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At The Crossroads

 

The experience that I recount here is an old one, having happened when I was sixteen years old, which is seven years ago. It happened in the small village of Hindhead, which is built around a crossroads that has been there for quite some time.

Perhaps a little history is necessary, to set the mood and give you a little back-story, although I should point out that all of what I write here I have only found out recently, having taken an interest in the history of the area.

Hindhead, as I stated, was built around a crossroads on the coach track from London to Portsmouth, way back then there were only a smattering of homesteads in the area, and at the crossroads itself there was only a single coach house. Around fifty miles from London Hindhead was something of a lawless area and many a traveler or tradesman met their end travelling along that dark coach track, especially around those crossroads.

Of course, it was not just the innocent who passed on to the next life. Nearby is a spot called Gibbet hill, no prizes for guessing what it was named after: A gibbet used to stand there where murderers and highwaymen were regularly hanged. A Celtic cross on a stone pillar stands at the gibbet, reportedly placed there to ward away evil spirits, of which I'm sure the area has more than it's fair share.

There is older history here too; on the side of gibbet hill, although today mostly covered with heath and low shrubs, in an ancient chalk carving of a horse that in times past would have been visible for miles around.

However, I'm rambling here, to sum up perhaps this statement from the 18th century journalist William Cobbett will give you some idea of what I am trying to convey. He described Hindhead as "the most villainous spot God ever created".

Anyway, on to my own experience in the area. I was walking home from a friend's house in the nearby village of Beacon Hill, heading back to my own town of Haslemere, situated about five miles away. The journey takes just over an hour and the only route takes you over the crossroads at Hindhead.

It was around three in the morning, it was summer time so it wasn't a particularly cold night, the day had been muggy and the sky was overcast still, no stars were visible and only the light of the occasional dim streetlamp lit the way. As I was approaching the crossroads, usually rammed with traffic during the day, but now eerily silent and empty, I felt a strange sensation, that feeling of being watched. Cautiously I glanced around but could see nothing, so I continued on my way.

The feeling did not go away, and in fact worsened, in the silence I found myself acutely aware of any sound at all, and couldn't help but think that I could hear the faint clip clop of a horse's hooves on stone or cobbles. I picked up my pace and again glanced around, but saw nothing. It was when I reached the middle of the crossroads that I suddenly felt very cold, as I said, it was a mild night and this sudden chill struck me as odd, since it didn't seem like a breeze was causing it.

The really strange thing is what I heard next. The sound of hooves had stopped, it had been quiet anyway and I had now convinced myself that it was imagined, but then I heard voices, quiet and muffled, as if they were very far away, yet at the same time it felt as if the sound was coming from just next to me. I turned to look but there was nothing there, still the feeling of cold though, and the voices, although I couldn't hear the words, sounded as though they were having an argument.

Bewildered I stood around for a while watching intently the spot where the sounds seemed to be originating. Though it could have been a mere trick of my eyes or of the dim light, I thought that I could see shadowy shapes before me, one roughly conformed to the outline of a man, perhaps wearing a hat, the other was larger, the size of a car perhaps, but equally indistinct.

This was too much for me, and I hurried away from the crossroads, upon leaving the area the cold vanished and once again the night was mild and silent. I was somewhat frightened for the rest of the walk, but nothing further happened.

I have passed that same spot late at night many times before and many times after, and whilst I have always felt uneasy there I have never had another experience like this one.

It's perfectly possible that what I saw were merely shadows, that the cold was merely a breeze, and that the sounds were imagined or else echoed by some strange qualities of the acoustics in the area from a nearby house. But the way that I felt whilst I stood there leads me to think that there is at least some possibility that this was an occurrence of a supernatural nature.

Thanks for reading. Sorry it was such an essay!

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Comments about this paranormal experience

The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by yourghoststories.com. Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, Easykiel, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

spiritog (1 posts)
 
9 years ago (2008-10-14)
Hi Easykiel,
I rent an office right on the Hindhead crossroads and know a lot about the area, it's history and the murder of the sailor in 1786. I am currently working on a book about these things actually but I am not the first. Check out the 2000 publication "Who Was The Sailor Murdered at Hindhead? 1786" by Peter Moorey available from local shops in Haslemere and Grayshott. The postcards are commonly available on eBay. Search on "Hindhead". A section of the gibbet can be seen in the Haslemere museum. Hope this useful.
Easykiel (1 stories) (35 posts)
 
9 years ago (2008-10-01)
Wow, thanks for the compliments guys, never really thought of myself as much of writer before 😁

Kecoughtan, I'll be sure to check out those sources. I've also heard that some time ago a limited edition set of six postcards, recreated from old paintings, was brought out depicting the story of the unknown sailor. I'm trying to track some down but it's proving somewhat challenging.

