The spirits that inhabit Honiton's Allhallows Museum

Mary Doidge's embroidery sampler

Mary Doidge's embroidery sampler - Credit: Honiton Allhallows Museum

Believe it or not, there are only friendly spirits in the museum now. Paranormal investigators, mediums and psychics have reassured us. 

However, it’s still unnerving to hear footsteps on the stairs and find that no-one is there or to see steam rising from the floor. And it’s started to happen again! The door on the grandfather clock keeps opening by itself. 

Over the past decade we have had many groups of ‘ghost hunters’ come from all over the country to spend the night. 

They set up their equipment including night vision cameras, digital thermometers, EVP recorders, EMF meters, REM pods and laser grids all around the building. 

We’ve been told that all our visitors are welcomed by a tall elegant well-spoken lady, wearing rose scented perfume and carrying a silver topped cane. 


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We have the spirits of an army officer with an injured eye who had served for a long time in India, a WW1 soldier in uniform called George Ellis and a WW2 Polish pilot. 

There is a little girl named Lucinda who skips up and down the Murch gallery, five-year-old Kate, a little boy called Tom who sits in the corner and a tabby cat with a black spot on its nose. 

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In the Yallop wing there’s a shoemaker and three WW1 nurses. The corridor was once an outdoor footpath which was a busy thoroughfare which monks used as a short cut. 

Our internationally famous spirit is Mary Doidge. Mary made it known that she did not approve of her embroidery sampler being removed from display because she liked people to admire it. 

It was completed on Allhallows Eve 1844 when she was just eight years old. Later Lisa, a Halloween enthusiast from Ohio asked if she could reproduce the sampler to sell as a kit and raise funds for the museum. 

Just imagine how to difficult it would be to explain to a Victorian child how her sampler was scanned at high resolution, emailed to America and reproduced so that people anywhere in the world can make it. 

The exquisite original is of course displayed in the museum for all to see as soon as we can reopen. 

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