The Hooded Man - Part Two
Date 05/03/2003 | Topic: Short Story
| The Hooded Man - Part One - Can Be Found By Clicking Here|
As the Doctor is now back at college undertaking his ‘finals’ with plenty of coursework to keep him occupied, I have been handed the reins to the second and final part of this amazing story. I only hope that I can do his first part justice, after all writing is not my forte in life, but ask me to edit together footage of one of our escapades on the computer and I’ll do it quite happily using one of the latest versions of Pinnacle. On that night in question we shot some severe footage and an eleven and a half minute documentary called ‘The search for… The Hooded Man’, has been edited together which hopefully illustrates rather well the events that unfolded that Sunday evening. A copy has been burnt onto CD and is no doubt in the post to Tim right now.
Before I resume the tale, I would just like to introduce you to Barbara Green. It was while I was searching the internet for information on Windhouse to find out what really happened there (that gave it the reputation it carries today), that I stumbled across a thread on a rival ghost website regarding Robin Hood’s grave. I was immediately intrigued because I soon discovered that the haunted site in question is not far away from our doorsteps at all! Barbara Green is the lady in question who is behind the website and is the authoress of several books on the subject of Robin Hood and his connections with Yorkshire. For many years she has fought to make the grave a tourist attraction and on each attempt come up against obstacles each time, no doubt linked back to the landowner!
Barbara certainly knows her stuff and it is thanks to her website, with downloadable map, that the Doctor and I even got the idea in the first place. I sent him the links with great excitement and after arranging a date that was suitable for the both of us; we set off on Sunday 9th February armed with our cameras and internet printouts to discover the truth!
Examples of the paranormal activities that have occurred at Robin Hood’s grave begin with the apparition of a white lady who was seen there in 1963 and 1972 gliding across the grass, it has been suggested that it could be the ghost of the wicked prioress that bled Robin Hood to death. Barbara Green herself claims to have seen the spirit of Red Roger of Doncaster (the wicked prioress’s lover) and once on a clandestine expedition, one of Barbara’s team claimed he saw a white figure and vowed never to return. In November 1995 two reporters encountered a strange experience at the grave, one of them heard footsteps approach behind her and she turned around to find no one there, she then felt her bag and camera being tugged from her shoulder and so she shouted ‘get away’, where upon the ghost left her alone. Sadly she was taken ill a week later and rushed to hospital suffering a temporary paralysis from the neck downwards which lasted a fortnight, severe stuff!
The grave has also been the scene of mini exorcisms. It has been claimed that evil spirits dominate the site and make the place very oppressive. An unofficial vampire hunt went ahead in 1990, when there was a lot of controversy in the news that the undead were roaming Brighouse. The search was led by a Byronic modern-day Van Helsing, along with his two assistants. On that dreadful night the men lay in vigil, their vampire repellents at the ready for anything that manifested from the ether. The hunt had also gone ahead after disturbing reports had been heard of mutilated and ‘drained’ animals in the immediate vicinity and of people in nearby villages calling priests to exorcise their homes.
That night the modern day Van Helsing listened intently as a strange sound wafted faintly on the night air, like the discordant sound sometimes made by the wind in the trees. Then the noise became a dreadful wailing which seemed to be approaching them quite rapidly. Candles were lit and a large crucifix brandished at the oncoming manifestation and our Byronic hero cried out ‘behold the light!’ The sound then stopped abruptly, but one of the assistants claimed to have seen a darkly clad lady materialise before him, at first appearing serene, then rapidly changing into a hag with red staring eyes, he shook with terror and insisted that she had been real (Barbara advises we take this information with a pinch of salt).
These are just some examples that Barbara Green has recalled on her website and in her new book ‘Secrets of the Grave’. Ghosts aside, what is of further interest is the fact that Robin Hood’s grave lies on the cross section of ley lines. These ‘ley lines’ as far as we know are ancient lines of mystical power and is one reason why old sacred sites were built onto them. The ancient people were able to sense them better than we can in modern times. One ley line runs between Hartshead Church and Castle Hill (Huddersfield) and another crosses through it by passing from an ancient well in Brighouse to The Three Nuns Inn at Cooper Bridge. Robin Hood’s grave is at the crossroads of these four lines of force, which is interesting stuff. Could these ancient lines actually be creating some kind of energy around the area of the grave (that our minds cannot comprehend), which is making people see or believe something ghostly is there within that ‘haunted’ glade? It’s an interesting theory that I’m unable to prove, but is definitely worth considering.
