Released: April 2013
Publisher: Bradwell Books
Size: 180 x 110mm
Shiver your way from Bude to Penzance, from Falmouth to Padstow! Be frightened; be very frightened. These stories collected from around Cornwall will have you on the edge of your seat and you’ll be way too scared to turn off the light at night!
Many people were introduced to ghosts by Charles Dickens in A Christmas Carol, with the Ghost of Christmas Past, followed by the Ghost of Christmas Present, and finally the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. A Christmas Carol was published on 19 December 1843. Earlier in 1843 Charles Dickens had visited Cornish tin mines where he saw children working in appalling conditions, an experience that was later reflected in his writing. One might also wonder whether he heard tales of the ghosts that inhabit Cornish tin mines. These ghosts are known as Knockers, and are said to be the spirits of Jews who crucified Christ and were forced to work in Cornish tin mines as punishment.
Ghosts seem to take many forms, appearing at different times in the most unlikely of places and haunting all manner of people. First, let’s establish what a ghost is. One belief is that a ghost is the soul or spirit of a deceased person or animal that can appear in a visible form or other manifestation, and this apparition can be seen or sometimes heard by the living.
There are many tales of people encountering figures that are recognisable as their loved ones, who later turn out to have died at the moment of the apparition. These figures may be clear and distinct or hazy and blurred, but most trigger an emotion in the people who see them – sometimes fear or confusion, but more often love, peace, calm or a feeling of needing to be in touch with that person.
Other types of ghost seem to be bound to specific places, times or environmental conditions, such as the spirits that remain in the houses they have loved, anniversary ghosts that can be seen on particular days of the year (often the date of their death), or the phantom ships that patrol offshore during dark stormy nights. Meanwhile, some ghosts seem intent only on mischief, banging and thumping in the dead of night and sometimes even moving or throwing items.
The sea and the River Tamar almost make Cornwall an island and give it a real feeling of being Celtic, which helps to maintain its unique atmosphere of myth and magic. The Duchy of Cornwall is known internationally for its ghosts, and many consider it to be the most haunted place in Britain, with the area’s rich legend and folklore creating the perfect backdrop for the creepy happenings in Celtic Kernow. In this book the haunting of famous places like St Michael’s Mount, Roche Rock, Jamaica Inn and Pengersick Castle will be recounted. Eerie sounds of bells and the heavy tread of the boots of deceased miners will be described. Locations of all manner of manifestations, from headless horses to a white rabbit, will be revealed. We will also encounter stories of sightings that turn out to be somewhat less spooky than was first thought when the truth is revealed.
However, it is worth repeating what the novelist Anna Elizabeth Bray (1826–1874) was quoted as saying: A real old Cornish house without a ghost is an impossibility, and the true believer in the mystical will scorn the prosaic idea of rats as a solution to mysterious sound… In October 1885 the Royal Cornwall Gazette printed the following, which is also worth noting:
Advice on the subject of ghost-seeing given by a hardened sceptic to a young friend – My dear boy, if a ghost comes in at the door, take a pistol; if he comes up from the floor, take a pill.
Ghostly experiences may happen to anyone, even the most sceptical. In a large majority of cases where ghosts are clearly seen or heard, a definite sensation of cold has been experienced. If you are still waiting for your first ghostly encounter, enjoy reading about the occurrences in this book.
To believe or not to believe is the question; some answers may lie in this journey to discover ghost stories old and new.