Another Little Ghost Story

Well, as I told you yesterday, Gareth is coming over tonight, which is fine, but it just means I have a little less time to do everything today.

So, I thought I’d give you another of my unpublished ‘ghost’ write-ups.

This is going in the next edition of “Dark Journey” (not for a little while yet, as the other two books take priority).

It is from a psychic investigation we went on in 1988, when I was looking into a few ghost cases in the North East. But it is really a ‘timeless mystery’ as you can see. Well, many ghost stories are the same. The person gave me permission to use his real name, and I hope you get as much pleasure reading his accpunt as I did interviewing him . . .

THE GISBOROUGH GHOST

THE SPARSE – though magnificent – ruins of Gisborough Priory in Gisborough, Clevland, have long been connected with stories of ghostly black-clad figures (some say monks who have remained ‘earthbound’ to protect a hidden treasure that lies concealed in the grounds) that have been reported in the ruins by night. This Augustinian priory, founded in the first half of the 12th century, in fact once occupied much of the surrounding land but, like so many other abbeys and monasteries that suffered extensively during the period of the Dissolution, provides little indication of its original size by its limited remains.

Stories of these ‘ghostly figures’, of course, remain nebulous, if for no other reason that many people – however well intentioned – often tend to repeat ghost stories ‘blindly’ or second hand; but one person, in particular, remains in little doubt that what he witnessed when living in the area was undoubtedly … a ghost.

The year was 1947, and Mr Robert Franks – then aged 13 – was living with his parents in a house (now demolished together with others in the road in 1963) that lay on what once formed a part of the priory grounds.

It was a bitterly cold winter’s night, about 8.30 in the evening, and Robert Franks and his brother, along with two friends from the same street, were building a snow-house in a deserted builder’s yard. At one point, they all stopped to rest, not really sure if they’d had enough for the night or whether to pile up their sledges with more snow. At this moment, they all noticed a flickering light form inside the window of an adjacent building (an ice cream traders depot that also lay on the site of the former priory) which in no time at all, filled the window and then materialised outside it in the form of a pikeman. The apparition appeared side-on, its light increasing all the time, although how long it remained is an unknown factor as the group literally grabbed their sledges and fled …

Of course, it might well be assumed – if not argued – that this ghostly figure might not be connected with the black-clad figures reported in the present ruins of Gisborough Priory, but it is an interesting observation – indeed, a fact – that when the builders yard and surrounding buildings and houses were being demolished in 1963, two large pillars were discovered proving that the land had once formed a part of the original priory.

This sighting at Gisborough Priory, relying only on the testimonies of a group of frightened boys, does not, of course, emphatically ‘prove’ the existence of ghosts. But it does go some way in establishing that, if such things are true, ghostly figures (especially when witnessed as forms from long gone) would appear to have no awareness of the passing of time; neither indeed, would they appear to have any knowledge of the modernisation of original locations …. locations where they might once have walked whilst existing in the land of the living.

David Farrant

  • reply matt ,

    Dear David
    I enjoyed the ‘THE GISBOROUGH GHOST’. It was interesting to read that you had visited Borley Rectory, it’s a pity that the rectory burnt down, I would have liked to have gone there myself. I’ve never been quite sure about the Borley case, as I understand it there is controversy surrounding Harry Price’s investigation. I suppose if the place was still standing it would be turned into the ‘Borley Experience’, complete with guided tours that always end up in the gift shop. I can’t resist the obvious, you could buy a plastic figurine of a monk to keep your other ornament company (I use ornament in the loosest possible way). Is your witch figurine really that grotesque? I’ve seen a photograph of you taken circa 1970, you were wearing a bow tie, very smart I thought, you didn’t appear to be wearing any cheesecloth based garments there.
    Regards Matt

    • reply Columbine ,

      ‘But it does go some way in establishing that, if such things are true, ghostly figures (especially when witnessed as forms from long gone) would appear to have no awareness of the passing of time; neither indeed, would they appear to have any knowledge of the modernisation of original locations …. locations where they might once have walked whilst existing in the land of the living.’

      Quite right, David. It may also explain the numerous sightings of Roman soldiers that people sometimes glimpse. The most notorious of these made in the Treasurers House, York. Roman soldiers were seen walking on the old Roman road, which was then overbuilt by York Minster. Other sightings of old ghosts that never seem to dwindle have been seen on Cranbrook Chase (prehistoric horseman) and Preselli, Wales (ghosts of stone age men.)

      Columbine.

      • reply David Farrant ,

        Hi Matt,

        I got the the habit of sometimes wearing bow ties on occasion, from the days when my father used to take me to company dinners where you had to wear them (or at least a tie). I hated it then but when I could do it later of my own free will, it was somehow different.

        People seem to have really taken to ‘Babs the witch’ in a funny sort of way(and yes, it really IS that grotesque!). I’ve decided to include her (it) as an extra character when I bring the new comic strip out next year. We are keeping all the old ones and she (it) will be in good company!

        For the moment,

        David

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