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Reculver

Location: Reculver, between Herne Bay and Birchington (Kent)  

Date/Time: Easter 2002. Saturday. c.11.00 p.m.    MAP  MAP (zoom)

Reculver Towers (St Mary's Church rems. & Roman Fort wall (Reculbium))In April 2003, Leigh Vooght submitted a brief report and appeal on the Roadghosts.com Guest Book concerning a sighting she and her boyfriend had had in Reculver Lane, Reculver, Kent. 

The approach to Reculver Towers is by a single route, a long narrow lane hemmed in on both sides along much of its length by high hedgerows. 

The couple were heading along the darkened lane at around 11 p.m., when Leigh's boyfriend suddenly braked hard. Fortunately, their speed was not great, around 20 mph. 

High hedgerows of Reculver Lane. The twin towers of St Mary's church are visible in the background.Even so, Leigh was thrown forward in her seat. When she looked at her boyfriend to see what had happened, he was staring straight ahead and shaking. He said he had seen a man walk across the road in front of them. He was dressed in a dark overcoat, with plain trousers, a pointed hat and shoes. 

But this man had a slight see-through appearance. He had stopped momentarily to look in their direction before walking into the hedgerows on the other side.

Leigh's boyfriend was convinced it could not have been a real person. As Leigh pointed out, if it had been, there was nowhere for him to go. The hedgerow was undisturbed. The only building in the vicinity was a church; around that only dark-shrouded fields.

Leigh thought the description fit that of a fisherman or farmer, speculating that he may have died in the area. She was keen to find out more about him from anyone who may also have seen him, or knew anything about him.

Do you have any news regarding similar encounters in the vicinity of Reculver?  Please email any information to st@roadghosts.com.

Source(s):Personal correspondence, submitted to Roadghosts.com.

If we were to look for historical causes, Reculver has layers of history from which to choose. The name itself is derived from Reculbium, the sentry fort built by the Romans to guard the northern entrance to the Wantsum Channel then in existence between Isle of Thanet and mainland Kent. The channel has since silted up, but a view across the low ground to the east from the towers of the ruined church of St. Mary's perched atop the fort platform allows one to easily imagine how it may have looked.

Legend has it that the sound of a baby's cries have been heard in the grounds of the fort and churchyard. Other ghostly legends include a ghostly sword battle between a smuggler and a customs official near the cliff edge*, a Roman soldier still apparently on sentry duty, and hooded figures in the church ruins! 

The latter, in fact, were subject of an article in the Kent Today (annoyingly, I sent the original cutting to Fortean Times magazine without keeping a copy) around 6 years ago, when it was said police were called out to investigate reports that hooded figures had been sighted floating above ground between the twin towers.

The baby connection, at least, has some historical foundation. Excavations conducted in the 1960s within the fort revealed several skeletons of infants beneath the walls of a barrack block. Some have speculated that these were ritual sacrifices to ensure the protection of the fort, by establishing a genius loci - a spirit of place or guardian. The idea is propagated forward in time, where some traditions hold that the first burial in a graveyard becomes its guardian spirit. 

The church remains themselves probably came about with the eventual abandonment of the site as it succumbed to coastal erosion, which has taken a proportion of the former graveyard and northern section of the Roman fort. The main body of the church, dating originally from AD 669, was demolished  in 1809, with the towers left to remain as navigational markers for shipping. 

It was in the shadow of the Twin Sisters that prototypes of  Barnes Wallace's famous 'bouncing bombs' were secretly tested, which were so to be used successfully in the 'Dambusters' raids on the Ruhr dams on 17 May 1943. In June 1997 it was announced that four of the prototypes had been found in the offshore mud near Reculver. A 60th anniversary fly-over of Reculver  took place on 17 May 2003, when a Lancaster was joined by a Spitfire, a Hurricane, and a modern Tornado GR4 jet to commemorate the tests.

http://www.digiserve.com/peter/reculver.htm

http://www.dangerous.freeola.net/Page_5x.html

http://www.exclassics.com/ingold/ing39.htm * Possibly a reference to the Ingoldsby Legends' 'The Smuggler's Leap'?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/kent/news/features/dambusters.shtml

 

Rushwick

Location: Rushwick, nr. Worcester (Worcestershire)  

Date/Time: c.1992. c. 12.00 a.m.   MAP  MAP (zoom)


Charles Smith wrote to Roadghosts.com in November 2002 to report a sighting he had had in the village of Rushwick, near Worcester some 10 years earlier. His sighting was on the main road through the village (which, he noted, has since been bypassed), alongside a slightly curved wall.

