When you think of an old wooden pier with an amusement park, the sights and sounds that come to mind are laughter, rides, arcades games and fun food counters. The Wellington Pier in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England, is that kind of amusement park pier from 10 am to 10 pm. However, once it closes, it becomes one of the more haunted locations in already haunted Great Yarmouth. That’s according to Dean Buckley and his paranormal investigation team, who recently spent a few nights at the Wellington Pier and came home not with stuffed animals and salt water taffy but with stories and photos of some of the ghosts that haunt it.
“It all started while we were away for a few days, staying in Great Yarmouth. We were having a walk round the arcades on the pier and taking a look at the waves. It was around 10.30 pm. Around 10 mins later, we started to notice we weren’t alone. There we felt we were being watched from my right hand side looking down from the pier. There was an eerie feeling in the atmosphere from the location.”
So began another paranormal investigation by paranormal investigator and ghost photographer Dean Buckley and his spiritualist medium wife, Veronica Buckley, of The Buckley's Paranormal. As told to me in an email, the couple was walking on Wellington Pier, a popular tourist attraction in Great Yarmouth. The first pier was built in 1853 and the 700-foot (210 m) wooden structure had a number of successful years as an entertainment and amusement attraction. The pier was strengthened with steelwork renovations in the 1970s and the attractions have undergone major redevelopments over the years. The owners have tried to keep the Wellington’ Pier’s original looks and charm while upgrading it for the modern visitors. And, according to the Buckleys, it has also retained its ghosts.
“On our third night, we decided to go back to the pier and beach area. Spiritualist medium Veronica Buckley started to do a medium walkaround on the pier and began linking in with two male gentleman from 1895. One passed to spirit with his heart and his mate wouldn’t leave him as it was pitch black on the beach around that time.”
The seaside town of Great Yarmouth is at the mouth of the River Yare and was a resort town since 1760, long before the arrival of the Wellington Pier, but was mainly a fishing center. Its herring industry ended after the mid-20th century and has been replaced by an oil rig industry for offshore natural gas rigs, and by suppliers for offshore wind power and other renewable energy industries.
“Also, Veronica started to link in with the energies of Viking longboats ship, one coming in as a wreck as they came to invade along the Norfolk coast. They were telling Veronica about going up the shoreline on the coast. A few of them lost their lives by drowning and their bodies washed up on the beach. Veronica described around 14 of them drowning when a longboat crashed closed to the coastline.”
The first settlements in Great Yarmouth (also called Gernemwa or Yernemuth) date back to around 400 CE to the Roman fort camp of Gariannonum at the mouth of the River Yare. Fishermen helped the town grow and it had 70 burgesses or boroughs before the Norman Conquest. Also before the Norman conquest were a number of raids by the Vikings.
“Me and Veronica started to hear the energies of a male presence around us. Veronica was linking in with the energies of a female and I heard a woman going “Arrragh!” to make herself known to us both. Veronica also linked with fishermen in knitted jumpers from the 19th century on boats going out from Great Yarmouth.”
Great Yarmouth suffered a great tragedy on May 2nd, 1845, when the Yarmouth suspension bridge collapsed, killing 79 children who were on it watching a clown in a barrel being pulled by geese down the river. As he passed under the bridge, the weight shifted and the support chains snapped, tipping over the bridge deck. While the Buckley’s didn’t encounter any of the ghosts of the children or of victims of floods or World War II bombings by the Nazis, other locations in the town have, making Great Yarmouth a popular location for ghost hunting.
“Veronica also picked up on the energies of a woman spirit from the 1700s who was still wandering the beach. Covered in seaweed, she told Veronica her name was Louisa and said she was from the area. While visiting the beach, someone took her life for her money.”
Tragedies have populated Great Yarmouth with ghost stories like these. The Great Yarmouth Fire Station is said to be haunted by the victims of a plague in 1348 whose corpses were burned in a fire pit that ironically was once located there. Friars who ran the monastery on the site are also seen there. Great Yarmouth also has a tale of The Black Shuck – a huge, black, shaggy animal with glowing yellow eyes that haunts the cellar of the Duke’s Head Hotel.
“Another female energy was telling Veronica she was a survivor of a boat wreck. She was saved by Henry Blogg, a local lifeguard from Cromer. She was in her early 30s. As she was telling Veronica her story, Veronica saw a shadow coming in from behind Dean Buckley, and she believed it was the spirit of Henry Blogg acknowledging he was there -- he had come forward to check on us as we were out so late on his coastline.”
Henry Blogg was a famous lifeboatman working on the north coast of Norfolk. He was the most decorated in Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) history and referred to as "the greatest of the lifeboatmen" with many heroic rescues up until his death in 1954. While he died of natural causes, it would be fitting for the ghost of Henry Blogg to return to coast where he had saved so many lives.
“As we were filming, Dean Buckley saw 3 shadow figures walking towards him on the beach. I felt someone stood behind me with a pipe as well, an oldish gentleman a bit bigger than me … around 6'1. This happened as our paranormal investigation was coming to a close.”
Dean and Veronica don’t say who that last spirit might be. A drowned Viking? A crime victim? The ghost of a prisoner from the nearby Tolhouse Goal (jail) Museum? In Great Yarmouth, these spirits could pop up anywhere. But they seem to especially pop up when Dean and Veronica Buckley of The Buckley's Paranormal pay them a visit. Fortunately, Dean is adept with his spirit camera equipment and always has a collection of ghost photos to go along with Veronica’s spirit linkings. Special thanks to both of them for their interesting stories and photos from their paranormal investigation at the Wellington Pier in Great Yarmouth.
If you’d like to visit the pier during the daytime for some fun activities, here is their website.