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Wychwood spirits

spiritscartoonThere are people who seem to experience and feel things out of sight to most of us. I know two such people. In my experience, both are stable and truthful with no evident desire for self-aggrandisement. They just seem to have more sensitive antennae compared with the rest of us. One is a long time Wychwood Lad known throughout our villages for his ability to solve practical problems in the home. I will call him the Hand Worker or HW to preserve some degree of anonymity. Over the last decade I have talked to him about his supernatural experiences on several occasions. I have no reason to doubt his observations and he agreed to give me some notes about them; the following is based on those notes.

Milton mystery
HW used to live with his parents, sister and dog in an old cottage in Milton. His parents had gone to bed one night. The dog slept in the bedroom on a chair. About one or two o’clock in the morning, the dog started to growl. His mother woke up and felt a presence between herself and her husband. There was an indent in the blankets as well. She pinched HW’s father to wake him up and, when she did this, the ‘presence’ got up out of the bed. By now the dog was standing on the chair, growling and with his hair standing on edge. HW’s father followed the carpet indents as the ‘presence’ made its way to the bedroom door. The indents continued along the passage to the spare bedroom. His father opened the door and saw the doors of the wardrobe in that room open and then close. He looked inside the wardrobe and found… nothing.

The fuses were always blowing in that house. On one occasion, his father went down into the cellar to reset the switch. He was confronted by the appearance of a monk, who walked through the wall as he watched. HW always held the ‘monks’ responsible for turning the bedclothes right down to the bed end each night on his and his sister’s beds while they slept.

All alone
In his 20s HW was working with a team of craftsmen in an old house along the Burford Road. His job was to fit the kitchen units. It was winter; darkness came early. Late one afternoon, he was hurrying to finish his tasks. He lost all sense of time, and noticed that all the others had gone. His shouts went unanswered. Then he heard footsteps coming from the floor above. A door opened and closed. More footsteps and then a step onto the stairs. He knew there were thirteen steps to the bottom of the stairs. He counted twelve steps with his heart pounding. Although he wanted to see what was there, he could wait no longer and ran outside to his van. In the complete darkness he turned his van lights onto the house but there was nothing physical to see. After a while, he summoned up his courage to go back in, put out all the lights and lock up. Later next day, a local farmer asked him to move his van and, noticing HW looked worried, asked him if anything was wrong. HW asked him if he knew of anybody having died there. The farmer told him that the old gibbet tree was in the next field. The house where HW had been working had been used as a mortuary for the executed.

On another occasion HW was working in the Shaven Crown installing mirrors upstairs. The door to the bedroom opened. WH looked around in time to see the door close. He ran to the door but there was nobody there, just a passageway of opening and closing doors, a line of carpet imprints and the creak of floorboards. He fled.

The lady in black
His most recent experience was in his present house in Milton. Not long after moving in, he was in bed asleep with his wife when something disturbed him. He slowly half opened his eyes and saw a woman standing at the end of the bed. He opened his eyes fully and chased the woman onto the landing. He checked his children’s bedrooms, but there was no sign of the apparition. A couple of nights later the same thing happened. The lady, dressed in black, glided along the bottom of the bed. He chased her again. He had a feeling of wanting to comfort her but she disappeared.

She returned on another night. This time HW stayed still with his eyes half closed. The woman in a long black dress floated along the bottom of the bed and came alongside where he lay. He wanted to ask questions. There was no face but long black hair. Once more something disturbed her and she left. He and his wife decided to invite a local vicar to discuss what was happening. The vicar discovered that it had been a farm where the family had lost a daughter through suicide in the barn on the site of their house. After some form of exorcism there has been no reappearance of the lady in black.

On another occasion, he was working late at night in the Milton Baptist Chapel tearooms replacing rotten floorboards. Suddenly he became aware of a strong force. It felt heavy and there were voices chattering. He quickly grabbed his tools and went.
What next?

Alan Vickers

June – July 2017