The Cage: The Britain's Most Haunted House

Located in St. Osyth in Essex, U.K., the building was recently placed on the market by owner Vanessa Mitchell; this is the third time that Mitchell has tried to sell The Cage since moving out in 2008, according to local news outlet The Clacton and Frinton Gazette. Mitchell reportedly fled the house and moved elsewhere after seeing "mysterious blood spatters" and being "physically attacked" by malevolent ghosts — one of which was "a satanic-looking goat," Mitchell told The Gazette.

In 1582, during the St. Osyth witch trials, 14 women were accused of witchcraft-related crimes, for which three were executed. During the trials, the women were housed in The Cage. One of the accused, Ursula Kemp, was a local healer who was sentenced to death by hanging; she is commemorated in a plaque that hangs on one of the former prison's walls.

Kemp’s trial would be held in 1582, and the number of people testifying against her was overwhelming. There were those who claimed that she had set her familiars upon them, others who said she had bewitched people who angered her by muttering curses, and that she used black magic to cause deaths. Some charges were quite bizarre, such as that she had used her witchcraft to prevent beer from brewing. The most damning evidence of all was presented by Kemp’s very own 8-year-old son, who told the court that she had 4 familiars, two cats, a black toad, and a white lamb, which he had seen suckling blood from her, and that these familiars were, “two male spirits, that killed people, and two female spirits, that brought sickness to people, and destroyed cattle.”

The Old Picture of The Cage

Interrogators also forced her to name other local women involved in witchcraft, and in turn those women pointed the finger at others. Eventually there were 14, who became known as the “St Osyth Witches”.

The Cage (present day)
During the trial 13 others would be implicated in witchcraft as well, including a woman named Elizabeth Bennet, and all of them would be found guilty. They were then moved to the witches’ prison known as “The Cage,” where they awaited punishment, which was execution by hanging for the most part. Indeed, Kemp and 6 others would be hanged at the prison for their crimes and their bodies unceremoniously dumped into unmarked graves on unhallowed ground. In later years the prison became a quarantine for plague victims, with many dying here, before becoming a prison again.

The Cage itself remained in operation all the way up to 1908, after which it was finally shut down and sold to a string of owners who have more often than not had very intense paranormal experiences there. The first buyer sold it a mere 2 weeks after buying it, and another buyer allegedly went mad and hung himself there.

In 1921, two female skeletons that were thought to be the remains of executed witches — one of them reportedly Kemp — were unearthed in a St. Osyth garden during a construction project. Some of the bones appeared to have been pierced with nails, a common practice for dead witches to keep their spirits from haunting the living.

One of the most notorious cases of a haunting at The Cage was experienced by last owner who lived there for 11 years by the name of Vanessa Mitchell, and who was left traumatized by a string of bizarre, often violent ghostly encounters on the property. The 44-year-old bought The Cage in St Osyth, Essex, in 2004 but didn't realise it was haunted.

She left the home with son Jesse, now nine, in 2008 to move into rented accommodation and has since desperately been trying to flog it.

Vanessa, who also has a ten-month-old son, said: "The house is so haunted I haven't been able to live there since 2008.

"I was there for about three years but I had to leave with my young son for our own safety.

"Blood would appear on the walls and ground, things would shoot across the room, doors randomly slammed and I saw three ghosts while I was there.

"We had no choice but to leave because it got so bad."

The asking price for the allegedly haunted former prison is 240,000 pounds ($305,478), according to Wales Online.


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