“Diabolical forces are formidable. These forces are eternal and then exist today. The fairy tale is true. The devil exists. God exists. And for us, as people, our very destiny hinges upon which one we elect to follow” a quote from Ed Warren who is one of the main character of ‘The Conjuring’ series. Cricketers are no strangers to horror stories, they have experienced them, have been frightened by them like each and every one of you. Ghosts know no celebrities, they don’t differentiate between a common man or one of the most loved cricketers in the world. From Stuart Broad to Shane Watson, Ben Stokes, MS Dhoni and many more, all of them have experienced the presence of a spirit.
Here are a few fascinating tales that you will enjoy telling your peeps on a cold night over a bonfire. Till now you must have noticed that this article is not for the faint-hearted. Proceed with caution and don’t forget to look under your bed or behind the door of your room.
Lumley Castle Hotel, Chester-Le-Street, Durham: When Lady Lumley paid a visit to Shane Watson
Who can forget the legendary Ashes 2005 series which was one of the most exciting edition so far. The hotel is over 600 years old and has a lot of history attached to it. On June 22, Shane Watson felt a presence in his room, maybe Lady Lumley. The former Australian all-rounder was so terrified that he reportedly shared bed with Australian speedster Brett Lee. Watson was not the only one who got spooked, Australia’s media manager was quoted saying, “I saw ghosts. I swear I am telling the truth”. The manager sure was not joking around giving such a statement. Watson was even trolled by England players for this incident after.
As far as the stories go, the hotel is not just haunted by one spirit. An aristocrat from 14th century was murdered by Catholic priests back in 14th century. But, the most prominent story remains that of Lady Lily Lumley who was also the Lady of the Castle. Lady Lumley was murdered by two priests after she refused to abide by Catholic Church’s practices.
Lady Lumley did not spare Sourav Ganguly aka DADA
The Natwest 2002 series was not just about Sourav Ganguly waving his shirt in the air from Lord’s dressing room after India chased down 326 in the final of the ODI series, it was much more. Reportedly, Ganguly’s room bathroom’s tap started running in the middle of the night. They turned off on their own when Ganguly woke up. But Dada couldn’t bear when it happened half an hour later and went straight to Robin Singh’s room.
Though Dada dodged the bullet by denying such reports as his image was such that he could not agree being spooked by the ghosts of Lumley Castle Hotel.
Lady Lumley strikes again, this time West Indies cricketers
Lady Lumley is believed to wander around the castle by the locals every night as only a glass panel separates her body which is also believed to be thrown down the well. This time it was West Indies players’ turn to get spooked. The captain of the side, Jimmy Adams and three players were so frightened by the unsettling presence that they checked out of the hotel immediately.
The Exorcist’s scene came back to haunt Haris Sohail in New Zealand’s Rydges Latimer Hotel
This incident being the most recent one, Pakistan batsman Haris Sohail on the New Zealand tour reportedly had a horrific tour. Sohail will never forget a night at Christchurch’s Rydges Latimer Hotel as he complained of his bed being shaken by a supernatural entity. Luckily Sohail called the coaching staff, when the coach reached the room he was in cold sweat and feeling feverish. He stayed in the coach’s room after getting examined by a doctor. The impact of the incident was such that he got out for a duck in the match he played at Christchurch against West Indies.
When Stuart Broad was haunted by the ghost of Langham Hotel and not Yuvraj’s 6 sixes
The Langham Hotel is no strangers to celebrities, one of the most renowned hotels in England and the world. What goes around comes back around suits the English players best. In 2014, Stuart Broad, Ben Stokes and MS Dhoni reportedly requested their rooms to be shifted. The English players made fun of Watson when he shifted to Lee’s room after being spooked by Lady Lumley’s ghost but this time around the tables turned with them on the receiving side.
“During the Sri Lanka Test I had to move rooms. It was so hot in the room I just couldn’t sleep. All of a sudden the taps in the bathroom came on for no reason. I turned the lights on and the taps turned themselves off. Then when I turned the lights off again the taps came on. It was very weird. It really freaked me out. I ended up asking to move rooms. Bealey [Broad’s girlfriend] was pretty spooked, too, and I know Moeen Ali’s other half won’t stay there because she’s so frightened of the ghosts. I’ve slept okay during the current Test (against India) but the Sri Lanka Test (last month) was not great. One night I woke up in the middle of the night, around 1.30 a.m. and I was convinced there was a presence in the room. It was the weirdest feeling. Ben Stokes has had some problems sleeping as well. He’s on the third floor, which is where a lot of the issues are. I’m telling you, something weird is going on,” Broad was quoted saying by English newspapers.
Even the hotel’s website confirms that Room No.333 is the focal point of all the haunting, according to the website, “In 1973 a BBC radio announcer James Alexander-Gordon awoke suddenly in the night to see a fluorescent ball which slowly took on the shape of a man wearing Victorian evening wear. The announcer asked the ghost what it wanted and it began to float towards him, with its legs cut off some two feet below the ground, arms outstretched, eyes staring emptily. At this point the announcer got up and fled.”