Ghost dance for one

April 29, 2017

28th / 29th April

Warm night. Our normal Ménagerie de trois became a Ménagerie de quatre for a time. Having resisted the temptations of the drinks cabinet all week, I had red wine with my evening meal and brandy and water before bed (to fortify me, you understand). I eat roasted red & yellow peppers with vine tomatoes instead of the fruit that had been daily diet since Monday. Such is life.

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Ghosts abound. They are everywhere. Do you know there are more reported sightings of ghosts in the UK today than in any other country round the world?

It’s not a new phenomena, either.

There are countless references throughout the Middle Ages to ghosts or the spirits of the dead wandering the land of the living. Obviously, as supernatural phenomena, they were to be feared. However, from contemporaneous accounts, it seems that generally speaking these medieval spectres were haunting the living because they needed help. In the year 1457, for example, as one chronicler gleefully relates, a ghost appeared and demanded that his nephew depart immediately on pilgrimage to Compostella; once there a mass must be said to free the soul of the dead uncle from Purgatory. The ghost wanted release.

These medieval visitants were (generally speaking) not ghosts in the modern sense of the word but walking corpses. The fast decaying dead returned. William of Newburgh was in no doubt that to combat these gruesome revenants holy water and various holy relics were very necessary.

To show how widespread the belief in ghosts, during the twelfth century many oaths were taken over a dead person’s tomb. This was to ensure that ghosts took revenge for any perjury or that they acted as a supernatural witness to that oath. Oath + ghost = binding contract (or else!).

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Our preparations for Beltane proceed apace. We hope for good weather, but…? Whatever, it’ll be a good night. And I will Lèche la chatte until my jaw aches like hell!

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