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posticon dartmoor ghosts


Imaging the year is 1925 and it is a dark winters night, the sky is clear and the air is cold, a frost is starting to bite at the whitening verge side. You and your partner are driving along the B3212 between Postbridge and Two bridges after visiting friends in Moretonhampstead. This old turnpike road was once known as the 'Carters Road' because a man called Carter built it. The car is freezing and to keep out the moorland chill you both have heavy coats and thick gloves. On the left the moon is peering up over Arch tor and the combination of it's yellowish beams and the dim car headlights a pair of fiery eyes are gleaming in the middle of the road. As you get nearer a brown hunched figure stands transfixed, those blood red eyes just stare deep into your soul. Your partner screams and you grab the brake, the heavy rubber tyres slide across the icy surface. Seconds seem like minutes as the vehicle glides gracefully sidewards along the bumpy road and stops just short of the static monster of the night. Gradually your racing heart slows down and your senses return, and there a red deer, transfixed with fear in the glare of the headlights, stands quivering. Your partner is not sure whether to laugh or cry, the deer regains its wits and gracefully bounds off towards Archerton Bog, the swishing of the icy grass is the only sound that betrays the path of the animal.

If it was not so cold you would take off your gloves and light a cigarette, but there are many miles to go before you sleep so onwards speeds the little car. The headlights pick out the small Cherrybrook Bridge in the distance and you can see the sharp right hand bend leading into it. Knowing the road is icy you gently apply the brakes and select your course, allowing for the hard granite parapet of the bridge. Suddenly and for no reason the car sharply veers to the left hand side of the road, you grip the wheel tighter and notice a pair of severed hands clamped around it. No matter how hard you try to force the car back onto the road the hands stubbornly steer it towards the verge. A sickening jolt announces that the car has just left the road, this is followed by a nerve grating screeching sound as the willow branches scratch along the side of the vehicle. Eventually the car crashes to a halt, steam billows hissing up into the cold night air and there is silence, a stomach churning silence. Nervously you glance at the steering wheel those putrid, ghostly hands have vanished as quickly as they appeared. You check your partner, she is as white as the big moon that is hanging over the moor, the smell of hot oily water and burning rubber flares your nostrils... Congratulations you have just met the 'Hairy Hands of Dartmoor'!

  

Some time around the early 1900's a series of accidents were reported along the stretch of the B3212 road which runs from above Postbridge to Two Bridges. Cyclists said how suddenly the handlebars of their bikes were wrenched out of their hands, forcing the bike into the ditch. Pony and traps were also forced off the road and onto the verge. Drivers of cars and motor coaches were experiencing the same occurrences. In 1921 Dr Helby from Princetown had his motorcycle and side car suddenly forced out of control. His two children were tossed out of the sidecar but sadly the doctor was killed. Not long after this tragic event and Army Officer was injured when his motorcycle was driven off the road, he lived to tell the tale and the one he told was that of muscular, hairy hands clamping over his and forcing the bike into the verge. The Daily Mail soon picked up the story and the ghostly events became headline news. The local authorities sent engineers to investigate and repairs were made to the road.

In the 1920's a woman staying in a caravan parked in the ruins of Powder Mills was woken one night and saw a hairy hand creeping up the window, she made the appropriate sign of the cross and the dismembered limb vanished.

A car was then found upturned in the ditch with its driver dead at the wheel, the cause of the accident was never established. To this present day there are still reports of either spectral hands grabbing the steering wheel or of an evil presence inside the car which in some cases leads to erratic steering.



