Introduction & Overview
1. ‘Coach driver’s ghostly collision’, by Sally Yonish, Kentish Express (a Kent Messenger group newspaper), 13 January 2000, p.3.
2. Both witnesses were/are coach drivers, one year different in age at the time of their encounter (Sharpe, 54; Scales, 53), and each with over thirty years’ driving experience (Sharpe, 33; Scales, 32). Sharpe: "When I walked into the station my face was white and I was shaking like a leaf." (Kent Today, 10 November 1992); Scales: "I was shaking like a leaf." (Sally Yonish, it should be noted was completely unaware of Blue Bell Hill’s repute and its coverage by the Kent Messenger and Kent Today, and was surprised by the close comparison her report bore to Ian Sharpe’s account. Considering the description of the girl (allowing for her estimated age) and the setting itself: Blue Bell Hill, White Hill - both lying on the same chalk ridge (and horizon) of the North Downs of Kent allows for some speculation that we may be dealing with the same figure? (Indeed, the possibility exists that the same archetypal figure is involved wherever and whenever ‘she’ appears).
3. 'Ghost Girl Seen Again', by Emma Cooper, Kent Today (a Kent Messenger group newspaper), 10 November 1992, fp.
4. Emma Cooper subsequently provided a description (very probably taken from the TVS (Television South) broadcast of 11 November) in her article for the Kent Messenger of 13 November 1992 ('Terror as ghost girl reappears', p.3). Included is a detail not produced elsewhere - that the girl had been wearing a white coat.
5. ''Ghost looked me in the face'' says teenage driver', by Helen Sissons, Kent Today, 24 November 1992, p.2. (The follow-up versions appearing in Kent Today (23 Nov.) and Kent Messenger (27 Nov.).
6. Arthur C. Clarke's World of Strange Powers (Yorkshire Television - 'Ghosts, Apparitions and Haunted houses').
7. ‘The Scariest Stories on Earth’, Daily Mirror, 4 September 1996.
8. 'Hit and Myth', Fortean Times 73 (February/March 1994), pp.27-31; 'Hell's Belles', Fortean Times 104, November 1997, pp.36-40; ‘Los fantasmas de Blue Bell Hill’, Enigmas 12 (Spain), December 2000, pp.8-13.
9. The Evidence for Phantom Hitch-Hikers (The Aquarian Press, 1984).
10. Originally published in Zürich in 1569. First English translation 1572, by Henry Benneyman (London) for Richard Watkyns. Source here: Lavater, The First Part (Oxford edition), p.96; extracted here from Goss, extracted from Goss, Michael, The Evidence for Phantom Hitch-Hikers (The Aquarian Press, 1984), p.128. See the full translation of Ludwig (or Lewes or Louis) Lavater’s work in the Oxford University Press edition, 1929 (Ed J Dover Wilson and Mary Yardley). Lavater was the Chief Pastor of the Calvinist Church of Zürich. It was his belief that ghosts were a genuine phenomenon. However, he denied that they were the spirits of the dead; but were, rather, the work of demons.
11. The Secret Commonwealth, by Robert Kirk, is available as a reprint from Element Books (Robert Kirk: Walker Between Worlds, by R.J. Stewart, 1996).
12. P.C. Jacob, Curiosites Infernales (Garnier, Paris, 1886).
13. A number of supernatural entities of Celtic, European, or world folklore find familiarity with Blue Bell Hill's ghost and the Phantom Hitch-hiker in general. For instance, in classical mythology, we find the nymphs - spirits of nature who were envisaged as young, beautiful women. The nymphs possessed the power of prophecy, and were generally kindly toward humans, though they could also be dangerous. Various classes of nymph have been distinguished: dryads and hamadryads (tree nymphs, who often accompanied Apollo, Hermes, Pan and the Satyrs (see point 31.)); naiads (nymphs of lakes, rivers, and springs); oreads (nymphs of mountains and hills); and the oceanids and nereids (nymphs of the ocean, and the mermaids, respectively). Maria Leach and Jerome Fried (eds.), in their Funk & Wagnalls Standard Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology, and Legend (HarperSanFranciso, 1984, p.806), note that the nymphs probably developed into the fairies of general European folklore (see also point 39, and below). On the darker side, there are variations in the character of the hag in the Cailleach Beará of Irish and Scottish folklore; and in the Cailleach Bheur, in some versions a loathly lady who transforms herself into a beautiful young woman as a reward to kind-hearted young men (a variation reflected in the Irish Feast of Tara, at which the Irish high king would unite with the goddess of sovereignty at a Hallowe'en ritual, tales surrounding which describe the goddess transforming from a hideous hag into a beautiful girl once the union had taken place). The Cailleach as goddess is, of course, in keeping with the idea that Blue Bell Hill, like many other sites distinguished by Neolithic artefacts, was a place held sacred by their builders. We can also note that the same may have been recognized by the Romans, as evidenced by the remains of a temple near its summit. It would be interesting to discover to whom of Rome’s pantheon of gods and goddesses the temple was dedicated. And then we have the bean nighe, also of Ireland and Scotland - the Washer of the Ford, an ugly hag that sometimes appeared in the guise of a beautiful young woman, and who, akin to the banshee (bean sidhe, the 'woman of the fairies' (or ‘woman of the hill’), similarly a hag or a young woman in guise), portended death by her appearance. In some descriptions of the banshee, we find an an old woman with glowing red eyes (from the constant weeping) set in hollow sockets, with long flowing white hair (compare to the blonde hair of Blue Bell Hill’s hag, as described by Diane Rayburn). In European lore, there are the Rusalka, water spirit of Slavic lore said to be the spirit of a dead female (in some parts, a bride who died on her wedding night) who, like the Sirens of Greek mythology, lure men their drowning by sweet song; the Vila, another hostile spirit of Slavic lore, the spirit of an unbaptised child or an earthbound virgin. The vila dances in circles, condemning any who disturb them to join them unto death; the Nocnitsa, a hag of Eastern European lore; the Berchta, an ugly old woman of German folklore, thought to have originally been a goddess (the German equivalent of the Cailleach); the nix, a German equivalent of the Rusalka; the acheri of Native American lore; the anhanga of the Brazilian Amazon, and so on. As a final aside, it is interesting to note that powers of prophecy are most commonly attributed to the darker (and by time-honoured interpretation, evil) characters of this lore, frequently old crones wizened by age, much like the Version B/D Phantom Hitch-Hiker in some examples.
14. A character also reflected in Phantom Hitch-Hiker lore, as a dark and prophesying old woman - the Version B type (of four), where the young woman comprises Versions A and C. See Richard K. Beardsley and Rosalie Hankey: 'The Vanishing Hitchhiker', California Folklore Quarterly, Vol.1 (October 1942), No.4, pp.303-335.
15. ‘Drivers Spooked by By-pass Ghost’, by Tommy Walls, Sunday Life, 29 March 1992.
16. An ‘explanatory’ anecdote, no doubt, of the kind we have come to expect.
17. See Man and his Symbols, edited by Carl Jung and M.L. von Franz (Picador, 1983). Jung recognized that the unconscious of the individual often presents itself symbolically in dreams as a figure. This figure, which Jung stressed was not an invention of the conscious mind, but a spontaneous product of the unconscious (in other words, an archetype) he termed anima or animus. Which is encountered depends on whether the dreamer is a man or a woman. For a man, the personification of his unconscious is in the form of a female figure (‘anima’). For a woman, the converse is true; her unconscious is reflected as a male figure (‘animus’). The anima/animus is seen as the embodiment of all the complementary psychological tendencies of the opposing gender found in a healthy, balanced psyche. It is, Jung observed, a ‘psychopomp’ - a mediator between the conscious and the unconscious.
In view of the above, it is surely significant that in both PHH lore and the encounter record the majority of encounters of any type involve (lone) male drivers and female ‘ghosts’ - the anima manifesting in the context of the conducive hypnotic state that is night-driving?
