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Monday, 26 November 2012

Haunted Trees

I took these photographs of a weird looking tree stump when out walking in woodlands last autumn. Not only did its strange configurations remind of the mask worn by the various killers in the scream movies, but it also reminded me of the once common superstition that certain tress had an attraction for evil spirits.

A letter dated 7th July 1606, gives an account of one such haunted tree at Brampton, near Gainsborough. The letter states:

"An ash-tree shaketh in body and boughs thereof, sighing and groaning like a man troubled in his sleep, as if it felt some sensible torment. Many have climbed to the top of it, who heard the groans more easily than they could below."

At length the Earl of Lincoln had one of the arms of the ash lopped off and a hole bored through the trunk. This caused the hollow voice from within to be heard more audibly than before, but in a kind of speech that nobody could understand.

The Suicide Tree

In Fishtoft near Boston, an ancient Hawthorn tree, once stood at a road junction leading to Tower Lane and Fishtoft church. Once a local land mark, the tree is mentioned in the Fishtoft Acre Books for 1662, 1733 , and 1733, and it was once shown on a map of the area. Those travelling the low road to Frieston in years gone by Knew the tree well, but sadly much of the folklore attached it is now lost to antiquity. However, in "The History and Antiquities of Boston" (1856) author Pishey Thompson claimed that the tree grew from the stake driven into the grave of a suicide buried at the crossroads, a memorial that was common centuries ago.

Thompson says: '' We have heard of the name of the particular female said to have been ignominiously interred here and many particulars respecting her, more than a century ago; but do not recollect them."

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