I shall now pick up the story where the Doctor left it (suspended in the air on one of his dramatic cliff hangers), so please make sure you have read Part One before continuing.
I am by now quite used to receiving a significant level of abuse from my companion (irrespective of where we are), so after I had finished on the mobile (which I’m afraid just had to be done - an apology has been made!) and then received the damning rebuke, I just took it as normal. It was only when his rant was over that things started to happen within that darkened glade that made us wonder if there was some truth behind the fantastic stories on Barbara’s website.
First of all as the Doctor recalled afterwards, a breeze whipped up around the grave. This was rather unusual because we’d not had a puff of wind all day and suddenly in a sheltered glade a light wind came out of nowhere. This was no ‘sweet zephyr’ but a ‘harsh draught’ as my companion described it. Secondly cold as it was already, the temperature seemed to drop even further (it was only 7pm, not the middle of the night!). Our breath condensed before us as we looked around from one strangely twisted tree to another, the freezing air stinging my lungs and making me cough erratically.
I then began filming once more as we made our way around the back of the grave, where vandals had cut through the cage to gain access to within the waist-high stone quadrant. On the far side of it, across the stone paving, a headstone had been set into the front inside wall. Its inscription (in pseudo Gothic) reads;
HERE UNDERNEATH DIS LAITL STEAN
LAZ ROBERT EARL OF HUNTINGTUN
NE’ER ARCIR VER AS HIS SA GEUD
AN PIPL KAULD IM ROBIN HEUD
SICK UTLAWZ AS HIS AS IZ MEN
VIL ENGLAND NIVR SI AGEN
I asked the Doctor (whose face was illuminated by torch light) how he felt and he went into one of his rambles saying that there was supposed to be an oppressive vampiric presence associated with the grave, but he wasn’t quite feeling it yet. He was also disappointed because the batteries on his digital camera had run out, but we still had mine which was fully functioning. I asked the Doctor to climb into the grave, so I could get a photo of him, to which he obliged, pocketing a small piece of iron railing in the process that was lying around, just as a souvenir you understand.
The Doctor climbed into the quadrant, avoiding his head on the broken railings. I watched him cross the stone floor and then gawped as he suddenly cringed just as he reached the headstone (he’d found the oppressive presence!). It was a very noticeable cringe – his hands shot up and his elbows dug into his sides as he stooped forward. At one point I thought he was going to put his head in his hands… but it never came to that.
“Jesus!” He exclaimed passionately when he had recovered his senses.
“What?” I asked, suddenly enthralled.
He looked around bewildered, “God… that was weird! It felt as though I was walking into a fridge!”
Somehow he had crossed some ‘invisible threshold’ that had chilled him to the bone. It’s ironic really because it was under similar circumstances (at exactly the same spot!) that Barbara Green had seen the manifestation of Red Roger of Doncaster (unbeknown to us at the time). She had felt suddenly very ill and increasingly agitated, the hair on her head rising and her mouth turning dry as before her the lover of the evil prioress had materialised, ‘hideous, sneering and hateful, surrounded by tongues of flaming red hair.’
Were the ley lines playing tricks on us all? (Scratches goatee in contemplation)
The Doctor quickly recovered and we had our photo shoot. I also got some footage of the headstone with just the ‘robin heud’ section illuminated by torchlight. After the filming we regrouped at the front of the grave and captured some more footage by torchlight. When we played this back later on, the Doctor suddenly became very excited. He states that as the camera pans down one of the stone corner pillars and reaches the bottom ‘a light’ of some kind (a spark he calls it) dashes off into the corner of the screen. You need a sharp eye and have to know when it is coming up, otherwise you miss it. Again, we don’t know what it is, so can offer no explanation. To me it looks like metal glinting, only there was no metal lying around on the floor! It’s all there on the film we made anyway.
We then decided to get some shots of the front of the grave with my digital camera and what we captured was rather unnerving! I got a shot of the Doctor stood in front of the railings, camouflaged in his black attire (polo neck jumper, jeans and long leather coat). He then returned the compliment and captured me with hands on hips trying to look damn cool, for which I suffered red eye for my efforts. I’d just like to say at this point that it’s ironic how whenever we do this sort of thing I end up wearing brown and my mate gets his blacks out. He nicknames me ‘Stu Brown’ after another Ghost UK member and I call him… well, things that aren’t really repeatable on this family website!