In its recognized ‘demonic’ form, the anima takes on the form of an ugly and malevolent witch, experienced by some as the night-mare of the ‘Old Hag’ experience.
The Phantom Hitch-Hiker
1. Otherwise known as Urban Myths, Whale Tumour Stories, or Friend-of-a-Friend stories.
2. 1. Michael Goss, The Evidence for Phantom Hitch-Hikers (The Aquarian Press, 1984), p.13.
3. Jan Harold Brunvand, The Vanishing Hitchhiker: American Urban Legends and their Meanings (W.W. Norton & Co., 1981); also (Picador (published by Pan Books), 1983).
4. Richard K. Beardsley and Rosalie Hankey: 'The Vanishing Hitchhiker', California Folklore Quarterly, Vol.1 (October 1942), No.4, pp.303-335.
The Ghost of Blue Bell Hill
* Real name withheld
1. 'Ghost Girl Seen Again', by Emma Cooper, Kent Today (a Kent Messenger group newspaper), 10 November 1992, fp.
2. Quoted from Ian Sharpe's testimony on 'Ghost?', a feature on TVS's regional news programme Coast to Coast, broadcast on 11 November 1992.
3. Sources disagree as to whether Maurice Goodenough covered his victim with (or wrapped her in) a tartan car rug (Nigel Nelson's articles for the Evening Post, 19 July 1974; Kent Messenger, 26 July 1974), or a car blanket (all other sources: The News of the World, 14 July 1974; Sunday Mirror, 14 July 1974; Sunday People, 14 July 1974; Evening Post, 15 July 1974; Chatham Standard, 16 July 1974; The Gazette, 16 July 1974; Chatham News, 19 July 1974; Kent Messenger, 19 July 1974; Kent Messenger, 30 August 1974).
* Nelson's articles actually use both terms to describe the coverlet.
4. Sources also disagree as to whether the Goodenough incident took place just before midnight (Chatham Standard, 16 July 1974; Chatham News, 19 July 1974; Evening Post, 19 July 1974; Kent Messenger, 26 July 1974) or soon after midnight (Evening Post, 15 July 1974; The Gazette, 16 July 1974; Kent Messenger, 19 July 1974). For the record, The News of the World, 14 July 1974 states 'at midnight'.
5. Quote from: ''Ghost' mystery of injured girl', Chatham Standard, 16 July 1974, back page; Chatham News ('Riddle of injured girl who 'disappeared'', 19 July 1974, p.20) - apparently sourced from the Chatham Standard - states also that the collision was 'with a hell of a bang'.
6. 'Riddle of the phantom on death hill', The News of the World, Sunday 14 July 1974, p.5.
7. Chatham Standard; Chatham News, Ibid.
8. The search employed a single tracker dog, rather than the reported dogs (a fact established by Michael Goss through correspondence with the Kent County Constabulary (dated 19 February 1980)).
9. As 7.
10. As 6.
11. 'Maidstone Comment', by District Editor Roy Plascott, Kent Messenger, Friday 8 December 1967, p.3; 'Hitch-hiking spirit' (in 'Talk of the Town'), by Roy Plascott, Kent Messenger, Friday 10 May 1968, p.3.
12. The News of the World, 14 July 1974, p.5: 'Riddle of the phantom on death hill'; Sunday Mirror, 14 July 1974, p.13: 'Ghost on the A229..'; Sunday People, 14 July 1974, p.9: ''Ghost Walks' After Crash'.
13. 'Girls die in wedding eve smash', by Peter Rimmer, Maidstone Gazette, 23 November 1965, fp.
14. An inset picture of Judith Lingham appears on the front page of the Maidstone Gazette (23 November 1965), while Patricia Ferguson's picture accompanies front page reports by the Chatham News (26 November 1965) and the Chatham Standard (23 November 1965), the latter of which also features an upper torso shot of Judith.
15. Maurice Goodenough is reputed to have later moved to the West Country (The Sun, 26 November 1992).
16. Ted Wright, One Dog and Her Man: The Life of Police Dog Bess (Meresborough Books, 1992), pp.68-69.
17. This detail obviously differs significantly over the press versions of the incident, although it is perhaps consistent with a collision with a vehicle at a fair speed. Having said that, a person thrown clear over a vehicle in this manner would surely have sustained injuries too severe to allow speedy egress from the scene or to avoid proper medical attention. Unless, of course, she was a ghost! A similar case involving a phantom road accident victim that was thrown over the top of the car is recounted in Chapter 9 (the experience of Peter Leslie).
18. Unless, of course, it had rained and stopped before Ted Wright's arrival.
19. Placing the injured girl on the blanket rather than covering her with it would make more sense if she were being left there while the driver was off seeking help, particularly if the ground was damp.
While on the subject of car blankets, it is interesting to note that one features in Beardsley and Hankey's leading story of a Phantom Hitch-Hiker in their paper 'The Vanishing Hitchhiker' for the California Folklore Quarterly (Volume 1 No.4 (October 1942), pp.303-335). In this, set in San Francisco, a girl picked up by two men on a street corner on a bitingly cold and wet night is wrapped in a car blanket. Giving her mother's address near Twin Peaks, they set out, only to discover that the girl has vanished during the journey. Investigating the possibility that she has slipped down in the back seat, all they find there is the crumpled blanket.
20. ''Ghost looked me in the face'' says teenage driver', by Helen Sissons, Kent Today, 24 November 1992, p.2. (The follow-up versions appearing in Kent Today (23 Nov.) and Kent Messenger (27 Nov.).
21. Out Of This World (1994). Broadcast at 9.30 p.m. on 7 October 1994 (BBC1).
22. In 1965, at least, Chatham had two cinemas: the Ritz, and the ABC. Whether today the Cannon Cinema at 385 High St, Chatham, stands in place of one of these, I do not know. In any case, what value an identification of the location where Mr Skene dropped of his passenger might have is difficult to say.
BBH: Background & Setting
1. Michael Goss, The Evidence for Phantom Hitch-Hikers (The Aquarian Press, 1984).
2. Goss, Ibid., p.102.
3. 'Maidstone Comment', by Roy Plascott, Kent Messenger, 8 December 1967, p.3; 'Hitch-hiking spirit' ('Talk of the Town'), by Roy Plascott, Kent Messenger, 10 May 1968, p.3; 'Riddle of the phantom girl', Evening Post, 9 September 1968, p.3.
4. 'Have you met the ghostly hitch-hiker?', The Gazette (Maidstone), 10 September 1968, p.3.
6. A figure that would increase to 14 by 1974 ('Spectre of Bluebell Hill', by Nigel Nelson, Kent Messenger, 26 July 1974, p.8).
7. Goss, Ibid., p.120.
8. Goss, Ibid., p.107.
9. 'Maidstone Comment', by Roy Plascott, Kent Messenger, 8 December 1967, p.3.
10. Goss, Ibid., p.108.
11. Or Gillingham or Rochester.
12. An observation made by author Joan Forman in her The Haunted South ((first published in Great Britain by Robert Hale Ltd, 1978); Jarrold Colour Publications, 1989), p.17, and referred to by Goss (p. 108).
13. There have, to my knowledge, been four Maidstone-based researchers (including myself) who have investigated the Blue Bell Hill case. The others are: Tom Harber, Dennis Chambers, and David Thomas.
14. The car was, in fact, heading south towards Maidstone.
15. The bride-to-be was not from Maidstone, but was staying in Gillingham just prior to the wedding. However, the fact that she was staying in Gillingham and heading towards Maidstone on the night of the accident satisfies this interpretation just as well.
16. The Electoral Register entry for this period suggests a second name preference by the witness as detailed in the article, the other (forename) here withheld.
