Friday, 6 May 2011
Harbringers of Death at Bratton, Wiltshire
The first phantom to be met near the village is one that appears in several places across Wiltshire and, indeed, England. Although it goes by various names, the Black Dog always fits a set description and is universally held to be a most dangerous phantom to meet. This particular Black Dog lurks near St Catherine’s Well. As elsewhere it is said to be not just big but enormous – almost as big as a donkey. Its eyes are perfectly circular, more like saucers than eyes, and may glow with a dull red flame. This is a beast best avoided. If it is encountered, it is wise to get out of its way for the Black Dog, or Shuck as it is often called, can cause sickness and death with terrifying ease.
Another harbinger of death lurks at Bratton. Where the main road through the village drops down to the bottom of the slopes of Salisbury Plain it crosses a small stream. Across this stream passes a phantom hearse on nights of the full moon if a villager is to die before the next full moon. The best time to see the ghostly carriage is, apparently at midnight. Not so long ago a group of local teenagers sat up on the night of the full moon. They saw nothing. But then none of the village’s inhabitants died that month.