In the run-up to Halloween, you may be looking for activities and places to visit to get you into the spirit of the season.

You needn’t look far, as right on your doorstep is perhaps one of the spookiest spots in the country - Okehampton Castle.

The castle is shrouded in stories of a wronged woman from the 1600s who roams both the building and Dartmoor, paying penance for crimes she never committed.

Lady Mary Howard was the daughter of rich man John Fitz, who murdered two men - including his own best friend.

Fitz committed suicide when Mary was just nine years old, and she was sold by King James I to the Earl of Northumberland, who forced her to marry his brother Sir Alan Percy when she was 12.

Percy was the first of Mary’s four husbands, and died of a cold. Her three later husbands also met untimely ends.

When her son, George, also died, it broke Mary’s heart, and she died exactly one month later.

However, since her demise, her husbands’ deaths have become confused with the murders committed by her father, as well as the murders committed by a Lady Frances Howard.

Over time, the real story has become murky, with some claiming that Mary disinherited her children and some claiming she murdered all four of her husbands.

Wrongly accused of these crimes, legend says that Mary now roams Okehampton Castle and the moors.

According to the myths, Lady Mary travels across Dartmoor in a carriage made of the bones of her husbands, making the journey from her father’s former home, Fitzford House, to Okehampton Castle.

On arriving at the castle, her task is to pluck one blade of grass from the hillside - something which she is doomed to do until all of the grass is gone.

Sightings of Lady Mary include people who have spotted her riding between Dartmoor and Okehampton Castle at night in her bone-made carriage, accompanied by a bloodhound and a headless driver.

A ballad is sung about the spectre, and goes as follows: “My Ladye hath a sable coach, with horses two an four / My Ladye hath a gaunt blood-hound, that goeth before / My Ladye’s coach hath nodding plumes, the driver hath no head / My Ladye is an ashen white - as one who is long dead."

The Okehampton Castle site is managed by English Heritage and was built following a Devon revolt against Norman rule in circa 1070.

It was used as a fort until the 13th century, when its owners, the de Courtenays, became the Earls of Devon. They redeveloped the castle into a hunting lodge, but after the Wars of the Roses, Henry Courtenay was executed by King Henry VIII and the building was left to fall into disrepair.

It was not long after this that Lady Mary Howard was born, and although it is not fully known what her connection to the castle was, she is said to still make nightly visits to the site.