17. 'Blue Bell Hill - the driver's nightmare!', Evening Post, 27 February 1969, p.5.
BBH: Hekate on the Hill
1. ' 'Wizened road horror is ruining our lives' ', by Claire Ogley, Kent Today, 8 January 1993, p13. The details as given are taken largely from interview notes provided by Strange But True? researcher Daniel Barraclough in 1994.
2. It should be stated for the record that it was always the view of some involved in the Maiden incident that their experience was the result of a hoax, such as ex-police employee Alison Bowers, who was on duty in the Maidstone control room that night, and the first person Mr. Maiden spoke to after the encounter. (Correspondence from PC David Elvy, dated 3 July 1998).
When I spoke to Alison in July 1998, she told me that the bias of the report was toward someone paying a frightening prank, i.e. the impression being that Mr. Maiden himself seemed to be of this opinion, which came to be her opinion also, and of at least one of the investigating officers. She also told me that there had been unconfirmed reports that someone in a costume had been seen in Blue Bell Hill village sometime afterward.
What we can be clear about is the physical and mental trauma suffered by the witnesses that night, as attested to by David Elvy (from previous correspondence by Mr Elvy to Fortean Times, dated 20 October 1997, and copied to myself).
What to make of the above stands with the reader. No evidence of a hoax, however has been forthcoming in the years following the encounter. But there are other reasons that leave the question open: the record of other sightings, the observed disappearance of the figure (if reported accurately), and the whole weight of folklore, some obscure, that stands behind the creature here reported, requiring the 'hoaxer', at least, to be one very knowledgeable of this branch of folklore/mythology.
3. 'Thumbs down to ghostly hiker', by George Edwards, The News of the World, 13 April 1975, p.5.
4. Terence Whitaker, Ghosts & North Country Legends (Grafton, 1988), pp.313-314.
5. Roger Boar & Nigel Blundell, The World's Greatest Ghosts (Hamlyn, 1991), p.130.
6. Michael Goss, The Evidence for Phantom Hitch-Hikers ( The Aquarian Press, 1984), p.141.
7. A number of supernatural entities of Celtic, European, or world folklore find familiarity with Blue Bell Hill's ghost and the Phantom Hitch-hiker in general. For instance, in classical mythology, we find the nymphs - spirits of nature who were envisaged as young, beautiful women. The nymphs possessed the power of prophecy, and were generally kindly toward humans, though they could also be dangerous. Various classes of nymph have been distinguished: dryads and hamadryads (tree nymphs, who often accompanied Apollo, Hermes, Pan and the Satyrs; naiads (nymphs of lakes, rivers, and springs); oreads (nymphs of mountains and hills); and the oceanids and nereids (nymphs of the ocean, and the mermaids, respectively). Maria Leach and Jerome Fried (eds.), in their Funk & Wagnalls Standard Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology, and Legend (HarperSanFranciso, 1984, p.806), note that the nymphs probably developed into the fairies of general European folklore.
On the darker side, there are variations in the character of the hag in the Cailleach Beará of Irish and Scottish folklore; and in the Cailleach Bheur, in some versions a loathly lady who transforms herself into a beautiful young woman as a reward to kind-hearted young men (a variation reflected in the Irish Feast of Tara, at which the Irish high king would unite with the goddess of sovereignty at a Hallowe'en ritual, tales surrounding which describe the goddess transforming from a hideous hag into a beautiful girl once the union had taken place).
The Cailleach as goddess is, of course, in keeping with the idea that Blue Bell Hill, like many other sites distinguished by Neolithic artefacts, was a place held sacred by their builders. We can also note that the same may have been recognized by the Romans, as evidenced by the remains of a temple near its summit. It would be interesting to discover to whom of Rome’s pantheon of gods and goddesses the temple was dedicated.
And then we have the bean nighe, also of Ireland and Scotland - the Washer of the Ford, an ugly hag that sometimes appeared in the guise of a beautiful young woman, and who, akin to the banshee (bean sidhe, the 'woman of the fairies' (or ‘woman of the hill’), similarly a hag or a young woman in guise), portended death by her appearance.
In some descriptions of the banshee, we find an an old woman with glowing red eyes (from the constant weeping) set in hollow sockets, with long flowing white hair (which compares well to the blonde hair of Blue Bell Hill’s hag, as described by the Rayburn family after their encounter of 5 January 1993).
In European lore, there are the Rusalka, water spirit of Slavic lore said to be the spirit of a dead female (in some parts, a bride who died on her wedding night) who, like the Sirens of Greek mythology, lure men their drowning by sweet song; the Vila, another hostile spirit of Slavic lore, the spirit of an unbaptized child or an earthbound virgin. The vila dances in circles, condemning any who disturb them to join them unto death; the Nocnitsa, a hag of Eastern European lore; the Berchta, an ugly old woman of German folklore, thought to have orginally been a goddess (the German equivalent of the Cailleach); the nix, a German equivalent of the Rusalka; the acheri of Native American lore; the anhanga of the Brazilian Amazon, and so on.
As an aside, it is interesting to note that powers of prophecy are most commonly attributed to the darker (and by time-honoured interpretation, evil) characters of this lore, frequently old crones wizened by age, much like the Version B/D Phantom Hitch-Hiker in some examples.
8. See Funk & Wagnalls Standard Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology, and Legend (eds. Maria Leach and Jerome Fried), HarperSanFranciso, 1984), p.180 & pp.473-474.
The Version D Hitch-Hiker which, in terms of discussion has really fallen outside the scope of this book, it can be noted for completeness can also take a more positive role. In some witness-attested cases, the Hitch-Hiker takes the form of an angelic being whose role generally appears to be a benevolent one (in accordance with some deeper strands of folklore and tradition), providing protection or guidance to the traveller. Prophecies, when given, involving broader, less personal issues, similarly tend to be beneficial or optimistic, in opposition to the gloomy forecasts of the old women in black.
9. Some witness accounts at Blue Bell Hill, for instance, describe a young (teenaged girl) rather than the young woman reported by others.
10. See David Clarke's and Andy Roberts' Twilight of the Celtic Gods (Blandford, 1996), p.71.
11. Hekate is featured more familiarly in other triple-goddess sets: Artemis (virgin)-Persephone (nymph)-Hekate (crone); Persephone (daughter)-Demeter (mother)-Hekate (grandmother).
We also find her in the Moon-Goddess set of Artemis-Selene-Hekate, in which the triple-aspect is linked to the Moon’s phases (Artemis (crescent, new)-Selene (full)-Hekate (waning)), and, as a function of the purported efficacy of moonlight on fertility, the three stages of a woman’s life; and, by extension, to nature’s seasonal and vegetative cycle. Hekate’s torch, representative of the light of the Moon and of fertility, was, for instance, carried over freshly sown fields. Thus, we can find the trinity of form in the agricultural cycle, as represented in the staple crop of corn - green core, ripe ear, and harvested corn.
As an aspect of the ancient triple-goddess, who presided over heaven, earth, and the underworld, and the cycle of birth, life and death, Hekate found a special place amongst the Greek pantheon of gods and goddesses, as the only one (according to Hesiod (The Theogeny, 7.403-404), translated by Norman O. Brown, 1953) of the ousted pre-Olympian deities, the Titans, to be so honoured by Zeus. While not formally included in the Olympian family (in her early forms she is often found in subordinate roles) , as a functionally all-encompassing goddess, it is not surprising that some of her manifold attributes should be shared or syncretized with other deities, such as Persephone, Demeter, Rhea, Artemis (the Roman Diana), and Selene - giving rise to a confusing picture of her status and role(s).
