share, from shadows passing the living room door to footsteps in the hallway upstairs and even one report of the sound of breathing in the night. Could it be the monks that once lived on the island and who are now buried under some of the staff housing?
From 1901-1925 the island was ownder by Charles and Florence van Raalte and the village of Maryland was a hive of activity with families living and working on the island. The cottages had beautiful gardens full of fruit trees and vegetables and it is rumoured that the gardeners still tend to their fruit trees as to this day the trees still bear fruit.
The Castle on the island has seen many owners come and go, many with a sad ending to their time on Brownsea Island. Colonel Waugh and his wife allegedly fled to Spain to escape mounting debts from their failed pottery business, Sir Augustus Foster who took his own life after a bout of delirium and Mrs Bonham Christie who, afer living a reclusive life, was taken off the island by St John's ambulance at the age of 96 and died that day. Many people have reported strange happenings in the castle and castle grounds, from rattling beds to footsteps on the stairs and even seeing a forlorn Mrs Bonham Christie looking out of an upstairs window.