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Map and Directions View Map. Also, there will ve updates and photos on Facebook and Twitter. The Ghost Brothers truly gives audience a new look on the ghost hunting. Personally though, even a seasoned Ghost Hunter like myself would have trouble entering into such a foreboding house. Still, I will be eagerly watching to see what they encounter. Should be interesting. O n January 7th, at the Television Critics Association press tour, it was announced that Destination America will again tap the paranormal genre with the March premiere of a new Paranormal Television Series entitled Paranormal Lockdown.
They confine themselves into some pretty horrifying places for a period of 72 hours. It is during this episode where Steve and Jason investigating the distillery together, come across what looks like a person. It is not any member of their team and the TAPS crew are the only ones in the distillery at the time. This makes for some great ghost hunting! Jason, Steve and the TAPS team goes out to the location and investigates using state of the art technology and by documenting everything they experience.
This season they were able to try out prototypes of some new technology that they appear very excited about. Jason said these reported hauntings that they investigate have serious consequences on some families. He said they investigated a home a few seasons back where a child was poking their own eyes because of the things they were seeing. While 80 percent of the investigations turn out to have natural origins, 20 percent are real hauntings.
Tune in on Wednesday, August 26, at 9 p. P hotographer Seph Lawless is a master of the abandoned — his frames are filled with eerie portraits of shopping malls, factories, homes. All dilapidated, all empty, all but forgotten. He usually travels across the United States via hybrid vehicle, equipped with a camera and a knack for finding ways inside strange structures, collecting stories of his adventures along the way.
He is, after all, venturing through the detritus of tougher times. He was bound to stumble upon a few terrifying properties, left to crumble while the rest of us are too afraid to notice. Essentially, the tome is a high quality coffee table book for the macabre obsessed. Check out a preview of the publication, available in hardback and e-book, below. All captions provided by the artist.
Years later several dead bodies were found in the cellar of the mansion. Each body had been marked by a what appeared to be a perfect circle on the torso and chest areas. Calleen Wilder Menu Skip to content. Coincidence, cause or effect? The Paranormal Investigator Underneath the black baggy T-shirt, baseball cap and arms full of skull tattoos, you will find The Paranormal Investigator.. Demons This has always been a big eyebrow-raiser concerning the whole crazy, ghost-hunting circus. Apparently by all accounts what Demons want is not the greatest… They want to incite spiritual warfare, kill, destroy, murder, lie, confuse you, keep you from discovering the truth and will accuse you of things you have not done.
So if this war is real, would you go out to war un-armed? Discernment By definition discernment is the ability to judge well — Judgement, enlightenment, sensitivity, subtlety and perceptiveness. Zak Bagans. Stay safe! Below is the preview video:. From a religious perspective of inversion, if God, the angels and the saints were radiant, casting light wherever Christianity was practised as iconography depicted them , then it stood to reason that darkness, by contrast, was the natural home of the ungodly and the damned.
The explanation put forward by the Elizabethan writer Thomas Nashe was simple. Perhaps science could justify this faith. It was, he suggested, to do with the quality of night-time air and the ability of spirits to spin a physical form for themselves out of aerial matter. He was adamant, though, that human imagination could not generate such physical materialisations. Ghosts were not realities but figments of the imagination. When the Rev.
Henry Bourne puzzled over the matter in the early eighteenth century he focused on the introspection that the night encouraged. Surprise gave place to terror, as the smoke gradually assumed the form of his dead comrade. People rarely had time to sit and stare at ghosts for hours on end. Unless they had some terrible burden to get off their ethereal chests or a task to complete behaviour most common in the early modern period , ghosts usually only appeared for seconds or minutes before disappearing.
On first seeing a ghost, then, the attention was fixed immediately on its appearance and the senses were stunned by the initial shock. A little more detail is forthcoming about how ghosts disappeared. This was the culmination of the experience, the senses had adjusted and concentration was intense. Despite the cultural influence of modern media, even in twentiethcentury reports the latter behaviour is relatively uncommon.
