The Headless Ghost of Whitegate Lane


image by Ashley Dance CC-BY-SA 2.0

It would be appropriate now to introduce you to The Headless Ghost of Whitegate Lane. The ghost made its appearance just before Christmas in 1807 on a stretch of Whitegate Lane somewhere between where Hornby Road and Leamington Road now stand. It was John Miller who set out from Layton to carry a Christmas Goose to an Aunt who lived beyond the Saddle Inn at Marton. John delivered his goose, had a meal with his Aunt and set off to walk back again along the narrow rutted Whitegate Lane.


It had no official name then, but there was a farm with white gates that opened out onto it. Close by, there was another farm, where only a few years back the farmer had been robbed and murdered by one of his labourers.


It was dark, but it had been snowing and there was a faint starlight. Suddenly to his left and so close he could have almost touched it, a glowing phosphorescent figure came through the hedge. It was the colour of the underside of a ‘fluke’, it seemed to be cloaked and it did not walk. It glided as though a few inches above the surface of the ground. It also had no head!


The thing made no sound and seemed to drift with the wind across the lane and into a hedge on the other side. It was when it drifted back against the wind that John Miller’s nerve broke. He picked up his rooted feet and ran for Layton and the safety of home.

Is it myth or legend? Or could this be a true account?


I don’t want to scare you, but what is that shadowy figure lurking in the corner?


Barry Shaw

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