As for more medieval hauntings, well, I'm going out to Tallinn next week to do a little ghost hunting, so with any luck I'll come back with a story or two.

Http://www.internationalliving.com/Countries/Other-Countries/Europe/Estonia/Country-Archive/10-31-05
rhodes68 (14 stories) (1596 posts)
 
9 years ago (2008-09-25)
That was an amazing "essay" by a very well-informed and quite eloquent author! Please keep them coming.
Kecoughtan (1 stories) (211 posts)
 
9 years ago (2008-09-23)
Easykiel, I knew when gibbet and crossroads both appeared in your account, this was going to be one amazing story! Thank for you taking pains to include so much historical context for us. You might be interested in a couple of sources that deal with highway robbery and execution in England:

"The Hanging Tree: Execution and the English People 1770-1868" by V.A.C. Gatrell (1994); "The London Hanged: Crime and Civil Society in the Eighteenth Century" by Peter Linebaugh (2003); and "Albion's Fatal Tree: Crime and Society in Eighteenth-Century England" by Hay, Linebaugh, Rule, Thompson, and Winslow (1975).

Although I doubt they include your Gibbet Hill, they provide great detail about capital punishment in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century England. "The Hanging Tree" also reproduces a number of rare paintings and sketches of public executions including gibbets.

Please continue keep us updated on any developments with your research or additional experiences. Thanks for sharing!
autumnsmommy (4 stories) (98 posts)
 
9 years ago (2008-09-23)
hey, I agree with everyone else, you are a great writer. And to put the history of teh place with it makes it that much more special an spooky. I think that you had witnessed something that could have taken place years before.
Bellissima (12 stories) (792 posts)
 
9 years ago (2008-09-23)
Hi Easykiel. What a fascinating story. I agree with ChrisB, you are a fantastic writer. I also agree with the idea of it being residual. Thanks for sharing the history that you know of, it really is one unusual area. I really enjoyed reading of your experience, I don't doubt that you experienced something supernatural.
ChrisB (6 stories) (1515 posts)
 
9 years ago (2008-09-23)
Oh I'm sorry! I didn't read the comments. Thanks for the input. The memorial writting for sure scared me. Harsh words but true. Thanks again. I hope to hear from you soon and take care
ChrisB (6 stories) (1515 posts)
 
9 years ago (2008-09-23)
Hi Kiel. Thank you for sharring this amazing story with us. It was a great read! I have to say you arte one gifted writter. I can't wait to read your other stories. I believe that what you saw might have been a residual haunting. They realy can not harm you but for sure they are scary. This place sure sounds very scary. Have you ever heard of any other encounters people have had? Thanks again for sharring. I hope to hear from you soon and take care
Easykiel (1 stories) (35 posts)
 
9 years ago (2008-09-22)
Thanks for reading guys.

A fair few of my friends have admitted to feelings of fear and of being watched and even followed as they walk through the crossroads late at night, although none have mentioned having an experience like this.

Telling the story here has reignited my interest in the area, but its incredibly difficult to find any details.

There is one tale, linked to a memorial found at gibbet hill, that tells of a sailor who was brutally killed by three men. He had apparently met the men in a nearby inn in the neighbouring village of Thursley. They had travelled with him to Hindhead where they robbed, stripped, and murdered him, nearly beheading him, and then rolled his corpse down into a valley somewhat worryingly known as the devil's punch bowl. 😨

The memorial reads:"Erected In detestation of a barbarous Murder. Committed here on an unknown Sailor On Sep. 24th 1786 By Edwd. Lonegon, Mick Cagy & Jas. Marshall Who were all taken the same day And hung in Champs near this place. Whose sheddeth Man's Blood by man shall his Blood be shed. Gen: Chap 9: Ver 6"

The inscription on the Celtic Cross, supposedly placed there to show that the are was safe, reads: "After Darkness, Light, In Light, Hope, In Death, Peace, After Death, Safety"

It certainly is a strange area!
DeviousAngel (11 stories) (1910 posts)
 
9 years ago (2008-09-22)
That's pretty scary! I wouldn't be going through there anymore unless I had a bicycle or something. At least then you'd have a pretty quick escape route!
Luca (1 stories) (83 posts)
 
9 years ago (2008-09-22)
Hey Easykiel, well told! You should definately look into it more closely, that road seems to hold a lot of stories. Do you know anyone else having a similar experience in that location?
Sorcha (59 posts)
 
9 years ago (2008-09-22)
Hi there Easykiel!
Thank you for posting your story! I enjoyed reading it 😊 No wonder you are interested in the history of the area, I would be too after having an experience like that.

Take care!
xx

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