The Ghosts of St Osyth Cage
St Osyth in Essex, England, is a town that has long been captivated by the idea of witchcraft and magic. This small quaint village that rests on the East Coast of England was once filled with cunning witches guilty of poisoning wells, causing warts and bringing about love spells – but it was also a place where many innocent people were wrongly accused and executed for crimes they did not commit. Welcome to the world of Essex witches, a mythical and mysterious history that is steeped in witchcraft and famous for the execution of several hundred people who were falsely accused as witches. Many of these witches were killed on the same site on St Osyth beach, where the cage once stood.
The cage was a large wooden structure about 19m by 10m (62 ft by 32 ft). The structure had been built out of wattle and daub with oak supports. The cage contained three rooms to imprison over 30 people all at once. The purpose of the cage was to keep those inside prisoner while they awaited their trials for their alleged crimes they were accused of carrying out through witchcraft. Its main purpose was to keep the witches away from the public eye and to keep them safe from harm by other prisoners who were also imprisoned in the cage. The only way into the cage was by way of a ladder.
In 1582, after one of many very large witch trials, it was reported that over 100 people had been executed in a single year. Many of these people were accused as witches and spent time inside the cage until their sentences had been passed on them. Many innocent people died inside its confines including old ladies, children and farmers were thrown in with murderers, thieves and even men accused of dealing with the devil.
The Ghosts At St Osyth The Cage
The previous owner of the cage, Vanessa Mitchell says “I was watching TV and then a man with long, black, scraggly hair and wrinkles on his face appeared.
“He wasn’t old, the wrinkles were just because of his skin. He had really deep laughter lines. But he felt nice and I wasn’t terrified.
“The TV kept going up and down and there was activity before he turned up.”
Not long after moving into the house, two of Vanessa’s friends came to visit.
She said: “One was a sergeant major in the army and one was an NHS worker. They came in and sat downstairs on the sofa and Neil said ‘where’s all that blood come from?’
“I just ignored him. But he said ‘you need to come and have a look at this’. There were blood splatters all over the hall floor.
“Maybe 20 or 30 droplets on the floor, it wasn’t smeared. Neil was asking if a window was open and if a cat had brought something in, or if a bird had flown in. He was a solider so he was trying to work this out.
“My friend Kirsty had a go at him and said ‘he’s a trained solider, he knows he shouldn’t touch blood without gloves’. It was blood.”
In 2007, Vanessa had her first child, Jesse, but they lived together in the property for less than a year because she said it wasn’t safe for her son.
“I isolated myself in one room and I was terrified of the house,” she said.
“I was in bed with Jesse when I heard something coming up the stairs.
“The latch on the door was smashing up and down. You know when people say they can feel their heart coming out of their chest? I now know what that feels like.”
Things kept happening. Figures in the house, doors slamming, things appearing in different rooms.
But there was one incident that forced her to leave, for good.
“At the bottom of the stairs you have to open a door to get up which has a little latch,” Vanessa explained.
“It would always open and slam.
“This happened three years after moving in. Jesse had all these toys and I went downstairs to do some ironing. I was just living in my bedroom completely at this stage.
“I went to do the ironing in the prison room and Jesse’s Thomas the Tank Engine toy turned itself on and started chugging around my feet.
“I ran to the stairs where you have to open the door and there was a man standing at the top. He had a white shirt and chinos on, he wasn’t from the old days.
“I decided after that incident to move out, and this was in the spring of 2008. So many things happened over those three years.”
“I rented the house out to two tenants, one stayed for three months and one stayed for five months. They said exactly the same thing, that it was haunted.