Marc’s Ghost story.
“It was on New Year’s Eve, 31 December 1980. I finished work at the Abbey Tavern at about ten to twelve and rushed home on my bike to change for the party which we had planned to have after work. Because I was in a hurry I did not take my normal route from the Abbey Tavern towards Dalton to avoid the Abbey Ruins, but instead decided to cycle quickly past the abbey.
All was of course very quiet. I could hear only the noise of rubber tyre on the wet road surface. I kept close to the pools of light radiating from the few street lamps. I stole a furtive glance into the ruins. All was black and only the outline of the upper walls could be seen in sharp relief against the lunar lit clouds. I cycled on very quickly.
I came to the junction. A single lamp cast poor illumination over the area. I pedalled up the tree lined road towards Rating Lane. This was the darkest part of all. I felt as if I was fleeing from my own fear and I kept my eyes determinedly straight ahead, not daring to look aside or behind.
As I reached the broken arch of the West Gate the lights went out. It was mid-
A car’s headlamps flashed by on Rating Lane and broke my trance. I pedalled hard and fast all the way home. I had had a fright. I’m sure I’d seen a ghost!”
By Marc Walden.
Was this the ghost of Alexander Banke, the abbot who had destroyed Sellergarth?
Marc Walden was 16 years old when he saw his ghost. A former GP, he is now a medical consultant in Australia. He is still convinced he saw a ghost 25 years ago.
Barrovian Edith Lockley also saw, with her husband, the phantom of a cowled monk in the same place as Mark’s ghost about the same time, -
Before rubble had been cleared away in the Belfry Tower in the 1840s, there were many people who believed that the rubble covered a vault containing the bells and treasure of the abbey and that the White Lady ghost was the guardian. At her appearance lights were extinguished and the great iron door grated as it closed, trapping any would be thieves.
In 1978, Barrovian David Tucker saw two dark clothed hooded persons walking near the precinct wall. The phantom figures were seen clearly for a period of 45 minutes and at regular intervals by others while walking near the abbey at night, in the following two weeks. The sitings were reported in the local newspapers. David’s uncle also had a ghostly experience as he walked one night near the haunted cottage by the West Gate, where Marc saw his ghost. The White Lady walked beside him for a few minutes. His hair stood upright in fright because he could see right through her. He never passed through the West Gate again.
In 1988 professional photographer, Roy Chatfield was photographing Furness Abbey. He was focusing on the West Tower where “God” was positioned for the 1998 Mystery Plays. When the film was developed he was amazed to find that one of the prints showed a ghostly white figure standing in the grounds. He is positive to this day that it was not visible through the lens of his camera when he took the photograph.
In 1957 Fiona Abingdon (fictitious name), was walking with her partner when she saw a ghost similar to the one seen by Roy Chatfield. A short time later, when she was driving past the same place she again witnessed a ghostly appearance. Suddenly the rear mirror was filled with light. Thinking a car was close behind, she tried to stop the light blinding her, but the mirror was still brilliantly illuminated. As she was going up the hill towards South Lodge, she turned to see who was following her. A cold shiver ran down her spine when she saw the White Lady ghost sitting on the back seat of her car! Accelerating, she passed South Lodge. Then all went dark – the ghost had gone. Shaking like a leaf, Fiona managed to get home in one piece, but to this day she never goes along that route in the dark.
(Photograph reproduced by kind permission of Roy Chatfield).