Posts Tagged ‘Devon’

Manaton, Devon in the UK is a mound of grass that’s got the colloquially known Jay’s grave upon it. It’s through to be the resting place of a suicide from the 1700’s situated in the region of Dartmoor. It is a bit of a tourist trap for ghost hunters too these days.

Kitty Jay was denied a burial spot on consecrated grounds to to the religious laws about ‘self-murder’. Like many suicides in the past she was then buried at the crossroads to try and prevent the restless and confused spirits not being able to find their way into the afterlife.

Fresh Flowers often appear at the grave, some say delivered by pixies, but at least one human being has been involved. The author Beautrice Chase used to leave her flowers before her death in 1955. Other votive offerings include candles, coins, shells, crosses and toys.

Motorists have apparently had glimpses of ghostly figures in their headlights and some report seeing a dark hooded figure kneeling at her grave. It seems that fresh-flowers may have stopped in more recent years and silk ones more often appear, perhaps because they last longer as an offering.

This is a myth prevalent with Northern, Western and Central Europe. I best know it from Peterborough where I used to live. Wherever the local legend is heard it is the same, a phantasmal steed with a group of huntsmen who madly pursue something either along the ground or just above it.

Seeing the Wild Hunt was through to be a precursor to a catastrophe such as war or a plague, or at best (yeah lovely this) it meant the death of the witness. Mortals getting in the way of the hunt might well find themselves kidnapped and taken into the land of the dead.

The Norse god Odin came to be associated with the Wild Hunt, the passage of this hunt was known as Odin’s Hunt and those who saw it and mocked it were cursed, those that
joined in sincerely would be rewarded with gold. In the passing storm identified with the hunt a large black dog would be seen afterwards. To remove it the dog would have to be
tricked out but if not they would need to keep the hound and tend to it for a year.

In England this associated with St Guthlac who reported that Hereward the Wake participated in a Wild Hunt. In the Peterborough Chronicle there is a record of the hunt appearing at night, beginning with the appointment of an Abbot, Henry d’Angeley in 1127 that proved disastrous.

…many men both saw and heard a great number of huntsmen hunting. The
huntsmen were black, huge, and hideous, and rode on black horses and on black
he-goats, and their hounds were jet black, with eyes like saucers, and
horrible. This was seen in the very deer park of the town of Peterborough, and
in all the woods that stretch from that same town to Stamford, and in the
night the monks heard them sounding and winding their horns

In Wistman’s Wood, Devon, England as an example it is said that the hunt is comprised of hell-hounds that chase sinners or the unbaptised. In Devon tey are know as Yeth or
Wisht Hounds. Spain – Count Arnau is a legendary nobleman from Ripollès who was known for his cruelty and lechery is condemned to ride followed by the hounds as his flesh is devoured by flames.

The ring wraith’s from Lord of the Rings seem to have been inspired by a similar idea with the large black horses and their unknown faces. They are also a particularly awe inspiring sight on the big screen!

England is full of quirky tales and ghostly mishaps so I always love to present them in the hopes that they are new to someone passing by. This particular one comes from a stretch in Dartmoor where there were an unusually high number of vehicle accidents in the 20th Century.

The legend comes from Postbridge, Dartmoor, the road is now known as B3212.  A quick look on google maps would give you a good idea of the layout of the land. Moors are bleak places and it’s easy to see how legends spring up from them.

The Hairy Hands are a pair of disembodied hands that appear suddenly grabbing at the wheel or handlebars and force the victim off the road. For some of these cases they have not seen the hand, so there are in essence two reports given about this.  The good news is that most of the victims have survived, however Dr E H Helby, the local medical officer, was not so lucky when he died in 1921 but two children of the prison governor who rode the sidecar came out alive. Several weeks after his death an Army Captain reported that he had been forced off the road by a pair of invisible hands.

Of course a very reasonable explanation is simply people speeding along on roads that require some attention when driving!