By The royster
I chose to take the Ghost walk with a guide from Peterborough Museum.
These were held once a month and were especially effective on the dark nights during Autumn and Winter. There would be a guide to talk us through the tour, which, obviously would make the walk far more interesting.
I joined several other brave souls gathered in the museum, some were with friends others, like myself, were on their own. There was a lot of chatting and the occasional giggle as, no doubt, the subject of Ghosts was being discussed. A total of twenty of us were taking the tour tonight.
As if from nowhere, a figure stood before us, dressed in a long dark grey coat which reached to the floor, a high collar along with a Black top hat completed by a black cane with silver handle. This cane had strange markings, the like of which I had never seen before. His whole attire looked rather spooky. The room fell silent. ‘Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen’. Our guide spoke with a deep, smooth almost monotone voice. "I am your guide for this evenings walk, my name is Henry and I welcome you all."
"I must stress that you should all keep together during our walk as there have been occasions when members of the party have disappeared, never to be seen again" He followed this with a rather scary laugh.
The lady standing next to me was beginning to get worried and whispered to me 'I'm not sure about this, maybe I should go home'. I assured her that this was only a story telling experience which should only be taken lightly. I suggested maybe a glass of wine before we went home at the end of the tour would help calm her down again. She agreed, "Oh yes, that sounds like a good idea, perhaps we should stay together during the tour’. By the way, "My names Roy," very pleased to meet you Roy, mine's Angela."
‘Now then Ghost hunters’ boomed the voice of our guide. ‘Forward let us go for the next two hours, into the unknown’. I must admit, his voice did manage to send a shiver or two along my spine, but hey, I thought, it’s got to be worth a laugh and I did now have company.
Into Priestgate we walked. It was quite funny to see how the group were almost huddled together, almost scared to be apart. In fact I was surprised they weren’t holding hands. Whereupon Angela's arm slipped into mine.
" We’ll stop just here a moment or two" said Henry. "It was just here on this corner of Priestgate that a flower seller, who had used this spot to sell her wares for many years, suddenly disappeared without trace . However, On the 1st of November around midnight every year she was to be seen sitting on the steps of the very building that now stands in that place. Unfortunately, as this was late September we would have to venture to this spot at our own leisure. If we dare."
As we walked out into Cathedral Square Henry led us towards the Cathedral. "Now there’s some history in there" I said to Angela to which she agreed and now seemed much more relaxed. This wouldn’t last.
Henry stopped as we came to the archway that led into the Cathedral grounds. ‘As we enter this archway , please be aware that you are now walking on grounds that have seen the burial of many souls over many centuries. It is of great importance that we tread carefully lest we should disturb those that would take offence to our intrusion. Those that died a horrific death, and there were many, both young and old who take not kindly to those of us that live happy and peaceful lives. Theirs’ was not such.'
My companion, Angela and I we now found ourselves at the front of our party, which is when I had a feeling that all was not right with Henry. His walk seemed strange, but with the long coat it was difficult to pinpoint the reason for my feeling of unease. I kept this to myself as I didn’t want to alarm Angela without good reason. I turned to look at the others, and felt that we were rather fewer than the twenty that began this evening. I was guessing they had decided to go their own way or go home. Angela noticed this also. She also mentioned a cold feeling as we passed through the archway. I guess I was taking too much notice of Henry’s strange walk but yes, she was right, I had noticed it too without putting it down to the place we were now entering.
A few more stories taking us back through many centuries were told and the horrors that befell these people. Terrible living conditions, treated as slaves by the so called gentry. Hunger and disease would be the death of many, young and old. Though not frightening, it was the way Henry told these tales that had the effect of making you tread carefully folk had lived and died here over many centuries.
Back towards the Museum via a few old lanes and alley ways, I still couldn’t make out what it was that drew my attention to Henry’s walk. Angela and I both looked behind us, it was noticeable that we seemed to be back to our original number. Strange indeed.
Our walk continued through the town centre but although Henry was still telling tales of woe as we passed over the bridge crossing the river Nene, I was more engrossed in the conversation between Angela and myself. It was almost as if we'd had our scare for the night and were enjoying each others company more than the rest of this tour. Before we knew it we were almost back at the museum. Angela and I had actually made arrangements to meet again, very soon. This I was really looking forward to.
Suddenly, without warning, a scream the likes of which I had never heard filled the air and a mist rolled down between the buildings. This was no ordinary mist, it was pure white and felt as if we were walking through ice just a short distance from the museum. We could hear the doors to the museum open and in a panic we all rushed to get inside, away from the noise and extreme cold. We all followed Henry into the building, Angela and I were just behind him. It was then his gliding walk made sense. He was just gliding not walking. The door behind us closed with a resounding “Bang”, as one we all turned round sharply, then back again. Henry was nowhere to be seen. His long grey coat was hanging in an Exhibition case along with the Black hat and that strangely marked cane. His voice boomed out of nowhere. ‘I do hope you have had an enjoyable evening Ladies and Gentlemen, do come again, Hahahahaha’.
We all left the building, heard the lock turn behind us. There was no mist, just a typical Dark, Damp September night. Four members of our group asked what happened at the Cathedral Archway as they had not seen any of us. All they remember was being among strange looking people dressed in furs, cooking on open fires with children playing among small animals and strange smells. Then suddenly walking through an icy, white mist back to the Museum. I'm guessing their experience was considerably different from ours. As for Henry, Well, If you ever fancy a ghostly walk I guess he’s the one to take you.
As for Angela, We did have a glass of wine before venturing back to our respective homes. We arranged to meet again on the 1st November at midnight. Yes, she suggested meeting the old flower seller in Priestgate and we would meet there. I drove into town on that night parked not far from the museum and walked to the aformentioned building.
It was five minutes to midnight when I arrived, looking so much to seeing Angela again. Standing there waiting for her, a clock in the distance chimed the midnight hour. "Hello Roy, I'm so glad you came" and there she was, Angela, sitting on the step surrounded by flowers. She looked so peaceful with the most beautiful smile, tears filled my eyes, I was lost for words then as I wiped the tears from my eyes she said "same time next year my love", I looked up, she's gone!
I've just had a Ghost walk of my very own. How wonderful.