A ghostly figure enices the hero to search for the release of her heavenly spirit
The ghost of St. Mary’s
The headland at Scarborough is dominated by the ruins of the 12thcentury castle, impenetrable from the sea, as the rock face is sand, and virtually sheer, this is a story not of the fight for the fort, but for a lost soul. Just below the castle is the church of St. Mary, buried here is the body of one of Yorkshire’s most famous daughters Anne Bronte, this is not her story, as that has been told in film and book for many years, the grave is the site of pilgrimages of thousands of Bronte fans annually. In a far corner hidden from sight lies a broken gravestone that pre-dates the Bronte site, this is the sad story of a schoolgirl, her grave is weed-ridden and long forgotten.
This story started for me about 6 years ago, I was doing some local research, the reason; I was trying to find things to do whist I visited Scarborough when I was not at the Jazz festival, Sundays are usually the worst day. In making a few general enquiries I learned from the Tourist Information board that at the edge of the North bay is a series of flattish rocks called Betty Moffet rocks, the fact they had a name and not just a general term such as Scapa Flow, the Skerries or the Needles, always intrigued me, what had happened to cause the rocks to get such a name. As things went, that year, I never got to Scarborough, but the name stuck with me, and has haunted me since, anyone who knows me ,will tell you if I get a mystery, I like to try and get as much information on it as I can, if for no other reason than personal satisfaction.
This year after many years of trying to return to the site of many happy memories from childhood, I finally got back to Scarborough, and from there the story grows. In the preceding years, nobody at the Tourist Information, or any other organisation could find any links to the name of the rocks, so interest for me was very strong, maybe I could shed some light on the mystery.
As I left Bristol on the 1030 train for York, my head filled with thoughts of what a lovely time ahead, even if only for a few days, as this was a rushed trip organised in Feb, and set for late Sept. Knowing the area well I was well prepared for the stormy weather, it was one of the reasons for going that late in the season. We arrived at York on schedule, but not knowing the station, last time I was there was on my way south from Scotland in my RAF days, at that time York was a nightmare to get around, I remember having to carry the kitbag and suitcase over every line from one side to the other, so the thought of an 11 minute gap between trains, was daunting to say the least, as years had taken the toll, and my health had deteriorated badly, however the worry was for nothing, as the change was easy, down the lift across under the lines and back up, in plenty of time to get the train to Scarborough. Since passing Sheffield I had had the feeling of returning to home, but now that feeling was even stronger, as we headed to an area I knew and loved, the memory plays strange tricks, and as we sped across the moors covered in lovely heather, I could remember my good times, and just hoped things had not changed too much, as the main seaside venue on the North-East, Scarborough has to move with the times, I was just hoping she had not lost her soul to the tourists and become tacky.
The train pulled into Scarborough station on time, as always I had checked the area online, as I was unsure of directions, the guest house was only 35 minutes from the station, all I had to do was head for the cricket ground, and I was almost there, as the house was only a few streets away, all went well for the first few minutes, then I hit a snag, there were road repairs in use, and this entailed a detour, and here came the problem, as this took me off my route, and the more I tried to get back on course, the more I lost my direction, until I was so confused I had to ask the way. By this time I was tired, and sweating despite the late September weather, once I got directions to Colombus ravine, I knew where I was going, I had planned to avioid walking up the ravine, which is a long winding road, my route would have taken me across the top edges of the ravine, here I was at the bottom of it, tired and sweating After arriving at the guest house, I was very pleasantly surprised to find it was only a short walk from Peasholm park, an area of town that held many lovely childhood memories for me, and one of the destinations I wanted to re-visit this trip. The first night went well, until about 0315, when there was such a loud thunder clap, anyone would have thought a bomb had gone off, as we went in for breakfast on the Friday, all the talk was about the thunder, as all of the guests had been woken, I was woken as I had only just gone to sleep, as I had been chatting to a friend in America, and the time lapse meant her 900 pm, was my 200 am.
Most of the guests, had come for the jazz festival, and by the chatter, were regular visitors, some from Surrey had been there for the week, and were waiting for a friend coming down from Scotland, I explained that I had tried to get tickets back in March, but they had been sold out, as this is second only to Cheltenham, for popularity these days, the main difference being Cheltenham is an International festival, whereas this was a British festival.
As we got talking that morning, I told my new friends, that I had had to make a rushed plan for personal reasons, and despite not getting tickets, had long ago decided to make the trip, as I had wanted to return for so long, I could not remember a year when it was not on my mind to come back.