Over the centuries ghosts have often been reported to have a luminescent quality, and sometimes, particularly outdoors, manifested themselves as lights, often of a bluish hue. A man of St Austell told Joseph Hammond how he was going home one summer evening when he saw a pale, bluish light. In typical pixy-led fashion, he lost his way, and, as he began to feel exhausted, the light went out and in its place he saw a man wheeling a barrow.
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He cried out as it approached and the ghost stopped and melted away. Some locals subsequently told him that a few years before a miner pushing a barrow had fallen into a disused mineshaft near the spot. They were described as blue lights about three feet high, which left the house just before or at the moment of death and followed the path that the funeral procession would take. They would then enter the church and rest at the spot where the coffin would be placed, lighting up the whole church before moving to the grave plot and disappearing.
The appearance of a death light was considered a good a sign for it foretold the soul was at peace. The phenomenon was widely interpreted in popular cultures across Europe and beyond as the manifestation of either the spirits of the dead or fairies, and England was no exception. It would be wrong to assume, however, that people thought every blue light they saw on a dark night was a ghost.
There was popular awareness that some ignis fatui had natural causes.
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It was the context in which they appeared and their behaviour that shaped the interpretation of their existence. This is apparent from the Rev. One evening at harvest time around , Shopland and several others saw a strange light dancing about in the spot where, not long before, two girls had been gleaning. The girls were the daughters of a neighbour, William Hicks, whose son had recently died.
It moved up and down and finally settled on a mow. White-sheeted or shrouded ghost were also sometimes seen in homes and on the streets. He and a neighbour spent several nights waiting for it to appear, but saw nothing. Only the wealthy could afford a wooden coffin. After the corpse had been washed and laid out, a white sheet, sometimes the bedsheet on which the person died, was wrapped around the body allowing only the face to be seen, with the cloth fastened at the head and feet to ensure the corpse did not slip out when being placed in the grave. Towards the end of the seventeenth century the wealthy elite increasingly discarded the traditional winding sheet, clothing corpses in tailor-made funerary outfits consisting of a white shirt or smock and a cap.
Medieval illuminated manuscripts sometimes depicted the apparition of the prophet Samuel in a shroud. He was subsequently prosecuted. While searching the bushes around the premises where the ghost had been sighted, they were attacked by a pale figure. It turned out to be a solicitor named E. Sutton, who evidently had a penchant for white apparel.
Sutton was knocked down by the constables, dragged to the police station and charged with assault. The magistrate at Marylebone police court subsequently dismissed the case due to conflicting evidence. It was rumoured that the wife of a locksmith had died of fright and two others were dangerously ill from the shock of being confronted by the ghostly figure. It was rumoured to be the spirit of a local man who had cut his throat a year or so before.
It was certainly unwise to be out at night in white clothing — as was a bricklayer named Thomas Milward on the night in question. His working apparel consisted of white linen trousers, a white flannel waistcoat and a white apron. Only a few nights before, as he made his way home from work, he had frightened a gentleman and two ladies in a carriage. On the night of the third, Francis Smith was in the White Hart pub when the conversation turned to the ghost.
Fuelled by drink, Smith decided to put an end to the haunting and was joined in his quest by Girdler. They agreed to take separate paths in order to cover more ground, and they were conscious enough to arrange a watchword to ensure they did not shoot each other. Receiving no reply and seeing it continue to advance he shot it with his fowling gun. As soon as Smith realised he had killed a man he gave himself up to the local magistrate.
In July he received a free pardon from the king. By no means all ghosts were pale visions. In the various collections of ghost sightings published during the second half of the seventeenth century, there are several ghosts that percipients swore looked just as they had dressed in life. In such cases there was nothing visually to distinguish the dead from the living. During the second half of the nineteenth century, however, sightings of black-clad apparitions became quite numerous again, as is evident from reports sent to the SPR. To give just one instance that combines both observations, a female ghost clad in a black silk gown, which haunted a farm on the Isle of Axholme, Lincolnshire, was thought to be associated with a religious house that once stood on the spot.
The folklore sources are full of examples. There was the woman in white that frequented a lakeside spot near Hawkshead, and one with buckled shoes that haunted a pond at Llwynberried. Hayward, writing in the s, knew of several White Ladies in the county. One at Longnor lived in a pool and would come out and dance on the green at night.
