Friday, 21 May 2010

The Drunken Phantom in Oldbury, Warwickshire

The village of Oldbury is really little more than a hamlet. There is a scattering of houses along the twisting lane from Bentley to Hartshill, but not much more. There is simply not a large enough population to maintain the shops and services of other, larger villages. The old Blue Bell Inn, for instance, is now a private house.

This has not put off the slightly sozzled old ghost who began his hauntings of the lane when the pub was till a pub. The man in question was a servant named William Parker who worked at Brades Hall. The village pub at Oldbury was close enough for Parker to reach with ease, but far enough away that he would be out of sight of his employers. There he could relax and indulge his taste for fine beer before wending his way home.

One unfortunate evening a storm blew up while Parker was cosily ensconced in the pub. By the time he got up to leave a howling gale driving heavy rain was sleeting over the Warwickshire hills. Parker huddled against the wall for shelter as a particularly fierce blast of wind hit the building. Sadly for Parker, the chimney high above him toppled over and crashed down killing him instantly.

Ever since the ghost of unfortunate William Parker has been seen late in the evening staggering along the lane as if fighting to make headway against a ferocious wind. Even if the weather is quite calm, the coat of the ghost flaps as if buffeted by a howling gale.

This is an extract from Haunted Places of Warwickshire by Rupert Matthews.

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