Sunday, 2 January 2011

The Double Tragedy at Aconbury

Whatever one’s views on the causes of hauntings or the reality of ghosts, there can be no doubt that a number of the more active hauntings are linked to tragic deaths of one kind or another.

Some would hold that the massive emotional impact of the sad events have imprinted themselves on the surroundings and caused the hauntings. Others might maintain that the often sudden and always untimely nature of the deaths have kept the spirits of those involved chained to this earth to walk as spectres. The more cynical would suggest that brutal events are the sort of thing that get remembered by local people and can give rise to stories of ghosts when no such things exist.

Whatever one’s views, it must be admitted that the events that unfolded at Aconbury are typical of the type. Many years ago a young farmhand was in the habit of meeting his girlfriend in the small patch of woodland overlooking the church. There they could meet away from the prying eyes of their neighbours to whisper sweet nothings and discuss their future together.

Gradually, however, the girl came to believe that her lover was being untrue. Exactly how she came to form this impression is not known, but once the green eyed demon of jealousy had taken hold it came to consume her. Her boyfriend had only to talk to another woman after church for the girl to see it as evidence of his disloyalty. She confronted him with her suspicions, but his denials only served to confirm her in her views. After all, he would deny that he loved another, would he not? Especially if he were misleading the girl to keep her sweet.

She planned a bloody revenge. Taking an old hunting shotgun from her father’s farm she went to meet her lover in the woods. Again she demanded to know the truth, again he protested his innocence. Consumed by jealousy and anger she shot him dead. The gun blast brought villagers running, but the girl made no attempt to escape. She was suddenly overwhelmed by grief at what she had done. A second shot cut short her own life. By the time the villagers arrived, it was only to find two mangled corpses that needed burying.

Ever since that tragic double death the woods have been haunted by the lovers. They wander at peace with each other, obviously playing out happy memories of their early time together before the fatal jealousy took hold.

This is an extract from Haunted Herefordshire by Rupert Matthews

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