According to local legend, for over 300 years a small village in South Somerset has been terrorized by one of the many “screaming skulls” haunted across the UK. Chilton Cantelo near Yeovil is said to house a supernatural human skull that wreaks havoc when someone tries to move it.
The “screaming skulls” are a particular legend found only in the British Isles, with well-recorded examples of at least six other equally terrifying skulls spread across England. The haunted skull of Chilton Cantelo is a real human skull, that of Théophile Brome, who died in the village in 1670.
It is kept in a wooden wall cabinet at Higher Chilton Farm in the village, and strange consequences are said to have occurred to anyone who tried to move it from the farm. Some stories even say that the skull “screams” when moved, hence its name.
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Why the Creepy Haunted Skull is Kept on the Farm
During the English Civil War, Theophilus Brome had originally been a staunch royalist. However, he became so appalled at the way the king’s troops treated their prisoners that he defected to the Roundheads.
After the war ended and King Charles II was restored to the throne, Theophilus lived quietly at Higher Chilton Farm with his sister. But he feared that when he died, his head would be exhumed and publicly exposed as a traitor to the king.
Therefore, Théophile made his sister promise that her skull would be kept in the house forever. This promise his sister tried to keep.
When he died, his head was removed from his body and kept in the house, and the rest of his body was buried in a crypt under the village church. It is reported that during the restoration works of the church, his tomb was opened and Theophilus’ skull was found missing.
An image of a skull Weird and scary consequences for anyone who moves the scary skull
Eventually Théophile’s sister died and the farm has since had several different owners. It is reported that several attempts have been made over the years to either get rid of the skull or move it, but each time this has been done, “the most frightening screams” have been heard in the house accompanied by poltergeist activity. .
The haunting is well documented and a manuscript from the farm is said to contain written accounts from a number of people who have attested to the phenomena leading to an attempt to move the macabre object. The story was first recorded in 1791 by John Collinson in History and Antiquities of the County of Somerset. Mr Collinson wrote: ‘If withdrawn it made horrible noises indicative of sad displeasure.’
In a recent Scientific Study of Anomalous Phenomena webinar, Caroline McKendrick said: “Since the death of Theophilus, there have been many attempts to move the skull back into the rest of its remains, and simply the removed from the farm by subsequent owners, but was soon returned to its resting place inside the farm.
“When the skull is removed, poltergeist activity is said to have occurred, and a man is said to have died after being hit in the head by falling slates from the roof of the Chapel Church as he attempted to bury the relic on the church grounds.The last time the skull was removed from the farm was in 1770, when a church gardener believed he was doing the right thing by attempting to put the skull back. skull in the ground, giving it a proper burial.
“The story goes that just as he was finishing digging, his spade broke in two. He saw this as a bad omen and took the skull back to the farm. John Collinson, in his 1791 book, refers to this incident as a probable final attempt to bury the skull.”
Caroline McKendrick added: “Another author, Peter Underwood, said in his book Ghosts of Somerset in 1985 that since the last attempted burial there have been occasions when the skull has been treated with disrespect. He wrote that in 1826, during structural alterations to the farm, workers took turns using the skull as a mug for their beer, passing it from person to person.
“As a result of this, nothing untoward was reported, suggesting that only the removal or attempted burial of the skull could cause paranormal phenomena.
“But on the other hand, in 1977, researchers examined the skull – two of them moved it with their bare hands and were heard making jokes about it and questioning the authenticity of the legend When the two men left to return to London, one of them thought he had seen a car with bright headlights coming towards him, so he swerved and crashed his car and he was injured.
“The other man was badly burned when he dropped a cigarette in the creases of his trouser leg. A much more sinister version of the events in this story was given by author Richard Pidgley, when he said the man involved in the traffic accident was in fact killed.”
Caroline McKendrick claims the current farm owner still keeps the skull in the building to this day. Although it is never moved.
‘Screaming skulls’ across England
There are seven well-documented examples of “screaming skulls” across England.
They are located at:
Bettiscombe Manor, Bettiscombe, Bridport, Dorset
Burton Agnes, Driffield, East Yorkshire
Calgarth Hall, Windermere, Cumbria
Upper Chilton Farm, Chilton Cantelo, Somerset
Tunstead Farm, Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire
Warbleton Priory ruin , Rushlake Green, Heathfield, East Sussex
Wardley Hall, Worsley, Greater Manchester
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This notice was published: 2022-04-12 23:00:00