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Re: dartmoor ghosts


DEANCOMBE WEAVER


Deancombe is a small sleepy hamlet that is tucked under the southern edge of Dartmoor. This was a busy cloth producing area with Buckfast as its centre. Many years ago there was a weaver called Knowles living in a tiny house in Deancombe. He was reputed to be one of the most clever and skilful weavers on Dartmoor. His weft was taught and his weave straight and always the finished knap was of the highest quality. One would have thought that with all his talent he would be a contented soul but no far from it. Alongside his long list of skills ran a long list of his faults. His neighbours considered him to be greedy, selfish, evil and a wicked 'wag-tongue' (gossip), basically he was despised throughout the area. But despite this Knowles prospered and became very rich soon adding 'miserly' to his list of traits. Every day he would sit up in his weaving loft and work from sun rise to candle snuff. The old shepherds up on the moor would often use his candlelight as a beacon to walk home. If the weaver knew this he would probably have charged them for the privilege. But death is a great leveller and one day, sat at his loom he passed away. Oddly enough, although he was much hated his funeral was a splendid affair, mourners came from all over the area and it is said that the food and drink at his wake was as plentiful as a Harvest Home. As the ale and cider flowed people wished old Knowles a safe journey and all gave their condolences to his son Fernley. Now Fernley came from a different mould to his father, he was kind, caring and generous to a fault and this was probably why so many people came to the funeral, not for the memory of his father but to support Fernley. Once the last mourners 'cider swayed' their way home Fernley lit a candle and climbed up the creaky stairs to his bedroom. Lying in bed he started to think of his future, clearly money was not going to be a problem but somehow he had now to prove that his weaving skills were as good as his fathers, after all it was he who had taught Fernley the skills of the trade. So as his eyes started to close he vowed to be up at first light to continue the family business. The following morning he woke with the crowing of the dunghill cock and went downstairs to make some breakfast. The first job of the day was to light the peat fire and as he stacked the turves on the hearth he heard a familiar but heart stopping sound, for coming from the upstairs weaving loft was the steady clunk, clunk of the loom. Initially he dismissed it as being the open window blowing in the breeze. But then he realised that it was too rhythmic for that, it was definitely somebody working the loom. With clammy palms gripping the banister he edged his way up the stairs and softly walked to the weaving loft door. Somebody was working the loom and as he peeked through a crack in the door he saw who - it was the ghost of his father. There was a chill in the air and a pungent fusty smell coming from the room, Fernley found himself transfixed, what should he do? His first thought was to get out of the house which he managed to do at great speed. Once outside in the clear morning air he knew he must get help and probably the best place for that was the local priest. He ran straight down to the church and luckily found the vicar saying his morning prayers. He explained his ghostly encounter and apart from stopping to get his 'bell, book and candle' the priest rushed up to the weavers cottage. The two men stood in the kitchen and listened to the sound of the loom. The priest went to the bottom of the stairs and in a stern voice demanded that the lost soul "come down stairs", nothing stirred, the priest then said "this is no place for a lost soul, come down and return to your grave". The loom stopped and an eerie voice replied " I will as soon as I've worked out my quill" (shuttle full of wool). The priest was having none of it, "No, get down here this minute, your life's work is done and it is time to return to your resting place under the churchyard yew". Amazingly the loom fell silent and the ghost along with its stench and chill came downstairs. As the weaver's spectre came into the room the priest threw some holy water into its face and then recited a prayer whilst at the same time ringing the bell. The ghost let out a spine chilling scream and before their eyes turned into a huge black dog. With bible in hand the priest commanded the dog to heel and led it outside, down the lane and into Dean Wood. Here the procession climbed up the burn until they came to a pool. The priest walked over to an old oak tree and picked up an acorn shell. This he gave to the dog and said "take this shell and when you have emptied this pool with it you will be granted eternal rest".

The ghost of the old weaver was never seen again but to this day the moorfolk will never go near that pool at noon or midnight because it is said that when the church clock strikes twelve the black dog can be seen frantically trying to bale out the pool with the acorn shell.

 



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Jun/26/2008, 4:23 pm Link to this post Send Email to MaTTsWoRld   Send PM to MaTTsWoRld Blog
 
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Re: dartmoor ghosts


THE DOWNHOUSE TREASURE


Just to the west of Tavistock lies the farmstead of Downhouse, the present building was re-built in 1822 but the original house was much, much older. It also had its own ghost in the form of a very tall and gangly man. The ghost was a pretty predictable spirit as it was always at the same time every night that it would appear amidst a cold chill. In the house lived a widow and her three young children, her husband had been killed in a mining accident. The family soon got to know the spectre's visiting times and would make sure they were in their beds long before the haunting hour.

It was on a cold dark night when one of the children took ill and the mother soon realised the illness was not the usual cough or cold. Immediately the youngster was put to bed and the doting mother sat at the bedside. The poor mite was sleeping fitfully between fits of sweats and chills. During one of these bouts the child asked for a drink of water, the mother went to the bedside pitcher and filled a beaker. The child soon complained that "'twas not fresh," and refused to drink it. That meant going downstairs and out in the yard to the pump and the woman new only too well that it was the time of night when the tall grisly spectre appeared. She tried to persuade the child to drink what was there but to no avail, fresh water was demanded. Probably due to a mixture of frustration and fear the woman sharply announced that "In the name of God I shall go down to the pump," with that she bravely picked up the pitcher and walked downstairs. All was well until she stepped out into the yard when the woman had the strange feeling something was following her. Stolidly she strode out into the cold, dark night, not daring to turn around. Then she heard footsteps directly behind her, again with stiff resolve she continued towards the pump. By now every hair on the back of the mother's neck was stood stiffly to attention and shivers were running up and down her spine. As she reached out to grasp the pump handle a cold, clammy hand suddenly touched her on the shoulder. With a start she spun around and saw to her horror that she was face to face with a tall grisly man. The air was thick and stank like musty leaves in a rotting wood. She was speechless and with eyes bulging the woman found herself momentarily rooted to the spot. Suddenly an inner strength appeared from deep down inside and in a loud voice she demanded to know, "in the name of God, why troublest thou me?" The ghost just stared at her through unseeing empty eyes, in a low, hollow voice it replied, "it is well for thee that thou hast spoken to me in the name of God; this being the last moment allotted me to trouble this world of the living, or else I would have caused thee mortal injury. Listen to my words and do as I tell thee, follow me and I shall direct thee to something that shall remove this pump: which whence moved will reveal concealed treasure." As if in a trance the woman dutifully followed the spectre as it floated across the yard. Once they reached the shippen the ghost pointed at a patch of briars amongst which she found a large, rusty spanner-like tool. The spectre motioned at her to pick it up and slowly drifted back to the pump. Finally the woman managed to extract the tool from the vice -like grip of the briars and with her hands scratched and bleeding took the spanner to where the ghost was hovering. The tall man pointed to the base of the pump and to her amazement the woman found that the heavy spanner fitted snugly around its basal collar. What was even more surprising was the ease in which the pump came away, she thought that after all the years it had stood in the yard it would have become rusted. The ghost then pointed a bony finger down into the well shaft and when she looked the woman could see a large cavity in the side wall that was full of gold coins. The spectre then said to the woman, "take the coin and spend it wisely upon improving the farm and if any mortal soul should try to part thee from your coin they shall suffer great misfortune. Now, get thee back inside and take the fresh water to thy child who because of thy belief in The Almighty shall recover from the sickness which afflicts it."

