Another snippet from Tales of Old Berkshire. This seems to be cobbled together from several different tales. Maybe there were more than one Maria Hales, or the beer in the region may have been of the strong variety:
Maria Hale, a woman who lived at Aldermaston Village, some 120 years ago, was very much feared. It was believed that she could turn herself into a large brown hare, a story which gained credence when she was seen limping around her cottage after a game keeper had shot and wounded the hare in its hind leg.
Poor Maria Hale: when she died her coffin was well weighted down with bricks and large stones so that she could not leave her resting place in the churchyard.
Nevertheless, a local shopkeeper felt nervous, and would glance over his shoulder to make sure her ghostly form was not hovering near, when he told the tale of the sides of bacon which Maria had persuaded him to buy from her. Reluctantly he had gone to her cottage and saw the witch take two beautiful flitches from underneath her mattress. His customers assured him that they were of superb quality – but Maria Hale kept no pigs!
Spooky! But what was the point of this?