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
Sadly, the contest is over and the winners chosen (the necklace won by Coleen, the Scarf by someone known as Jo’s Daughter, and the ring was won by Heather). Congratulations to all the winners! The contest centered around the 1995 BBC version of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (the one with Colin Firth as Darcy). The singer-songwriter Jasmine Kyle (a devoted Janeite) wrote a song inspired by the movie and wanted to share it…ie give it away to other Janeites. It’s too late to enter, but you can still…Download a free copy of Jasmine Kyle’s song “Dear Jane”.
Three lucky people won (along with an autographed album) one of these…(one prize per person)…
The replica Jane Austen ring! Sadly it won't come with the box (or with magic powers that will zap you back in time). You will have to imagine up that adventure...I see a sensible Regency hero agonising in the jewelry shop wondering what to buy his sweetheart. Oh, what to get that says I think you're wonderful without even the slightest suggestion that the lady might do anything improper...at least not in public...and certainly not until after his proposal...
General, Ghost stories, Regency Notes
The real Adderbury House in Adderbury Oxfordshire!
Dear members of Regency Romance Novels.com
I’ve finished Dancing the Maypole and it’s on my website ready to read (all fifty-one chapters). For those of you who prefer e-books Smashwords has approved it. For those who might not have noticed, the Goblin has redesigned my website. It now shrinks down to fit all hand held devices that connect to the internet. I hope you enjoy long stories. Dancing the Maypole is twice the length of my other novels. On the Goblin’s iphone it came out as over 1500 pages (but those are tiny pages). In a paperback the book would be about five hundred pages. I would have liked it to be shorter, but the story had other ideas.
Dancing the Maypole follows on from The Hired Wife. A year older, the five Smirke brothers have decided it’s time to help their father find a wife. Knowing Peter Smirke will be attending a house party they put an ad in all the papers. They assume they’ll have at least a week and a half to interview applicants before their father returns to give them his spine chilling glare.
When I started the story, I knew by the end of chapter two that the title would be Dancing the Maypole. Dancing around a maypole is an old European custom that stretches back into pre-history. Originally Pagan, it was a celebration of May day. The dance is performed around a pole or a tree cut down and trimmed for the occasion. In recent times multi coloured ribbons were attached to the top of the pole and each dancer would hold one ribbon. The dancers then dance…half going one way, the other half going the other…and the ribbons entwine around the pole.
The heroine, Isabel de Bourbon, is a tall woman so she is what some unkindly term, a maypole, but half way through the story I realised that the maypole being danced was something bigger. The story is a romance novel, but it’s also about the weaving of the generations. We often think that our choices alone define us, but really it’s a combination of our choices and the choices of our parents/ancestors (both genetic and adopted). Our great to the tenth grandparents made decisions that genetically and emotionally affect us today. All these layers of stories woven together make up our story. I find that utterly fascinating.
Even if you’re not a member, the first ten chapters are free to read here.
Dancing the Maypole, Feeling Creative, General, Ghost stories, I've been thinking
If you’re in the mood for some Ghostly stories, need a laugh, or you love the weird and bizarre. You will love this program (on Youtube) made in the late fifties/early sixties called ‘Stately Ghosts of England’. It’s about an hour in five parts. The main personality is Margaret Rutherford (as herself) and these two other men. The whole program was scripted though all the people filmed try to act like it wasn’t which is what makes it hilarious. (At one point the Clairvoyant man says dramatically – “You don’t have two ghosts. You have three!” And then Margaret Rutherford says with a straight face, “Three! Three! Three!”). They visit real stately homes and talk to the real owners who talk about their family ghosts. In the last part the Lady of the manor is mechanically doing flowers as she talks about her ghostly experiences. Look for her husband (Lord) standing off to the left with folded arms leaning against the wall. You can’t buy that Lordly stance and superior expression! You can only inherit it from a family tree full of self-important individuals with generations of slender fingers in powerful pies. That stance sums up for me the traditional English Aristocracy which is struggling to survive in the modern world where successive governments demand crippling death taxes on their estates. I personally think it would be sad to see the breed die out, not that they’d give a dead daisy what I think.
This is brilliant television. The cameramen who shot it were artists. They did a beautiful job sculpting the light.
Ghost stories, History Notes
This last week I needed a treat so I ordered “Ghosthunter A Journey Through Haunted France” by Simon Marsden. For some reason I thought it was going to be a real ghost story book with photos, but it turned out to be more a photo-journal of purportedly haunted places with a few notes of ghostly happenings and or the author’s feelings as he walked around taking photos. If I’d understood what I was buying I’d still have bought the book (and loved it), I just wouldn’t have felt disappointed that I wasn’t getting a proper “story” for each site. That is my only negative comment. If you love France, black and white atmospheric photos of ruins and the macabre, notes of ghostly happenings, grisly histories and a list of magical looking locations you’ll have to visit to see for yourself if they are haunted…I highly recommend this book!
Marsden visits quite a few ruins that were once important French Castles/fortified dwellings. Unsurprisingly, most of these places in the distant past were often owned by power-crazed psychos who caused mayhem and misery. One of my favorite site is entitled “Eternal Damnation” at the Château de Orthez (in the Pyrenees). All that remains of this chateau is the Moncade Tower and a few ramparts. Read more…
Book Reviews, Ghost stories, History Notes
I don’t know if it’s a Vitamin deficiency, a lack of decent sleep or a morbid fascination for the weird and bizarre, but out of the blue I can be struck by an insane craving for real ghost stories. The craving demands stories I’ve never heard before; preferably weird ones that make me shiver and feel glad to live in my boring unhaunted house. (How do I know it’s unhaunted? That! is another story.) This last year I had the ghost story craving hit hard and I ended up having to buy (and borrow from the library) quite a few books before it was satiated. In my quest for stories I accidentally discovered ghost story treasure. The title, ‘The Night Side of Nature’ doesn’t sound like treasure. It makes one think of worms gasping for air on drenched sidewalks glistening in the moonlight. Treasure comes in all shapes and sizes! The author, Catherine Crowe, was not only a woman, she was the first person to attempt to scientific study (and then publish a book) on ghostly phenomenon. There had been earlier books on ghosts, but as she notes they were all written by men who’d already made up their mind that there was no such thing as ghosts. She felt such a well documented phenomenon found in every culture and every age deserved closer inspection.
Born in 1800, Crowe was an educated English woman fluent in German and German philosophy. A very logical person, she had an open curious mind. Published in 1848, this book is much more than a collection of 18th and 19th century ghost stories. Because Crowe is retelling stories that have been recounted as taking place in ordinary life the reader gets a detailed glimpse into the past one rarely finds in biographies or personal letters. As a social history this book is solid gold. As story-fodder (stuff that feeds the story factory in any writer’s brain) it is platinum. As a collection of ghost stories it is an Aladdin’s Cave! I loved this book and highly recommend it. The author’s introduction and the first chapter or two are rather thick going, but once she starts sharing ghost stories I found it hard to put down. I highly recommend it. I can’t believe I’d never come across it before I bought it though maybe I wasn’t ready for it… To give you a sample of what I mean I have to share my favorite ghost story from the book…
From page 232 using Crowe’s spelling and punctuation: Read more…
Book Reviews, Ghost stories, History Notes, Regency Notes