French ghost town deserted for 40 years

I’m sure I’ve shared this at one time or another, but I LOVE ghost towns. Mostly because they seem to capture everyday life and hold it in still-mode until nature takes over. I remember reading about a lot of ghost towns in the US where it appeared that people just got up and left one day. Lots of everyday items still in their homes. Kinda makes you wonder why they did that. Did they take anything? This is a ghost town in France with 15 photos on the original article so just follow the link under the quoted text. 🙂

The once bustling farming town of Goussainville-Vieux Pays just 12 miles from Paris has been abandoned for forty years after tragedy and modernization forced residents from their homes. In 1973, during the Paris Air Show, a small aircraft crashed into the village, flattening houses and killing eight people. The accident badly shook the village – but their nightmare was not over. A year later the Charles de Gaulle airport opened with its runways just two miles from the village. From then on the constant noise was a plague on the town and a constant remainder of the deadly crash. Residents soon moved away, tired by the noise pollution and living in fear of another plane crash. Now the small town, which survived both World Wars, is home to just a handful of residents.

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French family blames ghosts for injuries

MENTQUE-NORTBECOURT, France, April 25 (UPI) — A French family said they have sustained injuries from flying objects at their home, which they believe to be haunted by ghosts.

The residents of the home in Mentque-Nortbecourt said a family member was hospitalized earlier this month after being struck by a chair in the face and a soap tray in the back, The Local.fr reported Thursday.

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The Mermaid Inn

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If you wake at midnight, and hear a horse’s feet,
Don’t go drawing back the blind, or looking in the street,
Them that asks no questions isn’t told a lie
Watch the wall, my darling, while the Gentlemen go by!

Five-and-twenty ponies,
Trotting through the dark
Brandy for the Parson
‘Baccy’ for the Clerk;
Laces for a lady; letters for a spy

And watch the wall, my darling, while the Gentlemen go by.

~ A Smuggler’s Song, by Rudyard Kipling

Despite it’s French sounding name, the Cinque Ports were five ports along the eastern coast of England which were the most fortified and used in defense of the realm against invaders from France and beyond. Rye was one of those ports, admitted to the ‘fab five’ in 1156.

The oldest portions of the Mermaid Inn date from around this time, making it one of the oldest inns in the country. As Rye was a pretty busy port, not only providing ships for the Cinque Port fleet, but being responsible for maintaining and repairing the King’s Galleys, the Inn saw a lot of business.

In 1377, one of the many French raids was successful and they managed to burn down every building in the town that wasn’t built of stone. The cellar was the only part of the Inn which survived. In 1420, the Inn was rebuilt using timber salvaged from ships as well as Sussex oak. The fireplaces were constructed of French stone ballast pulled from the harbour. It was once again the principle Inn of Rye.

During the Reformation in Europe, Rye harboured fleeing priests from the continent. The letters J.H.S. (Jesus Homnium Salvator) can still be seen carved into the wood in one of the lounges of the Inn.

By 1735 the Mermaid Inn saw it’s most infamous use begin: that of a smuggler’s inn. This is the story shared on the Inn’s website:

In February 1735 a smuggler named Thomas Moore had been released on bail.  He went directly to the Mermaid with several cronies, dragged the Bailiff of the Sheriff of Sussex from the Inn and down to a boat in the harbour.  He also took the bail-bonds and warrants against the smugglers.  However, the Bailiff was rescued by the Commander of the Rye Revenue Sloop ‘Amelia’, who found the Bailiff in the “utmost consternation”.

From then til around 1749, the infamous Hawkhurst Gang – numbering 600 members – used the Mermaid Inn frequently and, according to legend, gang members often sat in the pub drinking and carousing with their pistols on the table displayed for everyone to see.

Whether that legend is true or not, one thing is undeniably true: the Mermaid Inn embraces its otherworldly guests as much as it did those unsavoury characters. There are a number of hauntings listed on the Inn’s site.

In the James Room, a lady in white or grey is reportedly seen in the room sitting in the chair next to the fireplace. Guest staying in the room have told stories of leaving clothes on the chair over night only to wake up to wet clothes.

In the Nutcracker Suite, a lady in white walks through the room pausing at the foot of the bed before continuing on.

In the Fleur de Lys Room, a couple were woken to find a man walk through the bathroom wall and into the centre of their room. They were so frightened they spent the rest of the night downstairs in the lounge.

In the Kingsmill Room, the air gets cold for no reason and a rocking chair will move of its own accord.

In the Hawkhurst Suite , a guest sleeping in the single room was awakened by a man dressed in old fashioned clothing sitting on her bed. When he did not move, she pulled the mattress into the double room where her sons slept.

Ghost Towns: Oradour-sur-Glane, France

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Oradour sur Glane Before the War

When our group decided to do a series on ghost towns, I was all for it.  Being American, the ghost towns I am acquainted with are mostly relics of mining boomtowns. They’re all over the country…despite popular expectations, comparatively few of these ghost towns are actually from the gold rush era.  Many of these ghost towns were built around coal mines, or phosphate mines, etc…and quite a few of the towns were formed as farming villages that just didn’t pan out.  When we were presented with the list of suggested towns about which to write our international ghost town blogs, I naturally “dibbed” Oradour-sur-Glane in France, as my mother was born in France.  I thought the town would have as an innocuous an origin as the ghost towns in America.

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A Priestly Haunting

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If there is any one city in the United States which epitomizes the melting pot idea of this country, it is New Orleans. Not only is this a multi-cultural city now, but when the city was first being populated, it was even more so. The city served as a focal point of the tug-o-war carried out by the French and the Spanish. The Vieux Carré or Old Square (due to it’s structured layout) – what most tourists know as the French Quarter – may bear the name of the French, but everywhere you look there is evidence of just as much Spanish influence. While it means something quite different today, the term Creole originally indicated those who were of the first generation, both Spanish and French, born here in this new part of the country.
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