Monday, 22 February 2010

Phantoms in Hatherleigh, Devon

The little village of Hatherleigh, now returned to its rural quiet by the building of a bypass for the A386, has an unusual collection of phantoms.

The George Hotel has two apparitions that would seem to be quite incompatible. The first is a monk or clergyman who walks the ground floor. This ghost is seen with such regularity that the main bar has been named the “Mad Monk’s Bar” in his honour. He is, however, a gentle soul who causes no real problems to anyone. It is merely the sudden surprise of encountering him that can startle the visitor.

The other ghost is seen upstairs, so her path does not cross that of the monk. This is probably just as well. Not only is this ghost young, female and attractive – enough to earn the displeasure of many a devout monk – she is also stark naked. Unfortunately for the male customers of the George Hotel, this ghost is seen much less often than the monk. No doubt a great disappointment.

When a new landlayd, Janice, moved in to the George in 1999 one of the phantoms decided to welcome her to the inn. One morning she decided to move around some of the pictures in the restaurant. Within a few hours the pictures had leapt from the wall and tumbled face down on the ground, although neither the hooks on the walls nor the wires on the pictures were broken. Janice is sure that the ghost is a gentle soul who was just letting her know that he was in the George first.

Just north of the village the land climbs steeply to form Beaford Moor. This windswept, bleak patch of land is crossed by the A386 on is way to Okehampton. It is here that the Black Dog of Beaford runs through the mists. The phantom hound is usually seen running towards Hollocombe. Most of these great spectral black hounds of which there are stories all over the country, are linked to evil in some form or other. One paces in front of the phantom coach of the Wicked Lady Howard at Okehampton and others accompany the Devil across Dartmoor. This dog, however, has no such stories attached to it. It merely runs over the moor on misty days and foggy nights on some endless unexplained quest of its own.

This is an extract from Haunted Places of Devon by Rupert Matthews

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