Charles said: "I had been working as a Rolls-Royce Chauffeur so had not had a drink, and was coming home about midnight. As I went through the village, not fast, my eyes on the road ahead following around a slight bend, I thought I saw a figure on the side of the road next to the wall [there was no pavement].

"I looked at the figure and saw it melt to nothing from the head downwards. My impression has been of a lady in a full skirt. The hairs stood up on the back of my neck and I felt peculiar.

"It was a clear night, there were no other cars or light sources other than my [car's] excellent headlights, nothing that could have cast a shadow. The car I was driving was a Morgan, so the windscreen was completely flat, no chance of images in screen curves. I could think of nothing to explain it at all.

"I felt somewhat foolish and said nothing at the time to my wife. I did tell her some 2-3 weeks later and she told her father. His family have lived in the area for many years. He is now 92, and remembered that a girl had drowned in a well near that wall many years ago. Some of his relations lived near by. I was now interested and contacted the local paper. They did a piece but no one came forward to report seeing anything similar."

Do you have any news regarding similar encounters
at Rushwick?  Please to email any information to Roadghosts.com.

Source(s):Personal correspondence with witness.

 

Six Hills

Location: A46 Fosse Way, Six Hills, nr. Leicester (Leicestershire)  

Date/Time: c.1983. c. 5.45 a.m.   MAP  MAP (zoom)

In February 2003, Keeley wrote to Roadghosts.com in 2003 to report her sighting of a female road ghost on the A46 near Leicester. 

It had been around 20 years earlier that she and a companion were driving on the A46 from Leicester to Nottingham. It was a misty morning, around 5.45 a.m. As they passed the Durham Ox Hotel (now the Six Hills Hotel), Keeley and her passenger both saw the figure of a girl in front of them at the same time, hands held up as if to ward off the collision. 

Keeley skidded to a halt, and got out. There was no-one there. She shouted and searched everywhere, but to no avail. There was no damage to her car, and she could recall hearing no thump as she hit the girl. Keeley described her as around 23 years of age, with long hair, and very pretty. The incident was not reported to police, but was put down to a weird event. Keeley and her friend agreed over the description of the girl, and were both very shaken by the experience.

Source(s):Submitted to Roadghosts.com by witness.

In further recognition of the liminality of geographical and notional boundaries that often coincide with road ghost sightings, we find a number of ancient boundaries at this location. Firstly, there is the A46 itself - the ancient Fosse Way built by the Romans, and probably exploiting a pre-existing prehistoric track. As was the the B676, which crosses the A46, forming a cross-road interchange at Six Hills. In addition, and perhaps more significant, is Six Hills' position at the hub of a radial arrangements of 8 parishes - a possible Anglo-Saxon meeting/administrative ('moot') site. Finally, Six Hills lies not far from the Leicestershire-Nottinghamshire county boundary. For more information, visit:

At the Edge: Six Hills, Leicestershire - an Anglo-Saxon moot site, by Bob Trubshaw.

The Six Hills Hotel is located at: Fosseway, Six Hills, near Leicester, Leicestershire, LE14 3PD
Phone: +44 (0)1509 880240, Fax: +44 (0)1509 881937.

 

Carlton Nottingham

Location: Greenhill Rise, Carlton Nottingham (Nottingham)  

Date/Time: September 1978.   MAP  MAP (zoom)


In September 1978, Sheila Horton was, in her own words, 'heavily pregnant' and 'waddling' up Greenhill Rise in Carlton, Nottingham, toward the turn-off, about a quarter of the way up, that led to her home. She was approaching the turn-off when she saw a man walking with his dog down the rise towards the turn-off. 

"I don't know why I was thinking this," she said, "but I thought I could get there before him. As I tried to rush up to the turn off I watched the man and the dog walk straight through the hedge. At the turn-off you still have to walk about 100 yards to get to the road so he would still been walking towards the road at the same time as me, but he and the dog was nowhere in sight."

Source(s): BBC Nottingham - Spooky Nottinghamshire tales: Man and his dog, 12 July 2002.


Belvoir

Location: Belvoir (Leicestershire)  

Date/Time: 1994.   MAP  MAP (zoom)

David Burrows relates an experience that he and an unspecified number of companions (presumably one other) had had outside Belvoir Castle near the Leicestershire-Lincolnshire border in 1994. 

They had passed the castle car park, heading southbound, and were coming around a winding road toward a T-junction that offers a left-turn to Knipton, when, David said, "We spotted a figure thumbing a lift. This we thought very strange. As we got closer we could see this person was sort of floating, drifting; [it]  had no legs, feet etc."

