Guest writer DENISE FORBES relates a personal experience of seeing an apparition in the village of Bishop’s Cleeve, near Cheltenham.
On either the Monday or Tuesday just after the Christmas holidays, my sister and I made the 15-minute walk from our parents’ house in Bishop’s Cleeve, near Cheltenham, to go for a drink at one of the local pubs, The Royal Oak. We stayed there for about two-and-a-half or three hours during which time I drank only orange juice and my sister had three halves of cider. We left just as the pub was closing at 10.30.
As we turned into School Road we could hear people calling ‘goodnight’ to each other and wishing each other a happy new year. As usual, these late-night sounds echoed a bit and could be heard for a fair distance. We could also hear the hum of traffic on the main road about half-a-mile away. As we drew level with the lych-gate into the churchyard things were very tranquil. It was a cloudy night with the moon almost at the full and a strong wind blowing the clouds along. I walked for about 20 yards with my head tipped back, enjoying the illusion of the moon sailing between the clouds.
After a few seconds of chattering away with no response, I lowered my head to look ahead and saw a man crossing the road. ‘What the hell is that?!’ I asked and my sister replied, ‘I don’t know but I don’t effing like it!’, at which point I started to run down the road to get a closer look (with my sister hanging on to my arm very tightly).
When I had looked down the road I had seen a tall man, broad in the shoulders, in a long, pale-coloured robe, with the hood up. His head and shoulders were slightly thrust forward, as if he were in haste but not enough to break into a run. He didn’t glide, he strode and seemingly with purpose.
He crossed the road from the entrance to a small lane (appropriately called Priory Lane) heading towards the Old Priory, which is situated beside the church. However, to get to the Priory, he had to walk through a pair of tall wrought-iron gates then a tall stone wall which bounds the garden of a house built next door to the Priory about 100 years ago. By the time that I got level with the old cottage at the main gate to the church, he strode through the (closed) wrought iron gates. There was no sign of him when I got to the gates.
The odd things about this occurrence were that:
a) from the first moment we set foot into School Road and until we reached the end of it, there was absolutely no sound around us at all. It was like being the first person out after a heavy snowfall, a ‘muffled’ silence.
b) the very second I saw the man / monk, I knew that I was seeing a ghost. I didn’t feel spooked or anything, I just knew instantly that what I was looking at was a ghost. If anything, I was excited enough to run down the road after him.
One of the articles on Uncanny UK mentions independent witnesses being good confirmation of hauntings. A few months ago I was talking to a neighbour whose daughter had seen the monk one summer evening at the beginning of the lane that we had seen him leaving. We swapped notes and she had seen the same as we had and also noted that he was ‘striding along in a bit of a hurry’.
We are indebted to Denise for letting us know about a new addition to the already fascinating roster of Gloucestershire ghosts. We are always interested in hearing of personal encounters with ghosts in the British Isles. Please send your account to email@example.com