Monday, 12 October 2015

We saw a ghost

We're on our way back from Thaxted. We had quite a complicated meeting this morning which we both found emotionally draining after so many bad nights' sleep. I woke up at 5.30am this morning, for example, and couldn't get back off again, so sat, like a zombie, in the sitting room as the sun came up. I've been in something of a daze all day as a result. It's strange how little resilience one has when utterly sleep-deprived.

Anyway, we did a good afternoon's work on the secret project, slightly buoyed by the meeting, and then, as a treat, came to Thaxted for the evening for a bit of grub and an evening of telly. (We watched this weekend's episodes of Strictly...) it's become increasingly important for Nathan and me to disengage our minds. Unlike everyone else working on the project, we can't close the door on it. We're together 24/7 and have a habit of talking about nothing else to one another, winding ourselves often into little knots. So we need to be distracted...

Speaking of distractions, here's a funny tale...

When my Dad last picked us up from Bishop's Stortford train station and took us back to Thaxted, we got talking about ghosts. We mentioned our friend Abbie who loves a good spooky walk and he was telling us that he'd been on one in Thaxted itself which had been very entertaining.

One of the main sites on the Thaxted ghost walk is a spot just outside the town where the road goes around a hairpin bend and all the signs say "caution, oncoming traffic in middle of road." This spot is apparently famous for a ghostly haze which hangs over the Tarmac. Drivers passing through the mist are said to smell cigar smoke, but there's never a fire...

My Dad himself claims to have experienced the strange phenomenon several times...

So anyway, this evening, as we left the village, the pair of us suddenly turned to each other and said "can you smell smoke?" It was a very odd aroma which smelt, to all intents and purposes, like cigar smoke. "Oh my God... Do you think that was the thing my Dad was talking about?" I said. My face started to flush with excitement; "Did you see any smoke?" Nathan was driving and I'd been looking down at my phone where I'd just typed the first paragraph of this blog entry... Nathan said he didn't think there'd been smoke.

...So we decided to turn around and go back into the village, whilst I called my Dad to say we'd smelt the smell and were going back to investigate. As we went around the bend, sure enough, we smelt the smell again. It was a sweet aroma, somewhere in the cigar smoke spectrum. Sadly there didn't seem to be any actual smoke, so we turned the car around a final time and headed back home...

We turned the corner and there it was... Heading straight for our windscreen, a band of smoke hovering above the road, perhaps a metre off the floor, a metre wide and a metre thick... We passed straight through it and the smell was more intense than it had been on either of our previous passes. It was a proper heart-stopping moment and we both gasped.

I called my Dad again and he told us that the site apparently marks the spot in Thaxted where they used to do the hangings! How profoundly terrifying.

Perhaps more terrifying was what I saw on my screen when I looked down to return to my blog. If you read back, you'll notice that the second paragraph starts with the sentence "anyway, we did a good afternoon's work..." I'd reached the third word and stopped when we smelt the smell. When I looked back at the screen, the third word "did" had been autocorrected and replaced with the word "die." So the last three words I'd written were "anyway we die."

...And on that note, I'll wish you all pleasant dreams!

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