Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Ghost of the Monk Bell Ringer

This is a very unique ghost story for it involves a ghost who saved a living person from the wrath of another much more evil ghost. 

This story takes place in a modern vicarage located in Cambridgeshire, England. This vicarage was built on a site that 800 years before had been a monastery. In the mid 1800s a vicar and his wife moved into the Elm vicarage with high hopes for their new parish. What happened next was surprising and traumatic especially for the vicar’s wife.

When the site was a monastery it was the duty of one monk to keep watch on the water level of the nearby Fen at night. If the water level rose to a dangerous level this monk was to ring a bell in order to alert the rest of the monastery. 

Unfortunately, one night the Fen did indeed flood but this monk who was assigned to watch had fallen asleep so he did not ring the bell. The monastery flooded and several monks drowned. It was said this monk was plagued by guilt and shame for his neglect for the rest of his life. In fact, his spirit was still at the vicarage in the mid 1800s.

Shortly after the vicar and his wife moved in strange things began to occur. Their sleep was interrupted by footsteps, the two investigated but no cause was found for these noises. 

Things came to a head when one evening as the vicar’s wife walked along a narrow corridor upstairs she heard a pleasant male voice advise her, “Do be careful”. Gathering her courage she asked, “Who are you?” At which point the phantom appeared before her. He was wearing a brown monk’s habit and sandals. He introduced himself as “Ignatius, the bell ringer”.

After this first encounter the vicar’s wife saw and talked to Ignatius on several occasions each time in a different part of the house. He initially appeared to her as a faint outline, which gradually took on a more 3-demensional appearance. She described the monk as a young man with dark curly hair. He appeared most often at dusk.

One fall evening the vicar’s wife decided to sleep in the home’s spare bedroom that was normally used for guests. The family’s dog had a habit of sleeping with her but this night he appeared nervous and started to whine. He left the room several times only to return growling. She finally was able to coax him to stay. Once settled in she quickly fell asleep. 

But sometime during the night she was rudely awakened when she suddenly felt something tied around her throat. She turned on the bedside lamp and spotted a vine from outside the bedroom window lying across her neck. As she went to remove it she was picked up forcefully and thrown out of the bed. On the floor she saw a black hazy figure leaning over her. A pair of boney hands reached out and gripped her throat as they tightened she choked not able to breathe. Horrified, she wondered if she was about to die.

In the next moment she saw Ignatius appear walking toward her. He gripped the hands that surrounded her neck and firmly pulled them away. The vicar’s wife fell backwards so shocked she couldn’t move. She then saw a massive dark figure with a red face bending over her. Her dog began to growl and lurched at the figure. Not remembering how she got to her feet she ran to where her husband slept. The wife was surprised to find him sound asleep it seems he had heard nothing.

For weeks afterwards she had bad bruises on her neck. When once again she encountered Ignatius he told her that the ghost of a man who had been murdered in the room where she slept had attacked her. He then smiled and faded away. 

The vicar’s wife never encountered Ignatius again. She took comfort in the fact the reason for this was because in helping her he had redeemed himself and paid penance. He was forgiven and now was finally allowed to rest. He was never seen again at the vicarage.

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