TRUE HORROR My horror of living in former witches’ prison where my baby son was snatched from his cot, violent ghosts pushed friends down the stairs and mysterious pools of blood appeared
Victoria Mitchell endured years of torment at the hands of violent spirits and tonight her terrifying story will be brought to life on True Horror
Harriet Williamson - THE SUN Published: 17:03, 29 Oct 2018 - Updated: 18:38, 29 Oct 2018
WHEN successful saleswoman Vanessa Mitchell bought an adorable Tudor cottage, she never dreamed that her life and that of her newborn son would be threatened by petrifying paranormal activity.
Followed by the sounds of smashing glass and crockery, Vanessa sprinted out of the house with a screaming baby in her arms. As she slammed the back door, a grotesque, ghostly face appeared in the glass, twisted with hate.
Vanessa Mitchell bought what she thought was her dream home: a witches' prison Credit: Caters
Vanessa Mitchell’s eerie story of being terrorised in her own home by malevolent ghosts has been brought to life in tonight’s True Horror episode, played by Michelle Ryan.
In 2004, Vanessa bought The Cage in St. Osyth in Essex - but the house had previously been a medieval prison that held witches in the 16th century. These women were brutally interrogated and their children taken away from them, before being executed.
Initially, Vanessa fell in love with the house and felt she just had to buy it. She says in the docudrama, “It was calling me. It needed me, it wanted me. I just had to be the owner.” She would come to regret this impulse buy - for four years, Vanessa was plagued by paranormal occurrences and saw three ghosts.
Vanessa saw numerous horrifying presences, like these two ghosts, while living in the house Credit: Channel 4
'I believe it wanted me to see it'
Even on the day she moved in Vanessa had doubts. She says, “I knew from day one it wasn’t normal and it wasn’t right.”
She initially moved in with childhood friend Nicole Kirtley, who describes the atmosphere of the house as oppressive. “It felt heavy. It’s like walking in jelly.”
The two women went on to experience all manner of disturbing phenomena - unexplained bangs downstairs, things being moved and ending up in strange places, taps turning on by themselves, doors slamming, gnarled hands creeping across the floor, the brushes above the fireplace swinging with no wind… and the appearance of ghosts.
The Cage was a medieval prison where women accused of witchcraft were tortured and held captive Credit: rightmove
On one particularly terrifying day, Vanessa witnessed a tall, dark figure appear in the hallway before dissolving into thick, black smoke that oozed its way into the living room.
“This wasn’t at night, this was a warm spring day,” she says. “I believe it wanted me to see it, like I had moved into its house.”
Maggots and puddles of blood
One of Nicole’s more disturbing memories is of seeing something moving on the floor, near a rug. When the two women moved the rug, the floor underneath was a carpet of writhing white maggots.
Friends who had been invited to the house would point out to Vanessa that there were blood splatters on the tiles, and she would find sticky, viscous pools of dark blood staining the floor. There was no explanation for where they had come from.
Vanessa’s friend Mikey O’Connell had his own paranormal experience in The Cage.
While fixing an overhead light, Mikey was pushed by the shoulders and violently dragged down the stairs, leaving Vanessa in no doubt that the spirits infesting her house meant the living harm.
But nothing could prepare Vanessa for what happened when her son was born.
Vanessa and her baby son Jesse were forced to flee the house in 2008
Too scared to use the bathroom
By the time Jesse was born in December 2007, Nicole had moved out and Vanessa was completely isolated, trapped in a haunted house with a new baby. Friends couldn’t bear to be in the house and made excuses not to come round.
Although Vanessa attempted to have the house cleansed by a priest, it made no difference and she would cower in the corner of the bedroom with her wailing newborn clutched to her chest, as the door violently rattled and shook.
Something unnatural was trying to force its way in, but when the door finally swung open, there was nothing on the other side.
Vanessa was so petrified that she would use a potty she kept under the bed instead of going to the bathroom, and would never cook in the kitchen.
She would keep the lamps, the lights and the television on at night, barely sleeping.
It may look ordinary, but this house was the site of a petrifying haunting
Her baby snatched from his cot
When her son would scream uncontrollably, Vanessa says, “I thought he could see something in the room that I couldn’t. I could feel something. It was evil, it was malevolent, it was bad.”
On one occasion where she left Jesse in a room before returning five minutes later to discover his basket was gone.
Something or someone had placed it outside the back door. Teetering on the brink of madness, Vanessa says, “There were times when I felt that it was me or the house.”
The final straw came when Vanessa left Jesse upstairs in his cot while she went to iron a couple of items of clothing. In front of her eyes, Jesse’s toys began to move towards her across the floor and she heard him scream from upstairs.
Vanessa ran to the stairs and saw a ghostly figure move into the bedroom and lock the door. When she finally reached her son, who had been moved from his cot to the bed, Vanessa snatched him up and bolted for the back door.
Outside the house, Jesse immediately stopped crying.
Vanessa claims that one of the ghosts pushed her to the ground while pregnant with her first child Credit: Neil Hall - The Sun
'We all felt it'
Written and directed by Amanda Boyle, whose credits include teen dramas Skins and Misfits, True Horror: The Witches’ Prison is guaranteed to chill viewers.
Boyle told Sun Online: “When we first went in the camera man said ‘There’s a really weird feeling in here’ and we all felt it.
Vanessa's friends would make excuses not to come to the house, leaving her isolated and alone Credit: Eastnews
“It’s a very small house and it’s got a very odd atmosphere. We filmed one bit at night in the real Cage and we were quite glad when that was over!
“For me, the interesting bit is the real story of the witches. It’s an area that’s rich with history and that’s fascinating to look at, there’s something really ‘other’ about the Essex countryside where you’ve got the mist coming off the sea.”
The Cage still has a hold over Vanessa
Speaking about Vanessa, Boyle says: “The house has definitely got some kind of hold on her. She can’t sell it for obvious reasons and she doesn’t want to either.
“One of the reasons why I think she’s so convincing is that she doesn’t burst into tears or break down – she’s quite matter of fact about these things that have happened to her. She’s both scared by it and drawn to it.”
A Black Cat production 2022 Disclaimer: This is a non-profit making fan-site created for Michelle Ryan fans. All trademarks and copyrighted materials on this site are the property of their respective owners. The intent of this site is not to infringe on any copyrights, but rather to serve as a resource for Michelle Ryan fans. If you wish to see pictures or content on this website removed, please contact us. If you have any further questions or concerns, please contact us via ema Site powered by Weebly. Managed by 34SP.com