Tuesday, 12 March 2013

The Women in White...

... or the many White Ladies that haunt the British Isles.

Huntley Castle, Aberdeenshire

There are at least a score of spectral White Ladies known  in England alone. I've heard of at least five in Wales (including the kindly Princess Nest of Carew Castle) and in Scotland, a good half dozen - usually in castles. Ireland (north and south of the border) has its share too. Thee are ghostly  ladies of other colours too, but white seems to be the most usual.

They are also found in Europe, and I believe other parts of the world. They usually seem to be sad, re-enacting some painful part of their lives. The white clothes could be their wedding dresses - or their shrouds.

White Lady remixed - original by Joseph Brauer

Because there are just so many to choose from, and because I'm from Yorkshire, I'm going to focus on three from the North:

A story from  Blenkinsopp Castle, Northumberland.
In the beginning of the 19th century ( Jane Austen's time) a poor family lived in part of the castle. One of the children,  a little boy of eight, was woken from his sleep by a richly dressed white lady. She begged him to go with her to recover a chest of treasure but he was too frightened. His tears woke his parents and the ghostly lady fled.
The boy emigrated to Canada as young man but still remembered her cold kisses in 1845. Towards the end of the 19th century, a vault was found. One brave man went down the long dark passageway and then down a twisting staircase. Something blew his candle out and he returned. Though he tried again, he never found the treasure.

Car park and ruins, Blenkinsopp Castle (Karl and Ali) / CC BY-SA 2.0

White-lass-beck, Thirsk, North Riding of Yorkshire
Here the stream was haunted by a young woman dressed in white who sometimes might change shape into a white dog. Some unfeeling workmen dug gravel out of the stream and found a skeleton of a girl supposed to have been murdered and the source of the haunting.

Highlow Hall, Derbyshire
This once grand 14th century manor house became a farmstead in Victorian times. A White Lady was seen drifting across the courtyard and then heard rustling her silk dress up the oak staircase. One farmworker touched his cap at her and tried to speak but she seemed not to see him. Another time, she was seen gazing down sadly at her reflection in a cattle trough at two in the morning.
The worst was the sound of thumps down the stairs - the sound of a murdered woman's body being dragged to an unknown grave.

Highlow Hall, Derbyshire (Neil Theasby) / CC BY-SA 2.0

Which is worse -  seeing a ghost or just hearing it?

No comments:

Post a Comment