The Metheringham Lass

When you think about classic urban legends, you tend to think of America. There’s a lot of stories involving a young couple crashing their vehicle on the way to the prom. Usually it’s the girl who continues to haunt the particular stretch of road that they died on. Rarely it’s the boy or both the boy and girl. The most famous urban legend that is based on a story like this is ‘Resurrection Mary’

As you probably know already, I’m from Lincolnshire and I like to write about the ghosts of this county which could well be one of the most haunted counties in England. It is for this reason that this article will focus on one particular haunting that has some resemblance to a classic American urban legend.

Royal Air Force Metheringham is situated between the villages of Metheringham and Martin and is 12.1 mi (19.5 km) south east of Lincoln, Lincolnshire. It was opened in 1943 and operated as a bomber airfield during the second world war before being decommissioned in the spring of 1946. It is believed that during the years of its operation, a flight sergeant was driving himself and his girlfriend back from a dance on his motorcycle when he accidentally swerved and crashed near to the location of the RAF base, killing the couple instantly.

The only reason anyone dug up the news article about this tragic motorcycle accident was because many people driving in the area between 9:30pm and 10pm had witnessed something quite unnerving. A young beautiful woman dressed in a pale green coat with a grey chiffon scarf will flag them down and ask for help in locating her boyfriend. A strong smell of lavender then fills the car and as the driver steps out to assist, the smell of lavender is replaced by the smell of rotting flesh and it’s at this point that the driver will notice that the mysterious woman has vanished.

It isn’t just motorists who have seen this tragic apparition. Many cyclists and even pedestrians have seen her. Sometimes it’s a fleeting glimpse, other times she will step out into the road and then vanish. Sometimes she will plead with someone to help her injured boyfriend and some have been so close to her that they have noticed she has a RAF insignia on her green coat/jacket.

The article claims that the young woman’s name was Catherine Bystock and that she was a member of the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force. When her boyfriend crashed the motorcycle they were on, Catherine was only 19 years old.

Photograph from RAF Metheringham Visitor’s centre (This photograph does not feature Catherine, it is to show what she would have looked like and worn)

The Ruskington Horror

In Lincolnshire there is a stretch of road that may well be one of the most haunted roads in England. The A15 between Ruskington and Sleaford has left many unsuspecting drivers quaking in their boots.

There have been numerous sightings of a ghost cyclist as well as well as a little girl in a pink dress and a phantom horse. If you imagine seeing any of these things as you drive down a country road in the middle of the night, it will certainly make you fearful however these sightings are nothing when compared with the ‘Ruskington Horror’

The A15 road

Police in the area say it’s a fairly regular occurrence to receive phone calls from terrified drivers, but what is it that’s terrifying them? apart from the sightings mentioned, there is one apparition that carries with it a sense of true fear. It is said to resemble a white shape that slowly turns into an olive skinned man. This may not sound too scary, but his actions are quite different from the actions of the more stationary roadside ghosts.

One man was very shook up after seeing a white shape in the distance at the side of the road. As his car approached the figure, he realised it was a man with his left arm up
‘Did he maybe want a lift?’ the man thought. As he got a little closer he realised that there was something off about this man, he decided not to pull over, however his decision not to invite this man into the car was actually quite pointless because this ghost was going to take a ride with him whether he liked it or not.

A few seconds after seeing the man, he noticed something in his peripheral vision, so he turned his head to the right. What he saw will stay with him for the rest of his life. There peeping around the front pillar of his car’s windscreen on the driver’s side was a face. It was the face of the man he had driven past. He continued driving with this apparition attached to his car for a total of 30 seconds before it faded away. Police were impressed that this man was able to drive so calmly with such a terrifying spectre only inches away from his own face.

This man would not be the only witness to this ghostly face. Many drivers have seen the white shape that slowly turns into a man, and plenty more say that his face has followed them before fading away or turning in to mist.

You may wonder where this ghost came from, does he have a back story? who was this man when he was alive? well no one knows for sure but many believe that he may have been a plague victim since his face is described as being ‘pitted’ and ‘ill looking’.

Photo by cottonbro

To add to this theory, a plague pit was unearthed in a field right next to the spot where the Ruskington Horror is always seen. When it comes to American ghost stories, there is often an ‘Ancient Indian Burial Ground’ involved, in Britain there’s always a ‘Plague pit’

Not too far away there is also a church which was built and used by the Knights Templar. Did they maybe perform some kind of ceremony on the land that trapped wandering spirits? I guess we’ll never know but one thing is for sure, I’m never going to drive down that stretch of road alone at night.

Google Maps Ghosts

It’s quite common these days for people to spot weird things on Google maps street view. People have seen everything from aliens to the Loch Ness monster. The problem I have with a lot of these sightings is that there’s no context. What looks like a scary clown stalking the countryside could have been a a dad dressed as clown on his way to his son’s birthday party for all we know.

