What better subject for All Hallow’s Eve than a real Regency murder/ghost story? The following comes from a book titled ‘Haunted Inns’ by Marc Alexander (haunted English inns – published in 1973).
The Voyeur and The Sun.
If you have visited Holland and enjoyed the small canal-side villages, you will recognise something of the same atmosphere at Saxilby in Lincolnshire. The village, which is only about four miles from Lincoln, runs parallel with the Fossdyke, along whose banks in summertime are moored lines of pleasure cruisers. Opposite the canal stands The Sun, an inn which was the subject of a most extraordinary haunting at the beginning of the last century.
On 3rd of November 1805, a certain Thomas Otter got married, evidently much against his will. On the same day a casual labourer by the name of John Dunkerly, after enjoying some drinks with his friends in The Sun bar, decided at six o’clock to return to his own village, Doddington, which was about five miles away. As he neared Drisney Nook on the way to Doddington, he met three friends who said as they passed: “You’ll have company, John,” and told him Tom Otter and hi new wife were walking down the lane. They laughed, knowing that Dunkerly had the reputation for being a peeping Tom.
By now darkness had fallen and the labourer, whose reputation was well deserved, decided to shadow the newly-married couple in the hope of being able to spy upon some amorous activity. Creeping up behind them, he heard Tom Otter say to his wife: “Sit down, you can rest here.” Read more…
Ghost stories, History Notes, Regency Notes
Cari’s addendum: A big thanks to all of you who listened to my brother’s song! The contest closed Nov. 9th. He started the contest a month in, but still manged to get 2189 points which I think was brilliant. Who knows what may or may not happen next, but he got lots of lovely feed back so I’m hoping it inspires him to keep writing music and playing his guitar. If you’re curious to hear him there’s a link below. 🙂
My little brother Jason has entered a singer/songwriter contest on line (with a seriously great prize – which I of course think he deserves – though I am admittedly biased). The first round is judged solely by how many different people listen to the whole song. He only discovered the contest a month in so he’s got a lot of catching up to do. Have a listen and tell me if you think I’m crazy! This is Jason with his guitar (he’s self taught) playing and singing his own songs. I rocked him as a baby for countless hours playing (and singing) Elton John songs hoping it would influence his taste in music, but it didn’t work!
Jane Austen wasn’t a woman who lived life wrapped in tissue paper. Sex, scandals, thoughtless abusive parents; these things weren’t just subjects of salacious prints, they were realities.
Frances Wilson (the author of a biography on Regency courtesan, Harriet Wilson) revealed in her book (The Courtesan’s Revenge) that Jane actually mentioned the very young Harriet in a letter (though not by name) because Harriet’s (first admitted) named lover was connected to the Austen family circle. How many of us think of Jane as someone who’d pass on gossip about a mutual acquaintance stabling his young mistress at his country pile? Knowing this about Jane, it’s easy to see how she could write her short story, “Lady Susan”.
Lady Susan, the main character, is a despicable selfish woman. We’ve all met people like her (or found ourselves cursed to endure them for the sake of family or friends) lying sociopaths who use good looks and charm to ensnare anyone they might find useful (or to their benefit). Lady Susan, a beautiful young widow of 35, is forced by straightened means (and her failed scheming) to retreat to her brother-in-law’s home where she causes more unhappiness. After the first few letters I was glued to my computer screen. It’s a brilliant short story and one you can read on line or download for free HERE (thanks to Project Gutenberg). I highly recommend it!