Across much of England, Cornwall being a singular exception, fairy belief was in serious decline by the eighteenth century. Examples of people professing to see fairies are few and far between in the folklore sources compared to ghost sightings. The conundrum of why ghosts wear clothing will be discussed later, but suffice it to say that sightings of naked ghosts were exceedingly rare throughout the period concerned.
Returning home one evening from folding his sheep near Bampton, Oxfordshire, he was much frightened to see briefly the apparition of a naked man beside him on the road. In another instance a nude ghost proved to be flesh and blood. Her screams brought her master to the scene. He managed to overpower the naked Barlow and hand him over to the local constable. In England we find a little evidence for headless ghosts in the medieval period. Richard Baxter related several cases. Then there was the servant who had murdered his master and fled to Ireland, and was haunted by the apparition of a headless man whenever he lay alone in bed.
Atkinson — recalled how in his Essex childhood he knew of the ghost of a headless lady in a blood-stained nightdress that appeared during certain phases of the moon. The obvious explanation for headless ghosts is that they represent those who had their heads chopped off. It has been suggested that the absence of acephalous ghosts in Ancient Greek and Roman sources was because beheading was a rare form of punishment or modus operandi of murderers.
From the Anglo-Saxon period hanging was the main form of execution. The most famous victim was, of course, Anne Boleyn, whose headless ghost is rumoured to still haunt the vicinity of the Tower. There are hardly any instances of people seeing headless Anglo-Saxon ghosts, however, and most acephalous ghosts did not hang around the Tower of London, nor did they have any association with treasonous activities. So there is little direct link between beheading and headless spirits. People in the past also pondered why some of the non-aristocratic ghosts haunting their neighbourhoods had no head, and a general association was made with head and neck injuries.
He cut across country and broke his neck going down the track. The headlessness of the ghost of a smuggler near Crowborough, Sussex, was attributed to the fact that he was shot in the head by a gamekeeper. What of the many headless animal ghosts, such as the bear-like apparition seen by a Royalist soldier named Simon Jones during the Civil War, or the headless horse and pig that appeared occasionally in the parish of Tillington, Sussex, during the mid nineteenth century? The conundrum of headless ghosts can be situated in terms of Christian ideas about the fate of mutilated bodies at the Day of Judgement.
They were a more rarefied version of the classic old-style pub debate about whether a man with one leg would have the other one restored in the afterlife. The comforting orthodox theological view was that God would reunite every particle of each body with its soul, and therefore the resurrected body would be identical to the complete body of the deceased.
Some argued further that the resurrected would be free from all imperfections. Either way, from this theological perspective there would be no headless men and women at the Day of Judgement. Still, these musings do not take us much further. We should focus not on the ghostly body, perhaps, but on what the missing head symbolised. Only the ghostly body returned as a spiritual memory.
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Such speculations, while fascinating, still tell us little about the meaning of the headless ghost in the early modern and modern periods. It remains an enigmatic recurring motif. In late nineteenth and twentieth century studies there are numerous accounts of people feeling an indefinable sensation of a presence, which is sometimes connected with a perceived drop in temperature.
The experience does not necessarily cause unease. In those cases where it is connected with the bereavement process it can evidently be a comforting feeling. Sometimes the presence of a ghost was beyond the detection of human senses. It was a long-held belief that flames turned blue when spirits were around.
Baxter recounted the case of a mastiff that awakened a household with its howling having sensed a ghost outside. Early modern pamphlets sometimes reported that troublesome ghosts left behind the sulphurous smell of brimstone. A seventeenth-century gentlewoman whose bedroom was haunted smelt an even fouler odour. Less obnoxious but unidentifiable spirit odours were even more of a puzzle. Whether it was a ghost was debatable, and Aubrey noted that the astrologer William Lilly decided it was a fairy. The latter development may explain the popularity of noxious and perfumed ghosts in Victorian and Edwardian ghost literature.
But it has one drawback. If I realise it on stage, I shall drive the audience out of the theatre. Green and McCreery found that 8 per cent of their respondents reported odours associated with apparitions. Noises resulting from violent or aggressive actions, such as slamming doors, or knocking on walls, were usually associated with poltergeists, and will be discussed later in this chapter. In the past, passive auditory ghosts were generally identifiable by the repetitive actions that the living were associated with in life.
