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The hunt for Richard’s spirit is on again….

 

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They’re ba-ack….! Well, the ghost-hunters of Haunted Heritage are. When they went to Donington le Heath Manor House on a previous occasion they claim to have heard a supernatural voice say Richard’s name, and now they hope to get in try again. You are able to hear the voice as it was recorded. Note, they do not claim that the voice is that of Richard III, but the manor house is one of the numerous places Richard is said to have slept before Bosworth.

They are leading a ghost hunt at the manor on Saturday, 17th June. If I learn what happened, I will post about it.

 

Old Nick and his footprints are back….!!!!

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I endeavoured to include a link to the following article, but it was far too long, and the resultant Tinyurl simply would not transfer. Very strange. One might almost say devilishly so! Anyway, I do hope Tara MacIsaac will not mind that I include the article in full, because I gladly acknowledge her work Devil’s Hoofprints Spotted in the Snow? which appeared in Beyond Science, Epoch Times, December 17, 2014.

On Feb. 9, 1855, in the county of Devon, England, residents were mystified when they awoke to find strange tracks in the snow—tracks unlike any animal tracks they’d seen before. As groups of people across multiple villages spanning some 40 to 100 miles followed the tracks, curiosity turned to a mounting sense of horror and dread.

“Some 4–5 inches long and in the shape of cloven hooves, they went up walls, across rooftops, from one side of objects inexplicably through to the other side. They seemed to sink so low in the snow, it’s almost as though they were hot and seared their way through. At spots, the tracks seemed to disappear, only to reappear some ways off, as though the being that made them had flown for a short stretch. The single-file prints suggested a biped.

“In some villages, it seemed the maker of the tracks had visited nearly every home.

“Was it animals? Was it a case of mass hysteria? Was it a trick played by some mischief-makers? Was it, as many believed, the Devil himself? No one really knows. Let’s take a look at the accounts, the evidence, and the possibilities.

“The most extensive modern investigation of the so-called Devil’s Hoofmarks was undertaken by Mike Dash, an editor for Fortean Times. He collected all primary documents available, including tracings of the prints made by witnesses, the accounts collected by Reverend H.T. Ellacombe, who was vicar of the parish of Clyst St. George in East Devon from 1850 to 1885, newspaper articles from the time, and more.

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Tracing of the “Devil’s Hoofmarks” by Mr. D’Urban of Clyst St. Mary in Devon, England, reproduced in the Illustrated London News.

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“Tracing of the “Devil’s Hoofmarks,” included in the papers collected by Reverend H.T. Ellacombe, who was vicar of the parish of Clyst St. George in Devon, England, from 1850 to 1885.

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“Tracing of the “Devil’s Hoofmarks” by G.M.M of Withecombs Raleigh, Exmouth, Devon, England, reproduced in the Illustrated London News.

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“Tracing of the “Devil’s Hoofmarks,” sent in a letter by Reverend G.M. Musgrave from Exmouth, East Devon, included in the papers collected by Reverend H.T. Ellacombe.

Reverend Thingie

“He wrote in a paper titled The Devil’s Hoofmarks: ‘On the whole it appears that a considerable majority of the people who might have been expected to be familiar with all manner of trails left by the local wildlife, were puzzled and in many cases scared by these tracks and by the places in which they were discovered.’

“Nonetheless, it seems that at least some of the tracks attributed to the Devil may have been made by animals. The night of Feb. 8 was an unusually cold one. But a thaw is said to have occurred partway through. The snow melted a little, then froze again when the temperatures dropped once more. This can distort animal prints, and some of the prints may have been made by hares hopping (the two hind feet can leave prints that may be mistaken for cloven hooves in single-file), or some other small animal. Claw marks were reportedly seen in some of the prints, suggesting little animal feet instead of hooves. In one account, the prints went through a drain pipe 6 inches in diameter. But, some of the other prints seem to defy this explanation and it may be that these regular animal prints were scrutinized alongside prints of a more mystifying nature.

“In Exmouth, a port town in East Devon, a witness named W. Courthope Forman said: “The footprints came up the front garden to within a few feet of the house, stopped abruptly, and began again at the back within a few feet of the building.” Others made similar comments about the prints crossing garden walls and other objects. In one case, the prints stopped on one side of a haystack and resumed on the other, without leaving a trace on top that anything had moved across it. Dash wrote: “Indeed the problem with assessing all the reports of prints found in strange places is a lack of full descriptions of their precise situation.”

