November – Advent Begins & Essex Ghost Stories

4.5So here we are, on the 1st of December. Now we can all feel free to roll on the tunes and put up the decor… It’s Christmas!

Are you opening that flimsy cardboard flap to pull out a 3mm thick 0.1% cocoa chocolate (if I can even call it that), just like every day and year gone by during advent? That’s were we come in, with our tantalizing and interesting advent countdown. You will notice a second image box near the usual ‘danger keep out’ picture to your right with a cool image in. Every day until Christmas the 25th (which will of course have something BtP even better on the day), we will be updating our ‘Photography Gallery’ and image box to the right with a neat photographic shot from either me, Joe, or the online community. Keep your eyes peeled and get checking daily!

Here’s a close up of today’s image, featuring Hadleigh Castle:

The size illusion is really well performed, plus the festive snow suits the occasion!

Despite this, I think we could also do with an interesting article for today. This is all about ghost stories in Castle Point, which as we all know, ghost stories are related to Christmas for no apparent reason.

Let’s start with the castle itself:

It was also during this time that the castle got a reputation for being haunted by a woman in white. A milkmaid called Sally, from Castle Farm, saw the ghostly woman early one morning. The ghost commanded Sally to meet her again at the castle at midnight. But the girl was too frightened to go. She was met the next morning by the ghostly woman, who was so annoyed that she had been disobeyed that she hit the milkmaid around the head, almost dislocating her neck. After this, the girl was known as ‘wry-neck Sal’

From http://www.hadleighcountrypark.co.uk/HistoryCastle.htm

And now onto Canvey:

Local Canvey legends have it that around 865 AD, in one such battle a Long Boat did indeed face battle and sunk without trace just off the Canvey Island coast. The boat met it’s watery death and sunk beneath the waves. In the panic many Viking warriors struggled to make their way to the Canvey coastland, but on that rough windy night the currents that form as the Thames meets the North Sea were too strong and powerful for even the most rugged of Vikings, and all the crew lost their lives desperately trying to reach the land. None survived, all were taken. All except one. One warrior made it to the mud flats of Canvey and managed to haul himself up onto the shore. But it was too late he didn’t have an ounce of energy left and he soon died on the shore. It is said that under the right circumstances his ghost can still be seen, crawling and stumbling across the mud flats, desperately searching for his friends and his boat. The ghost has been reported by many different people, over many years. Witnesses include a local priest in the 1950’s, so if ever you visit Canvey Island, take a stroll to Canvey Point, wait for the Sun to set, and see if you can see the Canvey Viking.

From http://www.strangeuk.com/home/item/55-canvey-viking-ghost

If you’d be interested in more local ghostly tales and places to visit, I recommend you get this book:

‘Haunted Essex’ by Carmel King

It really is excellent, plus gives you an unbeatable insight into the local area you thought you knew…

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