On my most recent visit to England, I took some time to visit an abandoned tower situated on top of a hill in West Sussex called, "The Racton Monument." Some also call it "The Racton Ruins" or "The Stansted Castle." Even from a distance, its looming presence gives off a chilling atmosphere unlike any place I've visited before. The tower was constructed between the years of 1766 and 1775, but has long since been left unattended. From the top of the hill on which it sits, you can see the English countryside roll on for miles, as well as the edge of the sea in the distance. While my in-laws have lived in the area of the tower for many years now, they had never heard of it until I stumbled upon it while doing some research for a nearby photoshoot location. When I found it, and read about its association with paranormal activity, I knew I had to check it out. If you have been following me for a while, then you know that my photography journey started out with me visiting and photographing abandoned places. So, to hear about an abandoned castle-like monument with paranormal associations located just a few miles from my in-law's house, was an opportunity too appealing for me to pass up. Luckily, my husband's siblings are just as into scary stories and creepy places as I am, so they all agreed to indulge my desire, and joined me for a walk up to the "haunted" monument.
When I first read about the Racton Monument, I came across many reports of spooky events taking place there. Reported activity ranged from bricks being thrown from the unstable top of the edifice, to a woman appearing within its walls, to regular occult rituals being practiced on the grounds. There are a few different stories explaining the original use of the tower, however, there seems to be some dispute as to which is myth. According to a couple of different articles, the tower was apparently commissioned by the 2nd Earl of Halifax, possibly as a summerhouse for the nearby Stansted Estate, or as a viewing tower so the Earl could watch his ships dock at the nearby port village. Another, more intriguing theory, is that the Earl built the tower as a way to watch the sea for his son's return from an ill-fated voyage.
Today, the current decay does a lot to obscure any semblance to the glory it could have achieved when its construction started, as it is now heavily obscured by trees and ivy, which I think adds to its eerie appearance. While the building seems to be mostly secure from the outside, the inside has been subject to heavy decay and is vandalized by spray-painted occult symbols along it's lowered base. While I was eager to experience some sort of ghostly encounter upon visiting, I must confess that even though the place was definitely creepy, I felt little besides a longing to know its true history. We didn't need to spend long exploring the open monument, as it is exactly what its name implies: a decaying empty tower.
The day we decided to visit was an extremely cold and gloomy one, which was actually quite fitting considering the building's reputation. But I am already making plans to revisit the ruins again in the summer for a more official photoshoot.