As they closed on the figure, they could see it had a long coat, like a trench coat, and was all in grey. We slowed down, very uncertain as to what it was. When we were about 5 metres away the figure appeared to walk across in front of the car. We braked suddenly. The figure walked and vaporised in front of the car; the vapour seemed to disperse into nothing. I very sheepishly got out to see if we had hit somebody, but at the speed we where going it was very certain that there was nobody there. We drove off at speed and told many people of our encounter, not certain that anybody believed us."

Source(s): BBC Nottingham - Spooky Nottinghamshire tales
For Belvoir Castle, visit http://www.belvoircastle.com

Another example of our ubiquitous and archetypal 'Man in Grey', by the sound of it. See the notes for Witham, Essex for comparisons to the figure that haunts the A12/B1389 from Essex through Norfolk, and the infamous 'Man-in-the-Mackintosh' of the A38 Willand to Taunton Road, near Wellington (Somerset).  

 

Calverton

Location: George's Lane, Calverton (Nottinghamshire)  

Date/Time: Not Specified.   MAP  MAP (zoom)

In 2002 Nicholas Blake wrote to 'Have Your Say' on the BBC Nottingham website, with his appeal for more information regarding a reputedly haunted lane in Calverton subsequently appearing on the Spooky Nottinghamshire tales pages. He said: "There have been many a rumour about the haunted status of a road in Calverton called George's Lane. The road itself is a long, dark, windy and unlit country lane, where many accidents have taken place due to the its conditions and the blind corners. Nearby residents can relate an urban myth which states that persons driving alone along this road in the dark often see, if they happen to glance in their rear view mirror, an old lady sitting in the back of the car."

Source(s): BBC Nottingham - Spooky Nottinghamshire tales: George's Lane

Possibly in response to Nicholas's appeal, in January 2003, Sarah Meakin of Carlton Nottingham posted a personal experience that had taken place at George's Hill, Calverton some years previously. 

Sarah was babysitting for a doctor who lived in Calverton. When she returned home, Sarah set out for home, taking the route up George's Hill. It was a warm summer's night. Sarah felt the car turn icy cold. Then she felt what she could only describe as the feeling of someone pushing her seat forward from behind. 

"I looked in my rear-view mirror," she said, "only to see a black hooded figure, which I can only describe as looking like a monk. When I looked again he had gone. I drove home as fast as I could and when I saw my mother she could see that I was upset, and used the words, 'You look like you have seen a ghost'." 

Sarah told her mother the story, and she seemed shocked. Sarah later, also with some degree of shock, found a similar story in a book of Nottinghamshire ghost stories.

Source(s): BBC Nottingham - Spooky Nottinghamshire tales

The perfect antidote to any kind of frightening story, of course - particularly a ghost story - is to poke fun at it. So we have J K Willow (of Calverton)'s contribution to the Spooky Nottinghamshire forum in February 2003:

"Over the years there has been many reported sightings in Calverton of ghosts. In 1977 whilst walking home down Georges Hill I looked up in the air and couldn't believe my eyes. What I could see, about 200 ft up, was an eerie sense of midst [sic] floating around. Also about 150 ft up, on the west side, I noticed a black mass of something or other swirling. After careful deliberation I decided to put it down to high spirits!"

Source(s): BBC Nottingham - Spooky Nottinghamshire tales

 

Newstead Abbey

Location: Newstead Abbey  (Nottinghamshire)  

Date/Time: c.1992. 3.30 a.m.  MAP  MAP (zoom)

Rebecca Parmenter of Nottingham recounts a spooky experience she and some friends had had around 1992. They had been out clubbing in Mansfield, and since Rebecca had her brother's car for the evening, they decided to drive around for a bit in the small hours.

They made for Newstead Abbey, off the A60 near Ravenshead. Rebecca takes up the story: 

"It was lightly snowing this night and as I pulled into the Abbey gates off Nottingham Road at around 3.30 a.m. we were faced with a bit of a shock. I caught the smiling face of an elderly lady in my headlights, causing my passengers to scream. I had intended to do a U-turn and drive off as quickly as the snow would permit me to but one of our group of friends told me stop. He opened the passenger door and shouted over to the old lady who was still smiling at us. He asked her if she was alright but she said nothing and pointed in to the Abbey grounds. He sat back in the car and feeling a little spooked I drove away.

"The lady had been surrounded by suitcases, which had seemed a little odd but these cases were very old fashioned looking, more like woven baskets. After we had driven a short way back towards Mansfield we decided to go back feeling a little guilty about her being alone in the cold. When we reached the gates again she had disappeared. It had only been a matter of minutes since we had left her. We parked up and had a quick walk around, bearing in mind that it had been snowing the only tyre tracks on the ground were mine and there had been no trace of her where she had stood in the snow or her luggage."

