Are there ghostly goings on in Gosport, headless monks in Horndean? The pleasant county of Hampshire has always possessed a treasure trove of legend and superstition, although much altered in the present century by the development of Portsmouth and Southampton. Local author Pat Ross has amassed a collection of stories both old and new, from those which have been well documented in the past, to the more modern psychic manifestations of phantom hitch-hikers, alien big cats, UFOs and poltergeists.
She keeps an open mind on the subject, and has produced a blood-curdling chronicle to prove it.The resulting book contains enough paranormal panoramas even to tempt Mulder and Scully away from their perusal of the X-Files and into the local county record office.
Hampshire is now dominated by its densely-populated,industrialised coast, but behind the modern façade, it still retains some of its earlier links with the natural world, in the form of a rich folklore, to which the author has added some more recent brushes with the supernatural,including the haunting of a waxworks on the Isle of Wight.
Chapters include Armed Services Ghosts, Hospital Hauntings, and Ghosts of the Road and Railway.Well-known denizens of the supernatural world, such as Jack the Painter,Dame Alicia Lisle and Charles I share the stage here with other less familiar manifestations, including animal ghosts, and the so-called "Alien Big Cats” which continue to baffle researchers. Perhaps the most unsettling chapter is the one on phantom hitch-hikers. The girl who begs a lift on a rainy, dark, lonely road, then vanishes, or the twisted face glimpsed fleetingly in the rear-view mirror by the driver who thought he was alone in the car. Then there was the man who artlessly told his local priest about the monks he had seen wandering round, who were wearing strange, unfamiliar white habits, only to realise with growing horror that he had seen not present-day monks, but some sort of psychic echo of a pre-reformation scene.
A book which it is impossible to read without a chill going down one’s spine, Hampshire Hauntings and Hearsay is a worthy addition to the canon of literature documenting the dark and spooky side of one of England’s most pleasant and historic counties.
Also by Patricia Ross
Hampshire at War; an Oral History, 1939-1945
Follow "Mee” to Gloucestershire