Alice’s ghost

ghost

The fading skies of a November night. Some dim presentiment of evil hung heavy upon my heart as I sat alone in the twilight. And yet there was seemingly nothing to make me melancholy. On the contrary, I ought to have been more than usually joyful; had I not been the recipient of a most heavenly promise from Lucinda that very afternoon!

It seemed to be strange, to be sure, that a widower far from youthful, was to marry a girl barely into her twenties. Her mother had been a housekeeper in our family, but died soon after Lucinda’s birth. So it happened that she came under our wings, as we had no children of our own. My wife treated her sympathetically, but without much warmth or feeling. It was apparent to me that despite her civility towards Lucinda, she was jealous of the girl and would, quite often, go out of her way to avoid any unnecessary encounters with her.

Poor Alice! She warned me solemnly — and most vehemently! —on her death bed never to marry again, and threatened to rise from her grave in case of such an event.

Lucinda was in her thirteenth year when my wife passed away. I sent her away to a boarding-school; and, as business called me abroad, did not see her again, until my return, eight years afterwards. I was somewhat bewildered to find a lovely woman, instead of the little girl I had left in short dresses. Of course you can guess the inevitable. I fell in love with this charming woman. There was something in the genuine tenderness of her presence that completely won my heart.

Lucinda was most unlike other girls her age and did not suffer the carefree vagaries of youth. Instead of blushing at my declaration that afternoon she turned pale, almost ashen, as if struck by a sudden chill. I noticed too, that, there was a faint tremble in her voice when she finally consented to be my wife. I was concerned that my nephew Martin had told her what Alice had said on her death-bed. And yet I was unable to accept that the man could be so inconsiderate. Somehow, I couldn’t rid my mind of that warning. Alice was the most singular of women, and would surely keep her promise, if ghosts are permitted to walk the earth. Thinking thus, my mind drifted ineluctably towards a darker realm, and I began to grow fearful of the darkening shadows in my room, and hastily rang for light.

“Why are you so late, Mary?” I asked, indignantly, as the servant entered the room. Continue reading

Budding 11-year old ghost story writer – please take a look…

pilot2
A pupil of mine has just begun to write ghost stories and science-fiction.

I’m very impressed with his work so far and feel that it would give him the confidence he needs as a budding writer if he had a few bloggers taking a look at his work – and possibly ‘liking’ it too!

His latest effort, Sweet Bird of Truth (aka ‘Ghost Pilot’, a play script) is in its early stages but it looks to be taking shape nicely.

The page can be found here:

http://zachswordattacks.wordpress.com/2013/05/07/sweet-bird-of-truth-aka-ghost-pilot-by-zach-11-years-old/

Thank you kindly!

Regards, Paul

An invitation to a haunting

silky

I invite you to the preliminary scenes of a haunting. It is one as traditional as that told about many houses in old England; ancestral mansions that gloomily cast their shadows upon the land. But unlike my peers, I do not cast ignorant doubt upon all such ghostly occupations for I have witnessed my own; and, in time I have come to listen to the stories of our haunted island with a much more receptive ear.

A carriage has driven its way forth across the Dales and now passes through the streets of Ilkley.

“It is just out of the town, madam,” said the driver of the coach to its occupant. “You will be there in less than half an hour.”

“You are quite sure,” asked the young lady, “you know Denton House?”

“Know the Hall? I should say so!” was the confident reply. “We’ll be there soon enough.”

Miss Barton said no more. She resumed her seat in the vehicle, reassured. Her drive had already lasted some hours; the road was not in first-rate condition. She was only eighteen years of age, and, though not inclined to be timid or nervous, was afraid that the coachman had lost his way.

She was about to visit her friends, relatives of the former owner of the Hall, named Montague.

Pondering upon her reception, and anticipating the ball that was to be given a day or two after her arrival, Miss Barton sat quietly in her coach, and before long was rewarded for her patience by the sight of the house.

It is an old Elizabethan mansion — for it exists still — standing on rising ground and solidly built. It possesses three gables, the walls being much overgrown with ivy. Many of the windows, Miss Barton remarked, looked like embrasures, while the massive appearance of the embattled chimneys seemed to impart to the house the character of a castle. There were and may still, be traces of the moat, the side of which forms the terrace and orchard. The venerable trees were inhabited by a colony of rooks. Continue reading

The ineffaceable stain (The legend of Eastbury House)

Eastbury House, Dorset

Precised from John H Ingram: “The Haunted Homes and family traditions of Great Britain” Gibbings & Company, London, 1897.

Eastbury House near Blandford in Dorset, owing to the galaxy of famous names surrounding its story, must take a prominent place among the haunted homes of the country. Its career as a residence was short but brilliant.

