By the 1930s the reputation of the ring was such that tourists came to sample the spooky site, but already some mediums claimed that they had been molested by unseen forces and had finger marks to prove it. Various sounds had been heard, including crying babies.On recording devices it has been claimed that muttered voices not belonging to anyone visible can be heard. This is not uncommon at paranormal sites.
In 1966 members of the Southern Paranormal Investigation Group met at Chanctonbury at night, where they encountered members of a motor cycle group,tough men out for a night's camping.The two groups got on well together. At midnight strange creaking sounds were heard by both groups.Shortly afterwards a female form appeared circling the ring and wailing loudly. Both groups were undeterred. But at 2.30 am there came the sound of bells and some members of the group experienced weakening and paralysis of limbs and feelings of intense pressure. The motor cycle chapter were so scared that they packed up and went, saying that they sensed evil. Tough guys, yes, but not that tough.What is significant is that there had been no prior collusion between the two groups, and the motor cyclists had nothing to gain from making up a story, especially as it undermined their tough guy image.
But there is worse to come.There are reports that on another occasion a member of an investigating group was physically injured in a mysterious way. Charles Walker reports that at eleven pm a Mr Lincoln was physically lifted by an unseen force, held in the air for a few seconds then dropped,hurting his back. He was heard to cry,"No more,no more"and was obviously in pain. For obvious reasons, while other group members returned to Chanctonbury on other occasions, Lincoln did not.
A third reported incident is undated and the victim unnamed. A visitor to the ring who was wearing a crucifix around her neck had it wrenched off by an invisible force. When the crucifix was recovered it was found to feel hot! This incident is unlike the other two cases uncorroborated. All these incidents occurred in the middle twentieth century.As far as I know no recent cases have been reported. But I do not intend to find out first hand. Bad things have happened at Chanctonbury,, and even if only one account is true, that is one too many.The evil that men do lives after them,quoth Shakespeare, and something badly wrong must have been done at the site at sometime.Folk tales merely regard the place as spooky, so the bad events might be recent. I leave readers to make up their own minds as to the veracity of the tales and the nature of the evil done.
Sources: The Old Ways, Robert Macfarlane, Penguin Books, 2012
The A-Z of Curious Sussex, Wendy Hughes