Dickinson College Humanities Program in Norwich

“All Those Who Wish to Walk the Corridor of Death, Queue Over Here”

May 11, 2010 · No Comments

Originally, I expected this tour to consist of only a very limited number of people. Maybe it would just be myself and my friend Jimmy, whom I had recruited to join me. This was a rather large worry for me for some reason, maybe I didn’t want to be seen as the dork that I am. But once Jimmy and I had made the trek to the Adam and Eve pub, I began to worry that maybe I had actually gotten the date wrong and there was no tour. We went in and asked the bar tender who assured us that it was in fact still on. Jimmy reasonably asked “how will we know who the tour guide is?” The bar tender literally laughed in our faces and said “you’ll just know”.  And he was not wrong. The “Man in Black” was just that, a man in all black with a red tie, skull-topped cane, and top hat. I liked him immediately.  After we’d paid, I realized that A LOT more people had joined us. Final head count: 45 people even. 10 kids (8 girls, 2 boys) and about an equal number of adult men and women. This was turning out much, much better than I expected. I was about to begin conducting another interview when I was cut off by the Man in Black who yelled over everyone (direct quote here) “All those who wish to walk the corridor of death, please queue over here”.  So Jimmy and I gathered around our tour guide who began the tour by telling us that he himself was a ghost who had died in 1875 (totally cheesy, totally awesome). He also set a few records straight, stating that all of the stories are historically true on this walk and that he himself has sifted through the legends and histories. He also advised us to not harass the ghosts if we happen to “feel” them. (OK…what!?) The Man in Black began the tour by discussing the significance of the Adam and Eve pub which was established in 1549. Essentially this pub is haunted by a General who received a mortal wound near the Great Hospital and was rushed back to the pub where he was pronounced dead shortly thereafter. As a side note: I won’t ruin the tour in case anyone is interested in taking it so if you want to find out just how our General received such a mortal wound, take the tour! Anyways, supposedly there are numerous stories about strange occurrences within the Adam & Eve. Tappings, tugging on hair, blood dripping from the walls, and unnatural cold spells. We then proceeded to walked past Gerald’s Factory located along the river and our tour guide continued to explain the historical significance of the area. As we were standing there along the water one of the girls pointed out a figure in the bushes which turned out to be a really uncoordinated and conspicuous “ghost” who was attempting to hide from us. This marked the beginning of a serious of unfortunate failures from this particular “ghost”. Deciding that his jig was up, he sort of jumped out at us awkwardly and simply walked away. Obviously this little hiccup in the coordinated act even confused the Man in Black, who at this point started laughing.

We continued on to Tombland where enormous holes were dug to place thousands of bodies. There are seven total in Norwich and six are located right in Tombland. Altogether approximately 22,000 corpses were laid to rest there. Tombland was not named for these massive graves however, and it is simply a coincidence that the tombs were placed there. In the medieval time, Tombland was the most open space available within the area to place the bodies. From there we continued to the Cathedral where a few interesting things happened at once. We learned about the various ghosts that haunt that area, and ghost haunting that continued to happen through as recently as 1952. The most important thing to note here, is that each of these stories describes true historical events that have withstood the test of time. They simultaneously encourage people to preserve and invest interest in their own history. So as I was nerding out and thinking about how well all of all of these things tied into my paper, I heard a TERRYFYING scream. And I mean like an ear-splitting, bone chilling, screech. Jimmy jumped about 50 feet in the air and yelled “WHAT THE FU…” We both had gotten entirely surprised by a new “ghost” that was supposed to represent the “girl in grey” who had been sentenced to death by the Bishop. This particular “ghost” had selected Jimmy and I to scare, and she did so skilfully by screaming right behind us. Everyone else laughed, but I think Jimmy might have had a massive heart attack…So anyways the story behind the girl in grey is another incredibly interesting tale, so I’m going to make another shameless plug here and ask you guys to all take the walk with the Man in Black. After that little episode, the Man in Black continued to take us to several other locations with equally interesting stories, which ironically really brings each of the locations to life. As we began to wrap up the tour, which was about 3 hours long, I felt confident in the knowledge that I had acquired to represent Norwich’s ghost stories. If you want to learn more specifically about the history behind each location, then take the tour (or just read my final essay!).

Categories: Maddie · Uncategorized

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