Mysterious Bones and a Ghostly Visitor

Winter Landscape with Farmstead, by Adolf Stademann

Creepy History 49.  For the fourth year running we are celebrating October on Windows into History with a month of “Creepy History” quotes.  The following is from the Grantham Journal, and appeared in the 4th September 1897 edition:

The good folk of Halton Holgate, a village near Spilsby, are excited over a ghost story. For some time rumours have been afloat of human bones having been discovered under the brick floor of a farm near the village, of strange unearthly tappings having been heard, and of the appearance of a ghostly visitor as the precursor of these happenings. The farmstead where the weird sounds are said to have been heard stands some distance from the high road, and is occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Wilson and a man-servant. Mrs. Wilson, on being interviewed by a reporter, told the following remarkable story:

“We came here on Lady-day last. The first night or so we heard very strange noises about midnight, as though someone was knocking at the doors and walls. Once it seemed as though someone was moving all the things about in a hurry downstairs. Another time the noise was like a heavy picture falling from the wall, but in the morning I found everything as right was the night before. The servant-man left, saying he dared not stop, and we had to get another. Then about weeks ago I saw something. Before getting into bed – my husband having retired before me – I went downstairs to see the cow, and just as I was about to go up again I saw an old man standing at the top looking me. He was standing as though he was very round-shouldered. How I got past I can’t say, but I darted past him into the bedroom and slammed the door. Afterwards I felt that someone was behind me. I turned round sharply, and there again stood the same old man. He quickly vanished, but I am quite certain I saw him. I have also seen him several times since, though not quite so distinctly.”

Mrs. Wilson next conducted her interviewer to the sitting-room, where a gruesome discovery had been made. The floor in one corner had been very uneven, and day or two ago Mrs. Wilson took up the bricks with the intention of re-laying them. No sooner had she done this than a most disagreeable odour was emitted. Her suspicions being aroused, she called her husband, and the two commenced a minute examination. Three or four bones were soon turned over, together with a gold ring, and several pieces of old black silk. All these had evidently been buried in quicklime. Asked what her own opinion of the affair was, Mrs. Wilson confidently asserted her belief that some time or other foul play had taken place. She was fully persuaded in her own mind with regard to the apparition, and though it was suggested she might have been mistaken, she disdained the idea being beneath notice.

Dr. Gay, a local medical man, to whom the bones have been submitted, states that they are undoubtedly human, but he believes them to be nearly one hundred years old. Further excavations under the brick floor of the sitting-room have led to more bones being unearthed and more pieces of corded silk being found. Thus far the bones of the arms and legs have been found, presumably a female. Every night the occupants are aroused by knockings and tappings, but the ghostly visitor has not been seen for over a week, a lamp being now kept burning in the bedroom where Mrs. Wilson asserts that she several times saw the apparition of an old man.

Winter Landscape with Farmstead, by Adolf Stademann

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About Roger Pocock

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