Ghost and Hauntings


21/11/08

Don't go into the woods

Filed under: Ghost Stories — loretta @ 06:37:12 pm

My father told us many stories when we were young about his life before he came to Britain. He grew up in a little village just outside of Belgrade in Serbia in the earliest part of the 20th century. My favourite stories were the ones that were scary and dangerous involving wolves and bears, and much worse.

When I wrote about the inspiration behind the cards, I hinted at one of these tales. I must have made it sound very intriguing, as I have been asked to reveal more. It’s certainly different from your average spooky story and I have entertained friends with it for many years. I haven’t met a person yet who didn’t experience a shiver down their spine when they heard it – I hope it gives you a shudder too.

My father attended college in Belgrade and it was during a journey home from there that he had a strange encounter. One cold winter evening when the snow was many feet thick on the ground, he was late leaving the college and had to run for the bus home. As he got out of the campus he could see the last bus driving off down the road. There was nothing for it but to walk the several miles to his village. However, it was dark and if he walked along the road it would take forever. There was one other option; it was a much shorter journey if he went through the forest. This was not something he did lightly. It was still a long way, and he could easily get lost if he didn’t stay on the path. There was deep snow and it was dark, which would make it even harder. He was a little nervous too: his Uncle had once gone to Belgrade to sell his geese and had wandered back through the forest late that night. During his passage home he had come across something in there that frightened him and he would never go into the forest again. He warned the family not to go into the woods. - but most of them joked that he must have been drunk and took no notice of the story.

Spooky woods My father didn’t want to be walking all night so he made up his mind and set off into the forest, he just had to stay vigilant and not lose his way. The snow on the ground made a soft “crump” noise under his feet and its whiteness reflected whatever light there was so he could see his way. He was quite alone, or so he thought. The appearance of a black cat surprised him. It crossed in front and gave him a stare before disappearing into the trees; something about it unnerved him, it was a bad omen but he was being superstitious.

A short while later he noticed something else was with him. In among the trees he could see a lamb or sheep. He wondered how it could have found its way this far into the forest; it wouldn’t last long in the snow. He thought he would try to catch the sheep and take it home to the farm. He walked quietly up to the animal but when he got close it ran away. He chased after it but it could run faster over the snow than he could. It skipped off into the trees and he thought to give up but then it reappeared, and so he tried again. He persevered but it was always just out of his grasp. Eventually he grew tired; it didn’t want to be caught and it was very late, time he was on his way. But where was the path? Whilst he was pursuing the sheep they had gone deeper and deeper into the forest together and now he started to worry.
Trees are alive

He turned and tried to follow in the general direction of the tracks he had made but they went in all directions. As he jogged back over the snow he hoped that the path would be this way. Moving through the trees, he was startled to see the same sheep again, appearing some way ahead of him. He was sure he had left it far behind. He ran on past, there was no point trying again. He trekked some distance through the wood but whenever he looked round the sheep was somewhere in view. It was strange but the sheep looked more like a goat now - could he really have been mistaken before? He zigzagged between the trees. This was no ordinary animal, it seemed to have deliberately led him deep into the heart of the forest and no matter how far he ran it always seemed to stay with him. He was starting to feel very frightened.

Eventually he was relieved to see the clearing for the path in front of him. He looked behind to where the animal stood a little way off through the trees: it was clearly a goat. Then it did something very frightening. The goat stood up – ‘like a man’ but most of it was still very much goat. And then… it beckoned to him. My father insisted that the very hairs on his head stood on end.

He didn’t wait to see what would happen next and took to his heels as fast as he could without daring to look back. He ran through the forest until eventually he arrived out of the trees and at his home. He was hysterical with fright, so much so that the family member who waited up could get no sense out of him and had to throw a bucket of water over my father.

Whenever my mother told us ghost stories around a fire, my father would say mockingly: you think these “ghosts” are scary. I will tell you something really frightening…

Ghosts of Nunhead

Filed under: Ghost Stories — loretta @ 06:23:56 pm

I noticed that some visitors to my site were searching for information on hauntings in Nunhead Cemetery. I don’t know of any publicly recorded cases although I am sure the Friends of Nunhead Cemetery may be able to provide you with more information on that. I had a brief search of the web myself and I came across a ‘Vampire incident’, this was reported at a similar time to the Highgate Cemetery Vampire story in North London in the 1970’s although one suspects a more human hand behind the desecration of graves. Indeed I have been told that the cemetery was rather notorius in the 1970’s with disinternments, vandalism and ‘midnight rituals’ taking place. It was supposed to have been the location for some filming by Hammer Horror productions - although I haven’t found any information on that.

Since then it has become a more pleasant location and a nature reserve in the middle of London’s inner city. The Friends of Nunhead Cemetery and Southwark Council have worked to clean up and restore much of the monuments and environs. Personally, they may have slightly overstepped the mark as I quite enjoyed some of the more ruinous views of the Victorian funerary monuments - although enough still remain for now.

I have never felt ill at ease there - except perhaps at dusk. My family and I have been frequent visitors and often take photographs. On a couple of occasions there appear to be strange things in the images. The clearest and most convincing photograph is included here for you to view. This was taken in the South West area and shows a figure in the background, at the edge of the trees. The photographer insisted that there was no one else present at the time she took the images - certainly visitors to the graves are not that common away from the path and they do tend to be noticed. The figure appears to have something or someone at their shoulder or is holding something in their arms. Have a look and make your own mind up.

Figure in the photo

A close up shot:
Close up

The ‘figure’ appears in more than one image but the resolution of the photograph is not very good so at first we wondered if we were actually looking at a tree or headstone which by a trick of the light was made to look like a person. However, other photographs taken on different occasions show that there is nothing normally located at that point.

Now you see me, now you don't

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