The Mansion Grounds
I (28F) went to boarding school from 11 years old. It is a professional ballet school in Hertfordshire, England, housed in a huge mansion. I won’t say the name of the school explicitly here but a quick google of ‘Tring Park Mansion’ and you’ll be able to see the building and its grounds.
Off the top of my head the mansion itself was built in the 1500s and then added-to over the next 2-300 years as it changed hands from royalty to the Rosthchild family. I expected it to be a hotbed for paranormal stuff, I’m actually fairly cynical but I was open to seeing something. I had several encounters over the years of training there (perhaps I’ll share more if this one is well received) but this is a story about something actually touching me.
I was 17 or 18, coming to the end of my studies, and on this night I was out past curfew. At this point I was a bit of a hot-shot because I was top of my class at the top of the school so I flaunted a lot of the rules… and the security team and I were friends. I was walking up the mansion drive, I trip the big, iron, mansion gate lock and I ease my way in. It’s cold out but I immediately feel a deepening of the cold and like a slight dampening of sound… I think nothing of it, I’m young and warm, and had just been having a totally-against-all-rules, after-dark, hookup with another female student who lived in a boarding house down in the village of Tring. You could have slapped me and I wouldn’t have cared.
I digress… I continue to walk up the right path of a fork and past this big old stable-building with a huge black and white clock on the front; Clockhouse. The building itself was now the male boarding house, affectionately dubbed “Cockhouse” and often I could look up at the windows and wave at the older boys smoking out their bedroom windows, tonight however I’m very aware there is nobody there and now I’m suddenly alive to how weird everything feels in the grounds, and that’s when I hear movement behind me.
Cockhouse is on my right and on my left a row of trees stretching back behind me. The trees are separating the roads, the first going straight up to the mansion’s car park & front door, and the second that circles around to the mansion’s stealthier, darker, rear entrance past the “stables”. I’m standing about 50 yards away from the servant’s entrance back door and the trees I’ve just passed are being disturbed. Not all together in a flurry of leaves and birds but one at a time getting closer and closer; a fierce rustling, birds fly and scream, then silence. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. All this time I’m frozen because I know the more gruesome tales of this particular property and I know something is moving up behind me. I’m inching around to see what it could be hoping beyond all hope it’s just a security guard fucking with me when the lightbulb directly above and behind me sputters out and shatters. Like full-on, horror-movie-screaming-at-the-television-to-run-you-dumb-bitch, shatters.
You’d think I’d be running and screaming by now but honestly what I saw next had me totally rooted. In the gloomy light that clockhouse was putting out I see a man and a dog. Except I can see everything behind the man. The iron gates i’d walked through I could see them clear as day through his chest. He’s not silvery or ethereal but just… faded? He’s wearing overalls and green boots but most starkly in his left hand is a watering-can. His expression is totally blank but it’s 100% looking at me. The dog is just a dog. But it’s on a lead and it’s straining to get at me and I can hear it growling.
Remember earlier when I mentioned the dampening of sound? Well that had intensified and all I could hear was the dog growling, but it wasn’t like hearing it from the 20ish yards away, no it was like it was inside my fucking head. It’s about now I finally think “yeah I’m gonna run” and just as I think that the man and his dog move as one, like moving a model on a base across a table. Their legs didn’t move, they just traversed the space. They zip up to me, pass through my right side (which immediately went numb and taut), I do about 3 pirouettes with the sheer force and shock of it and the next thing I know they’ve vanished and I’m booking it.
Through the 5m tall wooden back door, through the eerie basement levels, Up the back stairs, up more stairs, and more, taking them 3 at a time, I’m into the main house section now where things are more ornate. I take a shortcut using my stolen, teacher-clearance swipe-card which of course blinks red at me twice before I get it to blink green and let me in, and practically baseball-slide my dumb ass through my door. My 3 friends who lived with me that year heard me come in and saw me in a real mess. I tell them what happened… safe to say I opened the whiskey I’d smuggled in and hidden under a loose panel. We all needed it judging by how white they’d all gone… and that’s the story!
It sounds so dramatic but I guess that’s fitting for a ghost story from a performing arts school! But I’m telling it to you precisely how I remember it. Fucking gardener ghosts!!!
Feel free to ask questions and stuff! I want to hear your input too!
Edit: removed links against the rules.