Most common was the sound of footsteps but others were manifested by occupational sounds. When workers resumed work, for several days they heard the sound of a pickaxe emanating from the spot where the worker had been killed. It was concluded 28 T HE HAUNT ED that it must be the ghost of the man, a belief that was confirmed when one of the navvies was lowered into the tunnel and emerged swearing that he had seen the white figure of the dead man working away. Subsequent investigation revealed the ghost was merely a tin powder can being blown against rocks by high winds.
Silk was not a fabric worn by the poor. Quite a few such cases were also reported to the SPR. Once it began to speak it was dangerous to interrupt or ask questions. In the early modern period vocal ghosts were not rare, but during the nineteenth century they lost their voices to a considerable degree and by the s ghosts were decidedly taciturn. And when they can speak intelligibly, it is ordinarily in a hoarse and low Voice, as is observable in many stories.
The question of how exactly ghosts spoke without having physical organs has long been considered. There are several medieval accounts of ghosts deigning to explain to the living the nature of their vocal capacities. The response of two of them that they spoke from their guts and not their mouths hardly solved the matter, though it helped explain how headless ghosts sometimes talked. Another replied more convincingly that the power of speech lay in the soul and not the tongue. Over the centuries the touch of ghosts has usually been described as cold.
Ghosts rarely applied much pressure to the flesh of the living, usually merely brushing past or giving a gentle prod or embrace. Occasionally, though, they liked to throw what weight they had around. The case was recorded in a letter from Benjamin Smith, then a student, to his father the Nonconformist and politician William Smith — A local doctor launched an investigation but no evidence of fraud was found.
The actions of aggressive invisible forces take us into the realm of the obstreperous poltergeist, where the boundaries between the activities of devils, witches and ghosts become blurred. Poltergeist activity, which was nearly always associated with the haunting of buildings, typically consisted of the throwing or moving of objects, the slamming of doors, the rattling of windows, and the rapping on walls and furniture.
Occasionally spirits would communicate through such knocking. Sometimes they pushed, pinched and bruised people. Richard Baxter reported the case of a house in Lutterworth plagued by stones for several weeks in February No one mentioned spirits of the dead. In other poltergeist cases the usual popular cultural explanation was witchcraft, while the puritanical and evangelical were quick to blame aggressive hauntings on obsession, in other words the external molestation of a person or persons by the Devil. The decision-making of the Independent minister Vavasor Powell — is a good case in point.
He recalled being at prayer one night in his chamber when suddain I heard one walk about me, trampling upon the Chamber floor, as if it had been some heavie big man, upon which I grew so fearful, and unbelieving, that I ran down shutting, and hasping the door after me, and called up some of the family, telling them there was a thief in the room, but it proved in the end, to be no other than that spiritual thief, and murderer Satan.
In some hauntings ghosts appeared in inextricable association with equally apparitional inanimate objects, such as phantom coaches, ships and more recently cars. But if ghosts were the spirits of the dead how could such inanimate objects also be spirits? For some this was a pointless, ridiculous question that demonstrated the absurdity of the belief in ghosts. But one man, at least, attempted to construct a spiritual rationale for their existence.
In his Spirit World: Its Inhabitants, Nature and Philosophy, published in , the American spiritualist Eugene Crowell argued that phantom ships and spectral railway trains were not myths. They were the earthly creations of the ghosts of mariners and railwaymen, constructed from spiritual substances gathered from the heavens. By building their own ships the ghosts of mariners who yearned for the sea were able to voyage the oceans once again and visit ports just as they had done in life.
How is it to acquire the appearance of dress? All the socks that never came home from the wash, all the boots and shoes which we left behind us worn out at watering-places, all the old hats which we gave to crossing-sweepers … What a notion of heaven — an illimitable old clothes-shop, peopled by bores, and not a little infested with knaves! Indeed, it comes to me reminiscent of early school days and of debates on the subject in school debating societies. Maybe it was felt there was no need.
