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by , SmarterTravel Staff - October 31, 2009
England, Cumbria: Gosforth Hall Inn

Gosforth Hall Inn

Built in 1658 by Robert Copley, who was suspected of being a Roman Catholic at a time when that meant death, the Gosforth Hall Inn has long been a sanctuary for lost souls. The inn may not publicly advertise its uninvited guests, but the owners are happy to share their experiences if asked.

And there's plenty to talk about. Some guests have seen curtains billow in a room with no wind, felt the playful presence of a child, and even met apparitions in their rooms at night.

Room 11 is not only the biggest room at the inn, but it's also the most popular for otherworldly sightings. The room has what people believe to be a priest's hole (a hiding place for priests during the Roman Catholic persecution). At night, guests have woken to see a man dressed as a monk or friar, sitting next to the hole. Another guest once encountered a little old lady wearing an off-white dress and hair pulled back into a bun floating above the floor by the window, who vanished the moment the guest spoke.

There's also the tale that Copley built the upper stories from the timbers of ship wrecks found along the Irish coast. The story goes that the timbers groan in anguish for the men whose final moments were spent clinging to their sturdy wood before the sea claimed their lives. Visitors who listen carefully just might hear a few final pleas for help.

Basic rooms start at £80 (about $115 U.S.; check XE.com for current exchange rates) per night, and include breakfast.

(Photo: Gosforth Hall Inn)

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