Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Some Sad Spectres

In the 17th century a young lady from Zeals House, Wiltshire, eloped with a good looking servant with whom she was in love. She was never seen again, but very soon her ghost began to haunt the gardens. In the 1890s a female skeleton was found in nearby woods and is widely believed to have been that of the unfortunate young woman who was murdered by her lover for her jewels.

In the late 19th century the body of a woman, dressed in rich clothes, was washed up on the beach near Teignmouth. The body was buried in an unmarked grave in the churchyard. Her phantom haunts the stretch of beach where she was found. Walking disconsolately along the shoreline, the richly dressed lady in a long gown will pause occasionally to stare out to sea.

Lord Marney died in 1523 before he could finish building a new manor at Layer Marney, Essex. His son finished the house, but to different plans and Lord Marney returns in spectral form to protest at the changes.

In Cambridge is Christ’s College. At any time of the year a visitor to the college may come cross a stooped figure shuffling quietly around the Fellows’ Garden. This is the penitent ghost of a Fellow from two centuries ago named Christopher Rounds. He killed another Fellow of the college on this spot and, although he escaped the noose, his spirit returns still in the hope of achieving forgiveness.

The Silent Pool in Surrey is haunted by the phantom of a beautiful medieval maiden who drowned here. Witnesses differ as to whether she appears clothed or naked.

The ghost of Lydia Atley lurks by the lychgate in Ringstead, Northamptonshire. She was murdered by a local married farmer when she fell pregnant by him, but her body was never found. It is assumed that she is trying to lead people to her grave so that her body can be given a decent burial.

Deeply disconsolate are the shades that lurk near the old burial ground at Princeton, high on Dartmoor. Locally it is said that these are the phantoms of the dozens of French prisoners of war who died in captivity here during the Napoleonic Wars. Far from home and no doubt miserable in captivity, they lie buried in unmarked graves. No wonder their shades wander here.

The town hall at Woodbridge is haunted by a man dressed in 18th century clothing and bearing a mournful face.

From The Little Book of the Paranormal by Rupert Matthews

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