The following day, Rebecca told her story to her mother, and together they tried to find a logical explanation. A call to the National Express bus service established that no late bus could have dropped someone off at that location and hour. "Not long after this event," Rebecca said, "there had been a story in the Mansfield Chad about a Taxi driver who had picked up a lady at Newstead Abbey gates and after he had driven a little while, he turned round to find that she had disappeared. Very coincidental. I'm wondering if this could have been The White Lady but I realise she died fairly young."

Source(s): BBC Nottingham - Spooky Nottinghamshire tales: Old lady at Newstead Abbey (16 Jan 2002).

An old lady, ostensibly a ghost - and, it seems, from Rebecca's closing comments, a legendary White Lady ghost, both associated with Newstead Abbey. For anyone who has read the Introduction to this website, it will not be surprising to find a young woman an old, luggage-laden woman bound together by a single story frame and location (which not uncommonly begins or ends at a cemetery or graveyard). But was there any evidence that this White Lady had been seen?


In reply to Rebecca Parmenter's post, Rowd from Ravenshead wrote in to the BBC Nottingham site. He said: "Both my dad and I have seen the White Lady. Her name is actually Sophie. My dad saw her when he was about my age, and then about a year ago, I saw her too. It was dark and I was sat with my girlfriend in the car. As I turned off the headlights a white figure was about 200 yards in front of us. I quickly turned them back on and we could see nothing. Again I turned them off, the figure was back again. I looked at my girlfriend and she was speechless. She had gone white and just screamed. I started the car and we sped off. I have never been so scared. I drove over those speed bumps at about 50 mph."

Source(s): BBC Nottingham - Spooky Nottinghamshire tales:Newstead Abbey (26 Mar 2002).

A Mr Bouges of Nottingham was next up. In June 2002, he wrote: 

"The White Lady did in fact exist, and after her sudden freak death at the Newstead Gates over 400 years ago people have kept her memory alive in stories of her spirit still occupying the place she loved the most. This is one of those very stories. 

"It begins with a report I was writing on the Abbey buildings. I did a lot of research and found lots of literature on the Abbey and the ghost stories surrounding it. I didn't believe one of them. However, I wanted to give the ghost hunting a bash. By that I mean getting red whilst walking around the park. Although vision was impaired, we (I wasn't the only one) did honestly see a ghostly clear white figure standing over the man-made banks of the lake - a short ugly figure wearing long shawl. You think you would stay and see what would happen. No. Would you heck; you'd run. So we did. We ran a fair distance then broke out in uncontrollable laughter for a good few minutes. Thoroughly enjoyable."

Source(s): BBC Nottingham - Spooky Nottinghamshire tales:The White Lady (1 Jun 2002).

 


Ranskill 

Location: B6045 Ranskill (Nottinghamshire)  

Date/Time: July 1970. After 10 p.m.  MAP  MAP (zoom)

In his lifetime, 'Ian M' has been blessed - or cursed (depending on one's point of view) - with two vivid road ghost encounters, both of which are featured on this website. 

The first took place in July of 1970, just before the holidays began prior to Ian's first year at secondary school. Ian takes up the story:

"We had all had an entertaining day in York on our way back to my home village of Gringley on the Hill.

"We had travelled down the A1 to Blyth (Notts) in a VW Beetle, where we had stopped for an evening meal around 9:00 p.m. Fully refreshed we set of to do the last 12 or so miles of our journey at around 10:00 p.m. 

"The vicar was in the front with his wife, with the youngest of the family on her knee. In the back,  my best friend to my right with the older sister on his knee, myself on the left with the small sister on my knee; last of all the eldest of the siblings (14 yrs)  in the centre. (A chaotic journey to say the least).

"As we came off the A634 from Blyth towards Ranskill, some 800 yards towards a wooded area [see map], both myself and best friend saw a grey figure appear 30 yards in front of the car. As it came over the bonnet we both gasped, screeched, and cowered behind our forearms, truly believing we had hit someone. 

"The vicar applied his brakes and asked us what the problem was. We both instantaneously stated we had hit someone. The vicar got out of the car and checked all round but could not see anyone or thing. No one else had either reacted or seen anything. To this day we knew we had.

"To describe the figure we both saw: grey hairless head with bland characterless features; hip-length light grey cloak fastened at the neck; darker grey waistcoat or shirt with lots of buttons; light upper trouser; thigh-length dark grey boots, widening to a floppy top.