God worked in mysterious ways. The theories of mesmerism, hypnotism and clairvoyance that circulated in late-eighteenth- and early-nineteenth-century England provided pseudo-scientific theories to bolster the faith position. If the living had telepathic powers perhaps the sentient souls of the dead could also transmit thoughts and images into the minds of the earthbound. The spirits did not necessarily physically appear but they could impress their physical identity upon the minds of the living, and therefore the imagination of the clairvoyant.
Catherine Crowe, whose book of hauntings and apparitions went through numerous editions following its initial publication in , applied this theory to the ghost clothes issue. As to their reason for choosing to appear clothed, they were naturally the same as for wearing clothes in life. Clothes were also about personal and social identity. How could one make sense, otherwise, of a naked headless ghost? A disturbing thought both in the past and present. Most reports concerned cats and dogs, which is not surprising considering they are the animals most associated with human companionship.
Likewise there are few examples of animal ghosts verifiable by known deaths, such as that of a dog seen on Bengeo Common in Hertfordshire in March As a local newspaper reported, it was thought to be the ghost of a dog that had been killed three weeks before. Otherwise there have been reports of diverse other animals over the centuries including bears, calves, deer and rabbits. The issue of whether animals have souls, and, if they do, what type of soul, has long been and continues to be a matter of Christian debate in both Catholic and Protestant churches.
An English survey conducted in the s revealed that 77 per cent of people thought that animals had souls, with 56 per cent believing they had an afterlife. It was widely accepted that animals possessed spiritual souls; some suggested immortal ones, but few, other than political radicals during the Civil War and some evangelicals, argued that they had rational souls or shared an afterlife with humankind. However, his idea that animals were merely machines was not widely adopted in England. Even in this Enlightenment discourse, there was no consensus on the issue.
The "Sensed Presence"
Some continued to assert that animals had immaterial and immortal souls, while the odd voice even suggested that animals joined humans at the Day of Judgement. In popular culture right through until the twentieth century there were several alternative explanations for such sightings. Witches, fairies, angels and devils were all believed to transform themselves into animals, and witches were also thought to have animal familiars. Up until the late nineteenth century most animal apparitions seem to have been interpreted in these contexts, and could be distinguished by their unnatural features, which were more demonic than ghostly.
They were sometimes said to be bigger than normal animals, while others were indefinable animal forms. Some were headless. A good example of this type of spirit beast was that seen in January by the inhabitants of Baldock, Hertfordshire. Large numbers gathered nightly to witness the haunting of a house at the top of the high street, causing Police Constable William Tripp some trouble in keeping the road open to traffic. Windows and doors banged open and beds were lifted up. Pamphlets told of a sulphurous-smelling, headless black bear that manhandled a Somerset woman in , and a large, coal-coloured dog that haunted and disrupted the house of an Oxfordshire gentleman in — Proof that such incidents were played out in the popular mind of the period, and not just on the printed page, is apparent from the casebooks of Elizabethan and Jacobean astrologers and physicians.
One man who consulted Richard Napier described how the Devil appeared to him in the form of a black dog and a bear. His assertion was based primarily on the evidence of the witch trials of the previous century. In , for instance, Elizabeth Styles confessed to a Somerset magistrate that around ten years before, the Devil had appeared to her in the form of a handsome man and a black dog.
Dog apparitions were no longer figures of fear and dread but rather subjects of curiosity and wonder. They began to take on more of the characteristics of human ghosts. The dog ghost on Bengeo Common was, perhaps, a product of its time. As the discussion above suggests, there is little evidence for people believing in animal ghosts prior to the late nineteenth century. However there is another intriguing, and long-held popular tradition that human ghosts, as well as devils, fairies and witches could shape-shift and appear in animal form. Eighteenthcentury rationalists singled out the belief for particular mockery.
Writing in , the satirical, anti-clerical writer Thomas Gordon divided ghosts into two kinds. On other Occasions it wears the Carcass of a great black Dog, that glares full in your Face. In seventeenth-century literature they had overtly demonic characteristics. Apparitions of animals, usually of a more gentle persuasion, and with few if any abnormalities, were thought to haunt the spots where people died in terrible circumstances.