We reviewed the pictures on my digital camera as we stood in the oppressive glade and both inhaled sharply as we acknowledged what we saw on the LCD screen… we had captured some orbs!
“God, there’s some orbs on there – look!” The Doctor exclaimed excitedly
“You what? Orbs?” I took a closer look (my eyes were not as sharp as his), then I saw them, suspended above our heads on the view screen.
“I swear there’s some orbs!” he said stabbing the camera with his finger.
“My God you’re right!” I breathed, unable to contain my excitement any longer.
“God! There’s orbs! This place is haunted… look!” He was needlessly spelling out the obvious. The Doctor was growing very excited. He looked around the glade in the hope of seeing them swimming around us as we debated our find. “Jesus!” He said, “there’s something here!”
As I juggled with the camera equipment in my hands, the limited temperature seemed to drop even lower.
I framed my companion whose face was lit by torchlight once more and asked him again how he felt and this time he was more responsive. He stated the fact that it was really cold and rubbed the end of his already frozen nose. The Doctor went on to say that he felt that something was definitely here with us and looked about him warily, just in case whatever it was chose to pop out at that very moment and scare us witless. We also debated the fact that the ‘orbs’ only seemed to appear on our photos and not on the ones of just the grave (I recall Sweetrose once saying on here that they like to materialise around humans?). How is it that these ‘circles of mist’ as my friend called them only show up two-dimensionally on film and not in the air around us? If they really are dust, then why don’t they appear in photos that don’t have characters in them? (Hmm… scratches chin again)
“God knows what they are!” The Doctor concluded and stared off into the distance thoughtfully, looking for all the world as if he was willing the invisible force that had been taunting us ever since our arrival, to reveal itself.
Deciding we had enough footage and photos we chose to make our way back. Bidding adieu to Robin Hood’s grave we briefly puzzled over a strangely shaped tree we had spotted earlier (which we later christened as ‘seriously cool’), before stepping out once more onto open ground and acres of farmland where an aforementioned scarecrow such as myself feels perfectly at home (at least I don’t resemble a future incarnation of Doctor Who – or act like one for that matter!)
We thought it would be best to avoid the thick forest and head over the open fields towards the distant lights of the Three Nuns Inn. We chatted excitedly as we crossed the churned soil, keen on our find and the potential implications that the grave provided. Why couldn’t they listen to Barbara Green and have it as a tourist attraction? They would earn a fortune if they let the public visit! They did a similar thing with Little John’s grave in Derbyshire (which is very well kept I hasten to add, unlike our national hero – surrounded by dense undergrowth and only remembered in the history books!).
It was as we made our way across country that I spotted the caravan. It was a strange site, perched in the corner of the field in complete darkness. Beneath the moonlit sky, it looked like a dinosaur egg. The Doctor (curious as ever) was keen to investigate, just like before when he has seen the light in the corner of the other field we had crossed. I had persuaded him then against unnecessary intrusion and did so again. I pointed out the edge of the woodland to our right and suggested we take a diversion though the Blair Witch forest. Even though the caravan was in darkness I just didn’t like the look of it and felt the need to stay away from its immediate vicinity.
The trip through the dense woodland began once more, only this time we had a better idea of our bearings. We shot a ‘conclusion’ scene for posterity, just like we did with Windhouse, where we tried to summarise all that had happened (admittedly, I forgot a few things, but have been reminded of them since for this article).
I switched the camcorder off and followed my companion through the wood. In the distance we could make out a ruin in the perimeter wall on the other side of the small forest, which no doubt people utilised during clandestine visits to gain easy access, unlike the Doctor and I who’d had a devil of a job finding the grave in the first place, scaling some high walls as part of the course. We were used to this sort of thing though; we’d been doing it since we were at school together.
As we were halfway across the woodland my mobile began to ring once more, this time it was a mate of mine (and the Doctor’s best enemy!) so I took the call, just like I had before. The Doctor whirled round with a thunderous expression on his face and I prepared myself for a fresh torrent of abuse… however it never came. On the contrary a very strange thing happened, the Doctor’s face changed completely, his expression of anger changed to fear and I realised he was no longer glaring at me, but staring in horror at something over my shoulder. I glanced over my shoulder whilst still holding conversation on the mobile and saw the frightening truth… a bright light was heading in our direction. The Doctor swore loudly.