Hekate, as an aspect of the Triple/Mother Goddess can be related back to the earliest forms of the Mother Goddess, such characters as Astarte, the Phoenician goddess of sexual activity, fertility, maternity, love and war (once worshipped by the early Israelites in Canaan); to Phrygian (Anatolian) goddess Cybele; Ishtar (Babylon), Inanna (the Sumerian Queen of Heaven), Aphrodite (Greek goddess of beauty, love, and sex), and the Biblical Ashtoreth. (Maria Leach (Ed.), Funk & Wagnall’s Standard Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology, and Legend (HarperCollins, 1984), p.84).
As Astarte, the consort of Baal, we find an interesting reflection of Blue Bell Hill’s hag, in that should the word ‘bell’ in Blue Bell Hill be properly established as having been derived from ‘Baal’, we had, in 1993, an aspect of the ancient goddess appearing on a Hill that bears her consort’s name.
For references and recommended reading on Hekate, see:
‘Hekate in Early Greek Religion’, by I. Robert Von Rudloff, The Horned Owl Library (http://www.islandnet.com/~hornowl/library/hekate.html); ‘The Goddess Hekate in Greek Antiquity’, by Summer Townsend (1997), (http://studentweb.tulane.edu/~stownse/hekate.html); ‘Hekate (Hecate): The Dark Goddess’, (http://www.angelfire.com/biz/MysticalArts/Hekate.html); ‘Hekate’, Hekate in Greek Esotericism, (http://www.neaccess.net/~/jbgenest/secretum/myths/hekate/html); ‘Hekate’, Entrance to the shrine of Hekate Greek Lunar and Earth Goddess, (http://inanna.virtualave.net/hekate.html); ‘The Dark Goddess: Ereshkigal, Lilith And Hecate’, (http://www.lemurian-imports.com/lilitha).
12. Early depictions of Hekate had her as a maidenly attendant and guide (Propolos) to the Olympian gods - notably Persephone (Queen of the Underworld), Demeter (the Earth Goddess/Mother), and Artemis (a mother deity and goddess of nature and the hunt. Later also a goddess of fertility, marriage and childbirth, she became, by association with Hekate, linked to the Moon, magic, and the night).
In common with Artemis, Hekate was also attended upon, both having attendants (propoloi) consisting of deceased humans and dogs. Both are linked to local legends concerning female superrnatural guardians, who died at their own hand or were sacrificed by others to enact this protective function on the behalf of their people. (Maria Leach, op. cit., p.76.; I. Robert Von Rudloff, op. cit.). In some traditions, such as the Korean case of the female mountain spirits known as the San-sin (which overwise guide, guard, or bless travellers - and as with the Earth Mother herself) - in instances where their cult centres were violated or their anger otherwise aroused, there is legendary evidence that they would wreak revenge on humans.
Interestingly, the Romans continued traditions of veneration at crossroads, with their festival of Ludi Compitales (17 December to 5 January [compare to the dates of 5 & 6 January for the hag encounters at Blue Bell Hill]), at which they set up alters to the Lares (guardian spirits, possibly the ghosts of the dead), designed to retain or capture them in their protective capacity.
(Ref. ‘Female mountain Spirits in Korea: A Neglected Tradition’, James Huntley Grayson, Asian Folklore Studies (April 1996, v.55, n.1, p.122), in Eric Miller’s ‘The Guardian Spirit Lady in the Experience of Edwin Pillay’, (http://ccat/sas.upenn.edu/~emiller/guardian-spirit_paper.html); ‘The metaphors and rituals of place and time - an introduction to liminality’, by Bob Trubshaw, At the Edge, (http://www.indigogroup.co.uk/edge/liminal.htm); ‘Laribus’, Roman Civilization (CMS 206 /History 206), (http://www.bates.edu/~mimber/Rciv/lares.htm).
Whether, at Blue Bell Hill, the manifestations of the girl or young woman character represent the youthful guise of the goddess herself, or members of her propoloi, or such guardian spirits, is open to interpretation.
13. A feature also in common with the Cailleach, marking her dominion and ease of passage in both the worlds of the living and the dead.
14. In his paper, I. Robert Von Rudloff (op. cit.) notes the dualistic functions of many Greek deities - to be both beneficial and destructive. With regard to Hekate, her "reputation for governing fearful ghosts might be the "flip side" of Her ability to offer protection against them."
15. Also known as the ‘three ways’. In ancient times, crossroads were fearful places, more often than not un-signposted, and therefore liable to lead to confusion and the attendant fear of taking the wrong path, or of being misled - a fear heightened at night, especially around the ‘dread hour of midnight’ (Ref. ‘The Mystery of the Cross-Roads’, by Martin Puhvel, Folklore (1976, v.87, p.168), in Miller, op. cit.). No wonder, as a result of the later perversion of Hekate’s role as guide, these ‘pauseless places’ came to be regarded as the abode of fearful ghosts and demons, dedicated to leading people astray; and, in turn, to the later belief amongst Europeans that witches held their festivities at crossroads (which also came to serve as the burial places for certain ‘undesirables’, such as suicides, and/or the place of execution for murderers (as practiced in ancient Greece), witches, and outlaws).
While the Blue Bell Hill series, and many other cases of road ghosts - not to mention the Phantom Hitch-Hiker itself, in all its aspects - appears to be ‘explainable’ in terms of older, root traditions involving mother goddesses and/or lower-rank guardian spirits or spirits of nature, we may be at a loss in terms of reported instances where male ghosts are encountered on the roads...that is, until we turn to Hermes, the male counterpart of Hekate.
Hermes, brother of Apollo and messenger of the Olympian gods (Mercury, to the Romans), shared many functions and attributes with Hekate. Born in a cave, he was also a fertility god, and a god of roads (who was also venerated at crossroads) and a guardian of travellers. Like Hekate, he was a deity of liminality - that is, of boundaries - occupying and traversing the borderlands between the known and the unknown, safety and danger, life and death; or, in the physical realm, between the trodden and untrodden (i.e. roads (especially where they joined), caves, forest paths or lonely trails (where the road or trackway is the very boundary between the ‘safe’ known and the unknown), and so on). In common with Hekate, therefore, Hermes was an escort to the dead - a psychopomp - conducting their souls to Hades, and was in fact first before her to guide Persephone on her return journey from the Underworld. Amongst still other attributes, Hermes was a bringer of dreams, had some ability in the area of prophecy, and was a god of cunning and fraud - the prince of tricksters. ((Maria Leach, op. cit., pp.493-4). One of his offspring - who would most famously play his father’s invention, the pan-pipes, was Pan himself, the half-human/half-goat pastoral god of fertility, and source (after the reaction to his appearance of his nurse at his birth) of irrational fear (panic). Pan was a god of nature, an inhabitant of the mountain peaks and rocky crests. With occasional ill temper, he loved to frighten unwary travellers.
(Owlspirit’s Nest - ‘Hekate, Queen of Transitions’, (http://owlspirit.homestead.com/hekate2~ns4.html); ‘Hermes’, by Ron Leadbetter, Encyclopedia Mythica - Article: Hermes, (http:www.pantheon.org/mythica/articles/h/hermes.html); ‘Hermes’; ‘Pan’, both found in the Greek Mythology Link, by Carlos Parada, (http://www.hsa.brown.edu/~maicar/[Hermes.html] [Pan.html]); Bob Trubshaw, op. cit.; ‘Pan in Greek religion and mythology’, The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition, 2000, (http://www.bartleby.com./65/pa/Pan.html).
16. Hekate was referred to in the seventh century BC Homeric Hymn to Demeter as the goddess "who wore a delicate veil" - a title also used to describe Rhea, Demeter’s mother and Persephone’s grandmother (whom, as we have noted, Hekate ousts as the Crone/grandmother aspect in one version of the Triple-form containing the daughter and mother (see 27.)). Interestingly, in another of those similarities in detail between Mother Goddess figures and their Phantom Hitch-Hiker counterparts, we can recall the caille in reference to the Cailleach meaning ‘hood’ or ‘veil’. (‘Persephone’s Underworld Journey’, by Victoria Weinstein, (http://www/w7/com/infovill/crone/index.htm).