“Witnesses Reverend J.J. Rowe and R.H. Busk tell of how they followed the tracks with hounds. R.H. Busk said, “At last, in a wood, the hounds came back baying and terrified.” Rowe said: “The episode of the hounds … I well and distinctly remember.”Another man who followed the prints found a toad at the end of them, though it’s uncertain that a toad did or could make such marks.

“The prints were found in two other regions that same winter.

“In March 1855, they were sighted in Inverness, Scotland, where a local naturalist dismissed them as hare or polecat prints, according to an Inverness Courier report from that time.

“In January 1855, near Wolverhampton, England, about 200 miles north of Devon, hoofprints were said to have appeared on vertical walls and the roofs of pubs. According to Dash, Elizabeth Brown, landlady of The Lion pub in this region, told a public meeting that “her house was mainly frequented by quarrymen and the tracks were nothing new to them. Similar hoofmarks were to be seen burnt into the rock at Pearl Quarry, on Timmins Hill.”

“This brings us back to the reports that the footprints seemed to have been branded into the snow.

“Similar descriptions have been given in other cases. In the Spring 1957 edition of Tomorrow, a Quarterly Review of Psychical Research, anthropologist and psychical researcher Eric Dingwall reported one such case. A business man named Mr. Wilson found perplexing prints on a Devon beach in 1950. They appeared to be hoofmarks, though not cloven. The stride from one to the next was some six feet—a stark contrast to the small stride of the 1855 Devon prints which were only 8–12 inches apart—and he noticed, Dingwall wrote, “that no sand was splashed up at the edges: it looked as if each mark had been cut out of the sand with a flat iron.”

“Dingwall continued: “He had realized how totally inexplicable they were. For here was a biped with a track shaped like a hoof, starting immediately beneath a perpendicular cliff on a closed beach and ending in the sea. There was no returning track.” Dingwall asked Wilson if it’s possible that the animal, or whatever may have made the marks, turned right or left in the sea and returned to land elsewhere. “But Mr. Wilson produced photographs which showed that the beach was a comparatively narrow space completely enclosed by rocky headlands on either side.”

“In the winter of 1957, Lynda Hanson observed hoofmarks in her parents’ garden. In a letter to Fortean Times editor Bob Rickard, she wrote that it had snowed about an inch overnight and in the morning she saw them, “shaped as a cloven hoof, 4 inches across, approximately 12 inches apart, in a straight line and stopping in the middle of the garden.”

“She said dry concrete could be seen where the prints were, unlike with normal animal or human prints, which leave compressed snow.

“In 2009, retired local government official Jill Wade of North Devon awoke to find prints in her yard, about 5 inches long, with a stride of 11–17 inches. She called in experts to investigate. Zoologist Graham Inglis told the Telegraph: “This is certainly a first for me. The footprints are peculiar, but they are not the devil’s … Personally I think it belongs to a rabbit or hare but quite an academic punch-up has started over it.”

“Other explanations for the Devon prints—including an escaped kangaroo, a chain hanging from a weather balloon, and more—have been brought up and dismissed or deemed unlikely from various angles. As unlikely as the explanations may seem, it’s hard to prove or disprove any of them with certainty. Something unusual occurred in Devon, England, on the night of Feb. 8, 1855.”

So, is Beelezub back? Is he tramping our land again? What is he doing? Looking for victims? Or converts?

See also this article which contains similar information, but also the photograph of footprints at the top of this article, and the Victorian painting below. Um, Old Nick making a snow angel just sort of appeared. A little like his mysterious footprints. Happy Halloween!

Victorian hoofprints

snow devil

 

 

 

 

Ghosts of the Roses….

Ghosts of Bosworth against a Modern Sky

There is an article by Kelly Fitzgerald at http://sunnesandroses.blogspot.co.uk/2015/01/the-sunne-in-splendour-part-2.html, concerning the three suns that were seen in the sky before the Battle of Mortimer’s Cross in 1460. It was a natural phenomenon—a parhelion—but was clearly not recognised as such by those who saw it. They believed it was an omen.

So, what about supernatural phenomena connected to the Wars of the Roses, as distinct from natural? Things that would not have been seen and experienced at the time, but which are “seen” now? The thought intrigued me, so I have had a little (very little, so do not imagine me poring over it all for hours on end) poke around with Google, to see what paranormal things I could find. The Ghosts of the Roses, I thought.

