“One of the most interesting cases of area haunting that I have investigated centred on the little church of Langenhoe on the Essex marshes...”

“It was a unique case with overtones of love and conflict, of sex and violence…”

“...of tortured spirits and the unquiet dead…”

The key figure in the case was the rector of Langenhoe church, who had experienced many strange things there over time, creating written accounts describing everything in detail.

E. A. Merryweather, Rector of Langenhoe (1939 -1959)

Langenhoe Manor House - where Merryweather claimed to have walked into a unique manifestation.

On one occasion, while reading the gospel at the altar, Merryweather saw something appear from “near the window beside the tower, the figure of a young woman in a white or grey dress...”

Merryweather watched as her figure walked across the church and disappeared into a corner.

Interior of Langenhoe Church

“The wall seemed to open. She passed through. And the wall closed again.”

Underwood corresponds with Merryweather, and makes plans to stay the night there.

“I sometimes recall that September night when I stayed in that lonley church on the marshes with John Dening of the Foreign Office, later to become the Rev. John Dening.”

The interior of haunted Langenhoe church.

“I sat up my various instruments throughout the building and attempted to ‘control’ objects in the church and churchyard.”

“Objects that had been moved or disturbed in the past were under special surveillance throughout the night: doors, lamps, the path of the ‘phantom’ girl…”

“I sealed all doors and windows…”

“Powdered chalk and sugar was spread in the pathway that the apparition was alleged to have traversed and in various places where footsteps had been reported…”

“Unfortunately, there was a tremendous thunderstorm that lasted for hours...”

“…the repeated cracks of thunder and the steady downpour of rain beating on the roof…”

“…could well have drowned any paranormal auditory phenomena in the church that night.”

“In the morning I found all my controls intact and the instruments showed no unusual readings…”

However further investigation into Langenhoe’s history reveals new information.

Underwood encounters photographs taken after an earthquake that occurred in 1884. 

The damage to the church happens to reveal ‘a former doorway in the internal tower-wall’.

“It is interesting to note that Mr Merryweather insisted that the ‘phantom girl’ vanished into the tower wall and not through the later doorway.”

“Haunted Langenhoe Church, a desolate and silent sentinel, stood for some years alone - with its ghosts - until it fell into decay, and was finally pulled down.”

“A lasting memory of that visit was the truly magnificent view from the top of the church tower, away across the marshes as the autumn dawn was breaking.”

Underwood’s account of his investigation of Langenhoe can be found in his Nights in Haunted Houses (1994).