Tom Sorrell’s Ghost

Another scary story from the wonderful autobiography, ‘Old Oak’.

A troublesome fellow had this Sorrell been when living, and a troublesome fellow he remained after his death. They buried suicides in those days at the cross-roads, with a stake driven through them. Sorrel had committed suicide, and possibly felt discontented with his other-world lodging. Be this as it may, he persisted in disturbing his erstwhile neighbours night after night, till it became necessary to involve the aid of the Church. It was a long and tying business for he clerics summoned from the surrounding villages to help in the “laying”. They drew the troublesome spirit to the edfe of a dee well and had nearly prevailed on him to descend, when he suddenly turned nasty. He was willing to be laid “while sun shone and water ran.” but they insisted on “forever and a day”. that “day” was too much for him, and e refused to fall in with any such idea. They repeated the apostle’s Creed and other set forms for the occasion both forwards and backwards and again and again. Still he remained obstinate, and it looked as if all their work would be in vain. Fortunately, however, he began to show signs of tiring too, and eventually the Church triumphed. That same night an old law-wife, named Mollie Waite, who lived near the well to which Sorrell was consigned, was brewing, and towards dawn, hearing footsteps, turned round,t find old Parson Wells of Ledbury in the bakehouse. He asked for a drink of wort, and she noticed as she handed it to hm, that his face was streaming with sweat and that he was “ready to drop” with fatigue. What he said to her or what she said to him I ned heard, but it was through her that the happenings at the well became known all over the countryside. Anyway,, the troublesome Tom never disturbed a single house in the village again either by night or by day.

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