17. Inviting comparison to the Blue Bell Hill hag’s bundle of twigs? One of Hekate’s most common titles was ‘light-bringer’ (Phosphorus). In art, she is frequently portrayed as carrying a pair of torches, which, according to the popular view, symbolizes her as Moon-Goddess. Others differ, seeing the title and the torches as representative of her original function as guide or attendant. There is a case also to consider the association between Hekate’s torches and the Morning Star and Evening Star aspects of the planet Venus (the Greek name for which was Phosphorus), heralded the end and the beginning of night. (I. Robert Von Rudloff, op. cit.).
And so it goes on, for Venus, of course, is the Roman name for Aphrodite, both goddesses of ‘love, beauty and sexual rapture’; and Aphrodite herself was an old-Asian version of the Mother Goddess similar to Astarte (the crescent-horned (lunar) Queen of Heaven and Queen of the Evening Star), Ishtar, and Inanna (the Sumerian ‘evening star’ and - similarly crescent-horned - Queen of Heaven, brought up, like Aphrodite, out of the foam of the sea by the water-gods). (‘Aphrodite’, Encyclopedia Mythica - Article: Aphrodite, (http:www.pantheon.org/mythica/articles/a/aphrodite.html); ‘The hieros gamos of Inanna and Dumuzi’, (http://www.dhushara.com/book/hieros/hieros.htm).
Others have proposed a more direct relationship between Aphrodite and Hekate, suggesting - in a vein familiar to us - that they were two aspects of the same goddess. ‘Estera’ (in ‘Hecate and Aphrodite: Two Sides of the Same Goddess’, Hecate (Hecate Essays); (http://members.aol.com/Hecatedee2/hecessay.htm)) has observed that as Venus Genetrix of the Latins (a patron-goddess of childbirth), Aphrodite headed a group of three goddesses and, like Hekate, received sacrifices of dogs. Some of her functional surnames also suggest links with the darker end of life’s spectrum: Skotia (‘the dark one’), Androphonos (‘killer of men’), Tymborychos (‘the gravedigger’), Persephaessa (‘Queen of the Underworld’ - Persephone), Pasiphaessa (‘the far-shining’ - connecting her to the Moon; while the Romans, in their Venus Libitina had this aspect of the goddess depicted as a goddess of death (associated with the extinction of life force). (see also: ‘Gods and Goddesses of Rome’, (http://www.novaroma.org.religio_romana/deities.html).
18. Any apparition, for reasons explained above, that found itself suspended between the Earth and Hades came under Hekate’s power, and could be used as an intermediary in magic. (Townsend (1997), op. cit.).
19. Martin Puhvel, op. cit. (p.174) ref. in Eric Miller, op.cit. (see 31.).
20. Eric Miller, Ibid.
21. Ref. ‘Hekate Soteira’, by Sarah Iles Johnston (1990), Atlanta, GA. in Townsend (1997), op. cit.
Dreams brought on by Hekate were not restricted to bad dreams, but to the realistic and terrifying ‘personal’ experience of her in the form of the original nightmare - the ‘Old Hag’ experience - a universal, often wakeful experience involving ‘Sleep Paralysis’ that, in other cultures, has been attributed to Hekate’s Dark Goddess counterparts - for instance, Lilith, of Jewish mythology.
In Jewish Talmudic tradition, Lilith was the legendary first wife of Adam (and, according to the Zohar, Eve’s temptor at the Tree of Knowledge), who deserted him after being denied the status of equality, and fled to the shores of the Red Sea where she made her home in a cave; and, in taking the proliferation of demons dwelling there as lovers, became the Mother of Demons. The Zohar directly relates Lilith to the Old Hag/succubus experience in relating how she roams the world at night (when the Moon is on the wane) coupling with men in their sleep, and bearing from them demonic offspring. (The name ‘Lilith’ and that of her daughters, the Lilin, probably derived from the Sumerian ‘Lili’, meaning ‘breath’ or ‘spirit’. The Lilitu (pl.) were either a specific type of demon (succubi) or simply spirits in general).
Feminist scholars in particular regard the demonization of Lilith (and of Astarte, the fertility goddess demonized as Ashtoreth in the Bible, amongst other powerful dark-aspected goddesses) as part of a process of overthrow and denegration of the ubiquitous Mother Goddess by a threatened and increasingly male-orientated and monotheistic religious movement (which, in Christianity, was to present its own version of the Triple aspect, in the form of the Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost). Hekate’s darker aspects too became further diabolized under the mediæval church, which portrayed Hekate as a governess of demons.
(‘The Dark Goddess: Ereshkigal, Lilith And Hecate’, op.cit.); ‘Lilith’s Story’ & ‘Lilith in Hebraic Tradition’, Lilith Temple, (http://www.lilithtemple.bc.ca); Victoria Weinstein, op. cit.).
‘Old Hag’ experiences are so-named because of the preponderance of cases in the folk record (and in ‘real’ situations involving named attestants?) depicting wizened female ‘attackers’ and male ‘victims’. The psychology of this relationship is addressed in Road Ghosts - Mechanism. Having noted the same pattern and bias in Phantom-Hiker lore and reported Road Ghost ‘fact’, the - re-stated - question underlying these cases is whether these archetypal characters - seen or experienced in waking nightmares, in lucid dreams, or (as at Blue Bell Hill), at large in the physical environment - are an expression of deep-seated but unconscious recognition of ancient (and diabolized) Mother Goddess traditions (which focus negatively on the subject-gender of their repression); or whether there is something else at play here - real entities/forces that have found their place in tradition and folklore.
Certainly, on the latter point, there are those who believe fervently in such dark powers; and the author has corresponded with paranormal investigators who regard all ghostly manifestations (including the Phantom Road Accident variety) as the work of demons.
For the definitive study of the Old Hag experience read David J. Hufford’s The Terror That Comes in the Night (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1982).
22. See also 12., and the Roman festival of Ludi Compitales (17 December to 5 January), at which alters were set up in veneration of the Lares (guardian spirits, possibly the ghosts of the dead), designed to retain or capture them to serve as supernatural guardians of place or property. The 5 January end-of-festival date overlaps favourably the dates (5 & 6 January) of the 1993 hag encounters on Blue Bell Hill. It really does seem strange that two festivals connected with Hekate (this example by the association between Hekate and guardian spirits established by sacrifice or the entrapment of ‘lost’ or wandering spirits of the night) should be found to correspond to the most prominent encounters of the Blue Bell Hill series.
16 November marks also the Festival of Bast or Bastet, the Kemetic (ancient Egyptian) cat goddess. Bast (Pasch, Ubasti, Bubastis, Ba en Aset Ubasti), meaning ‘Devouring Lady’ (from bas - ‘to devour’ (the ‘t’ denoting the feminine gender)) has much in common with Hekate, the Cailleach, and other goddess figures with whom she was later identified. Thus we see her associated with the dawn and the rising sun, but also the moon, music, fertility and sexual excess, and the protectress role in favour of children and animals, particularly cats (and dogs).
Bast’s depiction as a cat-headed goddess (with the head of a desert sand-cat or a lion*), or in some guises fully in the form of a cat, demonstrates her special association with these creatures. Black cats are said to especially sacred to her (raising interesting comparisons to the coincidence of continuing sightings in the Blue Bell Hill area of a large panther-like creature, dubbed the ‘Beast of Blue Bell Hill’.
Ancient artwork typically depicts Bast as possessing the body of a beautiful girl, the the head of a cat, and skin of different hues. Interestingly, she is sometimes portrayed as a light-skinned girl with long blonde hair and bright blue eyes - inviting comparison to early depictions of the ‘bright-coiffed’ Hekate, and paving the way, perhaps, for later associations with the goddesses Artemis/Kore Artemis (Greek), and Diana (Roman).