“We’ve been seen!” He hissed “RUN!” With that he turned and fled through the remainder of the forest as fast as lightening and sprang over the ruined wall his leather coat flapping behind him like bat wings… then he was gone.
At first I was completely dumbstruck and then the adrenalin kicked in. There must have been a warden in that caravan on the look out for intruders (or crazy ghost hunters) and had seen our torch and come out to exercise his right on our trespassing. I chose to follow the Doctor’s lead and quickly cutting my call hit record on the camcorder (I just couldn’t resist!) and belted after him, launching myself into space at the section where some of the wall had collapsed. I landed in the field below with a light thud and quickly regained my balance.
In the distance the Doctor was running for his life and he still had the torch switched on! I saw him whirl around, the torchlight flashing in the night,
“COME ON!” He bellowed.
As I escaped from the gamekeeper, I gave a running commentary for the purpose of the documentary; already I had some fantastic ideas about how I was going to edit all this together.
The Doctor was by now almost at the bottom of the field and near the dry stone wall that ran parallel with the A644. However, there was an added complication from earlier on that evening. The boys in blue…
“Oh no - POLICE!” The Doctor cried in exasperation. At the bottom of the road the police car was still parked across the two lanes, preventing motorists from gaining access to the distant M62. Had they seen us though? The Doctor didn’t take any chances and ran full pelt back up the edge of the field towards the bend where we had originally climbed into Nun Bank Wood.
I glanced over towards the ruined wall at the top of the sloping field, but luckily no one seemed to be following us – unless they were trying to head us off at the bend? Lactic acid was now seriously beginning to build up in our legs as we stamped over molehills and to a safe distance from the police car. The Doctor glanced back at me as he ran;
“We’ll go over at the bend!” He panted.
Before long we had found a suitable area of wall that was a considerable distance up the A644 and the Doctor started to ascend it, quickly looking back into the field to see if we had a pursuer. I rose to follow him as he sprang lightly, like a young man (still holding his torch) over the wall.
We had been very lucky. As we walked casually down the road towards the police car, the officers inside paid us little attention and we soon found ourselves back at The Three Nuns Inn car park, where the Honda was in desperate need of a drink (it wasn’t the only one!). The staff inside the pub were courteous and provided another jug of water for the car's benefit. I topped up the radiator and we began the drive back through Mirfield towards our home town. The drive was not a smooth one. Two miles down the road and smoke began pouring out of the bonnet again! I managed to pull the car over and lift the bonnet. The drunken locals provided constructive advice as I realised the radiator must be leaking. Luckily I had acquired a bottle of water and topped the car up once more. We set off and got as far as Dewsbury before we had to resign ourselves to the fact that the car was no longer drivable. I pulled into the Matalan car park and called for breakdown recovery, the car would have to be towed home. We had a long wait ahead of us.
The Doctor and I sat in the car park despairing, what an end to our adventure – thinking about it, this was how it all began… a fractured radiator causing the car to overheat and produce an abundance of smoke and fumes, creating our dramatic entrance that afternoon. As we had lots of time to kill we thought that we would watch back all the footage from the day and I asked the Doctor to pass me the camera bag. I was also very interested in those orbs we had captured on my camera! We looked in the bag and pulled out the camcorder. Something was wrong… where was my digital camera? I searched my pockets and my side of the car, asking my companion to search his side too. We even went so far as to look under the seats and tip everything out of the car. My digital camera was gone! The evidence was missing!
It was then that realisation dawned and I clasped my head in despair. The chase! My camera must have fallen out of the bag's pocket when we sprinted from the woods… so here we were, stuck in Dewsbury town centre in a broken down car and with help an hour away. It was clear what we had to do and we both despaired at the thought. Once we were towed home we would have to find another car and drive all the way back to Cooper Bridge, park up and make our way back into the haunted forest, risking capture or worse - the wrath of a ghost we did not want to face a second time. The camera could be anywhere… all that acreage we had covered whilst on the run! Fate had certainly taken its pound of flesh and our evening was nowhere near over... we would have no choice but to confront our fears once more.
But that’s another story…
We would like to say a special thank you to Barbara Green for her invaluable knowledge on the subject of Robin Hood, without her these articles would only have been a distant dream