T’was a quiet evening at Axe Edge Green Farm on All Hallows’ Eve. Living in the middle of nowhere means there are no trick or treaters like there were where we used to live. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t mind little Johnny boy from down the road knocking on my door asking for sweets, aged 10. However, it was a bit much years later when he used to come home from the pub knocking on our door past last orders.
We made our jack o’lantern and placed it by the front door to ward off any evil or restless spirits that may be roaming. They are renowned for dwellings in the dark valleys, old packhorse tracks and ancient footpaths. There are so many footpaths in our area that next year I think we should plant a field of pumpkins and turnips to protect our guests!
However, I’m not exactly sure the lantern works. I sometimes wake up in the middle of the night and go outside to stare longingly at the stars. This morning was no exception (after all, I had my lantern to protect me!). All the usual suspects were present, shimmering beautifully in the sky. As I turned to go home a dark figure in medieval fancy dress was standing next to me. He was pointing at the sky. I thought it was very convincing fancy dress and then he spoke to me in what I think was old English.
“For betere if Þat heo wepe here Þan ellef hwar beo deouele yuere.”
I looked at the sky and it had suddenly turned very misty. It felt very cold. I looked towards the stranger and he was gone.
This Halloween “experience” didn’t really surprise me to be honest. The whole area always feels ancient. All you have to do to feel the same atmosphere is to walk to Lud’s Church or the Three Shires Head. Next year, I may give a night tour – with a jack o’lantern of course.
Written by Ian Butterworth.