The Ghosts of Brockley Combe

With several sightings of ghosts in the area, Brockley Combe is believed to be one of the most haunted places in England. Situated to the south-west of Bristol, the combe is a picturesque and beautiful spot by day; however, at night there is a distinctly otherworldly atmosphere…

The apparition of a terrified old woman has been seen in the woods of Brockley Combe. The ghost is believed to be that of Dinah Swan, a 90-year-old woman who reportedly died of fright in 1833 after her home was raided by ruffians. The body of the old woman was found at her home and several of her belongings were missing. Her ghost was last seen in 1940 by a woman from Weston-super-Mare. Dinah’s spirit apparently appears around midnight and is said to bring misfortune to those who witness it.

A ghost trainer has been seen on at least three separate occasions. The first to see this spectacular event were a group of gypsies who lived in the forest at the time. The carriage was a hearse-shaped vehicle pulled by four horses, and according to them, its driver also appeared to be headless! The second sighting was by a skeptical fellow who, having heard that Brockley Combe was haunted, decided to investigate for himself. After running away from a soccer party he had previously had an encounter with after meeting in the woods, the man encountered the supernatural trainer and subsequently reassessed his old skepticism. Another person who witnessed the ghost coach was a cyclist who was very nervous when the ghostly vehicle materialized out of nowhere and apparently went right through him!

The doomed spirit of an evil parson has been observed prowling a path through the combe. Supposedly, the specter is that of a man named John Hibbetson who in 1776 witnessed a serious fall of Chelvey’s squire, James Stevens, and subsequently nursed him back to health. However, as soon as Hibbetson curried favor with James, and the squire altered his will so that the vicar inherited a substantial amount of his fortune, Hibbetson promptly murdered him. John Hibbetson was also rumored to practice devil worship and it is said that upon his death a terrifying beast was seen entering the parsonage to claim his soul.

Other ghosts are said to haunt Brockley Combe. These include a ghost known as the Bounding Ghost, who is apparently a slender figure hopping silently along a path through the woods. An apparition known as Phantom Girl is believed to be that of a young woman who, according to legend, committed suicide by jumping from one of the combe’s boulders after a love affair ended in tragedy. A specter known simply as the Ghost Man has occasionally been seen in the woods by various witnesses. The mysterious figure is cloaked in black and stands at the foot of one of the trees.

St Nicholas Church in the village of Brockley is said to be haunted by an apparition known as the Little Lady in Brown. The spirit is believed to be that of a former cleaner who died around 1900. Several visitors to St Nicholas have witnessed the ghost in the church aisle and sacristy. Renowned ghost hunter Elliott O’Donnell held an all-night vigil at the church in the 1940s, but was unable to witness the Little Brown Lady, although he did report strange whispers and footsteps whose source could not be identified. .

The combe is also home to Brockley Court, an old manor house where a real ghost was apparently photographed. Elliott O’Donnell visited Brockley Court on a number of occasions and came to the conclusion that he was indeed highly haunted. Accompanied by a variety of acquaintances, O’Donnell oversaw a series of nightly vigils at the house where he witnessed a variety of supernatural phenomena. However, perhaps the most terrifying was the ghost of a monk. One of O’Donnell’s companions was startled when a monastic figure with a ghastly skull face suddenly leaped down the stairs at him. This appearance had a second appearance in a camera dubbed the “haunted room” and was later photographed by another acquaintance of O’Donnell. When the film was revealed, he showed the face of an evil looking monk…

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