The Stuart Hotel as it appeared on Google street view (February 2016)

One of the more famous ghost pictures found on Google Maps is that of the Stuart Hotel in Liverpool. I shouldn’t say ‘ghost’ really since it looks more like a demonic elf or something. The most logical explanation is that it’s a Halloween mask or costume that has been put in the window.. possibly on purpose so that others would see it and think it’s real. Maybe the owners knew that the Google earth van was coming to town that day and they thought it’d be funny to put a cardboard cut-out of a gremlin in the window or something. The reason I am so sceptical is because I’ve actually done something similar myself.

It’s a little blurry but above is a picture of my old flat as it appears on Google Street View. It was probably around 2015, we had recently played a gig and had been paid with Star Wars memorabilia (unusual I know) one of the things we got was a life size cardboard cut-out of Han Solo. After his legs accidentally fell off due to being moved from room to room a lot, I decided to put his top half on our front window sill for the sake of being weird for no particular reason. It was of course fantastic that the google street view van turned up a few days later and managed to capture Han in the window.

It’s not so unusual for people to try and draw attention to themselves or their houses, just look at the mad stuff people cover their houses with on Halloween and Christmas. I think a lot of what we see as ghosts or monsters on Google Street view is nothing more than people pranking the world by doing something weird for the cameras.

Another explanation might just be good old pareidolia! we do tend to see faces and patterns in things, it just seems to be the way our brains are wired. It explains why a burnt piece of toast might look like it has the face of Jesus on it or why light reflecting off a window might look like a vampire looking in at you. It’s our overactive imaginations and our tendency to turn every unknown shape into something familiar.

Yesterday I drove past an old building near me that has always looked pretty cool to me, I think it’s because it’s red/pink and it has old fashioned windows which are in a way Georgian styled. We used to drive past it to go to band practice. When I got home last night I decided to check it out on Google Street view to see if it had any ghosts in the windows. I know it seems silly but it just looked like it might be haunted. This is what I found..

I don’t know what that thing is in the top window, but it looks ghoulish to me. I don’t know if you’ll be able to see what I’m seeing, but it kinda looks like a monster with a pointed head and pointy ears with a hand that has very long fingers or fingernails. It’s face is partly hidden by a window muntin (yes, muntin is a new word to me too)

It is most likely a reflection of something, maybe the clouds. It could be something covered with a sheet in that room or anything else that is quite innocent. It just shows you how easy it is for some people to see shapes, figures and faces in windows on Google street view, especially if they’re looking for something weird.

I’m not doubting the existence of ghosts and I’m not saying that all Google Street View ghosts can be easily explained as something quite normal or innocent but it seems that most of them can probably be explained as such. There will always be the real ghosts that may in fact go undiscovered. Let me know if you find one!

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Unexplained scratches

If you like watching documentaries about ghosts like I do then you’ve probably noticed that if someone is being haunted by an evil spirit or a demon, they tend to find scratch marks on them.

The person often wakes up to find scratches on them. It is less common for them to appear during the day but this still happens. Maybe this has happened to you or you know someone who says this has happened to them.

If you don’t know anyone who has experienced this, then let me tell you that it has happened to me.

You may be expecting me to tell you an exciting tale about an evil demon who tried to steal my soul or something along those lines but instead my story doesn’t involve a malevolent demon or a revenge seeking spirit. It simply involves an unexplained phenomenon.

It all started a few years ago. It was a regular Sunday afternoon and I was sat in my bedroom reading a book when all of a sudden I felt a horrible burning pain on my upper left arm. I quickly pulled up my sleeve and was astonished to find three long scratch marks.

My boyfriend was in the room with me and I showed him the scratches straight away. His instant response was to tell me I must have scratched myself in my sleep and that I’d only just noticed. As great as this explanation sounds, I knew that wasn’t the case. The scratches were new, I could tell. They were raised and bleeding very slightly. I’d been awake for 7 hours so any scratches I may have inflicted on myself in my sleep would have surely begun to scab up by that point.

After dismissing his explanation, my boyfriend then suggested that I’d just scratched myself without realising. This too seemed implausible since I was wearing a thick jumper so it would have been difficult to scratch myself that deeply, plus I’ve never scratched myself that hard and not realised as I did it.

A few days later, the same thing happened again, only this time I had scratches on my other arm. It started the same way with a burning sensation. I started doing some research online and all I could find was articles to do with demon possession and haunted houses.

I didn’t jump straight to the conclusion that a demon was after me because I just didn’t feel like that was the case. The house didn’t feel haunted, there were no other signs that my house was being invaded by unearthly beings. I didn’t feel frightened or threatened. The only odd things happening to me was the scratches.

