In 1977 Cecilia Millson, herself a long-standing resident of Bucklebury, recorded a local anecdote concerning ghosts that were not what they seemed. At one time, this alleged, the people of the village were afraid to go out at night because of rumours that a ghostly procession would often be seen passing along certain winding lanes. Four figures in white would silently go by, carrying a coffin. But one man, bolder than the others, lay in wait for the ghosts, and when they appeared he jumped out and started beating the nearest one with a stout stick. All four ran away, dropping the coffin – which, on inspection, turned out to be a stolen sheep.

Anecdotes in which supposed ghostly phenomena turn out to be tricks devised by smugglers or poachers are common enough to be themselves a form of folklore-about-folklore.



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