At Wheal Vor Mine, Cornwall, the place where several miners were blown to pieces by an explosion was afterwards said to be haunted by a troop of little black dogs. The ghosts of those murdered in and around Corby were sometimes seen crossing Highstane Common, Bewcastle, in various forms including a drove of black cattle or a herd of wild horses. In early nineteenth-century Oxfordshire the spirits of suicides buried at Cowleas Corner haunted the spot in animal forms such as calves and sheep. She had supposedly died on the spot in , after falling from her horse. However, examples of the souls of lesser humans appearing in animal form are rare.
In one instance a dead person appeared in the form of a haystack and a horse, while another was seen in the guise of a crow, a dog and a goat. There is some evidence from the early modern period that angels were popularly thought to appear on earth on animal forms, usually as birds or bird-like forms. Whether the shape-shifting ghost became less demonic during the modern period is debatable.
It is possible that the gentler nineteenth-century version existed in early modern folklore as well. The seventeenth-century pamphlet literature, influenced by the educated preoccupation with the Devil, may distort our understanding, presenting us with a demonic conception of ghosts that did not reflect popular beliefs. In nineteenth-century folklore they are usually represented as simple domestic creatures once again. Certainly no more than 2, years it would seem.
Until recently there were no sightings of the ghosts of prehistoric people; no Palaeolithic hunter-gatherers roaming the landscape; no Bronze Age spirits hanging about tumuli or Iron Age phantoms patrolling hill forts. Why should there be limits on the age of hauntings? This in turn obviously depended on the wealth of the deceased and their families. The commonest request from those with a bit of money was the trental, which consisted of a set of 30 requiem masses, usually said over 30 days, though it could be compressed into a week if the family had sufficient funds to employ a marathon relay of priests.
Considering how much money was involved servicing purgatorial souls, the church was understandably flexible about the nature and length of the intercessionary services they offered. In , for example, One William Crofts, of Bolsover, bequeathed that shillings be paid to a priest to have him sing for his soul for a year after his death.
Whatever the arrangement, it was considered reasonable that the restless spirits of the dead might return periodically to remind or encourage those praying for their souls, with an appreciative parting visit at the end to mark the completion of their time in purgatory. In the early modern period, limits were put on the existence of ghosts depending on various scientific and metaphysical criteria that will be discussed in subsequent chapters. In the sixteenth century, for instance, it was stated that according to some necromantic magicians the spirits of the dead could only be recalled to the body within one year of death.
Purposeful ghosts continued to appear and disappear as before in postReformation England, and were particularly prominent in the literature of the seventeenth century. Many of the accounts in the collections of Glanvill, Baxter, Sinclair and Aubrey concern ghosts that appeared shortly after death to friends and family, while those that hung around for longer were usually waiting for someone to facilitate their mission. This did not usually take long, though there were some exceptions. A pamphlet published around reported that a ghost had recently appeared to one William Clark, a maltster living near Northampton, and stated: I am the disturbed Spirit of a person long since Dead, I was Murthered neer this place Two hundred sixty and seven years, nine weeks, and two days ago, to this very time, and come along with me and I will shew you where it was done.
The ethnographic evidence for popular beliefs from the eighteenth century onwards suggests that certain types of ghost were appearing for longer and longer periods. These were not the purposeful ghosts that interacted with humans, but the hordes of silent memorial ghosts who walked the roads, roamed the fields or lingered by pools, sometimes haunting the spot where a person committed suicide, perhaps commemorating a sad event or merely a repetitive action.
The lifespan of such ghosts, for which there was no obvious allotted occupancy on earth, depended on the collective memory and the stability of the oral transmission of local histories in communities from one generation to the next. A ghost needed to be located in time to make sense of it. This could be achieved by matching a haunting with a real event such as a murder or a suicide.
This could be a recent incident fresh in the collective or individual memory, or it could be associated with a dim and distant tragic event. Legends could be appropriated to give a ghost a back-story. Sometimes the location of a haunting provided the dating evidence. A ghost in a castle could be confidently located in medieval or early modern times. Ghosts, as troubled spirits, also became explicable if they could be situated in a turbulent period of history such as the dissolution of the monasteries.