A few days later it happened for a third and final time. These scratches where the most painful and appeared on my back. Again it was three long scratches and it started with a burning sensation.

Since this happened to me, I can’t watch documentaries about demons and ghosts in the same way. Whenever someone claims to have been scratched by a demon, I think ‘Yeah yeah it happens’ I can’t take that sort of stuff seriously because I know it can just happen without explanation.

You could say that it’s different when scratches appear on someone who is also experiencing other signs of a haunting, but what if all signs of a haunting are just a bunch of things that sometimes happen with no explanation. The laws of probability say that unexplained scratches would happen in conjunction with other signs of a haunting to some people. Other signs could be things like unexplained footsteps and a feeling of being watched.

It feels like I’m doomed to go back on fourth with my opinions about the supernatural. Sometimes I’m provided with evidence for ghosts, other times I am confronted with facts that say otherwise and then there are times like this, where weird stuff happens and I don’t know why.

A Haunted House in Grimsby

If you’re interested in the paranormal then you’ve probably heard about the Enfield poltergeist. I’ve often wondered why that particular haunting managed to garner worldwide attention when other stories are lost and forgotten.

For those who haven’t heard about it, the Enfield poltergeist refers to the haunting of a council house on Green Street, Brimsdown. Starting in 1977, the family that lived there claimed they had started to hear unexplained knocking sounds aswell as objects and furniture moving on their own. The ghost took an interest in the youngest daughter Janet. She would often begin talking like an elderly man whom they called Bill. Many believed that Janet was channeling the spirit that was responsible for the strange activity.

Janet supposedly levitating.

The Enfield poltergeist drew the attention of many paranormal investigators including Ed and Lorraine Warren. Some of these investigators believed the haunting was genuine whilst others were adamant that the 11 year old Janet was responsible for a lot of the activity. Many other people including a magician believed the voice that Janet spoke with when channeling ‘Bill’ was put on.

At the same time in 1977 there was a lesser known case of a haunting in Grimsby. This case also took place in a council house and affected an innocent family.

The house was situated on Caistor street on the Nunsthorpe estate in Grimsby. As with the Enfield haunting, the female members of the family were mainly affected.

The Routledge family pose outside of their haunted home. Doreen Routledge, left, daughters Vicky, 8, Pauline, 4, Tina, 13, Carol, 12, and family friend Julie Intress, 12.

The haunting started out rather mildly with clothing that had been folded then appearing crumpled on the floor moments later. Clothes that had been taken out of the wardrobe would suddenly appear back in the wardrobe. At first, this entity certainly had an interest in clothes, but the supernatural occurances later intensified.

Some members of the family said they had felt icy cold hands on them like the entity was touching them, this sensation was often accompanied by a foul smell. Objects starting being moved about. A watch belonging to Tina disappeared and was missing for months before reappearing on the stairs. Things like eggs would levitate in the air and objects were violently thrown.

The occurrences intensified again and the family started being physically pushed and hit by an unseen force. A teddy bear belonging to daughter Vicky levitated and days later was found in a different room with a tear in it and it’s stuffing strewn about the room.

It got to the point where the entity was no longer invisible, eventually every family member had seen it at one time or another. Daughter Carol described it as black with spikes round its head and red eyes. It got too much for the family and it was at this time that the family knew they needed help.

After telling their story to the minister of Calvary Church in Grimsby, the Reverend Fred Gros Smith was instructed to conduct an exorcism at the property.

The Reverend reported that he felt very uneasy in the house and began struggling to breathe, this was accompanied by heart palpitations. He knew almost straight away that the entity in the house was truly evil.

The exorcism was a success and the family continued to live in the property for years afterwards. Doreen said that the house felt like a completely different house after the exorcism and she could finally call it home.

You may wonder why I compared these two cases. For me they’re similar, not only because both cases started in 1977 but because they didn’t take place in an old gothic mansion or an old crooked house. Both cases happened in ordinary bog standard council houses. Young girls were present and the activity was often similar.

Even though there are some similarities with the case of the Enfield poltergeist and the Grimsby haunting, it is my opinion that the Routledge family were more genuine and honest. They had nothing to gain and did not want major publicity. All family members saw the entity and so the supernatural events could not be blamed on one of the daughters. In the Enfield case, the entity was never seen and Janet was caught on tape planning tricks to use to scare paranormal investigators and reporters.

The most famous paranormal cases like the Amityville horror, Enfield poltergeist, the Bell witch etc are often a little bit too incredible to be believed. They are often exaggerated to sell newspapers or books or film rights. It’s the lesser known stories that are truly interesting. The truth is out there, but you’ve gotta do a lot of searching to find it.

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