A Classic Ghost
As with any study of the paranormal, it is best to start by setting out what I am seeking to investigate, what I am not seeking to investigate, and how I intend to do it.
I am most emphatically not seeking to deal with ghosts in the classical sense of the word. A “classic ghost” is usually a very distinct type of an apparition. I have investigated a large number of such hauntings and have spoken to a wide range of witnesses. Take, for instance, the haunting of the Black Horse pub in West Bolden, just outside Sunderland in northern England.
The Black Horse is reputedly haunted by the ghost of a man who was badly wounded during some sort of a riot or fracas outside. The unfortunate man was carried into the pub by his friends to receive medical aid, but died an hour or two later. That happened more than two centuries ago, but the ghost remains. In 2003 the pub got a new landlord who told me about his first encounter with the ghost.
“Well I was in here opening up one day. Lovely day it was and I had the front door open to let the air in. I was tidying up glasses and stuff by the bar when something made me glance toward the door. That’s when I saw this man sitting there by the door looking out the window. He was quite solid, not see through or anything like that. He was wearing a long dark coat of a very rough texture. Funny how you remember details. It was coarse and woollen, I felt I could just reach out and touch it. And he had a big dark-coloured hat on with a wide brim. I think he was wearing boots as well, but wouldn’t swear to it. He looked about 45 or 50 to me and was pretty heavily built, definitely not a thin man.
“Anyway, I thought he was an early customer come in to wait for us to open. So I called across ‘Can I help you’, or words to that effect. The man turned to look at me and I suddenly thought how sad he looked. Then he was gone. Just like that. He did not walk off, he did not fade away. Nothing. He was there, then he was gone. I tell you, I left this bar in a real hurry. The hairs on the back of my neck were sticking right up.
“At first I wasn’t sure what to do. I mean, you wouldn’t be would you? I didn’t tell anyone what I had seen. Then some time later one of our girls mentioned the pub was meant to be haunted and told me about the man and all. So then I knew that I had seen the ghost. Like I said, I didn’t hold with all that when I came here. But I do now.”
from POLTERGEIST by Rupert Matthews
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