Wednesday, 3 November 2010
Phantom Smugglers on Romney Marsh, Kent
These days the life of Doctor Syn is celebrated in local fetes and festivals. The main event is held every two years when the activities are co-ordinated into the appropriately named “Days of Syn”. The erstwhile clergyman was actually a literary creation of local writer Russell Thorndyke and is entirely fictional. His story is, however, based on the real life escapades of Romney Marsh smugglers in days gone by.
One such smuggler was less fortunate that the fictional Doctor Syn. He ended his days on a gibbet just outside the village of Brookland after being caught by the revenue men. After his body had been left to rot for some weeks, his remains were cut down and buried by the roadside. Ever since then he has returned to pace restlessly around the site of the now-vanished gibbet. Perhaps he seeks a decent burial, perhaps he returns to atone for his sins. It is unlikely we will ever know for as soon as a witness gets within a few feet of him, this phantom vanishes abruptly.
This is an extract from HAUNTED PLACES OF KENT by Rupert Matthews