"The whole experience was one of bewilderment, with the result of being chastised for being so stupid. All these years have passed and the event is as clear today as it was then."

Source(s): Correspondence with witness by Neil Arnold of Kent Big Cat Research.

 

Beacon Hill

Location: Beacon Hill Road, B1403 Gringley on the Hill (Nottinghamshire)  

Date/Time: Autumn 1976. After 6 p.m.  MAP  MAP (zoom)

'Ian M''s second road ghost encounter took place in the autumn of 1976. His moped had broken down, so his father came to pick him up from work at around 6 p.m. Again, I'll let Ian tell his own story:

"We were travelling From Misterton to Gringley (Notts). Just before the last corner leading up to Beacon Hill, in the headlights we saw a white figure about 3ft into the road. It was that of a young lady, beckoning us to come towards her with her left hand. My father slowed down. As he did she was smiling. 

"At this point we noted that her flowing white gown was somewhat 8 to 10 inches from the floor with no feet visible. As my father accelerated past she retreated (floated) backwards at an angle in front of us with an angry scowling face, through a closed iron farm gate and quickened pace until almost a blur, across the field until she vanished into the hillside. Lengthy discussions followed on the way home with my father refusing to believe what he had seen.

"Over the past years since then, both my mother and father have seen the same apparition twice, years apart, but around the same autumn period in the same place.

"Discussions have ensued after each occurrence, my father now reservedly admits he has seen something; my mother, well, she would not mind seeing her again.

"Some years after our experience, a bus crashed at that same spot, he was coming down the hill and said he had swerved to miss a 'woman in white'. No one else was found around the crash."

Source(s): Witness's correspondence with Neil Arnold of Kent Big Cat Research.

 

Dinorwig

Location: Dinorwig slate quarries, Snowdonia (Gwynedd, North Wales)  

Date/Time: c.1992. Winter.  MAP  MAP (zoom)

Around 1992, C Penmannon was walking with a friend on a footpath in the Dinorwig slate quarries in Snowdonia. The footpath used to be one of the main roads into the quarries from Dinorwig. It was cold and dark, winter time, and the pair were walking arm in arm back to their car. Then...

"I noticed someone walking towards us and started to nudge my friend to the side of the footpath so the man could get past. To my surprise, she would not budge and we carried on walking in the middle of the path. Before I could ask her about her supposed rudeness or even flinch, the man walked straight through me. I didn't feel that well-known chill, or any fear. I waited till we got to the end of the path where there was a streetlight and asked my friend if she had noticed anything. She hadn't.

"At the time I remember thinking that the man was dressed as an old quarryman, but  I can't now recall anything specific about his clothes that made me so sure. I didn't see his face or hear any footsteps, which I didn't think strange at the time. I now regret that I didn't turn to see where the ghost went."

Source(s): 'Slate Mine Wraith', Letters, Fortean Times 161, August 2002, p.53.

 

Kirk o'Shotts

Location: Canthill Road, Kirk of Shotts, (North Lanarkshire)  

Date/Time: Not Specified.  MAP  MAP (zoom)

For its Hallowe'en subject of 2000, The Sun newspaper reported on the reports and legend behind North Lanarkshire's Canthill Road Ghost. The Canthill Road runs past the 15th century Kirk o'Shott's (Kirk of Shotts), located in the hamlet of the same name.

It reported the experience of an unnamed female motorist, who was "alone and paralysed with shock after she knocked down the ghostly figure which had loomed out of the mist", causing her to slam on her brakes. But too late. The figure, in dark cape, bounced over the bonnet, and over the car's roof before landing back on its feet on the road behind.

The figure, wearing a tall carriage hat, stood still in the road. The witness reversed to see if the man was alright, but he found that he had vanished. Shaking, she switched the radio on. Her favourite Friday night show, Wee Fat Bob on Scot FM was on, so she decided to telephone the show. She told listeners that on a quiet, fog-shrouded road outside the 15th century Kirk o’Shotts in Lanarkshire, she had seen a ghost.

A number of listeners subsequently rang in to claim similar encounters on the same stretch of road.

In looking for an explanation, some have naturally turned to legend and history. One potential candidate is a 12th Century giant by the name of Bertram Shotts, who is said to have terrorised travellers along this road. When a reward was offered for his capture, dead or alive, one William Muirhead laid ambush for him at a hillside spring and killed him. In 1450, St. Catherine's Chapel was built at the spot. After the Reformation in 1560, it was converted to the Protestant Kirk o’Shotts. In 1876, the church was destroyed by lightning, with a new watch tower being built in the late 19th Century.