Suddenly the dungheap cock let out a single mighty crow and the first weak rays of daylight began to appear. As they did the ghostly figure seemed to slowly dissolve and become fainter and fainter until it formed into a small cloud which wafted up towards the morning sky. It was as if the cock's crow had announced the very moment that the ghost's allotted time on earth had ended.

The woman stood motionless as she slowly recounted the events of the night, suddenly she remembered her sick child and dashed inside and tore up the stairs. Much to her relief she could see that child lay sound asleep, its wan pallor now replaced with a rosy glow as it slept the sleep of the just.

The mother heeded the ghosts advice and spent some of the money on improving the farm and rebuilding the farmhouse but even after all that expenditure there was still plenty of coin left to ensure she and the children always had meat on the table and shoes on their feet. From that fateful night on the tall grisly spectral figure of the man was never seen again - truly his allotted time for troubling mortals was up.


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Re: dartmoor ghosts


LADY DYONISIA


Just below the Dean Burn lies the small estate of Skerraton which back in the 1200's was owned jointly by two noble people, Lady Dyonisia and Nicholas de Kingdom. Nicholas de Kingdom came from a Norman family who came originally over with William the Conqueror and for their services were rewarded with part ownership of the estate. But as always, much wants more, and Nicholas desperately wanted to own the other half of his estate. To this end he had, through means fair and foul managed to persuade Lady Dyonisia to marry him. This would mean that the whole estate with all its income came under his control in one easy step. However, things aren't always that simple and so enter stage left Sir John de Boyvile. History has it that Sir John was the typical dashing knight that every lady dreamed of and he came equipped with the obligatory white charger. Therefore it did not take Lady Dyonisia very long to fall under his spell and very quickly change her mind about prospective husbands.

It did not take Nicholas very long to discover the bad news and to say he was beside himself would be putting it mildly. "Faint heart never won fair maiden", goes the saying and Nicholas decided that the only way he would get his estate and his lady was to remove Sir John from the equation. So he hatched a fiendish plot whereby he would ambush Sir John and stab him to death and to make sure of his chances the dagger would be dipped in a deadly poison.

Having found a suitable spot where he knew Sir John would be passing, Nicholas hid himself in order to spring his ambush. When the knight eventually came along Nicholas sprang upon him and a fierce struggle ensued. But alas, not only did Nicholas manage to inflict a mortal wound on Sir John he also managed to cut himself on the poisoned blade. Realising that there was no antidote to the poison the jilted lover decided that in the short time he had left to live he would also kill Lady Dyonisia. So he staggered back to the estate where he found Dyonisia and with his last reserves of strength plugged his dagger deep into her heart. As his ex-lover lay in a pool of blood, Nicholas staggered back to his home where the poison finally exacted its price.

It did not take long for the news of Nicholas's death reached the monks of Buckfast Abbey who immediately fetched his corpse and took it back to the abbey. A few days later prayers were said and hymns were sung as the brothers buried the mortal remains of Nicholas in the grave yard at the abbey. Good riddance to bad rubbish some might say but the story does not end here. The following year, on the anniversary of the killings some of the monks saw the ghostly figure of a white lady wearing a blood splattered dress hovering over the grave of Nicholas de Kingdom. This fearful apparition appeared for several more years on the fateful anniversary until someone finally put two and two together and the truth of the murders of Lady Dyonisia and Sir John was discovered. Once Nicholas's dastardly deed was recognised the yearly hauntings ceased and the White Lady of Buckfast Abbey was never seen again


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Re: dartmoor ghosts


LADY HOWARD


The story of Lady Howard is probably one of the more noted of Dartmoor ghost stories that has been told around the peat fires of a dark night. So, let's begin way back in the 1600s where we can find John Fitz who at the age of 21 inherited a vast fortune. As is always the case, easy come - easy go and that was exactly what happened to his wealth, it went. Along the way John Fitz turned into a n'er do well and as fast as he lost his money he found a growing list of enemies. It was about this time when John Fitz had his daughter, Mary whose childhood was spent at the family pile of Fitzford House near Tavistock. When Mary was nine years old her father who by now was totally insane committed suicide. This left Mary with the family fortune which at the time attracted the attention of many greedy eyes. King James I finally intervened and sold the young girl to the Earl of Northumberland who then married her off to his brother, Sir Alan Percy. This then meant that the Fitzs' fortune moved over to Percy and the Earl, nice work if you can get it. Unfortunately, Sir Percy never lived long enough to enjoy his windfall as whilst on a hunting trip he caught a fever and died.

