Posted by Admin on 25 July 2011, 12:22 pm

Has any reader seen a ghost lately? Speaking for myself, I am almost certain I have never encountered supernatural phenomena –  a statement I qualify on account of what happened on an extremely dark night during World War Two when I was on my way to Chale Rectory for my weekly tutorial in Logic and Greek.

I was almost at the gate of the Rectory when I heard footsteps hurrying towards me – feminine footsteps, I thought. They came closer and passed me, but although the road was not wide I saw no-one. This, in itself, was not remarkable, for as I said above it was a dark night. But the thing which caused me momentary uneasiness was that I experienced an eerie feeling of being alone with footsteps for which no human body was responsible. Imagination? I dare say it was. But I admit I was relieved to get inside the building.

Which brings me to the story I set out to tell – a tale related to me by my cousin’s wife, the late Jean Gates, née Jean McDine.

Those who have read Ghosts of the Isle of Wight, that most interesting book by Gay Baldwin, will know of the uncanny happenings which took place in Thornborough, the home of the late Mrs Archibald Clarke.

Thornborough, a four-storey mansion, before it was pulled down, stood in Binstead Road, Ryde; and it was there, in the late nineteen-twenties, that Jean, a robust and completely unimaginative young woman, went to work. Needless to say, she knew nothing of the history of the house, and had no idea it was haunted.

At that time, the upper part of the building was reserved for the use of someone who came there only very infrequently, and one day, when they ran out of coal downstairs, Jean was sent to bring some from the rooms above.

She was on her way down, and had reached a landing which had a window overlooking the porch, when she was seized by overwhelming fear which caused her to race down the remaining stairs as if pursued by devils. The feeling which motivated her panic was indescribable.

The window she had passed was one from which the female servant mentioned in Ghosts of the Isle of Wight had fallen to her death.

Jean, whom I later knew to be as strong-nerved as any woman I ever met, as long as she remained in service there, would never again go upstairs.

T. C. Hudson

© T. C. Hudson.
This article may not be reproduced without prior permission of the author.

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