My discoveries are not in chronological order, just jotted as I found them, which is why the very last battle of the Roses happens to come first.  Stoke Field was fought in 1487, and ended with the rout of the Yorkist army of John de la Pole, Earl of Lincoln, and Francis Lovell. Among his soldiers were many Irishmen, who were ferocious fighters but ill clad and ill equipped against a well-trained, fully armed foe. The battle took place by the River Trent in Nottinghamshire, and it seems the fleeing, naked ghosts of these unfortunate men are still seen on the banks of the river near the scene of the conflict.

The ghost of Margaret of Anjou is pretty busy. I have found her at Owlpen Manor and Bloody Meadow in Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire, and Dunstanburgh Castle in Northumberland. No doubt she makes appearances elsewhere too.

Also in Tewkesbury is the spectral funeral procession of the Lancastrian Prince of Wales, Edward of Westminster, who died at or just after the Battle of Tewkesbury in 1471. His cortege is seen leaving the abbey every year. So it is said. I have written of this in an earlier blog. https://murreyandblue.wordpress.com/?s=just+where+might+Edward

Middleham Castle in Yorkshire is renowned as Richard III’s favourite home, and late in the 20th century three children heard the sounds of battle outside the castle, and saw a knight on horseback, who charged them. And terrified them too. 16th century music has also been heard in the castle, but distantly, and there are persistent rumours of buried treasure there. Richard’s treasure? Who knows?

In Prestbury, near Cheltenham in Gloucestershire, a messenger killed by a Lancastrian arrow is said to be seen, shining as he tries to fulfil his duty. One version of his story is that he was decapitated by a thin wire fixed at that height across his path. A nasty little trick.

St Albans in Hertfordshire was the scene of two battles in the Wars of the Roses, and, once a year, it is said the sounds of battle can still be heard. Towton has its ghosts too, although I am not sure who/what they are, just that they are.

The site of the Battle of Edgecote in 1469 is said to be haunted by the many Welshmen who lost their lives there. It is suggested they will rise again in fury if the government persists with the plan to have the new HS2 railway pass through the battlefield! A rather expensive way to find out if ghosts exist.

There is a suggestion that Philippa Langley’s strange feeling of being above Richard III’s grave in that car park in Leicester, was in fact caused by Richard’s ghost, communicating with her. Please note, I do not for a moment suggest Philippa herself claims this!

You would think that Bosworth itself would have many, many ghostly stories attached to it, but my cursory search has not turned them up. A friend of mine, Susan Kokomo Lamb, once visited the battlefield and saw ghostly men in armour at the edge of the woods on Ambion Hill. Quite a chilling experience, I imagine. She went on to write the experience into a fictional story that was really excellent.

Another story of Bosworth, not Susan’s, is of a headless man in armour who wanders a nearby town in search of his missing head. I am certain there are many more apparitions and sounds at the battle site, but those I’ve come across have mostly been fictional. If anyone out there knows of another “real” Bosworth wraith, please leave a comment below.

So, these are only initial findings, and to be honest, when it comes to ghosts, the Wars of the Roses are dwarfed by the proliferation of spooks from the period of the English Civil War. It’s astonishing how many there are for that period, indeed, it’s almost possible to think that they are in every town and square acre of the English countryside.  But clearly there is a very long list of ghostly Roses waiting to be found, and I know at least one book has been written about them in particular, although I only learned of it today, when searching for snippets to include in this blog.

Now I must return to the mystery of phenomena that can sometimes be seen in the sky, as happened at Mortimer’s Cross. A long time ago (but not 1815, I’m not that old!) I read that a ghostly re-enactment of the Battle of Waterloo was seen in the skies above a Belgian town. What, I wondered, would it be like to see Bosworth in the skies over today’s Leicestershire? To watch Richard’s heroic last charge, and the despicable treachery that struck him down and handed his crown to the Tudor usurper? Observing such a thing would be a truly profound experience. And probably not one I could bear to see. I find it hard to read about Bosworth, let alone actually see it happening all over again.

The above illustration is how I imagine such a ghost re-enactment might look. Yes, the contrails have been intentionally left there, because the scene is imagined as happening today. The photograph is taken from one by Sarah-Jane Stanley Images, and the battling figures are from ‘The Battle of Bosworth’ by Philip James de Loutherbourg. Richard’s banner is one of many such photographs to be found all over the internet.

Postscript: Since writing this post I have remembered the Belgian city that was the site of the phantom Battle of Waterloo. It’s Verviers, where the news at the moment is all about anti-terrorism action. http://survincity.com/2010/02/ghostly-battle/

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