Ghostly nuns and monks are common in folklore sources. To give but two examples, near Tong, Shropshire, in the s, a nun haunted the former sight of a nunnery dissolved during the Reformation. Samuel Bamford — recalled how, in his childhood, School Lane in Middleton, Lancashire, was haunted by two men, one Royalist and the other a Roundhead, who killed each other there during the Civil War. The ubiquity of ghostly nuns, monks, Roundheads and Cavaliers is due considerably to the fact that they are easily recognisable by their habits and headgear.
So clothes identify the period and the period provides the reason for the haunting. But this is an extremely difficult thing to gauge. Numerous local legends of valiant battles against the Danes sprang up around the country, with some enduring right through into the twentieth century, perhaps given renewed life by the national celebration of King Alfred in , to mark the 1,th anniversary of his death.
But significant insights into popular beliefs in ghosts only become available from the late seventeenth century, and by this time the chronological parameters of popular history had shifted to more recent events. The Civil War had become the most prominent episode in English legendary history, smothering and replacing earlier traditions of Old English battles and monumental destruction.
In the West Country, for example, the Monmouth rebellion of and the infamous Bloody Assizes held by Judge Jeffreys became a strong legendary influence. The Reformation was obviously held up as a key moment in English historical progress, though some pedagogic texts recognised the brutality of the Dissolution. Similarly, the Civil War and the execution of Charles I was used to defend the righteousness of monarchy and the iniquity of political rebellion.
This ghost supposedly scared the ferrymen of the lakes around the time of the Reformation, until a monk vanquished it. A search on the internet reveals numerous sightings in diverse places such as London, Derby, the Isle of Wight, and an old Roman road near Weymouth. Some readers will be familiar with the well-known case of a troop of soldiers seen by a plumber working in a York cellar in However, such sightings are a modern phenomenon, with nearly all of them dating to the last 50 years.
Clothes truly maketh the ghost. The Rev. There is a biblical precedent. The Hammersmith ghost scare was said to have caused the demise of one woman, and in the newspapers reported that an aristocratic young woman had died after a convulsive fit brought on by having seen two ghosts in her bedchamber. In January an inquest on the body of a year-old servant named Elizabeth Bishop, at Misterton, Somerset, concluded that she had died of excessive fright or syncope. This severely frightened her and in the ensuing weeks she said she had also seen the ghost of a cousin who had been dead some 20 years.
In a state of considerable distress she returned home to her parents in Misterton, and shortly after she fell into a terrible fit and died. She told the coroner: It is the ghost of a lady in silk, and has been troublesome to some former lodgers. Two or three lodgers have been killed in the same house, and no doubt frightened from the same cause.
I have never seen the ghost myself. A verdict of accidental death was given. Wherever humans have been so ghosts have followed: from ships in the middle of the ocean to the crowded streets of London, from the dark depths of the earth to moonlit hilltops, from the humblest cottages to royal palaces. But rarely did ghosts roam or linger aimlessly; there was usually a reason as to where as well as why they appeared.
The spirits of the dead most obviously returned to those places where someone had died or where corpses lay buried or hidden.
The Haunted: A Social History of Ghosts
But there were other locations where ghosts lingered that did not have explicit associations with death, such as bridges, roads and pools. The concept of liminality, which pertains to the state of being on the border or threshold of two defined states of existence, has been most enthusiastically employed by anthropologists to describe the symbolic and physical transitional stages in which initiates find themselves when undergoing rites of passage.
But the concept also serves to describe, in various historic and prehistoric contexts, the relationship between life, death, the afterlife, and natural and man-made features in the landscape. Natural features such as rivers likewise served as liminal places where the two worlds met, and where people gathered to either reinforce the separation between them or to try to permeate it briefly for religious or magical purposes. In Scandinavia, for instance, there was a long association between the living dead and property boundaries.
Once dead the outlaw returned to haunt the spot where in life he or she had transgressed secular and religious norms, and could be encountered groaning, trying to move the stone to its rightful place, or pointing out to the living where it should lie. The demonic ghost that, in , tormented and abused a man of Spreyton Spraiton , Devon, only appeared to him as soon as he crossed into the parish. As well as being sensitive to the significance and meaning of liminality, we should also be aware of how changes in the environment over time influenced the landscape of haunting.