GHOSTHUNTERS hoping for a close encounter need look no further than Oxford Castle.

A survey of 140 different spooky locations and 22,000 visitors across the country found that Queen Matilda, who was incarcerated in the former prison in the 12th century, was the most seen ghost.

In the past three years, 32 people have claimed they saw the Royal spook, who is said to appear as a strange hooded figure formed of white mist.

The Lady in Black, at Alton Towers, the second most popular spirit, was only seen four times.

Oxford Castle visitor centre manager Emily Hirons said: “The feedback we receive from our ghost hunters confirms that Matilda is our most often witnessed ghostly figure, but I had no idea how this compared with other haunted locations in Britain.

”This is fantastic news for all those attending our forthcoming Ghost Fest, as the chance of seeing her must be relatively high.”

Tour guide Cheryl Birdseye takes on the role of Queen Matilda as she leads people around the castle.

She said: “There can be a bit of an eerie atmosphere.

“She has got such a crazy story. It’s really nice to play such an interesting character.”

Miss Birdseye said she had never seen the Queen, but admitted she had experienced a few spooky things.

She said: “We have a replica of a treadwheel upstairs and lots of us have heard that going after hours.

“Occasionally you get a bit freaked out if you’re locking up alone at the end of the day.”

The first reported sighting of Matilda’s ghost was back in the 1990s when the site was still an active prison. Two prison guards are said to have seen her appear as a strange white mist.

The survey was organised by Fright Nights, which organises spooky themed events at various locations, including Oxford Castle.

Manager Martin Jeffery said: “A whole range of ghosts have been witnessed on several occasions both at the castle and around the UK.

“But based on the information we have, the ghost that keeps cropping up time and again is the lady in white at Oxford Castle, who can only be Matilda.”

The Ghost Fest takes place over the next fortnight, starting with a ghost-hunting session from 7pm tomorrow night.

For more details of Ghost Fest events see the website