This 'tragedy' then left Mary free to find her own true love who came along in the guise of one Thomas Darcy. The couple stole off into the night and eloped in order that they could get married much to the annoyance of the Percy family. Sadly, this second marriage was doomed to failure as after a few months Thomas Darcy also died. Once again the rich widow became the target for fortune hunters and once again she chanced her arm and married again. This time she had managed to secure her wealth in such a way as no man could get to it. The third husband apparently was none too happy with this and the marriage was one long constant argument about the fortune. However, all was not lost as the third husband followed the celestial route of his predecessors and died of causes unknown. For the forth time Mary found herself a widow but also the subject of many scurrilous accusations concerning the deaths of her previous husbands. After all, one was a tragedy, two was a sad coincidence but three got tongues a waggin' and fingers a pointin'. But Mary was not to be deterred and eventually found herself a forth husband. This marriage must have been a little more harmonious as she gave birth to a boy which was christened George. Not long after his birth husband number four died, oops there goes another one.

It was after the latest tragedy that Mary decided to return to the now derelict family pile of Fitz House where with her son she planned to live out her days. Unfortunately her day number a lot more than her son's because it wasn't very long before he too died leaving Mary home alone. The story goes that the death of her son left Mary heartbroken, so much so that a few weeks after her son's death she joined him along with her four husbands in eternity.

So, you can imagine the stories, a woman whose father was a hated madman and who had seen off four husbands and one son. It did not take long before people began seeing her ghost. Legend has it that some divine entity sentenced her to spend eternity doing penance for her evil deeds. She was given the task of travelling each night from Fitz House to Okehampton Castle in the company of a huge black dog with blood red eyes and savage fangs. The nightly 30 mile round trip is taken in a carriage made from the bones of her four dead husbands and is driven by a headless driver. On reaching the castle the black dog plucks a single blade of grass from the castle mound. Both dog and blade are returned to the carriage of bones after which it rattles back to Tavistock. Once the grisly coach has returned to Fitz House the blade of grass in carefully laid on a flat slab of granite. Only after all the grass has been removed from the castle mound at Okehampton will Mary be allowed to rest in peace which judging by the lush covering will be a long time away. If the phantom coach should stop outside any house then an occupant was sure to die as would anyone for who the coach stopped on the road.

Those that have witnessed the ghostly journey say that the first thing you notice is the rattling of the coach of bones as it thunders along the road. As it approaches the night air chills and the sound of thundering hooves grows louder and louder. Suddenly a huge black dog with crimson eyes hurtles down the road, although some folks say it has but one eye in the centre of its forehead. The dog is closely followed by the coach of bones, on each of the four corners is a skull belonging to each of the four husbands. It's headless driver relentlessly lashes the four stallions with a long bloodstained whip, again reports differ as some suggest that along with the driver the horses are headless as well. As the coach passes the ghostly white figure of a lady can be seen sitting in the back. If you're really lucky her head will turn revealing two eyeless sockets sunk deep into a pallid, grimacing face. After the carriage has sped by the stench of rotting flesh is left wafting heavily on the night air. For those daft enough to continue their journey there is a treat in store by way of seeing the coach on its return journey.

Having maligned poor Mary it might now be as well to put the record straight. Mary was born on the 1st of August 1596 and was baptised at Whitchurch. True, her father, Sir John Fitz was a nasty piece of work and was guilty of the murder of two men. It is a fact that because of his behaviour the family were detested in the Tavistock are and he did commit suicide by stabbing himself. He was buried at Twickenham on the 10th of August 1605. Mary married her third husband, Sir John Howard in 1612 and he died on the 22nd of September 1622. She remarried in about 1628, this time to Sir Richard Grenville who treated her atrociously, the outcome of which was a divorce and not his death in 1633. Once the divorce had been processed she reverted to her previous name of Howard and was known as Lady Mary Howard.

At no time in her life had she been remotely considered as an evil woman, in fact quite the opposite as Mary was always held in high regard. She actually gave birth to several children and shed her mortal coil on October the 17th 1671 at the grand old age of 75. There is even a walk around Okehampton Castle which is known as Lady Howard's Walk so the tale must be true.