* The lion aspect is associated with Bast’s sister, Sekhmet. Some maintain that Sekhmet represents the Crone aspect of the primeval goddess (who divided to give rise to the sisters Bast and Sekhmet), retaining the darker attributes of Destroyer, and goddess of the cycles of death and rebirth, and wisdom. Bast, on the other hand, with the gentler cat features, represents the beneficent Maidenly form.
References: Maria Leach (Ed.), Funk & Wagnall’s Standard Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology, and Legend (HarperCollins, 1984); ‘Names of Netjer: Bast’ (http://www.kemet.org/glossary.bast.html); ‘In Bubastis’ (http://www.angelfire.com/fl/bastet/page6.html); ‘Bast, Perfumed Protector, Cat Goddess...’, by Caroline Seawright (http://www.thekeep.org/~kunoichi/kunoichi/themestream/bast/html); ‘Bast web site’ (http://member.aol.com/merefbast/); ‘Bast and Sekhmet the Egyptian Cat Goddesses’ (http://wuzzle.org/cave/catlore1.html).
Although caution must be maintained with regard to other possibly significant coincidences or proximities between certain festivals or commemorations and encounters at Blue Bell Hill, the following are nevertheless noteworthy:
31 December - 2 January: Marking the transition from the old year to the new, and representing the triple aspect of the goddess (maiden, mother, crone), and sacred to Hekate, the Roman Fates, and Wyrd (the goddess of Fate and mother of the Norns (fates) of Scandinavian mythology - three virgins who originally bore close resemblance to the Anglo-Saxon fates, the Wyrdes or Weirds. The latter are more often today applied to witches or soothsayers, particularly in Scotland, where they may have served as the inspiration for the three witches of Macbeth?). The Norns appeared variously as spirits, demons, souls or human oracles.
2 January: Birthday of the Sumerian goddess Inanna.
5 January: Twelfth Night (eve of the Epiphany) marks the feast of the old Roman goddess Befana, the ‘Great Grandmother’ (or St. Befana, la Strega, or la Vecchia), an ugly but good-natured hag who rides her broomstick through the world on this night to deliver gifts to the stockings good children. The parallels with the Christian Santa Claus are plain, who took over Befana’s role, and brought his delivery schedule forward to the beginning of the Yuletide festival, on the night of Christmas Eve.
Though descriptively similar, by way of some contrast in character, there is Berchta, of German folklore, whose feast day is also Twelfth Night, and who stands as a threat to naughty children. On that night, all must eat pancakes for supper, and leave the remains on the table for Berchta, else she will cut open their stomachs to remove the food, and sow them back up again using a plowshare threaded with chains.
Berchta’s northern counterpart, Holde, has been combined or confused with a range of characters across Germany - from the Earth goddess Erda, and the benevolent White Lady, to a hobgoblin who frightens children, or a witch that captures her victims and carries them off to eat them (the basis, perhaps, for the Brothers Grimm story of Hansel and Gretel, and related to many other such ‘wicked witch’ tales).
Like Hekate, Berchta has been said to ‘ride the storm’ leading a howling pack of dogs. Her children, likewise, are either the souls of dead children or the spirits of the unborn.
8 November (date of Ian Sharpe’s encounter): The day in Celtic tradition when Gwynn ap Nudd, king of the fairies, opened the door to his kingdom.
22 November (Chris Dawkins) - 24 November: Three days sacred in the Greek and Roman calendar to the goddess Artemis/Diana in her aspect as divine Huntress and Destroyer.
References: Maria Leach (Ed.), Funk & Wagnall’s Standard Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology, and Legend (HarperCollins, 1984);
‘UFC 01/01: Universal Festival Calendar for January 2001’ [and Jan. 2000, Oct. 2001, Nov. 1999]:
(http://www.spiritweb.org/News/2001/01/978463135.html;http://www.spiritweb.org/News/1999/36/936906318.html; http://www.spiritweb.org/News/2001/40/1002143611.html; http://www.spiritweb.org/News/1999/44/941588257.html).
23. We see the character and habits of Blue Bell Hill's and other phantom hitch-hikers reflected also in Kirk's elemental spirits - those ethereal, mischievous beings purported to rank somewhere between angels and men in the spiritual hierarchy (one idea is that they are 'half-fallen' angels, guilty of partial consent to Satan's rebellion against God). While the modern, popular conception of the fairy folk has been greatly influenced, if not irrevocably prejudiced by the likes of the infamous Cottingley case or by Walt Disney's 'Tinkerbell', our forebears saw them as quite different creatures, far removed from the often sanitized offerings made to our children. The 'Good People' or Sleagh Maith (a name, Kirk explained, arising from the habit of the Irish to bless that which they feared) were not all they seemed: frequently mischievous, occasionally malignant.
These creatures are found in the folklore and myth of societies and cultures around the world. Their names, many of them familiar, are manifold - gnomes, pixies (or pisgies), goblins, trolls, brownies, ikals, leprechauns, lutins, korrigans, and so on. For instance, a common prank of pixies is to lead astray and bewilder travellers (being 'pixie-led').
The habits and characteristics found in the work of Professor Kirk and in other accounts that we might today interpret as ghostly behaviour include: their residence in the earth, or in caves; the lightness of their bodies, semi-material in nature, fluid, like a dense cloud or 'congealed air', which enable them to pass easily through the fissures and interstices in rock; they are most visible at twilight; they are able to appear or disappear at will, and to change their form or appearance (the ability to be seen as whatsoever they wish was known as 'glamour'); they sometimes show themselves or speak to natural people (whose customs and language they adopt for the discourse), to promptly vanish in full view; their own language, when they talk amongst themselves, is a peculiar whistling sound (akin to a hissing sound?); they have a propensity to abduct people, particularly children, taking body and soul together (which is reminiscent of the claim of a Blue Bell Hill resident (unidentified) who told the Kent Messenger that when he accompanied a research team to the Hill in the 1970s, a medium ran off screaming saying the ghost wanted to take somebody to the 'other side' ('Terror as ghost girl reappears', by Emma Cooper, Kent Messenger, 13 November 1992, p.3). Before human beings came to inhabit most of the world, they used to live on the surface, when the land was largely covered with forest and woodland, the over-running of their habitat by humans accounting in part, perhaps, for their opposition, resentment, or outright hostility towards Mankind. The remaining traces of their civilization are to be found on the mountains and high hills.
(Alison Jones, Larousse Dictionary of World Folklore (Larousse, 1995); R.J. Stewart, Robert Kirk: Walker Between Worlds (Element Books, 1990); Jacques Vallee, Passport to Magonia ((Tandem, 1975); reprinted by Contemporary Books, Chicago, 1993).
Road Ghosts - Mechanism
1. Andrew Green, Haunted Houses (Shire Publications, 1994), p.3.
2. 'Hit and Myth', by Sean Tudor, Fortean Times 73 (February/March 1994), pp.27-31.
3. At the same time, the night scenario presents some difficulty for the M1 hypothesis in that the focus of the driver's attention - the catseyes or simply the illuminated part of road ahead could hold the driver's attention to the exclusion of potential 'trigger' features lying outside this sphere, depending on their placement and visibility.
4. If we accept that ghosts are wholly or partially dependent on certain states or processes of mind of the percipient, then it is natural to expect certain limitations, perhaps explaining, amongst other things, why a number of apparitions appear to lack facial features. Whereas any number of witnesses might be able to unconsciously project broad descriptive features - clothing, and so on - based on rumour, expectation, or simply the setting of the experience, it could be argued that the requirement for very specific features (which could in some cases conflict with descriptions of the person reputedly represented) might place too great a strain on the imaging process. The mind, therefore, would simply omit this information.
Similarly, some cases in which ghosts are viewed only as 'reflections' in mirrors, suggests an involvement of mind, in which the generation of a two-dimensional image requires less 'computational power' than a three-dimensional one?
