Ghostly tales of hauntings and untimely death come under the spotlight at Fort Nelson this October half-term as part of a terrifying trio of Halloween events.

Costumed story tellers will relate the sad tale of William Carter – who died under the wheels of a wagon during the Fort’s construction in 1863 – as museum visitors head into the depths of the dimly lit, underground tunnels.

They will hear how William tragically died aged just 21, and now lies buried in Portchester churchyard. They will also discover how more recent Fort workers have reported the ghostly sound of horses’ hooves, heard deep in the narrow passageways running under the 19th century Palmerston fort.

The tunnel tales, looking at the darker side of the Fort’s 150-year history, form part of a trio of Halloween events, aimed to entertain all the family from Saturday, October 26, to Sunday, November 3. Other highlights include:

Crafty Crypt – Children can enjoy a daily craft area and make a variety of spooky items including pumpkin mobiles, hanging ghosts, witches’ fingers, skeletons, broomstick bookmarks and Halloween moons.

Haunted Halls – Situated in the west courtyard, these rooms will be themed to create a spooky backcloth. Scenes include a graveyard scene and a witch’s house.

Fancy Dress – the scarier the better! Children are invited to dress up on the spookiest day of the year (October 31) to create a host of Halloween horrors. All suitably garbed youngsters will receive a prize of a lollypop or balloon.

Fort operations manager Nigel Hosier said, “Fort Nelson is obviously a major landmark and many local people know something of its history as a Palmerston fort and its important role in both the First and Second World Wars.

“With our tunnel tales, we hope to take full advantage of the dark and atmospheric setting and to tell some of the lesser-known tales, including the tragic tale of young William Carter who so sadly died as the Fort was being built.”

Museum admission and parking are free. Tickets, priced £4, will give admission to the trio of Halloween events. Alternatively, children can pay just £2 to take part in the crafts.

Background – Standing high on Portsdown Hill near Fareham, Fort Nelson showcases one of the world’s finest collections of artillery, down the ages and from across the globe. In 2011, this unique heritage attraction underwent a £3.5m redevelopment to create a museum for the 21st century, supported by a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, complete with new galleries, state-of-the-art education centre and visitor facilities.

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Notes to editors

To find Fort Nelson, follow the brown Tourist signs from the M27. The Fort is open seven days a week, from 10am to 5pm.

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