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Posted on Tuesday, May 31 - 2005

Robin Hood

An exclusive account by David Farrant, president of the British Psychic and Occult Society, on his recent investigation into the ghost of the legendary Robin Hood which culminated in a full scale exorcism and blessing of the graveside.For some years now controversy has surrounded a secluded woodland grave in the grounds of Kirklees Hall near Brighouse, West Yorkshire, over whether it could be the last resting place of the legendary Robin Hood.An inscription on the grave itself (Here underneath this memorial stone Robert earl of Huntington as he no archer e'r was good and people called him rRbin Hood. Such outlaws such as he and his men will England never see again. Died December24th 1247), clearly states that it is, although others have stated that is only a Victorian folly, although never expounded upon the 'folly's' purpose or just what this is supposed to represent; or indeed, why it should lie in such an isolated spot away from human habitation or any apparent footpaths. Its exact origins may be unclear, but certainly the legend of the grave and its association with the legendary outlaw can be traced back to a manuscript in the British Library, Sloane 780, which dates to circa 1400, and states that Robin was buried at Kirklees near the King's Highway.

In 1569 it was mentioned in Grafton's Chronicle. An ordnance survey map dated 1850 marks the spot and the grave as being Robin Hood's Grave.
Barbara Green, Founder of the Yorkshire Robin Hood Society, has become convinced that beneath the grave lie the mortal remains of Robin Hood. Barbara first became intrigued with rumours about the grave when, in the early 1980's in her capacity as a district nurse, she had cause to visit nearby Kirklees Hall. Stories and rumours about the grave being supposedly haunted were already rife then, but Barbara learned more about the history of the grave itself, that convinced her that it might well conceal the remains of Robin Hood. She decided to do her own research and founded the YRHS in 1984; its purpose being to conduct more thorough local research and uncover facts that might have given rise to the Robin Hood legend.There was plenty of information to assimilate. Not least, were local stories that the grave was haunted by a fearsome female spectre. Stories and legends about a ghostly figure associated with the grave can be traced back to Victorian times - probably still further - although it is of course no easy task,i......

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Posted on Sunday, May 15 - 2005

Ghost

Wales is arguably the most haunted country in the world, say Richard Holland, the author of a new book called Haunted Wales.We asked him to pick his 10 favourite ghost stories from across the country, which he relates here, in no particular order 1 The Warrior Knight of the Blood Red Plume This gothic horror first appeared in a very rare little book of Welsh legends published in 1803 - and never appeared again in print until I summarised it in my first book, Supernatural Clwyd, 185 years later. This is one of the reasons it's a favourite of mine -I feel like I discovered it.

It's also wonderfully over-the-top. The eponymous knight - so named for his fancy headgear - turns up at Rhuddlan Castle on the North Wales coast, where a marriage is about to be solemnised by Erilda, Princess of North Wales, and a Prince of South Wales - thereby uniting the nation and bringing peace to Wales for the first time. But, alas, the Warrior Knight steals Erilda's heart, causing her to elope, and he also sees to it that her father is killed. Wales is once again plunged into discord and the Warrior Knight reveals himself to be "an agent of the infernal" - a demon. His work done, he reveals that his true form is a huge, scaly monster. No wonder, then, that the castle's walls now echo at night todespairing shrieks and wails and Erilda's heartbroken wraith can occasionally be glimpsed among the ruins. 2 The Thing at Lisworney Crossways This story took some work to nail down. Tracing the story, I found it was first noted in 1839 and learned that it had occurred somewhere in the Vale of Glamorgan. But where? Lisworney Crossways does not exist today. Lots of staring at modern maps, however, revealed a house called Llysworney - and near it a crossroads. One of these lanes led to a farm mentioned in the tale. When I visited the area to do some fieldwork, I was delighted to discover that this track is now a green lane, entirely overgrown - quite delightful on the summer's day when I visited, but almost unbearably spooky at night, I should imagine.A......

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Posted on Monday, January 23 - 2006

Greenbrier Ghost tomb

The true story of The Greenbrier Ghost - a remarkable case in which the victim's spirit testified about its own violent death, and named the murderer!Her daughter was only 23. Yet Mary Jane Heaster watched through tear-soaked eyes as the body of her young daughter was lowered into the cold ground. It was a gray, dreary day in late January, 1897 as Elva Zona Heaster Shue was laid to rest in the cemetery near Greenbriar, West Virginia. Her death came much too soon, thought Mary Jane. Too unexpectedly... too mysteriously.The coroner listed the cause of death as complications from childbirth. But Zona, as she preferred to be called, had not been giving birth whenshe died.

In fact, as far as anyone knew, the woman was not even pregnant.
Mary Jane was certain that her daughter's death was quite unnatural. If only Zona could speak from the grave, she hoped, and explain what had really brought about her untimely passing. In one of the most remarkable cases on U.S. court records, Zona Heaster Shue did speak from her grave, revealing not only how she died - but at whose hand. Her ghost's testimony not only named her own murderer, but helped in convicting the culprit in a court of law. It is the only case on U.S. lawbooks in which the testimony from the spirit of a murder victim aided in resolving the crime.

The Marriage Just two years before Zona's death, Mary Jane Heaster had endured another hardship with her daughter. Zona had givenbirth to a child out of wedlock - a scandalous event in the late 1800s. The father, whoever he was, did not marry Zona, and so the young woman was in need of a husband. In 1896, Zona chanced to meet Erasmus Stribbling Trout Shue. Going by the name Edward, he was newly arrived in Greenbriar, looking to make a new life for himself as a blacksmith. Upon meeting, Edward and Zona took an instant liking to one another and a courtship began. Mary Jane, however, was not pleased. Protective of her daughter, especially after her recent difficulty, she did not approve of her Zona's choice in Edward. There was something about him she didn't like. He was virtually a stranger, after all. And there was something she didn't trust... perhaps even something evil that her daughter, blinded by love, could not see. Despite her mother's protests, however, Zona and Edward were marriedo......

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Posted on Saturday, August 05 - 2006

"Here comes the Flying Dutchman, comes fast through the hissing spray, And proceeding by the tempest he heads for Table Bay. With bird-like speed he's borne along before the howling blast, But he never can cast anchor there, for the Bay, alas, he's passed"-Traditional English Ballad. One night near Cape John, Nova Scotia, drivers along the coastal road were startled to see a strange vision on the seaward horizon. One witness said, "It was a vessel, outlined with a fiery glow. I wouldn't say it was actually flames I saw... But the whole vessel was aglow and it was moving fast." The apparition lasted for two hours and was seen by dozens of people along the road. Was there really a burning ship out there? No, it was a phantom ship. Stories of many different phantom ships cover the pages of history. Some are purely folklore, others are documented facts.

The burning ship of the Northumberland Strait has often been seen off the coast of Nova Scotia or Prince Edward Island in Canada. Often it appears as a three-masted sailing ship on fire. Another witness observed, "One October night I was returning from visiting a neighbor; while walking along I was looking out over the Northumberland Strait where I saw a ship burning. It was a clear night and I could make out the outline of the ship quite distinguishably. I watched it for about twenty minutes and then it disappeared. I had heard so much about the phantom ship that I decided that it must be it." Supposedly over the years several attempts have been made to reach the ship, but without success. One is detailed by Sterling Ramsay in his book Folklore of Prince Edward Island. Late one evening, approaching dusk, a ship was sighted in the harbor which appeared to be in peril. Some distance out in the channel was what appeared to be a huge three-massed sailing vessel ablaze from bow to stern. A group of men boarded a small boat and rowed toward the flaming ship, in hopes of rescuing as many of her crew as was possible...

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