For a fortnight in February 1888 the inhabitants of some unnamed village on the outskirts of Shrewsbury were afraid of night terrors, or to be precise, the dangerous pranks of a so-called ghost. As with many ghost sightings in the mid-Victorian age, soon there was a large group of villagers ghost hunting. When I say ghost hunting, I mean out for blood and carrying sticks. Sadly most paranormal historians miss that fact that the general populace resorted to mass violence when dealing with a ghost. My future book “The Victorian Ghost Hunters” will be dealing with this and other Victorian ghost subjects.
Although the ghost alluded the ghost hunting villagers for a number of days, he was finally captured and was discovered to be a Welsh farmer who had recently moved to the area. A local newspaper reported, “His captors chastised him severely, and had it not been for timely interference he would have probably been lynched. He had, as it was, a very narrow escape, and was only released on handing over 5 shilling to the Salop Infirmary in payment for his folly.”
I have been able to find many reports of large groups ‘ghost hunting’ with what seems to be hope for violence and unmasking the hoaxer. Times have definitely changed.