About the end of the seventeenth century, says Jeremiah Sullivan, in Cumberland and Westmorland, Ancient and Modern (1857), a man well known in the neighbourhood of Appleby as ‘Old Shepherd’, who had been bad enough when alive, became so troublesome as a ‘boggle’ (shape-shifting apparition) after death that he had to be forcibly ejected from the house he had lived in. A Catholic priest came to exorcize him and ‘laid’ him under a large stone not far from the door.

Sullivan’s informant had lived in that part of the country about forty years before and had helped at a bonfire during election celebrations not far from Old Shepherd’s house:

Whilst they were enjoying themselves round the fire, and ‘cracking’ [telling stories] of Old Shepherd, lo! the old fellow made his appearance from under the stone in the shape of a large white something; but he turned off sideways, and sailed down the ‘beck,’ in which they could hear him splashing like a horse.

They let the fire burn out and moved further down the beck to where they knew some wood was lying. Here they made another fire, and again Old Shepherd hove in sight. Sullivan’s informant did not see him this time, but someone gave the alarm and the party broke up for the night.



Haunted England : The Penguin Book of Ghosts – Written by Jennifer Westwood and Jacqueline Simpson
Copyright © Jennifer Westwood and Jacqueline Simpson 2005, 2008