When visiting Great Yarmouth, you may take a wander down Market Row, that very narrow alley of shops, which leads from the Market Place to the North Quay. Once upon a time there were nearly forty of these rows in close proximity, and in the middle of one of them, Glasshouse Row, stood a run-down, ancient house which had the reputation of being haunted. Was it the scene of a murder, where the spirits of the murderer and victim periodically re-enacted a horrific slaughter? No-one knew for sure.
In 1797, a David Browne, who was unaware of the property’s notoriety, bought the house at a bargain price. He repaired the building and moved in with his wife, twelve-year-old daughter and his ageing, kindly mother. All was quiet at first.
Then, night-after-night they were disturbed by the doors violently slamming, the sound of heavy footsteps ascending the stairs, and then a loud thud as something hit the floor. With his family terrified, a desperate Browne turned to a local witch, Nancy Green. He was startled by what she had to say to him:
“I know about your reasons for visiting. The haunted house in Glasshouse Row. The slamming of the doors and the strange sounds on the stairs. But I cannot help you. I have no control over evil spirits. But there is something else I have to tell you. When you return home, one of your family will be dead.”
An angry Browne called her a charlatan and stormed off. Upon arrival home he was met by his wife in tears. She told him that earlier his mother had collapsed and died.
Things were quiet for a few months afterwards. Then one night there were piercing screams from a room above and the sound of loud crashes. Cautiously entering the room, Browne discovered all the furniture plied up in one corner and a wizened old lady dressed in black playing cards. She gave an evil chuckle and vanished.
Enough was enough. The family moved out, but not before Browne found a new tenant brave enough to live in the property: none other but the witch, Nancy Green. Yet barely a month after she moved in, she was discovered dead, her features contorted in a grimace of fear!
The house no longer exists. Neither does Glasshouse Row. But perhaps the evil spirits are still lurking somewhere in Yarmouth, waiting to return…
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