Kirk o’Shotts minister Sheila Spence has admitted that some of her congregation have claimed to have encountered the Canthill Road ghost, despite remaining sceptical herself. "One parishioner told me she had to swerve the car one night to miss this man standing in the middle of the road. But, by the time she had stopped, he was gone.

“From the descriptions I’ve heard about this figure, it sounds as if he’s dressed like one of the Covenanters1. I’ve had various other people who say they’ve seen ghosts in the graveyard, including a grey lady. But you get some very strange shadows being thrown up from the floodlighting and car lights against the tombstones – it can be very eerie. Canthill Road is also affected by heavy mist almost all year round, which I suppose adds to the atmosphere. One man told me that he had to walk past the cemetery every night from his work and was absolutely petrified. He used to light two cigarettes and hold a conversation with himself, so any ghosts would think he wasn’t alone. But I’ve been here for 21 years and I drive that road almost every day and have seen nothing.”

On one occasion, Sheila herself had more direct experience of something unusual happening in the vicinity of the church when a series of photographs for the new church calendar were spoiled by blurred grey streaks. The photographer was the same who had always taken the pictures; he dismissed processing faults, and instead blamed it on the church's Grey Lady ghost. 

Returning to the road ghost and its identity, many locals favour William Smith, a  Covenanter murdered in 1678, and whose gravestone stands in the Kirk's graveyard. His epitaph reads: 'Here lies the bones of William Smith who lived in Moremellen and who with others fought at Pentland Hills in defence of Scotland’s Covenant in 1666 and was murdered on his return home near to this place."

A local resident said: "It’s rumoured that Smith was run down by the Duke of Monmouth’s horses before being stabbed to death. Many believe that he is playing out his death over and over again. Of course, now he’s being hit by cars instead of horses. It’s an experience you never forget. You even hear the body going over the top of your car – but when you get outside there’s no-one there.”

Source(s): 'Murder, Grave-Robbing, Fires and The Canthill Road Ghost...',  based on an article in The Sun newspaper of Tuesday 31 October 2000. http://www.m8church.freeuk.com/spooky.htm

1 For more information regarding Kirk o'Shotts and the Covenanters, visit:

http://www.moirbooks.homestead.com/Kirkoshotts.html

http://www.rampantscotland.com/know/blknow_covenanters.htm

 

Lount

Location: B587 Lount (Leicestershire)  

Date/Time: Early 1980s. MAP  MAP (zoom)

In the early 1980s Chris Shilling was a student at Birmingham University. At weekends, he used to drive the 50 miles home to Nottingham, setting out on Friday night and returning on Sunday. Part of his journey took him along a straight country road that led through Lount in Leicestershire. Before the village, the road descended steeply past the Lount landfill site.

"It was dark though the moon was out," said Chris. "There were no streetlights on that stretch of the road, but my car headlights were lit. As I passed the entrance to the landfill site, I was suddenly aware of a figure running into the path of my car, from the opposite side of the road. The figure wasn't so much a "shadow" as a silhouette. The edges were clearly defined, but there were no details to be seen. It was just as if someone had cut a "person-shaped" hole in space itself.

"From the size and shape, I estimate that it was a boy of maybe 13 years old. The shape ran in front of my car before I had any chance to take evasive action. In that instant, I hit the brakes and braced for the impact. The car slewed to a halt, but there was no bump. I pulled the car into a lay-by a little way down the road from the landfill site entrance, got out, and made a good search, but there was nobody to be seen. No bump, no body and no signs of anything untoward. I sat in the car, upset and shaking for a good 5 minutes, and then continued on my way."

Chris travelled the same road many times afterward, but never saw the figure again.

Source(s): 'The Leaper', It Happened to Me, www.forteantimes.com

In February 2002, 'Slytherin' replied to the above account when it appeared as a thread on the Fortean Times website Message Board:

"I had a similar experience once that I think I've related already once on this board, but here I go again...

"When I worked in a pub in Worcester, I used to ride home from work late at night on my motorbike down various windy country roads in various appalling weather conditions, and one night I was chugging along as usual, and a human shaped shadow ran out across the road, in front of the bike. I braked but I never hit anything, and when I came to a stop, there was nothing there at all, and no sign that anyone had been. I was a wee bit shaken, but I gathered myself together and rode home.

"A few nights later, the same thing happened again at the same point in the road, but this time I twigged what it was. My shadow. This point was were the road suddenly came out of a heavily wooded area and into the streetlights again. The road also bent suddenly to the left. When I came out of the trees, my shadow was suddenly cast by the streetlights, and the curve in the road caused it to appear like it was running across my path, when really it was just me changing my position in relation to the light source.