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Re: dartmoor ghosts


LIMPETY


This tale begins high up on the wastes of Southern Dartmoor on one of those days when the fickle Dartmoor weather can swing either way. The early morning sunrise was a weak affair and as the huntsman lead his hounds upon the moor the sky was tinged with a weak pink wash. The dogs were abnormally quiet as they scampered in and out of the gorse bushes, it was as if there was some unseen hand holding fast onto invisible leads. There was a heavy dew carpeting the tussocks with silvery jewelled drops of water and every now and again a gossamer spider's web hung limply under its weight of moisture. It was a fact that the dogs had their work cut out to find any scent but stoically they drew every bush and stand of heather. The huntsman just began to think that the morning was going to be a long one when suddenly the hounds gave cry as a large dog fox bolted from a small clitter. Immediately the master spurred his horse and gave chase to his pack as they sped across the moorland waste. It seemed as if 'Old Hector' was going to provide some sport as both he and his pursuers sped through tussock, stream, and bog. So engrossed in the chase was the huntsman that he failed to notice the increasing amounts of tiny droplets splashing on his face. By the time he had reached the top Caters Beam it was too late the veil of droplets had turned into a dense shroud of mist that effectively shut down the moor. In the distance he could hear his dogs baying for the foxes blood as their chase now relied on smell alone. The huntsman fumbled for his horn and gave several loud blasts which was the order for his pack to return but blow as he might the sound of his dogs simply faded into the mist covered moor until they could no longer be heard. With a heavy sigh the man turned his horse towards the west and headed off with the intention of picking up Black Lane which by following the small brook would safely take him down to Erme Pits. From here it was just a case of following the river down off the moor to Harford which wasn't that far from where he began the day.

His horse was well versed with the moors and its mists so it was with a calm trot that it headed into the dense curtain of mist. After a while the huntsman noticed the horse was becoming more and more edgy as it picked its way around the ever increasing number of verdant green boggy patches. This was not right, because by now the huntsman knew he should be hearing the sound of metal horseshoes clicking against granite as the Black Lane headed down the small rocky valley bottom. The other slightly alarming factor was that what light there was began slowly fading as the night began to draw its heavy mantle across the moor. Suddenly the horse began to nervously stamp its feet as if to say, "I am not going in there". The huntsman dismounted and immediately landed up to his boot straps in a thick, oozing pool of peat. As if from nowhere a strong wind blew across the moor and temporally lifted the mist when to his horror the man could see he had somehow blindly wandered into a mire. About 10 feet away he could just make out the sodden walls of a ruined tinner's hut, a heavy feeling of nausea churned his stomach as he realised he must be in Fishlake Mires. The only way this could have happened was that he headed too far east and missed Black Lane altogether. What irked him more than anything was the thought that by now his dogs had probably found their way to the low ground and were safely on their way home. By now the light was that bad that even squinting through mist sodden eyes was useless. The problem he faced was that if he headed north he would end up in Aune Head Mires which was a lot worse than his present problem, this meant that route must be anyway but north, but which way was which? He listened intently for the sound of running water which if he could locate it would be his salvation but the moor was as silent as the grave. By now he was cold, wet, hungry, lonely, miserable and above all afraid, the stories of lost souls on the moor he knew only too well. It was only a few years ago that he, or rather his dogs had found the corpse of such an unfortunate traveller.

All of a sudden the mist seemed to part and an old man sat astride a small grey pony materialised from the depths of the gloom. As he rode closer he could tell from his clothing that the wizened rider was of the gypsy persuasion but that mattered not as hopefully he could lead him off these God forsaken moors. The Romany just kept trotting along and when he drew level the old man simply touched his cap and beckoned the huntsman to follow. Needless to say the huntsman didn't need asking twice and turned his horse and set off closely behind the grey pony. After a while the huntsman noticed the ground was getting rockier and in the stillness of the now opaque night he could hear the sound of running water. Soon both pony and hunter were stood next to a fast running river which the huntsman knew was the river Erme. With a deep sigh of relief the huntsman knew he was safe and reached back into his saddlebag to find a fitting reward for the gypsy. By the time he had found his purse and turned around the gypsy had silently disappeared into the night without a bye or leave. The huntsman spurred his horse on down the river bank in the hope of catching his saviour up but that was the last he ever saw of the gypsy and his little grey pony.

Several years passed and despite relating his story to whomever he met nobody had ever heard of an old, wizened gypsy who rode a small grey pony. That is not until 10 years had passed and one day whilst attending hunt ball he saw a painting of the gypsy surrounded by an old, gilt frame hanging on the wall. The huntsman walked closer to the painting when he was finally certain that this was the man who saved his life that mist covered night on the moor. Suddenly he noticed a small, engraved plaque nailed to the bottom of the picture, he wiped away the dust and saw the name, "Limpety", and then to his horror he saw the date of his death - 50 years previous, which meant ten years ago the gypsy was already ...

 

Although this story appears on several 'paranormal' databases for Dartmoor as a 20th century tale, I think you can take it as read that its source is one 'Willy Poole' but in his version the events took place over Widecombe way?

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THE LITTLE DRUMMER BOY


Back in Napoleonic times when the prison ships used to be docked at Plymouth it was general practice to march the French prisoners of war across the moor to Princetown. All of these prison details were accompanied by a military escort for obvious reasons. The journey was long and arduous but was made even harder in the winter as often or not sudden snowstorms would blow across the moor, catching the soldiers and prisoners in the open.

