When she was collecting Cheshire folklore in the 1930s, Christina Hole was told how a Catholic woman had seen the ghost of a priest but had not realized it at the time; her name was Teresa Higginson, and she died in 1905. She was a key-holder for the Catholic church at Neston, and early one morning a priest whom she did not know called at her
house and asked to be let into the church so that he could say his daily Mass there. She unlocked the church and attended his Mass – to which, since it was an unscheduled one, nobody else came.

Afterwards he went into the vestry to disrobe, but when she followed a little later there was no one in there, though there was no way out except through the church. Perplexed, she told various other parishioners what had happened, and from her description of the stranger the older ones knew that it must have been the ghost of a former parish priest, long since dead.

The implication of the tale probably is that the priest had neglected to say the Masses he had promised to say on someone’s behalf, and could not rest till he had fulfilled his promise.



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