"Perhaps what you describe isn't entirely similar, but perhaps some sudden unexpected light source produced the shadow (say from behind you, where you wouldn't see the light, but you would see the shadows.) Maybe the moon suddenly emerging from the clouds, or another car, or a security light. Something that would have had to happen at a very specific time and point in the road to cause the effect, hence you never saw it again."

My reply (05.03.02) to the post was as follows: "I agree with Slytherin in that I have been able to eliminate one or two similar accounts based on the 'shadow' explanation. If only things were that simple.
Much harder [to account for] are the close-up, vivid apparitions that behave in similar manner, often seemingly to purposefully wait to be struck by the appalled witness' vehicle!"

 

Cowleaze

Location: A3055 Cowleaze Hill, nr. Shanklin (Isle of Wight)  

Date/Time: 1990s. November. 9 p.m. MAP  MAP (zoom)

It was on a clear moonlit night in November that Louisa Pratt and two friends had a frightening experience on a lonely road outside Shanklin, Isle of Wight.

"We were on our way to Ventnor for a drink at the Spyglass Inn at about 9 p.m., said Louisa. "There was hardly any traffic on the roads. Ian Bartlett was driving and I was sitting in the back with my feet up on the seat. As we went up Cowleaze Hill there was a tremendous wallop on the side of the car as though we had been hit by something."

In the light from the car headlights Louisa could see the figure of a man with an arm raised. The man was well dressed, but in old-fashioned attire, more Victorian than the 1990s. He wore a jacket and waistcoat, with short breeches and leather leggings.

Louisa also remembered seeing a small white dog in the road, and said to Ian: "Oh my God, we have hit the dog." At this, she said, Ian and the other passenger, Tim Grafton, turned round and asked her what on earth she was talking about.

"Look at that man," she said. "He is waving his stick at us. I think we have run over his dog." But the other two couldn't see a thing. "To them the road was completely empty and they could not understand why I was so upset."

Strangely, the others had heard the loud bang on the side of the car, but although they had turned around to see if they had hit anything, there was no nothing to account for it.

Source(s): 'The Cowleaze Ghost (Book 5)', Isle of Wight Ghost Books V: http://www.hauntediw.demon.co.uk/preview5.htm

 

Whitehills

Location: Red Well Road, Whitehills, Aberdeenshire (Scotland)  

Date/Time: 1 January 1990. 7.15 p.m. MAP  MAP (zoom)  

On the evening of 1 January 1990, 16-year-old Christopher Christie hurried through the darkness of a miserable winter's evening toward a rendezvous with a friend at Banff links. His route - which he had taken many times without fear or incident - took him off the main road down Red Well Road, a narrow, single-track road that followed the contour of Boyndie Bay, overlooking Moray Firth. It would be the last time he would set foot in the road, even in daylight.

Red Well Road takes its name from a beehive-shaped stone structure that was built over the site of a natural spring, one known since Roman times and in later centuries favoured for its health-imbuing waters.

This night, as Christopher made his way down the road, an old woman in black suddenly appeared in front of him. Before he could react, the woman walked straight through him. Christopher felt an icy chill. Horror-struck, he turned and fled back towards Whitehills. But before he could reach the reassuring surroundings of the illuminated main road, the figure reappeared before him and passed through him a second time.

Christopher ran on, crossing the main road and leaping the fence to the public park, which afforded a short-cut to his home in Wilson Crescent. Unusually, the ghostly figure continued its pursuit of him. As he later told author Norman Adams: "After a few strides she would reappear a couple of steps from me and go into me. I was very, very scared. I did not imagine it - I am not highly imaginative."

Christopher described the woman as under five feet tall. Her pale unsmiling face, with sagging cheeks, had been masked by a dark shadow, and she kept her hands clasped in front of her body.

The figure only gave up its assault when Christopher reached his own street. His mother, Margaret, attested to the petrified state her son was in when he arrived home. 

Not long after his terrifying experience, Christopher was asleep in his room when he awoke, struggling for breath. Switching on his bedside lamp he saw a ‘dark cloud’ drift towards the window and vanish. Mrs Christie said: "He came through to my bedroom and said, 'Mum, there’s something in my room. I could not breathe. He was scared. Whatever my son met that night followed him home!"1

Source(s): Haunted Scotland, by Norman Adams (1998), Invisible Ink

The author of the source piece, Norman Adams, speculated that the old woman might be a long-forgotten guardian spirit of the Red Well, or possibly the shade of a famed Whitehills wise woman by the name of Lily Grant.