It so happens that exactly this happened to one such party and legend has it that they were somewhere near the Devil's Elbow when the storm struck. Within minutes the snow blanketed the moor and the white-out brought the visibility down to a few feet. The party knew they were somewhere near to what was then the small village of Princetown and its formidable prison but exactly where it was impossible to say. By now the prisoners in their flimsy clothes were beginning to freeze and so the soldiers led them to the shelter of a small gully which afforded some shelter from the winter onslaught. It soon become clear that this was no passing storm and the blizzard had well and truly set in. So those soldiers on horseback were sent to try and find the prison and return with a rescue party. In order for any rescue party to find the stranded travellers, a little drummer boy was told to remain in the gully and to keep drumming a tattoo so the sound of the drum would led the rescuers back to the refuge. That being decided the mounted soldiers set out, by now even the horses were having a problem wading through the rolling snowdrifts and it didn't take long for the swirling flakes to envelop the troopers.

As night approached the French prisoners and the few remaining guards began to despair, the relentless snows swirled around the gully but the brave little drummer boy continued to beat out his call for rescue.

It soon became obvious that for whatever reason the rescue party was not going to come in time, two prisoners had already frozen to death and the rest were near to exhaustion. The remaining soldiers decided that as the prisoners were in such a weak condition they were not going to try to escape which meant they too could try to reach Princetown and summon help. Once again the little drummer boy was ordered to remain with the Frenchmen and continue beating out his call. By now his little fingers were blue with cold but bravely he continued with his rhythmic drumming. The last thing the soldiers heard as the curtain of snow swallowed them up was the steady rat-a-tat-tat of the brave drummer's drum beats.

When the snow storm eventually abated the rescue party was finally dispatched from the prison to find the young boy and his French charges. Eventually the gully was found and the rescuers was faced with the pitiful sight of a huddled bunch of frozen French corpses, just to one side was the pathetic remains of the brave little drummer boy, his body stiff and icy. The poor lad still held his drumsticks in his tiny , ice-blue hands as if he had bravely drummed right up to the final seconds of life - above and beyond the normal call of duty.

The legacy of this sad tale is that today, when the heavy snows come to Princetown there are those that say any storm is always heralded by the slow, steady sound of a military drum beat. Die hard moor farmers, prison warders, and locals alike all have reported hearing the ghostly rat-a-tat-tat beating out from the gully where the little drummer boy perished. And then, without fail, the snows will begin to fall, blanketing the moor in a white shroud of silence.

Over the years there have been many accidents on the 'S' bend as it sweeps down into the Devil's Elbow. The road has been altered to try and improve the steep camber of the road which has always been named as the cause of the accidents - but still they happen. Is it really the road surface or maybe there is some supernatural force lurking in the gully?



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Re: dartmoor ghosts


LUSTLEIGH CLEAVE


Dartmoor is an ancient land and the feet of man have trodden across its moors and valleys since the time of stone. Everywhere you can find traces of there homes, graves, and temples, all which have stood silently witnessing the passing of time. Many moorfolk say that they are evil places and should be given a wide berth at all times as ancient spirits haunt the crumbling walls and circles.

Not that long ago there lived an old woman who regularly used to take her dog for a walk up through Lustleigh Cleave. For some reason she adored the deep cleft hewn by the river Bovey, in fact so much so the locals said she was "Cleave maized." One evening she was up at the old Iron Age fort near Hunter's tor, the sun was ebbing and dusk began to wrap its mantle over the moor. As the woman approached the remains of three hut circles she suddenly became aware of an eerie sense of foreboding which soon deepened into a premonition of evil. It was as if a thick curtain of mist had drawn itself around the ancient settlement, cutting her off from the living world. She was not the only one to experience this awful feeling of dread because her dog lay cowered at her feet, whimpering with fright. To her horror, the woman noticed small dark figures come creeping out of the hut circles, they were dressed in clothes of a long gone age. It was as if they were stooping under the low entrances of the huts and passing through into the mortal world. The ancient spirits seemed to be talking but no sound was coming out of their mouths, the whole of the old fort lay in a dank, unearthly silence.

Sadly nobody knows what they did next because with amazing agility for her age the old woman fled back down the cleave. From that day on she never went up the deep, wooden valley unless it was daylight and enough time to return before sun-down.

 
THE GHOSTS OF LYDFORD



If you believe everything you read then Lydford must be one of the most haunted places on Dartmoor. Spend a night there and it is possible to see why. True to an old moorland village, Lydford has not been ruined by the intrusion of street lighting. On a clear night you can see the star laden heavens in all their glory. If the mist is down you will see a murky darkness that is only pierced by the occasional beam of torchlight as some villager scurries home. It is on these occasions that the spirits of the departed tread the the night-world of mortals. The first thing to remember about Lydford is that it dates back to Anglo Saxon times. As you walk down the main street you are strolling along what would have been the main thoroughfare of the Saxon burgh. Lydford can boast two castles, the site of a Norman stronghold and the standing structure of a castle dating back to Medieval times. The term 'castle' is somewhat misleading because for most of its life the edifice served as a prison.
Is it such a wonder that such a heinous place is haunted? The number of poor souls that suffered within its walls would be numerous. The first ghostly apparition that you may meet is that of a black spectral pig. This abomination is said to snuffle and snort around the village and is thought to be the ghost of the famous hanging judge - George Jefferies. The second phantom takes the form of a dark, misty outline of a man who haunts the fern clad dungeons deep in the recesses of the castle. Another animal ghost that has been seen in the castle is that of a bear or something that resembled one. It was seen to walk along and disappear through a stone archway, leaving an icy chill in its wake.

