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Observations placeholder

Dorothy Walpole - the Brown Lady



Type of Spiritual Experience

Inter composer communication

Number of hallucinations: 6


Raynham Hall is a country house in Norfolk UK.  For nearly 400 years it has been the seat of the Townshend family.

If we start first with the hallucination, it is largely an unresponsive replay of past events, as such it is a stored perception.  The memory of this lady appears to be imprinted in the stones of the building which are of Ketton stone an oolitic limestone and it has ben stored because her life was one of tragedy and appalling levels of high negative emotion.

For those getting the experiences one contributory factor appears to be lack of sleep!  In the case of the children, it was also because they were children, who are more sensitive to these sorts of things.    The house does not lie on any fault lines, thus earth movements and earth forces are not the cause of these experiences. 

But Raynham Hall is large with long corridors capable of setting up some impressive infrasound standing waves if infrasound is present.  If you look at observation 005005 you will see that the ghost here was caused by an infrasound standing wave and that the researcher says that “Long tubes such as corridors are ideal places for standing waves especially if they are closed at both ends. The resonant frequency of one person’s body parts would also be different from another so standing wave resonances may affect one individual but not another.”

So the main mechanism is stimulation via resonance

Raynham is full of just such long tubes.  The source of the infrasound – if infrasound it is – is not known from this extract, it could have been the wind itself coming from the Norfolk coast.  I have had to put this under ‘Going out in violent weather’ although going out is not strictly true – but it could well be the violent weather of the Norfolk coast sending infrasound wind through the house.

A description of the experience

From True Ghost stories by Gwladys Townsend of Raynham

 Dorothy Walpole, the sister of Sir Robert Walpole, married the second Viscount Townshend, but the marriage was an unhappy one and Dorothy’s sole interests in life were centred in her children, who remained at Raynham in charge of their grandmother, their mother for some reason having been deprived of any share in their upbringing…………

 …….. One of the best authenticated stories of her appearance was in 1849, when a large house-party met at Raynham as the guests of Lord Charles Townshend, who then owned the Great House - amongst them, Major and Mrs. Loftus, near relatives of the Townshends. 

Major Loftus, who had no use for the early-to-bed regime, preferred to interpret early  as a.m. and not p.m. sharing Tom Moore's belief that "the very best way to lengthen the day, is to steal a bit from the night, me dear”, and one particular dawn, when he was making his way upstairs after an all-night sitting, the friend who was with him drew his attention to a lady wearing a brown silk dress standing on the landing.

Ladies in early Victorian days were not in the habit of waiting up in the small hours, except to give their husbands curtain lectures, and as Major Loftus did not "belong" to this lady, he was naturally puzzled as to her identity; but when he hailed her, the Lady in the Brown Silk Dress vanished !

The next night, Major Loftus sat up to watch for the mysterious lady, who in due course made her appearance; and the Major, who was familiar with the geography of the Great House, determined to waylay her, cut off her retreat, and come face to face with her in a side passage.

His plan succeeded - and he encountered a handsome woman, dressed in brown - but, to his horror, two empty sockets represented the place where the eyes should have been.

The Major, who was able to see the ghost quite plainly by means of the lamp he was carrying, was so much impressed that, before meeting the house party at breakfast, he made an excellent sketch of the Brown Lady and passed it round in corroboration of his adventure, which inspired the guests to sit up night after night, facing the haunted staircase, hoping to see the ghost, who obstinately refused to show herself.

Unfortunately, when the story of the Brown Lady was thoroughly assimilated in the servants' hall, the entire staff gave notice; and although Lord Charles Townshend declared the ghost had appeared to him more than once in his bedroom, and the servant exodus having destroyed for the moment the amenities of life, he became suspicious that the Brown Lady was in the nature of some distasteful practical joke.

He determined to find out things for himself and he replaced his missing servants by a capable staff of detectives, who remained at Raynham for months on end without obtaining the smallest clue, either to the ghost or to the instigator of the suspected trickery, the case of the Brown Lady proving as elusive as any modern unsolved police mystery.

The Brown Lady continues to haunt Raynham, and she was seen quite recently by my brother-in-law’s (Mr. James Durham) sister, Mrs. Cyril Fitzroy, and her daughter, who, not being unduly troubled with flights of imagination, are reliable witnesses as to the actual existence of the family ghost.  Her last but one appearance was to no less a person than my son George, when, as a small boy he and Walter Rothermell, a little American friend, met a lady on the staircase who not only frightened but puzzled them, because, as George said, they could see through her.

The source of the experience

Ordinary person

Concepts, symbols and science items


Science Items

Activities and commonsteps