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Mother Leakeys Ghost version 2

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1907
 

Otherwise known as the Whistling Ghost: There was a certain Mrs.Leakey who, about the year 1636, resided at Minehead, where her only son drove a considerable trade between that port and Waterford, in Ireland, and was the owner of several vessels. The old gentlewoman was of a social disposition, and so acceptable to her friends that they used to say to her and to each other, that it was a pity that such an excellent good-natured old lady should die. To which she was wont to reply that, whatever pleasure they might find in her company just now, they would not greatly like to see or converse with her after death. And her friends found her as good as her word. No sooner was she decently buried than she began to appear to various persons by night and by noon-day - in her own house, in the town, in the fields, at sea, and upon shore. She so far departed from her former urbanity that she is reported to have kicked a doctor of medicine for his impolite negligence in omitting to hand her over a stile. It was also her humour to appear on the quay and call for a boat; but especially as soon as any of her sons ships approached the harbour, this ghost would appear in the same garb and likeness as when she was alive, and standing at the mainmast would blow with a whistle, and though it were never so great a calm, yet immediately would arise a most dreadful storm that would break, wreck and drown ship and goods. When she had thus proceeded until her son had neither credit to freight a vessel, nor could have procured men to sail it, she began to attack the persons of his family, and actually strangled their only child in the cradle ! Her last exploit consisted in attempting to startle her daughter-in-law, by looking over her shoulder when she was dressing her hair at the looking glass. But young Mrs.Leakey who appears to have been a woman of courage, was not at all frightened by her unexpected appearance. She coolly turned round and entered into conversation with her, beseeching her to go to an Irish prelate, then noted for his crimes and misdeeds, and exhort him to repentance so as to avoid the gallows. The bishop, however, simply told her that, if he was born to be hanged, he should never be drowned; and using his episcopal power effectually 'laid' the ghost, of whom nothing has since been heard !
In 1637 the Bishop of Bath & Wells presided over a Commission to inquire into the matter of this alleged apparition, and the following extract from the report conveys the sum and substance of the whole: "Wee doe believe that there was never any such apparition at all."

Quoted from a copy of the Minehead Guide 1907.

 
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