Eastbury was begun by Lord Melcombe in 1718. The park and grounds were laid out on the same magnificent scale as the house, no expense being spared ; trees half a century old, and some tons in weight, were transported bodily from distant woods and replanted at Eastbury.

In 1763, a change came over the scene, and Eastbury House was destroyed even more rapidly than it had been created; all the rooms were dismantled, and the splendid furniture scattered to the winds. Twelve years later the ruin was consummated, the house being pulled down, and the beautiful and costly materials disposed of.

The ghostly legend attached to the house is said to be firmly believed in by the inhabitants of Grenville and its neighbourhood, and is to the following effect.
Lord Melcombe advanced considerable sums of money to his steward William Doggett. The greater part of this loan Dogget is said to have parted with to a brother, who got into “difficulties” and was utterly powerless to repay it. In course of time Lord Melcombe required repayments of his money, and Doggett, unable to comply with the demand, was reduced to great extremity.

The only expedient Doggett could find to meet his liabilities was to appropriate some of the building materials and sell them on his own account. Shortly before Lord Melcombe came down to receive his money, Doggett’s courage failed; probably he had a much smaller sum with which to repay his master than he owed; he could not pay him, and, therefore, shot himself.

It was in a marble-floored room that Doggett committed suicide, and it is said the stains of his blood are still visible. One might say that the stains of murder or suicide are ineffaceable!

Since this tragedy, Doggett’s ghost has lingered about Eastbury, and the tradition is that, headless, he drives about the park in a spectral coach and four driven by a coachman in livery. The troubled spirit appears to derive a bitter satisfaction from contemplation of the decayed grandeur of the once proud house, now reduced to scarcely a shadow of its former grandeur.

But it is many years now since the apparition has made itself visible, though the taint of ghostly inhabitation still clings to the remaining wing of the house. On dark nights, when all else is still, mysterious movements are heard, the doors open and shut unaccountably, pointing to the interference that the troubled spirit has not yet served its term of earthly wanderings.

Eastbury House, Dorset

The Flames of Stalbridge Manor – a ghost story

The Flames of Stalbridge Manor

An extract from The Flames of Stalbridge Manor:

‘Instinctively, I turned and there before me was the most horrific vision. For it was just that, a picture of intense suffering but one completely noiseless as if it were a silent dream. The flames leapt around the woman, ripping holes through her torso, lifting and wrapping the strands of her hair into a glowing ball of fire. I could see her lips contort as if to scream but no words came forth, only a splatter of fire upon flesh. I grappled with the beam behind me as if to force myself away but I was gripped by fear and found myself bound by the spectacle. The burning figure approached reaching out towards the beam that supported me, but without firmness she passed through it toppling into the void. I turned to see the flames extinguish in the darkness leaving no trace of the poor woman. Suppressing a shriek, I fell to my knees, peering at the open doorway, watching it shut violently upon itself.’

Walk with me (to the estuary) – a ghost story for Christmas

walk with me...

A bolt is thrust aside and one half of a stable door swings back. The sound of a sharp kick announces the peeling back of the second. A bulk of a man steps through carrying a thick meshed bundle of sticks and logs searching for a suitable spot to dump the damp load; his nose is held aloft, at a distance, enduring the sickly-sweet aroma of the mildewed bark. His face fidgets nervously until the wood is set down on a sheet of newspaper, neatly dragged into position by his foot. The dispatching of the load relieves his body, but his expression still retains the weary slump it entered with.

It is almost time for Manning to leave, a suitable moment to consider the sweet restorative powers of a few days by the coast. And with this thought, he finds his spirits lifting. It has been several years since he last visited Leet and walked its impressive shores; he has missed the place. No longer resisting, he succumbs to the pleasantness teasing his lips.

Perhaps you know Leet? It is a south facing sandy beach next to the entrance of the Beaulieu River in Hampshire, a landscape rich in character, with great stretches of open and unspoilt countryside.

Lete, walk with me (to the estuary)

But it is the agents of erosion that have defined this sea-place. The shore is littered with corpses: trees that have finally, but grudgingly, relinquished their fragile grip on the sandy soil, just a few metres above. Tendrils of seeping rainwater and the gnawing effect of the wind have gradually removed the earth, exposing roots to the mercy of encroaching elements. It is a natural decay, but not one that removes all evidence of existence; for old trunks lie entombed in wispy layers of sand, creating fragile barrows on the shore. In the early hours of a wintry morning, the landscape transforms into a surprisingly gloomy affair; the dead bodies of trees are thrust into the greyness, and any living thing roaming amongst the decay looks quite lost, as lost as a child. Continue reading