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Exeter pub's haunting story

By This is Exeter  |  Posted: December 23, 2009

  • GHOSTLY GOINGS-ON: Barman Keith Bassett in the cellar of the Prospect Inn on Exeter Quay MATT AUSTIN EE221209_MA2_08

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IT’S the time of year when  one of the country’s youngest  festive spirits sends shivers  down the spines of regulars  at an Exeter pub.
As the story goes, on  Christmas Eve  a little girl  carrying a rag doll is said to  appear in the upstairs’ living  area of the Prospect Inn, at  Exeter Quay. She smiles  sweetly at any witnesses, before quickly fading away.
The story dates back to  1870 and has captured the  interest of the country’s  biggest ghost hunting company which says  the sighting  is one of the most intriguing  it’s ever come across.
The Prospect’s current  tenant, Mark Cameron, 41,  has presided over the pub for  the last eight years. He has  yet to witness the ghost.
 “Apparently previous  owners saw a seven or eight  year-old girl with long  blonde hair on Christmas  Eve,” he said.
“She is said to have walked  along the narrow hallway in  the upstairs’ living area in a  long, flowing, cream-coloured night dress carrying a rag doll behind her.
 “It is the talk of the older  people in the pub at this time  of year.
“TV’s Most Haunted has  contacted me several times to  come and do a show here,” he  said.
Mark added that Christmas was not the only time of  year  there was paranormal  activity at the pub.
“On numerous occasions  the last person to lock up the  cellar and then open it in the  morning — including myself  — has noticed the gas cylinders, connected to the beer  lines, turned off, when they  were on the evening before,”  he said.
 “Several people over the  years have also reported an  empty beer barrel moving  from one end of the cellar to  the other, overnight as  well.”
Ady Taylor, 44, of Hatherleigh, managed the pub for  almost 10 years before Mark.  He also recalls many supernatural occurrences.
 “Apparently, an electrician who was working in the  attic, saw the little girl and  was so shocked he just legged  it — he didn’t come back to  finish the job.
“It is possible she could  exist — there doesn’t seem to  be an explanation for a lot of  other things that have happened over the years.
“A previous couple who  managed the pub had a  daughter who, apparently,  would sit at the top of the  stairs by the attic and chat to  someone. When her parents  asked her who she was talking to, she said she was talking to someone on the other  side of the attic door. Maybe  it was the little girl. I am  sceptical, but there were other things that happened  there  that I could never find  explanations for.”
Ghost-hunting company  Fright Nights’ research director  Martin Jeffries  says  the Prospect Inn’s Christmas  Eve ghost is one of the most  intriguing in the country.
 “About six months ago we  started a research project into the country’s strangest  Christmas ghost stories,” he  said. “We wanted to find out  if the stories  were dying out,”  he said. “The story about the  little girl appearing on  Christmas Eve at the  Prospect Inn really intrigued  us. I regard it as being one of  the most important ghost stories we have.
 “We’d be really interested  to hear from people who may  have any information about  her, such as her origins, or  anyone who has seen her.”
You can contact the company at www.frightnights.co.uk or call   0207  4316930.

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    MATTHEW, CAMBRIDGESHIRE  |  December 23 2009, 3:56PM


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    MR D Sansom, midway Exmouth  |  December 23 2009, 3:18PM

    My wife and I stayed at the prospect pub in Exeter many years ago. It was an experience my wife janine would rather forget. She woke up to hear a child crying outside of our door. when she opend the door no one was there. She thought nothing of it and went back to sleep About 3 o clock she got up to use the toilet and in the corridor she saw a little girl carrying a teddy bear not a rag doll wearing old fashioned cloths . who smiled at her but never spoke. I have allways doubted my wife's story and thought maybe she drank to much all it was all a dream. now hearing other people have seen the Girl i now belive here.

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    Zowie, Totnes  |  December 23 2009, 1:55PM

    It needs an excorcism you will continue to see the spectre of the litte girl with the rag doll until do. Dean no need to be frightend you will not see her again.

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    Shane "SHANEY" MATTHEWS, exeter  |  December 23 2009, 1:08PM

    Is Keith a Zombie he sure looks like one coming up the stairs. Stevie - i went to Exeter School I Say what i like and i like what i say. well at least the ladies do

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    GEORGIE, RIFFORD ROAD  |  December 23 2009, 12:04PM


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    Jed, Exeter  |  December 23 2009, 10:59AM

    Edward "Cutty-Dyer" What has coming from Exeter got to do with it? and all being related? I find your comment completey pointless and would expect more from someone with a double barrelled name like yourself. And as for slagging off Exeter huh I would not want to live in Ashburton for all the tea in China.

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    Edward Cutty-Dyer, Ashburton Devon  |  December 23 2009, 9:21AM

    Steve -Coming From Exeter They are probably all related. Including the Ghost.

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    Dean Mcdermott, Mandrake Road Alphington  |  December 23 2009, 9:14AM

    I Know what we saw Steve don't know any of the other people wouldnt want to. I wonder if they learned to spell at st thomas school. i didnt i was never there. ha ha Perhaps mr perfect Steve you could give posters on here lessons

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    Steve, St Thomas  |  December 23 2009, 8:47AM

    You may have thought that in 8 years the chap may have seen it... Dean - amazing how your grammar and punctuation resemble that of Smanatha, Shaney and Gem weeks.....

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    KELLY WOODGATE, ST THOMAS  |  December 23 2009, 8:43AM

    i never knew the prospect was haunted i think i will give that place a miss in future. i knew the cowick barton was haunted and it gives me shudders every time i walk past. the well house is another place i wont go in as they have some old bones down a staircase. my freind Gemma went down but even if you offerd me a million pounds i would not descend the rickity stairs. Keith and Mark you are both very brave. think i will stick to the sawyers no ghosts there. unless anyone knows any diffrent.