The Everleigh Ghoul

Mar 19, 2011 by

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I’ve visited a great many allegedly haunted locations in my time and I’ll doubtless continue to do so, because these things have fascinated me for as long as I can remember. For the past year or so, I’ve been visiting and trying to study a stretch of haunted lane quite close to where I live, and I’ve been doing so with the assistance of a biologist and separately, some members of the pagan community, as well as people who are knowledgable about local history.

The place is mystifying, because the ‘mood’ there ranges from being positively inviting, to ‘inert’ to being so malevolent that some perfectly level-headed visitors have gone so far as to describe it as evil, a description I’d be inclined to agree with. I’ll save my detailed observations on this place for another time and another place, but when I’ve mentioned its existence on the internet to various friends and acquaintances, I was surprised at just how many people are desperate to visit and inspect a place that is genuinely haunted, or which at least has something very strange about it.

Well, my haunted lane can wait until another time, but there’s a bizarre location on the map above, which is open to anyone who cares to seek it out and it’s on land where the public are allowed to walk. Furthermore, whatever this ‘thing’ may be, it has the added attraction of manifesting itself in broad daylight, just as the monstrous entity in the grove described in Lucan’s Pharsalia was able to do.

So, I spent from 1996 to 2005 living on Salisbury Plain, just a few miles from Stonehenge, and towards the end of my time there, we had a welcome addition to our family in the form of Blueboy, pictured below [with the black coat, staring at the camera].

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I used to take Blueboy all over the plain, while I would occasionally go for long walks with some of my neighbours and their dogs. There came a day when a friend of mine named Michelle asked me if I would like to accompany her and her dog to some woods around Everleigh, so I agreed and we set off later that morning. On the way there, Michelle told me of a strange experience she’d had at one particular spot in these woods, where her terrier Henry reacted strongly to something she could not see. I was intrigued by this and I was curious to see if the same thing happened again when I was present, while I also wondered if Blueboy would be affected in the same way.

It was a warm summer morning with very little wind, so it was pleasant to wander the broad, winding paths through the woods while Blueboy and Henry ran on ahead, occasionally stopping to follow up some scent in the grass or to squabble with each other before hurrying off into the woods. I didn’t need to be told the location of the place that had had a strange effect on Henry, because after a quarter of an hour or so, he came to a sudden halt, staring intently at some spot just off the path before the treeline began.

When Blueboy caught up, he did exactly the same thing and it was as if some all-enveloping force had suddenly stopped both dogs in their tracks and subdued them. Neither of them whimpered, snarled, barked or made any other sound, but they both stood unnaturally still, staring at precisely the same spot to the side of the path to our right. Of course, I immediately followed their line of sight, but I could see nothing, so as I slowly caught up with the dogs, I watched them both carefully to see if I could gain any inkling of what was going through their minds.

As Michelle and I approached, the dogs glanced back at us once or twice, but otherwise, they continued to stare intently at the same spot close to the treeline. Every now and again, they would slowly pad a few inches further back from whatever it was that had captured their attention so completely, but otherwise, they remained stationary and subdued.

There was something chilling in the transformation of the dogs, from two lively animals that had been yapping and bounding along just a few seconds before, to two creatures that appeared to be spellbound and fearful. Perhaps the most disconcerting aspect was the way they were staring at some thing that was clearly very real to them, but which remained invisible to me and to Michelle; it made me shudder at the time and I shudder now when I recall it.

I do not possess the ability to telepathically commune with animals, so I do not know what was going through the dogs’ minds. Nor am I an expert on canines, so I cannot say if their behaviour on that day followed some established pattern that results from exposure to entirely natural phenomena. However, the two dogs seemed spellbound and terribly worried at the same time, so the best I can do is to say that I would probably have reacted in a very similar way if I had gradually become aware of a suicide hanging from a tree in the woods, or if I had realised that a large bundle floating in a stream was in fact the decomposing body of a person who had drowned some days before.

The two dogs were standing a few yards apart, so it was a simple matter to pinpoint the precise location they were fixated with, which was a featureless patch of grass and briars just a foot or two off the path, just before the treeline. I slowly wandered across, something that made the dogs whine, then I carefully inspected the spot for signs of anything at all unusual, but I could see nothing, nor could I smell, hear or otherwise sense anything whatsoever. There was no cloud of insects, no stench, no unusual shadows – nothing whatsoever, so I tentatively took a few steps forward and stood in the spot in question, something that seemed to alarm both Blueboy and Henry, but still I could perceive nothing whatsoever, unusual or otherwise.

After a while, I came back out onto the path, which seemed to please the dogs, who kept their eyes on this strange spot as they gradually trotted past, giving it the widest berth possible. As Michelle and I did likewise, I gazed back at this “terrible place“, which now seemed to have acquired an identity of its own, even if there was nothing tangible to distinguish it from the rest of the woodland. I had the overwhelming impression that there was some thing there, something brooding and malignant that did not fear the light, and which most certainly did not fear me.

I do not have the faintest idea what this thing was and I have never encountered anything quite like it before or since. I was at first inclined to think that it was one of T.C. Lethbridge’s ‘ghouls’, but if that were the case, then I should have experienced something beyond mild apprehension, whereas I did not. The area around this grim place was featureless as far as I was concerned, while I had even knelt down to inspect the earth and scrape at it with a knife to see if anything were concealed just beneath the surface. I never heard any stories of local tragedies or hauntings, so I am completely baffled, but there was definitely some thing there, lurking beside a reasonably well-frequented path in broad daylight.

I intend to visit this spot again, this time in the company of my biologist friend, to see if we can shed any light on the matter. That’s another story for another day, though, as is the fact that my friend Michelle went on to become the creator of the Ancestor, or Stonehenge Giant.

All good things to those who wait.

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Dennis Price

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Mindscape Blog Tagged with: animalsBlueboylanelocationMichellemorningSalisbury Plainspotway

About the author

Dennis Price is a classical scholar and former archaeologist; he is also a writer, speaker and broadcaster, who lives in the West of England among the enchanted and sometimes unnerving relics of Britain's past. Regarded as an expert on Stonehenge, he is also the author of The Missing Years of Jesus and is co-author of Ancient Code.



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