We moved to Cornwall last year. To Launceston and very close to Bodmin Moor. It’s a beautiful area with its hills, misty valleys, tiny villages, meandering lanes and moorland that seems to stretch for miles. Out on the moor, mysterious places suddenly appear like magic. There we find half pulled down houses, feral cats, the sound of barking dogs and many sheep. Yes, sheep are everywhere, cows too and streams, bogs and brooks. It’s like a fairy tale place where rays of light shine through trees, then suddenly a thicket turns everything into shade. Bodmin Moor is a mysterious place where every turn manifests its own particular landscape. Sometimes we see alarming scenes too, like dead dogs or cats, road-kill, that touches our own inner dread, that may happen to us. Maybe it is the silence, or the isolation, I don’t know – but one get’s a feeling of entering a different realm.
There are unseen presences too; those around Roughtor report manifestations of misty figures as if watching you and sometimes touching you – although invisible to the eye. The Tors themselves, high up and breezy, have a feeling of being lost and alone. The sounds and smells of the moor are still the same strange stuff of yesteryear. The supernatural seeds are sewn right there and then!
Author Dame Daphne du Maurier once said, while standing in a field on the edge of the moors, that she felt like an astronaut in time. I remember walking down those little pathway toward the holy well in St. Neots last year, when a similar feeling came over me too. I felt I was walking away from planet Earth as I left that small village behind, even though the day was fine and sunny. I decided to stop there and then; to turn back to the village without ever seeing it.
Our next stop was the ‘Jamaica Inn’. Daphne du Maurier’s novel of the same name has immortalised this Inn forever. When we arrived, it was lunch time. The Inn was full and even with Covid, every table was taken. We squeezed into tiny seats beside the door – just across from us, the plaque marked the place where Joss Merlyn had been murdered. He had been the villain in D. du Maurier’s novel Jamaica inn, he being the cruel owner of the Inn, and central character of the story. It’s a book worth reading! Was the Jamaica Inn such a bete noir of the paranormal? Could this busy sunlit Inn have been the centre of so many intriguing activities? Well here’s something from Michael Williams’ booklet on Jamaica Inn from his own experiences..
Ghosts – around Bodmin Moor
“In Oct. 1998, I was a member of the Ghost Club Society term which investigated Jamaica Inn. That night, between the hours of 11 p.m. and 2 a.m., there was almost a kind of psychic electricity in the atmosphere. We had a remarkable sighting.
The small bar, where nine of us were present, was dark but some light was reflected from the main bar. Five of us saw a man sitting in a chair or it might have been on a wooden bench. Two of us were unsure about the sighting and the last two did not see anything. When the lights went back on, the man had disappeared and, significantly, I noticed that a collection of logs in a container stood before the area where the man had been seen. At the time of the sighting, I was not aware of the logs and, then when the lights revealed the present day geography of the room, there was no sign of a chair or a bench. We had quite simply experienced a time slip – and had viewed that part of the room as it had once been many years ago.
The man had not belonged to modern times. He was dark but not that distinct – like a painting that had faded somewhere through age. He was there – I have no doubt about that – and he somehow generated the impression of a person of business. “
– Joss Merlyn was a man of business – a wretched business – hardly bares mentioning.
Highly recommend the booklet ‘Ghosts around Bodmin Moor’ – Michael Williams
Jamaica Inn photos – below
Spirit is the heart of matter;
matter is the ensoulment of spirit.
-Gaston BachelardMore photos to follow in another post..