At the Crossroads

What with it being nearly Halloween and all I thought I'd reminisce about one of my favorite things about England: really cool ghost stories. With so many centuries of history behind them, the English have a lot of good gruesome tales to tell. The Warwickshire area has lots of fun ghosts but the ones we pass almost everyday live at Gibbet Hill.

--Gibbet Hill, back in the day

A gibbet is actually a gallows -- one where criminals were hanged and then left to rot to warn anyone who passed by. Back in the day this particular spot was chosen because it was the main crossroads of two major roads, where most people were likely to pass by the rotting corpses and learn an important lesson about stealing someone else turnips or the like. Today Gibbet Hill is the intersection where we turn left to get onto campus.

--this is the road to Gibbet Hill. ahh, so lovely on a moped.

There are stories about hanging corpses that you can see at a certain time of year, and my favorite are a group of three criminals who were told by a witch that they would be saved from execution the next day if they saw a white rabbit. They stayed up all night hoping to see one, and watched out the sides of the wagon on their way to Gibbet Hill, and even searched the brush eagerly as they were being strung up on the gibbet, but they were dead before ever saw a rabbit. Now they say that when you see a white rabbit on Gibbet Hill, you can also see the dangling bodies of the three criminals, still waiting for him! I check everyday, haven't seen a white rabbit just yet.

Crossroads were believed to be places of liminality, where this world and the afterlife met. Witches met a crossroads, the devil waited at crossroads to take people's souls, people who committed suicide were buried at crossroads, ghosts could return to crossroads -- they were dangerous places!

On one of our days wandering the ancient preserved woods near
Gibbet Hill we found a spooky old crossroads on a path through the woods. Here Marc braves the dangers of ghosts and witches and the devil, and manages to keep ahold of his soul. ----

(As I write this the wind is howling and whistling so loudly outside--and I'm on my way past Gibbet Hill to my warm safe home)


Super L said...

Hmmmm, how do you KNOW he kept his soul? He is startlingly good at the guitar, you know . . .

KT and Lance said...

ooooo, you need to go try it at night! Take a pic, and see if there are any strange lights in it, or ghosts or whatever, like in Bath! Of course, then you might really risk loosing your soul, so I don't know!

Sue said...

Love reading your blog. You have such an interesting life.