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Gibbet Ghosts, Folklore and Forteana

Jack White

Location: Bratton Seymour (Somerset) - Jack White's Gibbet (junction along the A371, Bratton Seymour and Holton)
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: Jack was a murderer and left in a gibbet to starve to death. His ghost is said to wander the site of his crime and punishment.


Location: Caxton (Cambridgeshire) - Caxton Gibbet Inn, Room 5 (no longer standing)
Type: Unknown Ghost Type
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: Footsteps pacing around in the upper part of the building have been allocated to a former landlord (or his son) who killed several of the guests. Several other phantoms were also said to haunt the ill, although it has been gutted by fire and may not be rebuilt. The gibbet outside the ruins was made from timbers from a cottage demolition in the village of Caxton in the early 1900s, although it was not the one from which the murderer hanged.


Location: Caxton (Cambridgeshire) - Road from Caxton Gibbet to Graveley
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: It is rumoured that a phantom hitch-hiker thumbs his way between Caxton Gibbet and Graveley, but no witnesses appear to exist.

Glowing Figure

Location: Cliffsend (Kent) - Site of old gibbet
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: The burial site of crooks and suicides, a glowing figure appears here and was blamed for a handful of weird car accidents near the site.

Murderer Begging for Mercy

Location: Dartmoor (Devon) - Gibbet Hill, Black Down
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Weather Dependent: Stormy nights
Further Comments: One fellow was hung in the gibbet while still alive - it took many days for him to slowly die of thirst. His voice is occasionally heard begging for someone to kill him.

The Grey Lady of Dorchester.

Grey Lady

Location: Dorchester (Dorset) - Site of gibbet
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: This phantom figure seen around the site where the gibbet was stood is thought to be either a Tudor woman or the ghost of Martha Brown, the last woman to be hanged for murder in Dorset.


Location: Elsdon (Northumberland) - Winter's Gibbet
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: The last man displayed on a gibbet in England, Bill Winter now haunts the place he was displayed for the crime of murder. A local legend states that wood from the gibbet can be used to banish toothache.

An old postcard of Hindhead.


Location: Hindhead (Surrey) - Close to gibbet at the Devil's Punchbowl
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: 24 September 1971
Further Comments: While driving through the area, one man spotted a figure in tattered clothing stagger across the beam of the car's headlights and disappear into the punchbowl. The witness later returned to the area and found a memorial stone to the unknown sailor, murdered in the area in September 1786.

Vanishing Hitchhiker

Location: Nunney (Wiltshire) - Gibbet Hill, lane between village and Frome
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: 1977
Further Comments: Reports in the national press stated a motorist had stopped in the lane to pick up a hitchhiker, who vanished once in the car. The same hitcher is also reported around the area of Nunney castle.

Smelly Corpse

Location: Over Stowey (Somerset) - Walford's Gibbet, and Dead Woman's Ditch
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Smell unknown, swearing in 2022
Further Comments: The smell of rotting flesh that hangs around this area is blamed on John Walford, a local man who murdered his wife - his executed body was placed in a gibbet here. The ghost of his wife haunts the ditch where she died, and may have been the entity spotted by a ghosthunter in 2022; the spook told the ghosthunter to 'f**k off'!


Location: Penrith (Cumbria) - Gibbet Hill (aka Beacon Hill), six kilometres outside of Penrith (gibbet marked by a stone)
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Winter nights (reoccurring)
Further Comments: Hanged for the murder of his godfather, Nicholson's body was left dangling throughout the winter of 1766/1767 as a deterrent to others... Some say it still makes an appearance during harsh winters, his skeletal remains hanging from a gibbet.


Location: Romney Marsh (Kent) - Site of Gibbet
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: Buried under the gibbet that housed his body for many days, the highwayman is said not to have completely left this earth. . .


Location: Rye (Sussex) - Gibbet's Marsh
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Between midnight & 03:00h (reoccurring)
Further Comments: Seen several times around the early hours of the morning, this figure is watched as he walks across the field and heads towards the river.

Woman in Long White Dress

Location: Shrewton (Wiltshire) - Crossroads known as 'the Gibbet' and other roads in the village
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: 1970
Further Comments: The phantom woman in white can reputedly be heard as her long dress rustles past.

Headless Horseman

Location: Thaxted (Essex) - Gibbets Cross, crossroads
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Twentieth century
Further Comments: A local farmer told his friends that he watched a headless horseman sitting upon a white steed pass by this crossroads.

Lean Hound

Location: Tring (Hertfordshire) - Area where gibbet once stood
Type: Shuck
Date / Time: Pre-1863
Further Comments: A black, lean dog with fiery red eyes would stand in the middle of the road in his village, sinking into the ground if approached. It was thought to be the spirit of a chimneysweep executed for murder.


Location: Warwick (Warwickshire) - Gibbet Hill - University of Warwick Halls of Residence
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Late twentieth century
Further Comments: The sounds of someone crying hysterically could occasionally be heard in this modern building. One report claimed that the newer halls of residence were built upon a demolished building which housed the bodies of those executed on the hill.

Black Robed Figure with a Skeletal Face

Location: Wickham Market (Suffolk) - Potsford Wood, B1078, gibbet marked by plaque
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: 1980s, 1997
Further Comments: This is the location where the hanging of Jonah Snell occurred, though nothing suggests that he is the ghost in question. In 1997 a couple reported being harassed by a black shapeless object that moaned gently at them late at night when their car broke down near the site, while the 1980's sighting occurred in broad daylight; a truck driver stopped for a call of nature near the plaque, paused to read it while walking into the woods, and felt a tap on his shoulder. Turning, he came face to face with a skeletal form, hooded and dressed in robes. The truck driver ran to his vehicle and drove away.

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