In Bradwell: Ancient and Modern (1912), Seth Evans tells the story of the ‘Lumb Boggart’ (‘Lumb’
coming from the Old English word for a pool). He writes:

It used to be said that about a century and a half ago the body of a young girl who was supposed to have been murdered was found buried under the staircase of a house at Hill Head. The ghost of the girl appeared every night until everybody in the neighbourhood were terrified and thrown into a cold sweat. Unable to bear it any longer the people got a well known individual who belonged to the Baptists … to undertake the task of ‘laying’ the ghost. As this individual professed to be able to rule the planets, of course no one doubted his power of getting rid of the ghost.

The time came, and the haunted house was filled with affrighted spectators when the exorcist appeared among them
with his paraphernalia, and when he prayed until streams of sweat poured from his face as he knelt within a ring he had chalked on the chamber floor, the lookers-on kneeling around, and later afterwards declared that they ‘felt the floor move for yards up and down in quick succession.’ Then the magician arose and exclaimed, ‘Arise! arise! I charge and command thee,’ when the spirit appeared, and the man ordered it to depart and assume the body of a fish, and to locate itself in the Lumb Mouth. He also ordered that every Christmas eve the ghost should assume the form of a white ousel, and fly to Lumbly Pool.

(By ‘ousel’ is presumably meant the ring ouzel, which nests in crevices in cliffs and rocks.) Evans calls this story ‘an absurd tale which everybody believed even down to half a century ago’.



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