We have a Friday 13th ghost story... a ghost that is said to walk every 13th of August. The location is the Pilchard Inn, a pub on Burgh Island in Devon. Now Burgh Island is an interesting place in its own right as it can be reached at low tide by walking across a strip of sand but at high tide you need either a boat or to take a life on the island’s sand tractor – which is a kind on mini open top bus on stilts. The main attraction on the island is the art deco hotel, which was used by the crime writer Agatha Christie for the setting of two of her detective stories And Then There Were None and the Hercule Poirot mystery Evil Under the Sun.
However it is not the hotel that is haunted but the pub which is said to date back as long ago as the 14th century, when it was used as a refuge by fishermen fishing for pilchards. According to legend, in later years the island became the home of smugglers and pirates, including a character called Crocker who may at one time even been the landlord of the Pilchard Inn. Sometime in the 18th century he met his match when he was shot dead in a fight - on the 13th August – with either a rival gang or customs officers. Apparently today you can buy a baguette and a pint at the Pilchard Inn – the baguette being something that would have definitely not been on the menu at the pub in Crocker’s day.
Incidentally fans of Swinging Sixties pop trivia might like to note that Burgh Island and its sand tractor were the setting for the final scene of 1965 movie Catch Us If You Can featuring The Dave Clark Five – a band that at one time were rated as the main rivals to The Beatles.
Curated by English barrister and Reuters correspondent turned editor, author, blogger, podcaster, award-winning tech journalist, storyteller, and sometime werewolf hunter Charles Christian. He writes, he drinks tea, he knows things. This site also has links to Charles' books and the Weird Tales Show videos and podcasts.
Descended from a motley crew of smugglers and witches, Christian was born a chime-child with a caul and grew up in a haunted medieval house by the harbourside in the Yorkshire seaside town of Scarborough. He now lives in a barn on a ley-line in rural East Anglia. His latest book is The Mysterious Wold Newton Triangle: Wraiths, Werewolves & Other Weird Tales from the Yorkshire Wolds (Haunted Landscapes Volume 2)
According to folklore a caul-shrouded chime-child can't drown at sea but can see and talk to faerie folk and also has protection against spells cast by malevolent sorcerers. And yes, he was once commissioned to go on a werewolf hunt on the night of a full moon by a newspaper. Spoiler alert: he didn't find one. (Or it didn't find him.)
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