Capturing a (Welsh) Ghost

by MJ Wayland

For a fortnight in February 1888 the inhabitants of some unnamed village on the outskirts of Shrewsbury were afraid of night terrors, or to be precise, the dangerous pranks of a so-called ghost.  As with many ghost sightings in the mid-Victorian age, soon there was a large group of villagers ghost hunting.  When I say ghost hunting, I mean out for blood and carrying sticks.  Sadly most paranormal historians miss that fact that the general populace resorted to mass violence when dealing with a ghost.  My future book “The Victorian Ghost Hunters” will be dealing with this and other Victorian ghost subjects.

Although the ghost alluded the ghost hunting villagers for a number of days, he was finally captured and was discovered to be a Welsh farmer who had recently moved to the area. A local newspaper reported, “His captors chastised him severely, and had it not been for timely interference he would have probably been lynched.  He had, as it was, a very narrow escape, and was only released on handing over 5 shilling to the Salop Infirmary in payment for his folly.”

I have been able to find many reports of large groups ‘ghost hunting’ with what seems to be hope for violence and unmasking the hoaxer.  Times have definitely changed.

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