Finally, we might find some explanation as to why, in addition to Phantom Hitch-Hikers, many other ghosts (and despite their reputation) seem reluctant to vanish in full view, preferring, for instance, to leave a room in conventional manner before making their 'getaway', in this case, however, not so much to prevent strain on the imaginary capacity, but to avoid the confusion or shock that might result from the sudden collapse of the state of mind in which the apparition was perceived.
5. The 'Cerebro Retinal Reciprocation Theory of "Ghost" formation' (see Arthur C. Clarke's A-Z of Mysteries, by Simon Welfare and John Fairley (HarperCollinsPublishers, 1993), pp.162-163) - a theory which finds more modern expression as ‘back-projection’ in Humphrey (1992), or the running in reverse of the visual machinery (V. S. Ramachandran (& Sandra Blakeslee), Phantoms in the Brain (Fourth Estate, 1999)).
And there are, of course, various neurological conditions giving rise to visual hallucinations; for instance, Charles Bonnet Syndrome, which describes the tendency of visually impaired but sane, intelligent persons to hallucinate unfamiliar persons or objects. The objects are mainly mundane in character, but can range from the obscure to the super-real in appearance, in colour or not, from cartoon-like in character to ghostly forms. Interestingly, these images can sometimes blend with the normal surroundings so that the percipient cannot differentiate what is real and what is not, but which may vanish with a blink or a nod of the head.
Relevant to our discussion is the observation that poor lighting conditions or the changing tones at dusk are conducive to such hallucinations, which interfaces with the commentary on the M1 hypothesis.
That the visual apparatus might under certain conditions run in reverse, releasing stored or fabricated images into the perceptual field is an idea gaining in acceptance in Neuroscience. Dr Gerald Edelman of the Neurosciences Institute, La Jolla, California, has suggested the brain’s information flow may be non-linear, resembling more a hall of mirrors, reflecting information along multiple paths, including back on itself. Where visual pathways are damaged or impaired, such as with macular degeneration in the elderly, in persons with cataracts or with physical damage to retina or optic pathways, the usual visual input coming from the retina is diminished or absent, allowing reflected or stored images (which would otherwise be overridden or vetoed by ordinary visual information) to resurface.
As studies in Neuroscience are beginning to show, human perception is a hugely more complex process than we might previously have supposed, in which our ‘reality’ is a kind of virtual simulation arising from the interplay between visual signals and high-level stored information and recognition centres in the brain. (see V. S. Ramachandran & Sandra Blakeslee, op. cit., p.109 and pp.274-5).
But before we decide that this provides a completely satisfactory explanation for road ghost sightings, we have to remember that Charles Bonnet Syndrome is largely confined to visually impaired subjects - the elderly or accident victims, the latter of which commonly experience their visions in the ‘blind spots’ or scotomas in their visual field arising from their medical condition. We would suppose, therefore, that the ordinary motoring public is not similarly disposed (although this has not stopped V. S. Ramachandran from speculating that a host of paranormal visions may be attributable to Charles Bonnet hallucinations (V. S. Ramachandran & Sandra Blakeslee, op. cit., p.106)), nor us from conceding the possibility that similar image feedback may occur in states in which no real input is coming from the retina - such as against the monotonously dark and repetitive night-driving field?
6. The ultimate femme fatale was, perhaps, the Gorgon Medusa of Greek myth. The only safe way to view Medusa was as a reflection in a mirror, else her direct gaze was capable of turning men into stone. Similarly, in dream symbolism, the mirror is said to represent the ability the unconscious has to reflect a true, undistorted view of the self - one which the conscious mind, if confronting it directly, might find uncomfortable or shocking. In addition to the psychological analogies, however, the turning of men into stone might serve as an apt description for the effect the staring eyes of the ghost-girl has on the petrified motorist.
As an adjunct, the Gorgons, three hideous sisters with serpents for hair and a paralysing gaze, have been considered the personifications of the nightmare (Funk & Wagnall’s Standard Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology, and Legend (HarperCollins, 1984), p.461)) (as has the hag (see Chapter 10), which is also reflected in Greek mythology in the form Hekate, the Dark Goddess, and the three old women, sisters and protectors of the Gorgons, the Grææ.
7. See Man and his Symbols, edited by Carl Jung and M.L. von Franz (Picador, 1983), Part 3 ('The Process of Individuation', by M.L. von Franz), pp.159-254 (particularly p.192).
8. Out of This World (BBC1), presented by Sue Cook, with Dr Susan Blackmore and Dr Lyall Watson, broadcast at 9.30 p.m. on 7 October 1994. This one-hour special served as a pilot for a new series by the same name that commenced in July 1996.
9. In this respect, BBH's apparitions (at least as relating to the girl in white) are not strictly veridical since they convey features that the percipients have in some cases been conditioned to expect. True veridical events would hold features that were not previously known or expected by the percipient (although, as we have seen, the specific pattern of events, not recognised in individual witness cases, does display the kind of correlative detail we might expect of true, objective events.
10. Strange But True? (TV series, presented by Michael Aspel), LWT Productions, 1994; Jenny Randles & Peter Hough, Strange But True? (Piatkus, 1994), Chapter 6 ('Highway of Horror?'), pp.70-82.
Separate reports started to come in in October 1996 (21 October) from security personnel guarding the construction of the controversial £100 million Newbury by-pass in Berkshire, who claimed to have seen phantoms at Rickety Bridge. The sightings were blamed on the disturbance the works had caused to a Civil War burial plot said to contain the remains of hordes of Roundhead and Cavalier soldiers interred there after the second battle of Newbury in 1644 ('Spooked out on the ghoul carriageway', by John Kay, The Sun, Friday 27 December 1996, p.3).
11. At time of writing, the Blue Bell Hill case has received exposure in five television productions: Out Of This World (BBC1, 1994), presented by Sue Cook, with Dr Susan Blackmore and Dr Lyall Watson;The Magic and Mystery Show (CST Productions (East) Ltd for Anglia Television/Meridian Broadcasting Ltd, 1995), presented by Brian Blessed, with Lynn Picknett and Toyah Willcox; Arthur C. Clarke's Mysterious Universe (a Granite Production for Yorkshire Television, 1995). The Why Files (L!VE TV, 1998), presented by David Barrett; Meridian Tonight (‘Legends and Mysteries’, 2000). Only the BBC production mentioned the old woman.
12. Jenny Randles, Mind Monsters: Invaders from Inner Space? (The Aquarian Press, 1990), pp.146-7.
13. Jacques Vallee, Passport to Magonia (Tandem, 1975), p.53. (Reprinted and updated by Contemporary Books, Chicago, 1993, p.53.).
14. Strange But True? (TV series), LWT Productions, 1994; Jenny Randles & Peter Hough, Strange But True? (Piatkus, 1994), pp.76-77.
15. As 'way out' as some of Keel's ideas perhaps seem, a proper judgement of his work should only follow a reading of his work. See, for instance, Operation Trojan Horse (Souvenir Press, 1971), and Strange Creatures from Time and Space (Sphere, 1976).
16. John A. Keel, Operation Trojan Horse (Souvenir Press, 1971), pp.239-241.
17. Sphere, 1976.
18. The Tectonic Strain Theory.
19. Nelson Hall, 1977.
20. Taken from Paul Devereux's Earth Lights (Turnstone Press, 1982), p.70. November is a month, I have noticed from my own reading, that seems to come out frequently in paranormal events. Whether this is a valid observation is one that would do well to be tested someday.
21. J. Allen Hynek and Jacques Vallee, The Edge of Reality (Henry Regnery Company, Chicago, 1975), Figure 5., p.20.
22. Paul Devereux (with David Clarke, Andy Roberts and Paul McCartney), Earth Lights Revelation (Blandford Press, 1989), p.23.
