Trees in Wychwood Forest near Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, England
© Frederick Ardley/Getty Image
Who's in this creepy copse?. Wychwood Forest, Oxfordshire, England
What better way to spend Halloween than with a ghostly apparition in a scary haunted forest? Today we’ve (ill-advisedly?) wandered into Wychwood, an English forest with more than its share of spooky backstories. Many people walking in these woods have reported unexplained phenomena, such as feeling a hand on their shoulder and turning to find…no one. Or hearing children wailing as they're driven through the forest in a ghostly horse-drawn carriage.
But maybe the most spine-tingling yarn linked to Wychwood is that of Amy Robsart, whose ghost is said to haunt the forest. Born almost 500 years ago, she was the first wife of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, a favourite—and perhaps love interest—of Elizabeth I of England. Robsart died mysteriously from a fall down the stairs in Cumnor Place, the couple's rented home in Oxfordshire, while Dudley was away at the royal court. But was it murder? Suicide? A simple misstep? Theories and conspiracies abound to this day.
Legend has it that her apparition lingered at the foot of the stairs, screaming, and Dudley never slept in that house again. But later, as he rode through Wychwood one day, the spectre of Robsart caught up with him and told him he'd be dead within 10 days—and he was. So, if you find yourself walking in Wychwood this Halloween, or any night, stay clear of ghostly women with dire warnings. [Note: This photo was enhanced with the help of AI image-generating tools.]