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.