As my last ghost write up went so well here, I thought you might like the results of another case some of us looked into in 1994/5.
It may not be as ‘spooky’ or spectacular as some other cases which can boast eerie settings and atmosphere, which is probably why it generally avoids reference in many contemporary ghost books.
With colleagues, I spent several days investigating this haunting; a fact made easier that the small town of Waltham Abbey is only 15 miles or so from where I live in North London. I included a short piece in my book Dark Journey about this haunting, and it reads as follows:
“THE Ancient Ruins of Waltham Abbey, like nearby Minsden Chapel, have for long been reputed by a ghostly monk, a shrouded figure that has been reported in the scant ruins. Its main haunt is an old stone archway, one of the few relics still left standing in the grounds.
Diana Dean, Parish Clerk to the magnificent church of Waltham Holy Cross and St. Lawrence (just adjacent to the ruins) confirms that this ghostly figure has been sighted by many people, although she points out that the rector clad in his clerical make-up on his way to choir practice, could account for some of the sightings. Other local residents remain unconvinced, however, that the ghostly figure is of human origin, and relate tales of ‘ethereal music’ heard in the grounds late at night and of a black-clad figure that mysteriously disappears as it walks past witnesses, leaving in its wake a lingering smell of incense.
But ghostly stories and legends connected with Waltham Abbey, are by no means of recent origin. One legend has it that towards the end of the 18th century, a local maiden committed suicide in the nearby river Lea after being rejected by her suitor. Her ghost is supposed to haunt the Abbey ruins, a sad wraith that beckons to people and then just disappears.
But back to monks; there is another story which, if true, could well give these reports some authenticity, bearing in mind that many psychic occurrences could have as their cause events of great tragedy.
According to legend, at the time of the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1540, several monks were murdered at the Abbey by soldiers of the king. It amounted to a futile resistance; leastwise made martyrs of an unnamed few who were buried in a mass grave within the Abbey precincts …
Whatever the truth behind this tale, it is unlikely that we shall ever know. Truth here, would appear to be as evasive as the elusive phantoms that reputedly haunt Waltham Abbey.”
© David Farrant