23. A name coined by Paul Devereux.
24. Fortean Times 42-46 (compilation: 'If Pigs Could Fly', John Brown Publishing, London, 1994), issue 42, p.54; Paul Devereux et al, op.cit., p.54.
25. Fortean Times 42-46, issue 42, p.53.
26. The influence of the moon is also a factor I have looked at. In a field in which the data field is necessarily limited, I have found correlations between the moon's orbital cycle and certain road ghost examples (which, interestingly, is itself reflected in the mythology attached to certain of these archetypal characters (see Notes for Hekate on the Hill) . It is too early to report these findings, but I hope, in time, to be able to report something more concrete on this observation.
27. Paul Devereux et al, op.cit., p.119.
28. See Paul Devereux (with Paul McCartney), Earth Lights (Turnstone Press, 1982); Paul Devereux et al, op.cit.; Paul Devereux, Places of Power (Blandford Press, 1990); Nigel Pennick & Paul Devereux, Lines on the Landscape (Robert Hale, London, 1989); Paul Devereux, Earth Memory (Quantum, an imprint of W. Foulsham & Co. Ltd, 1991)
29. Paul Devereux et al, op.cit., p.163.
30. Paul Devereux et al, Ibid., p.51.
31. H.H. Read and Janet Watson, Introduction to Geology, Volume 1: Principles (The Macmillan Press Ltd, 1983 (First Edition 1962)), p.139.
32. Paul Devereux, Places of Power (Blandford Press, 1990), p.190.
33. Paul Devereux et al, op.cit., p.163 & pp.219-220.
34. Ibid., p.219.
35. Paul Devereux (with Paul McCartney), Earth Lights, op.cit., p.209.
36. Ibid., p.208.
37. Paul Devereux et al, op.cit., p.219.
38. Just such an apparition is exampled in an Australian case from November 1965. Brisbane's Victoria Park Ghost was first witnessed by 14-year-old Allen Neilsen, who had gone to the park the previous Saturday night (20 Nov.) with some friends. The apparition, described as a 'misty, bluish-white' thing of roughly human proportions, was reported to have floated out of the brick wall of a railway arch, and drifted toward the witness. As with similar tales, it was not long before the cause for the 'haunting' was found: the suicide of a man beneath a train near Victoria park in 1960. Others, though, claimed that the park was renowned for ghosts as far back as 1903 (The Australian, 25 Nov. 1965, p.3; The Courier Mail (Brisbane), 22 Nov., fp., 23 Nov., fp and p.3; The Age (Melbourne), 23 Nov., p.3; The West Australian, 22 Nov., p.21., 26 Nov.. p.20; Sydney Morning Herald, 23 Nov., p.10; The Herald, 22 Nov., fp; Telegraph, 22 Nov, fp., 23 Nov., p.18., 24 Nov. (fp).).
In March 1999, ‘tjohns’ posted his own encounter with the ‘Brisbane Ghost’ on the www.anomalies.net website (see ghosts/stories/brisbane-ghost.html). The sighting, which is attributed to 1964 (when he was 11), describes a very similar scenario to Allen Neilsen’s sighting. Accompanied by his mother, sister, his brother and his girlfriend, they waited at the underpass: "On the far side of the underpass a streetlight was throwing it’s [sic] light through the branches of a tree on the left hand wall. This had a vaguely human shape. Mum walked up to it and said ‘This is what people think is the ghost’. As she said this from out of the wall directly behind her came rushing out! A [sic] ghost, shaped very nebulously, rather bright and glowing but giving off no light itself. What was terrifying about it was the PURPOSE it seemed to have as it suddenly exited the wall. Everybody either screamed and ran back, or just ran back to the traffic barriers, about 20 feet.
"I remember the girls actually shrieking in terror, particularly my sister who was now hanging around my neck and screaming into my ear. We ran back to the posts and automatically turned around. The bloody thing was standing about two feet away from [sic] as if looking at me. I was certainly looking at it. As they say, for what seemed eternity but was probably no more than a second it floated in front of me, opaque and I think very pale bluish white gently rocking side to side. It hung there for a few seconds more then it shot back into the underpass at great speed straight through and out the other side where it suddenly disappeared instantly as if at the flick of a switch."
In another case, the A34 Newbury by-pass construction site in October 1996, two or three witnesses described a 'grey hazy thing' with discernable head and shoulders but no features. The first witness, Scott "The Prof" Aggarwal, who saw it at around 1.30 a.m. on 21 October, described it as having 'come up' out of a hole and walked into a nearby portakabin (without opening the door!). Again, a historical cause for the haunting was quickly identified: the Civil War battles of 1643 and 1644 which took place nearby. (Mysteries, TV series, presented by Carol Vorderman, BBC, 1997).
39. Jennifer Westwood, Albion (Grafton, 1992), pp.18-19.
40. Taking into account Keel's 'window areas', Devereux's 'earth lights', and the apparent correlation between sunspot activity and paranormal events on Earth, is there opportunity here to introduce a new term - 'earthspots' - to describe those areas that experience repeated outbreaks of anomalous activity?
41. Paul Devereux et al, op.cit., p.48.
42. Valerie Illingworth (Ed), Collins Dictionary of Astronomy (HarperCollins, 1994), p.445. See also the more up-do-date range on the link Spaceweather.com’s webpage Sunspot Archives (URL: http://science.msfc.nasa.gov/ssl/pad/solar/images/zurich.gif), which details sunspot data from 1749 to Present, including the increase in solar activity of the latest period of maxima from mid-1999 through 2000.
43. Sunspotcycle.com site
44. Adrian G. Gilbert & Maurice M. Cotterell, The Mayan Prophecies (Element Books, 1995), p.51.
45. Ibid., p.50.
46. Paul Devereux (with Paul McCartney), Earth Lights, op.cit., p.89.
47. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) site
48. For instance, an interplanetary shockwave from a 17 February (2000) full halo coronal mass ejection passed by Earth on 21 February at 2100 UT. The passage of the wave was recorded by NASA’s Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE), which showed the solar wind velocity jump from 330 km/s to nearly 450 km/s, and a density increase from 3 to over 10 protons per cubic centimetre. The shock wave carried with it a magnetic field with a strong southerly component, which are sometimes capable of partially cancelling the Earth’s magnetic field at the point of impact, allowing plasma (ionized gas) to enter the magnetosphere, causing aurora and other effects. (Source: ‘Interplanetary Shock Wave Passes Earth’, Space Science News (NASA) website, 21 February 2000).
In apparent support of the correlation theory we find two reported Phantom Road accident cases in Kent during the mid-2000 peak phase, in June 1999 (Hartley, see Chapter None notes; and January 2000 (White Hill, Chapter Nine). Whether Blue Bell Hill will spawn any fresh sightings remains to be seen.
On 15 February 2001, the Sun's magnetic field flipped. The magnetic north pole, in the Sun's northern hemisphere just a few months previously, flipped to point south. "This always happens around the time of solar maximum," says David Hathaway, a solar physicist at the Marshall Space Flight Center. "The magnetic poles exchange places at the peak of the sunspot cycle. In fact, it's a good indication that Solar Max is really here."
The Sun's magnetic poles will remain now as they are until 2012, when they will reverse again - a transition that happens at the peak of every 11-year sunspot cycle. (http://science.msfc.nasa.gov/headlines/y2001/ast15feb_1.htm).On 4 April 2001 it was announced that the Sun had unleashed one of the largest flares on record. The flare was classified as a major event and was more powerful than the one in March 1989 that shut down a Canadian electrical power grid causing six million people to lose power for nine hours. However, radiation did temporarily disrupt radio communications. A storm of protons 10,000 times greater than usual was created and this swept past the Earth. ('Sun unleashes the Big One' (http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/sci/tech/newsid_1260000/1260310.stm)).
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