In his Household Tales (1895), S. O. Addy writes:

The ghost of one of the Brights of Whirlow Hall, near Sheffield, was said to appear in a lane near the house in the shape of a black bird with a white tail or wing. Sometimes it was felt, but not seen, as in the case of a man from Dore, who, returning home late one evening on the back of his ass, was lifted from his seat in the deepest part of the lane, and fixed upright in the middle of the lane, the ass going on as if nothing had happened. He was paralysed with fear and unable to move until the spirit allowed him to proceed.

The old belief in metempsychosis, or the transmigration of human souls, was still current in parts of England in the nineteenth century, and perhaps later. Other soul-birds included the raven or red-legged chough, said at MARAZION, Cornwall, to embody the soul of King Arthur, and another soul-bird in the North was the dove that held the soul of ‘Parcy Reed’, at TROUGHEND, Northumberland.



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