Adjacent to the grim castle is amazingly the Castle Inn, the old hostelry has stood on this site for centuries as parts of the structure will testify. Supposedly the original building served as the gaolers quarters and one of them is meant to still pay the occasional visit. Described as being a "broad muscular," man who is attired in "workman's clothing." His perambulations take him from room 6 and along the creaky corridor where he then departs the building. Other ghostly activities at the inn include an opaque mist that suddenly forms and then wafts around before disappearing. Some photographs that having been taken inside the building show strange blobs and blurs that show up only after developing.

On the edge of the village tucked neatly into the corner of a field is a lowish mound which is marked on the Ordnance Survey map as a tumulus. This part of the settlement is known as 'Gallows Hill' and was reported to have been the site of execution for those poor souls sentenced at the prison. On still, dark, nights, moans and wails are said to emanate from the area and be the dying moments of those swinging at the end of a rope.

Roughly three quarters of a mile from the village is the famous Lydford Gorge where the river Lyd cascades through the steep granite ravine. As with any place that has fast flowing waters there are going to be fatalities. The occasional ones lead to a haunting and here is no exception for the ghost of 'Old Kitty' or 'The Red Lady' has been seen by a pool known as Kit Steps. Her she lurks around the water's edge and stares into the cascading river. People that have seen the ghost describe her as variously wearing a red, kerchief or shawl.

The nearest Judge George Jefferies ever got to Lydford was Exeter so why would his ghost want to haunt the castle?

On numerous occasions I have stayed at the Castle Inn, sometimes even in room 6 and I can confirm that many strange events have occurred on my visits. I too have seen misty cloud-like forms suddenly appear and icy cold temperatures unexpectedly descend. There have been times when items in the bedroom have mysteriously moved, once the wardrobe door slowly swung open of its own accord.
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One co-incidence I have noticed is that every supernatural experience has followed many, many pints of Guinness and usually a bottle of Merlot all culminating in a secret visit from the 'Tavistock Badger'.

With regard to the Ghost of the gaoler appearing in what were his quarters, this seems highly unlikely as when the castle was being used as a prison it consisted of two floors, the lower was the prisoners quarters and the upper has been considered as the keeper/gaolers quarters. Saunders, 1980, [sign in to see URL], states that: "Room VIII on the same floor (second) also has a garderobe and the evidence for the partition wall could indicate that this served as the keeper's quarters."

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LYDFORD CASTLE

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Jun/27/2008, 8:17 am Link to this post Send Email to MaTTsWoRld   Send PM to MaTTsWoRld Blog
 
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Re: dartmoor ghosts


THE PHANTOM COTTAGE


Just outside Islington is a mystery which defies logic and it concerns a 'Brigadoon' type cottage. A woman moved into the district and decided to get acquainted with her surroundings and so she took to walking the lanes. One day she spotted, through some trees, the most charming country cottage she had ever seen, for ages she stood admiring the building. When she returned to the village she met the man who owned the land on which the cottage stood and took the opportunity to express her admiration of his cottage. The perplexed landowner explained that he didn't own such a property and all that stood on his land was trees. The woman was insistent she had seen the building and so the next evening both she and the landowner returned to the spot. When they arrived, no matter how hard the woman searched she could find no charming cottage - just trees.

A few years later, a new bungalow was built near to the spot where the woman had seen the cottage. Once again the owner of the new bungalow met the land owner and she too inquired as to who he neighbour was that lived in the charming cottage. She also asked how one got to the dwelling because despite a frantic search she could find no entrance to it. Again the landowner had to explain that there was no such cottage on his land just trees.

A short while after this incident an Ordnance Surveyor was in the area and noticed the cottage from afar and the fact that it was not marked on his map. So he decided go down and get its exact location in order to include it on the next map print. When he arrived at the spot, much to his frustration he could find no trace of the cottage he had previously seen. A villager passed by so the surveyor inquired as to the location of the cottage only to be told that they had seen it once but they too could never find it again.



THE PHAMTOM HORSE


Whilst thumbing through and old book of the 1830s I came across the following account which took place near of the the villages on the edge of Dartmoor, sadly there was no mention as to which village.

