The views, ideas and explanations expressed on this page are
not necessarily those of the site owner or SPI. Although we
are not always in agreement with what is printed here we are
open to other peoples ideas and views.
A WITCH IN A
You might have heard of a ship in a bottle
- but have you ever heard of a witch in a bottle? This is the
tale of one very troublesome witch.
At the Priory of St. Peter
in Dunstable, on a cold winter's morning, a local woman called
Sally was condemned of witchcraft by the Priory monks. She was
slowly burned at the stake. Her cat and broomstick suffered
the same fate. But Sally did not
choose to go quietly as some did. She died loudly, screaming
and cursing to her last breath. She threatened a terrible revenge
on the monks who had condemned her.
The monks quickly found
out that Sally was far more trouble dead than when she had been
alive! Mysterious things began to happen. Invisible hands boxed
the monk's ears; the church altar candles flickered and spat
with an evil green glow.
Where Sally's ghostly fingers
touched the prayer books, the covers were burnt. The monks could
not pray in peace or sleep at night. It was driving them mad!
An exorcist was finally
called to exorcise Sally's ghost, in a special church service
but the troublesome witch would still not go quietly.
When the exorcist began
the service, he was struck round the head with a mighty force
that threw him to the ground. As the dazed exorcist struggled
to his feet, the congregation froze in fear as the witch's menacing
laughter rang from the rafters above.
But the exorcist himself
was cunning and he finally outwitted the witch by putting a
witch's lure in a bottle. The lure was a secret mixture, known
only to a few people, of herbs and potions. It was very like
a witch's spell itself!
The lure was so strong,
it soon attracted the attention of the witch and when Sally's
curious ghost went to investigate, the exorcist rammed the cork
into the bottle tight! He gave a warning that the bottle must
never be broken or the witch would escape and take terrible
revenge on everyone.
The bottle was buried in
a secret place in the priory grounds, just to make sure any
friends of the witch could not retrieve it. However, as nobody
knew where it was buried, it was said there were no more burials
in the priory churchyard, just in case the buried bottle was
accidentally broken, releasing the ghost of the wicked witch
As far as we know, no strange bottles have ever been dug up
near the site of the old priory but, if you should find yourself
in the area, just remember to tread very, very carefully.
An 18th century poem -
the Witches Warning - gives sound advice:
The spirit in the bottle
Go softly where ye treade
The lady is a cunning one
Disturb ye not the wicked dead
Never tarry on a restless
Lest ye finde what darkness means
For she will trouble thee until in sleep
And steal thy soul through dreams.
of Christchurch, Greyfriars.
This is the site of an ancient burial
ground where lie the mortal remains of the she-wolf of
France, Queen Isabella, wife of the English King Edward
II. With her lover, Roger Mortimer, she instigated the deposing
of the king and had him imprisoned at Berkeley Castle. On the
night of 21 September, 1327, he was brutally murdered by way
of a kind of horn or funnel
thrust into his fundament
through which a red hot spit was run up his bowels. His
screams could be heard far outside the castle walls, and are
still heard there on the anniversary of the horrific event.
Following Mortimers execution by her the kings son,
Edward III, in 1330, Isabella retreated into a polite retirement.
She died in 1358, her last years having been racked by violent
dementia. She was buried here at Greyfriars, with the heart
of Edward II placed upon her breast. At twilight, her beautiful,
angry ghost flits amongst the trees and bushes, clutching the
beating heart of her murdered husband before her.
Lady Alice Hungerford was
considered a great beauty of the Tudor age and she too murdered
her spouse, in her case with a lethal dose of poison. In 1523
she paid for her crime by being boiled alive. She was laid to
rest at Greyfriars, where her beautiful, serene phantom was
soon drifting through the cloisters and aisles of the monastery
and, following its dissolution, through the burial ground that
sprang up on its site.
And so the two ladies went
about their nocturnal rambles, each blissfully unaware of the
others existence, until one night, in Victorian times,
they met among the tombs. Eyeing each other with curiosity,
then surprise and finally hostility, they each became jealous
of the others beauty, and a fearsome battle erupted as
they fought over their territory. Bemused witnesses could only
look on in terror as the spectral fight became more and more
vicious. A night watchman, caught up in the midst of the ghostly
squabbling, was so frightened by the experience that he fled
the scene and never
came back to collect his pay.
you have a true ghost story or 'spooky' tale to tell please
email them to us for inclusion in this magazine.
anyone wants to contribute an article or story to this online
magazine please email me with your ideas.
of the articles, stories and pictures in this magazine are copyrighted
and must not be copied or reproduced in part or whole without
prior written permission from the owner.
Brenda Diskin 2008 (Webmaster)