The ghosts of Rye . . .

The shuffling tread of long dead feet . . .

Down Watchbell Street to a blackened oak,
Sweeps a white-haired man in a swirling cloak.
Through the silent night comes a piercing scream,
And a rope drops down from an old ship’s beam.

You run down Pump Street and the flickering light
Of a silver spectre floats out of sight.
Something shuffles behind a door,
Thick chains scrape on a cold slate floor.

A shadow moves from side to side,
And through a splintered pane is spied,
The crackling face of a burning bride,
Blistered eyes, mouth open wide.

Your blood runs cold at the fearful cries
Of a smoke-stained smuggler with blood red eyes.
As he shouts “You will pay for your lies with your life”,
A cornered King’s man dies on his knife.

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A headless woman dressed all in white . . .

From Ypres Castle’s tower comes the ghostly light,
Of a headless woman dressed all in white.
And you watch through the Landgate the terrible sight
Of a flesh-eaten boy racing through the night.

Down Cinque Ports Street blows an icy blast,
And a one-eyed highwayman gallops past.
You hear the din on Mermaid Street,
Of the shuffling tread of long dead feet.

Through a creaking door you bolt within,
Down the corridor of a coaching inn.
Your breath turns to ice as you turn to see
The fell, foul face of an old banshee.

You run to the church but you can’t get in.
A small brown bat brushes past your skin.
In the graveyard a cur springs from under a tree.
Phantom or flesh? It’s too dark to see.

Down the hill you flee from the fang-toothed hound,
And you stop by a cellar to a scratching sound.
From behind a wall by a pirate’s trunk,
Comes the mad muffled screams of a bricked-in monk.

You turn from the wall but recoil in fright,
As before you stands a ghastly sight:
In a broken mirror you return the stare
Of a dark-cloaked man with pale white hair.

* Guided ghost walks around Rye can be booked through the Heritage Centre – see website for details

Photos: Tony McLaughlin