Hooded figures on the Fens

October 31, 2008

Its Halloween and we just got back to Peterborough in time for our usual trick or treaters. When the kids were younger we always did the house up like the Adams family home with strobes, and candles and plenty of eery sound affects. Here is one of the few genuinely chilling stories I collected on my travels, read no further if you scare easily …

One of the nature reserves deep in the Fens can be accessed only by a long lonely track leading from the farm to the reserve. As you walk along the stony path you pass two cottages on the right hand side. These cottages are known locally as the ‘phantom cottages’ as there are certain times of the year when passers by have reported that they have been surrounded by a smell of roses at times when you would not expect to smell roses.

This track is rumoured to be the place where someone was murdered and the body left un-noticed for weeks. This gives certain more sensitive folk, a distinct feeling of unease as they walk along, with only their footsteps interrupting the peace and quiet of the area. The ex-site manager used to call this area ‘Hereward country’ as Hereward the Wake had once lived in this area. There are numerous ghostly tales associated with the area but this one is absolutely true.

One late and stormy afternoon as he was walking along the track past the phantom cottages and on through the reserve it was particularly gloomy and spooky. Storm clouds were gathering and you could hear thunder rumbling away in the distance.

Suddenly, as he neared the clearing where the old shed he called an office stood, he was aware of something as he peered into the gloom under the old yew tree. Hardly daring to give a second glance he noticed what looked to be two cowled figures dressed in what he later described as “garments from the middle ages”.

They looked like they were stooping beneath the tree and stared out into the gloom towards him. The hairs on his neck stood on end and his pace quickened as he tried to make it to the shed before these two apparitions might approach him when the smaller of the two shouted out in a quiet but perfectly understandable voice. “Have you got the keys?”

He realised that it was two of his reserve workers sheltering from the rain, waiting for five o’clock when they could go home.

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