Lolcal folklorist SEAN McNEANEY starts a tour of Lincolnshire’s haunted roads, including the weird Green Man Pit ghost.
Two friends of mine recently told me of their encounter on the road with what they could only describe as a “ghost”. It happened on a clear frosty night in February 2003, when the couple were driving along the A1086 road to the village of Grasby to collect their daughter from her grandparents’ house.
As they approached a turning leading to the village of Ownby a figure with its head bowed and ‘wearing a kind of tweed-patterned overcoat with the hood up’ stepped from the verge straight out in front of them. There was a screech of brakes and they could only watch helplessly as an imminent collision between car and hapless jay-walker seemed inevitable. The impact never came however, because the figure simply vanished into thin air.
They stopped the car and got out to look but the road was empty and deserted. The couple have since found out that years earlier the body of a murder victim was found close to the spot where the apparition appeared.
My friends’ unnerving encounter has prompted me to recount the following purportedly true stories of paranormal happenings on some of Lincolnshire’s highways and byways, starting with a haunting that took place in the 1950s on the A16.
Near the hamlet of Walmsgate, motorists travelling this stretch of road reported seeing a green glowing mist come out of an old sandstone pit, which then drifted across the road and disappeared onto fields on the other side. The place became known as ‘Green Man Pit’ because the mist, according to some, was said to take the shape of a man.
One night a driver travelling towards Walmsgate stopped his car when he saw a glowing green figure emerge from a copse and onto the road in front of him. The figure dashed towards the car and the terrified driver could only watch in disbelief as the apparition ran straight passed him and disappeared into the night. It is interesting to note that a Neolithic long barrow, the biggest in the county and said to be the grave of a dragon slain by a local knight in the 12th century, is situated just north of the road here (see picture). Such ancient sites have long been associated with paranormal activity.
A more recent encounter with a phantom of the road occurred in June 2006, when two holiday makers from Leicester reported seeing an old man ‘wearing a jacket, trousers and a cloth cap that looked to be from the turn of the century’ riding an equally old- fashioned looking bicycle along the middle of the Louth bypass. The sighting occurred in the afternoon between London Road and the A157 roundabout. They said the man was only a short distance in front of them but when they drove closer both cycle and cyclist vanished into thin air.
[Sean will continue his review of the haunted roads of Lincolnshire in a subsequent article.]