 

"Once a powerful man, one, as we were assured, in no way likely to be daunted by spectres, ventured to traverse the bye lane which leads to the high road. In those days this was a feat which even Hercules might have declined, such was the character of this lane; however' the good man despised all fear, and laughed these ghostly terrors to scorn; so lighting his lantern at the turn-pike gate, he valiantly sallied forth. He had proceeded but half way when lo! he heard behind him the rapid steps of a horse: at first he took no notice of this - presently, however, a horse's head appeared over his shoulder. He stretched out his hand to turn the animal away, and where he plainly saw the head, grasped only thin air. At the same moment, his light was suddenly extinguished without any apparent cause, for there was not a breath of wind stirring; then the stout man's heart began to fail. He hastened his steps, when the horse which was still pursuing him, to add to his dismay, snorted in the most horrific manner: now indeed he gave himself over for lost. Pale, breathless, and half dead, he reached the hospitable door of a cott, and tottering to a chair, told his direful adventures, declaring that, for all the gold in the Indies, he would not venture a step further alone. The sequel to the story is, that very soon the brother of this farmer died, and, more wonderful still, was seen to pass through a field where several labourers were at work; entering at one gate, he walked within a few yards of them, and climbed over the stile at the opposite corner. To their horror, when they returned home, they heard that the poor man had been dead several hours before his apparition thus appeared.

The lane where the phantom horse was seen is still held in bad repute; and many of our younger neighbours, would go miles around rather than come through it after dark. One young man gravely asserted the other day, that he had seen, "with his own eyes," a headless man riding on a horse, fly along the road and pass clean through the barred turnpike-gate".

 

It appears that this lane and the connecting turnpike road was the scene of more than one spectral horse, indeed the account goes on to relate how:

 

"One man (but this was in years gone by) was returning from a neighbouring village at the dread hour of midnight, when he heard in the distance the baying of the hell-hounds: nearer and nearer they came scoring over the hills above him. Terrified, he threw himself under a hedge, and in a moment the whole hunt passed by him, dogs and horses all sending forth hideous unearthly noises, while flames spouted from their nostrils; a carriage brought up the rear, drawn by spectre horses, and all bounded forward through hedge and over ditch as easily as on a turn-pike road".

 

This story sounds as if all the infamous ghosts and spectres of Dartmoor were abroad at the same time with the Wisht Hounds, Lady Howard and her coach and the headless horseman chasing each other along the lanes.


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Jun/27/2008, 8:20 am Link to this post Send Email to MaTTsWoRld   Send PM to MaTTsWoRld Blog
 
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Re: dartmoor ghosts


Belstone.

One evening an elderly resident of Belstone was strolling along the West Cleave when below him he saw a local farmer stood at the bank edge of the East Okement river. Believing that the farmer was going to do something which would be regrettable he hurried down to the riverside. As he neared the water he hear a voice which seemed to come from the swirling current, it said, "The hour has come but not the man."

 

Bovey Tracey.

1) The owners of a house near to Bovey Tracey somehow purchased and installed an old staircase from nearby Buckfast Abbey. Not long afterwards, at the same time every evening a ghostly procession of monks could be seen slowly walking up and down the old staircase. The family of the house accepted the spectral visitors down to the point that the children used to wait for their monks to came and stand by their bedsides. In the end the media got hold of the story which ended in a priest being called to exorcise the monks.

 

2) At the time of the Crusades a local noble woman called Miss de Tracey committed suicide in an arbour of her house. On returning safely from the holy land, her lover visited the garden and saw a white rabbit dart out of the shrubbery. Ever since then the white rabbit, believed to be the spirit of Miss de Tracey, haunts the grounds of the old house.

 

3) There have been ghostly sightings of a headless lady wearing a blue silk frock in the grounds of Bovey House.

 

Brent Moor House.

The one-time house of Brent Moor was said to harbour a ghost. One morning a relative who was staying at the house complained that the previous night he awoke and felt as if he was being suffocated. The owner then explained that the room he had slept in was haunted by the ghost of a nanny who many years previous had smothered a baby. She was that remorseful that she went down to the river Avon and drowned herself in its waters. Sine that day the ghost of the nanny occasionally manifested itself and re-enacted her heinous crime.




Drewsteignton.

1) In the neighbourhood of Drewsteignton is a cottage which stands at a place known locally as 'Bloody Corner'. An horrific murder was committed at the cottage and ever since the crime a thin trickle of blood flows from beneath the door every night at the stroke of midnight.

 

Dunsford.

1) Many years ago two sweethearts were sat in a lane and for some reason an argument broke out, the outcome of which was that the lad strangled his girlfriend with a stocking that she was knitting. He was convicted, sentenced and hung for the murder. Ever since between midnight and [sign in to see URL] the grisly couple can be seen silently sitting on a rock where the girlfriend continues to knit her unfinished stockings.

 

2) At midnight, the spectre of old Squire Fulford is seen just outside Dunsford on a stretch of road called 'Coach Drive'. His headless body sits on a coach which travels backwards up the lane, the horses are harnessed back to front, eventually the coach just simply fades away.

 

3) Squire Fulford used to haunt his onetime earthly home because for some reason he had not been buried where he wanted. The parson of the church had his remains dug up and reburied in the sand beside the river Teign where he was tied down with straw. But every night he takes a 'cockstride' nearer to Fulford house and legend dictates that one day he will return.

 

Gidleigh.

 

1) The Blackaton Bridge spans the Blackaton Brook and it is here that the ghost of a woman who once drowned herself in its waters haunts on dark nights, It is also said that some nights the sounds of a bloody battle can be heard wafting up from the brook.


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