A True Story About What Happened in Tehidy Woods – Do You Believe in Ghosts?

Fantasy Fiction The Peace of Elias cover 1 colour

Inspired by a strange experience

As I recently posted my latest 900 Club story, The Woods, on this blog, I thought it would be good to tell the true story that inspired it.

I think we were about 14 at the time. It was me, Justin, Ryan and Aaron. I had a two man dome tent which all four of us were going to sleep in. We were going to get a few beers and camp in the woods.

Tehidy woods is a strange place. There are a lot of ghost stories based there. It is next to the north cliffs, so you have the stories relating to smuggling and shipwrecks on the coast road with the woods on one side and the cliffs on the other. And you have all the stories about the woods themselves. Firstly, there is more then one story about people having hanged themselves there. Secondly, there was a derelict hospital there where I am told old or terminally ill people were sent to die, although I’m not sure what that hospital was actually for. There’s also a small lake with stories about people having drowned in it.

We set the tent up in early evening, in a clearing where my dad used to take me for picnics, and went walking in the woods. While were walking we heard loud noises in the woods. It sounded like people shouting. We thought there must be a bunch of lads up from Portreath or Illogan, pissed up or something, so we ran back to the tent in case they nicked all our stuff. But we couldn’t see anyone and the noise died down so we thought they must have been passing through and we had missed them.

We sat down in the clearing drank a couple of beers and eventually, after it got dark, we crashed out in the tent. I think it must have been about two or three o’clock in the morning, we were woken by the same noise we had heard earlier. It sounded like a lot of people, shouting and talking. We could also hear dogs and what sounded like a hunting horn. When I opened my eyes there were shadows on the tent of what looked like men with axes. Six of them – two on either side and one at the front, one at the back.

We all woke up at the same time and we all saw and heard the same things – all four of us. The noise grew louder and there was also the sound of horses’ hooves and dogs and at one point I heard a carriage go past. Ryan was the hard one out of the four of us, he was never afraid of anything or anyone. He decided there were people outside and he was going to go and kick off. But I knew they were not living people, I could feel it. I think Justin and Aaron could as well because they, like me, were too scared to leave their sleeping bags. Ryan was gone for a few minutes. When he came back he was very pale. He looked terrified and said there was nothing there, just darkness, even though we could still see and hear it all from inside the tent.

We just hid in our sleeping bags. I’m not sure how long it went on for but we must have eventually fallen asleep. The next morning we discussed it and we all had the same memories of the night before. When we told everyone in school, they all wanted to camp there. We went along with them but were too scared to stay the night. As we were walking out past the old hospital in the dark, a night warden/security type bloke was doing his patrol on his bike. He looked frightened. He said, “You’re not staying in the woods, are you? There’s something in those woods and I don’t know what it is. Don’t stay in there at night.” I don’t know if he was winding us up or just saying it to scare us off but I thought he looked genuinely scared.

I’ve always found Tehidy Woods to be a very special place during the daylight hours. Perhaps it is because I have a lot of good memories there from my childhood – running around with my dog and picnics with my parents and my brothers – but it has a tranquil, spiritual feel. This probably sounds silly but at night it seems to take on a more sinister presonality.

You can say what you like about the stories about Tehidy Woods, the North Cliffs and the old hospital. You can say it is all nonsense, places like that breed silly stories. It is true that Cornwall is a place with a lot folklore and many of the stories are clearly ridiculous. It is a tradition I suppose.

But what we saw and heard was real. We weren’t on any hallucinogenics, we weren’t smoking anything, all we had a was couple of beers, and we all saw exactly the same thing. I can’t really explain it, but it happened. The memory is still clear in my mind. I was crapping myself at the time but it has inspired a lot of my writing. There are supernatural elements in The Best Weapon and Sorrow which I’m not sure I would have written if it hadn’t been for that night, and I feel that when I write anything dark and eery, I am writing from first hand experience, not just from horror films or books.