On the first point, the association of apparitions with holy wells, springs and other water sources is a well known feature of legend, and probably rooted in their liminal character. It is one that is also borne out by some modern-day apparitional encounters, including road ghosts, where a road happens to intersect the sacred area associated with a well or spring. Such has been the case in Llangennith (map), on the Welsh Gower peninsula, when a surfer driving through the village toward Rhossili Bay nearly collided with a woman in white. He was quite unaware he was on a road close to an ancient holy well, or their associations with the 'Ladi Wen', the ghostly White Lady. Another example is the Wembdon case (Bridgwater, Somerset), where a likewise frightening apparition traverses the road at the top of the hill towards a holy well site.

Map source: www.old-maps.co.uk: Whitehills - 1871

1 The classic symptoms of the 'Old Hag' experience, commonly experienced as a hynopompic illusion - a carry-over from the (sometimes lucid) dream state. Victims typically experience oppressive feelings of presence, with a palpable sense of evil, and feelings of suffocation as if being sat on by a malignant presence, which is often described as an old woman or hag (hence the name of the syndrome). Whether the experience in Christopher's case was a 'real' event as we understand it is open to debate. The lucid dream state or the hypnopompic hallucination in the genuinely 'awake' state can be indistinguishable from everyday wakeful reality, making it virtually impossible to make a proper objective judgment in the single-witness case. It is possible that this last occurrence was an after effect, a reaction, to Christopher's terrifying main experience. Similar experiences are had amongst those with a longstanding interest or involvement in matters paranormal, as myself and others known to me can attest.

 

Hull

Location: B1237 Saltshouse Road, Hull, East Yorkshire

Date/Time: November/December 1992. 5.30 p.m. MAP  

In April 2004 I received the following account from Nick Derbyshire who, with is wife, had an unnerving experience whilst driving along Saltshouse Road in Hull: 

"It was a dark winter evening in 1992 around 5.30 p.m. but the weather was okay and there was a constant stream of traffic coming in the opposite direction as it was the usual tea time traffic. We were chatting about nothing in particular when a woman appeared to walk through the constant traffic stream and into our path about ten yards in front. I was only doing around 30 mph. 

"She looked to have on a plastic head scarf and white or cream knee length raincoat and but I can't remember seeing her legs. She turned slightly to us but we never saw her face. My wife screamed and I shut my eyes and awaited impact but nothing happened and when I opened my eyes and looked in my mirror there was absolutely nothing there. My wife also looked behind us and screamed, "There's nothing there."

"We just could not believe it. I was pleased in a way that she had also seen it and I asked her what she had seen and she told me exactly the same as what I had seen. It freaked us out for ages and we have wondered ever since if anyone else has ever seen anything there."

In a reply to Nick, I put it to him that the woman could possibly have ducked back in time, or rushed forward out of danger? In turn, he said:

"Not a chance of her ducking back or rushing forward, as if she had ducked back she would have been knocked down by the oncoming stream of traffic and if she had rushed forward I would have seen her at the side of the road or on the path. I went through all of the feasible and rational possibilities several times both with my wife and by myself. There was literally no time to go anywhere, as that is why I was sure I was going to feel an impact and hear a noise hitting the car."

I also asked Nick if he could estimate the age of the woman, and the direction he and his wife were travelling:

"It was very quick," he said, "but she looked as if she could have been in her fifties, and we were travelling south."

Source(s): Personal correspondence with witness (submitted to roadghosts.com). 

 

Annan

Location: A75 Kinmount section, nr. Annan, Dumfries & Galloway (Scotland).

Date/Time: Various.  MAP  

The Kinmount section of the A75 near Arran has a history of road ghost sightings. Two of the most recent encounters are as follows:

In March 1995, Garson and Monica Miller of Arran were travelling eastbound along the A75 near Arran when they came across the figure of a man. The man had what looked like a hessian sack folded over his head, and had his hands outstretched towards them. In one hand he held a rag. The Millers were travelling at around 60 mph, and were convinced they had hit the man, but found no sign of him when they reversed back to check.

Two years later, in July 1997, Donna Maxwell, 27, was driving with her two children on the A75 near Swordwellrig when she saw a man leap out in front of her. At 50 mph there was no chance to avoid him. Braking and shutting her eyes, she waited for the inevitable impact. When it didn't come, she opened them but there was no sign of the man, whom she described as in his thirties, and wearing a red top and dark trousers. A later police search of the area produced no evidence of an accident. 

Source(s): MysteriousBritain.co.uk: A75; Dumfries Courier, 7 April 1995; The Observer, 1 August 1997.  

 

 

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