Thursday, April 21, 2016

Wandering 'Woman in Black'

The following account of a wandering "Woman in Black" was published in the Yorkshire Telegraph and Star on November 7, 1908:

The latest ghost story comes from Ipswich. On the Ranelagh Road, in a quiet neighbourhood near the main railway station, general alarm among the residents has been caused owing to the declarations of the members of one family that a “woman in black” has haunted them for several weeks past. At the house in question there went to reside five weeks ago the new stage manager of the Hippodrome, Mr. Crane. Coming from Scarborough with his wife and two little daughters aged 8 and 5 respectively, he rented the house, mainly owing to its pleasant and healthy situation, and having no idea that it possessed a history which linked it with ghost stones.

Terrified by the weird happenings at their home, the family took a hurried departure Thursday evening, since when an otherwise quiet suburb has been visited by crowds people anxious to find the ghostly object, which is described as a "woman in black.”

The figure was first seen in a passage next to the house on 29th October by the elder of the two daughters, who naturally in her fright cried for her mother. Mrs. Crane, rushing to her frightened child, exclaimed, “Woman, what you want?” The figure made no reply, but backed away and disappeared through the door which leads to the coal-cellar. The strange apparition is described as having the figure of woman of medium height. It floats through the air, it is said, about 3 ft. from the ground, and is clothed in black. Its lower limbs or feet are visible, and though the body appears fairly substantial, only the upper part of the face can be seen.

The eyes are deeply sunken, but the cheekbones are large and protruding. On the head is a curious kind of three-cornered black shawl. The right hand and arm hang loosely by the woman’s side, but with her left hand she trails a very large bundle wrapped in something resembling unbleached calico and tied at the top. The child Ivy thinks that this bundle is a baby, and says she saw the woman place it for a moment on the staircase. On the forefinger of the left hand is a broad ring set with one very large stone.

The husband returning from his duties at the Hippodrome has on several occasions found his wife and children in a state of collapse, the spectral figure having frequently been seen by them. Mrs. Crane, feeling safe in a new home, declares that the ghost touched her on the shoulder in the pantry only last Sunday, and that she saw it four times during Thursday. She also says that it came accompanied with a cold draught of air.

To some extent the story is supported by the statement of a married couple who left after spending only one day in the house. Their explanation to their friends was that “they had seen things in the night.” A neighbour is also positive that last Christmas, when the place was empty, there were strange noises to be heard.

I could not find anymore information regarding this story.

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