10-10-2007, 06:25 PM
The Dancing Ghost.
A most unusual ghost has been reported at Honor Oak Park in Dulwich, South London. Near One-Tree Hill there is a large cemetary, and it is here that the ghost of a young girl appears. She is said to be in her late teens, and she has long blonde hair. Unlike most ghosts, this young lady appears to be quite content, for she is often seen dancing happily.
The Skulls Of Calgarth.
Kraster and Dorothy Cook owned a small farm near Troutbeck; it overlooked Lake Windermere in Westmorland (long ago, changes to county boundaries transferred the village and its outlying areas to Cumbria). The couple worked hard, lived simply and were happy. Much of the land adjoining their farm was owned by a wealthy man, Myles Phillipson - a grasping social-climber. Despite his fine possessions and great riches, Phillipson harboured a burning ambition. He wished to build for himself and his family a magnificent new house that would impress his upper class cronies and display his status.
Phillipson wanted to erect his new house on the site of Kraster Cook's little cottage - a beautiful location with wonderful views of the lake and the fells beyond. He tried many times to persuade Kraster and Dorothy to sell their farm. Each time they refused. The bid was increased; bigger and bigger sums of money were offered - amounts Phillipson thought only fools would refuse. But the Cooks valued something more than money: their happiness on the farm they loved. At last Phillipson's thwarted ambition turned sour. He swore to gain the Cooks' land by hook or by crook...whether the farmer was alive or dead. It is said that his beautiful, but unscrupulous wife devised the plan which eventually brought disaster to all the Phillipson family.
A week before Christmas Phillipson visited the Cooks' cottage. He was charming and friendly. He had decided, he said, to build his new house on his own land. He could see the Cooks were determined not to sell and who could blame them? No one would willingly move from such a perfect place! He hoped that Dorothy and Kraster would let bygones be bygones, forget the angry words of the past and remain friends. To show his goodwill, Phillipson invited them to dinner on Christmas Day.
Of course, Dorothy and Kraster were delighted to hear that their powerful and influential neighbour had given up the idea of buying their land. But they hesitated before accepting the invitation. They knew they'd feel out of place and uncomfortable at Phillipson's grand house and in the company that would be present. However, to show their renewed friendship and so as not to offend him, they politely accepted.
Christmas Day came, Dorothy and Kraster dressed in their best clothes and set off for the Phillipson mansion. Their host and hostess made a great show of trying to put them at their ease; but Dorothy and Kraster were like fish out of water. They sat awkwardly with the other guests, speaking only when they were spoken to and saying very little.
Dinner was served. On the dining-room table, opposite Kraster, stood a silver bowl (some accounts say it was a cup). The poor farmer, perhaps as much to avoid conversation as to admire its beauty, stared at the expensive object as he ate.
After a while there came a pause in the conversation. Out of the silence Mrs Phillipson said loudly to Kraster: 'I see you are admiring that bowl, Mr Cook. It is indeed worth looking at!'
Every eye in the room seemed to be turned on Kraster as he mumbled some polite reply about his hosts' good taste. Other guests commented on the beauty and value of the ornament before the conversation passed on to different subjects.
When dinner was finished, the guests went off into other rooms to dance, talk and play Christmas party games. But not Dorothy and Kraster. They waited about in the dining-room until they could discreetly take their leave. Free at last from the ordeal, they walked back with relief to more familiar surroundings.
Some time during the next day, a troop of soldiers marched up to their farmhouse. They had orders, they said, to arrest Dorothy and Kraster. Without any delay or explanation, the bewildered couple were carried off to jail and locked in separate cells.
For a week the farmer and his wife were not allowed to communicate. They next met, confused and shocked, in court. Only then did they learn why they had been arrested. They were accused of stealing the bowl Kraster had noticed on Phillipson's table.
It was on the order of the local Magistrate that they had been arrested. It was the local magistrate who tried them now. That magistrate was Myles Phillipson.
The first and chief witness was Phillipson's wife. She stated that the stolen bowl had been on the table during Christmas dinner in her house. Kraster Cook, she said, had sat opposite the bowl and gazed at it throughout the meal. Indeed, went on Mrs Phillipson, she had mentioned the bowl to him during dinner. Many other guests had heard the conversation and some of them were called to testify. Each one supported Mrs Phillipson's account.
Then came two servants from the Phillipson household. They swore that they had seen the Cooks lingering in the dining-room while the other guests were dancing after dinner.
The bowl itself was exhibited. Two of the soldiers who'd siezed Dorothy and Kraster gave evidence. They falsely claimed that a search of the Cooks' cottage had uncovered the missing item.
Asked if they had anything to say in their own defence, the dumbfounded prisoners could do nothing but flatly deny the charge against them.
In those days theft was punishable by death. So it was that Myles Phillipson, Magistrate, could and did sentence Dorothy and Kraster Cook to be hanged by their necks until they were dead.
Only now did Dorothy Cook find strength and words to speak. In a loud voice that echoed round the courtroom she cried out:
'Look out for yourself, Myles Phillipson. You think you have done a fine thing. But the tiny lump of land you **** for is the dearest a Phillipson has ever bought or stolen. You will never prosper, nor any of your breed. Whatever scheme you undertake will wither in your hand. Whatever cause you support will always lose. The time will come when no Phillipson will own an inch of land and while Calgarth walls shall stand, we will haunt it night and day. You will never be rid of us!'
A few days later she and her beloved husband died on the gallows at Appleby. Their bodies were still swinging from gibbets at the crossroads when the Phillipsons took possession of their farmhouse, pulled it down and began building the sumptuous house they had longed for: it was named Calgarth Hall.