Posts Tagged ‘smugglers’

Eccles has the remains of a village, it was claimed by the sea in the 17th Century. The storm that night also took over seventy houses and 300 hundred lives, no doubt then that the area has a story or two to tell, and that it is said on the low tides there are places to see parts of the village under the water.  It stuck in my mind as a child when my uncle told me that people had claimed to hear the bells on the low tide but hearing them portents death and storms.

A search about this area says that skeletons from the Churchyard still wash up ashore on occasion. The tower of the church was visible in 1986 when there was a fall in the sea level low enough to expose some of the Eccles area and Happisburg looks like it might follow the same fate. A shame too as it has rather interesting little stories that might not get a chance to be visited if this does happen, Coastal erosion seems to be threatening the area but it seems that the defences are not being bolstered at this point.

And now on to  the ghost! The spectre was first reported 1765 with two farmers making their way home, they were frightened by a hump-backed shape in the moonlight and as their eyes adjusted they realised the human (?) had neither legs nor a head. However as it came near them they saw it did indeed possess a head but the strange hump was the nearly severed one that rested on its back attached to the neck by a thin strip of flesh.

The spectre/shade they reported had apparently got on sailor’s attire, and against its chest clasped a rough brown sack. It was followed by the two scared but curious men, who watched it disappear into a wall, before they left to inform the village council. It was decided they would put the story to the test and investigated the well it had disappeared into.  A man was lowered down and he found a sack which was apparently the one that matched the description of their ghost, inside they found a pair of boots in it but more disturbingly they found the man’s legs still inside them.

The well was then drained, they found another sack with a torso in sailors clothing and then attached to it by a narrow ribbon of rotted skin was the head. Around the body’s waist they found a belt with a pistol tucked into it, the villagers then traced the tracks back and found signs of a fight, it was felt that smugglers had begun a fight over their spoils and the other had been shot and hacked up before being deposited down the well.

The ghost appeared regularly on moonlit nights and was heard moaning at the bottom of the well, that is until it was closed over by a pump, all seemed well until the pump was removed and the horrid groans were heard once more. They decided to recap the well with the pump and it went quiet once more but then again when it went quiet they removed it and sure enough the ghostly figure began to float around once more.