The Woods is my most recent short story, posted on this blog and on the 900 Club. The Peace of Elias is a supernatural fantasy tale also inspired by that strange night in the woods, and is free this Saturday and Sunday on Amazon, so please check it out if you haven’t already.

I would appreciate your thoughts on this post. Do you believe in ghosts? The afterlife? Have you ever experienced anything similar?


15 thoughts on “A True Story About What Happened in Tehidy Woods – Do You Believe in Ghosts?

  1. Hello again Maria,

    Thank you for your second comment, as you said you would prefer it not to be published I have not approved it, so it will not show here. I appreciate your response to my question though. Thanks so much for your time and for sharing your story with me.

    Martin (Bolton)

  2. I believe TB sufferers were sent there too which obviously in those days meant waiting for them to die and they may have even buried some of them there, I have been there in the evening in winter when i was younger with a torch and nothing untoward happened although this was nearer to East Lodge. I agree it is very spiritual feeling.

  3. I used to be a painter and decorator and the 1st job I had was to decorate the stable block next to the hospital that had just been turned to flats. The Hospital is definetly haunted not sure about the woods surrounding it but it does have a very eerie feel to it as soon as the sun goes down

  4. Thanks for your comments folks, it is nice to hear what others have experienced and how they interpreted it. I don’t know if I believe in “ghosts” or not, I just know what I saw, heard and felt, and there is definitely something strange there. Something outside my understanding.

  5. I know that years ago people who contracted TB were sent t Tehidy Hospital, I suppose it was a kind of quarantine, some recovered, My Mums cousin was there with Tb and recovered from it..

  6. My mum worked as an auxiliary nurse on Ward One (geriatric) during the early 1970s. The lodge and park gates used to terrify me when drove up the park drive to the hospital. Stories of hearing a baby crying in extreme distress and the smell of smoke were very common among the otherwise very grounded nursing staff (Tehidy House burnt down in 1916 and I believe one of the Basset children died). Other places you may be interested in is the former Home of the Epiphany nursing home in St Agnes and Barncoose Hospital (former workhouse), both of which were notorious for unexplained happenings.

  7. Martin, very interested in your experience. I have been doing a little reserch myself in to illogan woods as me, my brother and a friend had a similar experience there. i have actually had two experiences in illogan woods. i should point out that used to live in the old school house illogan.
    Partly because of these experiences and others i am now part of a paranormal investigation group, paranormal hysteria.

    I would be greatly interested to know whether you know of any strange things happening there? or if you have heard any stories about illogan woods?

    I now live in the cotswolds but will be visiting cornwalll this week, in part to carry out an investegation in to the woods. we done a couple of hours there and you can see this on our website. something you said made a lot of sence to me!, by day illongan is a beautiful woodland but a totally different place when its dark! you made reference to this te tehidy?

    Anyhow any information would be greatly appreciated.

    Mickie, paranormal hysteria.

      • Thanks Mickie, what you do sounds interesting. I’ve heard stories about Illogan Woods as well as Tehidy but I can’t remember any off the top of my head! I can’t see your email above though, otherwise I’d let you know if anything comes back to me. I would also be interested to hear about your experiences in Illogan.


      • Hi Martin,
        Thank you getting back. My email is interiorworx@btinternet.com. http://www.paranormalhysteria.co.uk.

        We did our investigation in to illogan woods and not only did we get our best evps ever but also caught a stone being lobbed past us in to the water where the path crosses over.
        Video will be on youtube in a week or so.
        Illogan is haunted!,, amongst our evps we had one where we asked how many there were with us and after some time got a response that said, three! we picked up a deep mans voice clearly saying my name and the creepiest wisper of a womans voice in response to a Question i was asking team member Steve!
        There are a few to listen to.
        We are now planning a visit to tehidy woods, in particular the area where you had your experience? Would be great to have an idea of location or grid ref?
        Please feel free to email direct.

        Cheers Martin.


  8. Hi Martin, when you get a minute and if interested take a look at paranormalhysteria.co.uk where you can look and listen to some of our evidence caught in illogan woods.
    Thought i would let you know.

    Cheers. Mickie.

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