After breakfast on the Friday, I took the first of my many walks along the North bay area up to Scalby mills and the sea life museum, the day was windy and walking the front was hard in the face of a 3-4 headwind, with sand lashing my face, but the feeling of being at peace inspired me to write, I had not felt so alive in years my spirit was alive with the elements and flowing.
Looking down from the top of the cliff walk onto the beach, I could see the North sea rolling in and with her the waves high as a man a mile out, Scarborough has 2 bays, and each is so very different from the other.
North bay is rocky with large areas of jagged rocks, she catches most of the winds ( as I was to see later), this is the non-tourist part, there are no amusements or rides here, which suited me, as the calmness was what I needed, in 2005 the council had to replace half of the North shore walk, as there was a terrible gale, and the tides ripped out the pavements, if you look it is easy to note the alterations, also, the council has laid down massive layers of huge boulders, to break the force of a rolling tide.
Whilst the North bay gets the high winds and waves, just half a mile away on South shore, you would think you were in a different town altogether, on one day I witnessed the big differences, as I walked along North bay, the tide rolling in, waves crashing against man-made defences and sounding like thunder, around the point, South bay was as calm as calm could be, surfers paddling out ¾ mile in water so shallow a child would be safe, so calm hardly a ripple stirred, the great expanse of empty sands showing what the tourist came for, her lovely beach, golden sands and fresh sea food stalls.
Walking to Scalby mills that first morning, my mind was free to roam, with no thoughts to interrupt them, maybe that is the reason I saw (or thought I did) what I did that day.
Rounding the point by the sea life museum, I thought I heard in the waves crashing a voice, turning I thought I saw the figure of a child on the rocks, but it could not have been right, as there were waves crashing in.
Being of an inquisitive nature, I do not discount the possibility of ghosts and spirits, especially when you are in such a large area of shipping, and steeped in so much history, going back to Roman times, Scarborough has been an important area
During the Victorian era, she boomed as the north-east coastal centre, since then she has thrived and always will I hope.
Did I see this child, or was it just my mind playing tricks on a tired soul with a vivid imagination, only time would say.
As I walked that morning, thoughts forming as to my plans for the weekend ahead, I stopped by the point at the sea life museum, just standing watching waves and sensing the power of the sea, it is true what sailors say, once you have the sea in your blood, you can feel her pulling you back, you are never happy on land, I had known for years the pulling forces of nature, and nowhere more so than here, facing the wild and rolling North sea.
As I walked back to the castle, images and sounds of the vision played through my mind.
Had I really seen and heard the child playing ? Was it a trick of my mind ? Was this just the sea spray and waves, making me hear and see things ?
These questions plagued me all day, the walk up to the castle can be undertaken two ways, first is the easier route, straight up from town, it is a straight road, and the only way an attacker could enter the castle, so it is easily defendable.
The other way, and the way I was taking was for more precipitous, this route took you along the edge of the rocks, and left you open to the high winds that were now blowing down the steps, I had taken this route, not out of choice, more it was the nearest for me, and saved about 20 minutes walking back around the walls, necessity was the main reason, as I was tired from my walk along the sea front.
The views from the castle are spectacular, on the North view you can see all across the Vale of York as far as Lockton and as far north as Scalby, to the south you have a clear view of most of the town and as far south as Filey
The castle grounds themselves are a killing field, as the wall took me 10 minutes to walk from the corner by the rock face to the keep, and this with no weapons or armour to slow me down, and no archers shooting.
The other corner of the wall is so far away as to be virtually unseen, anyone brave or foolish enough to try to take the castle from here, would be visible to the soldiers for an area of about 2 football fields, with no cover other than the low grass.
Then should they be lucky enough to get close, comes an even more daunting task, the moat that surrounds this area is about 20 feet wide and 10 feet deep, leading to a sheer grass bank on the other side of about 10 feet, and then the castle walls on top, it is easy to see why the fort was never taken.
From the watch tower, you can see the full sea expanse, and feel her power as she relentlessly rolls in.
Why did I see what I did ? And why me ? These questions and more, crossed my mind as I looked out to sea that Friday afternoon. For my peace of mind if nothing else, I resolved to try and find some answers.
My first call was going to be back at the church, but that could wait until tomorrow, as my legs were aching, and I wanted a meal, nothing too pricey, as money was scarce, so I just had fish and chips, from the shop just down the road from the guest house, whilst waiting in line I noticed that they had been awarded a plaque for the best fish and chips in town, a big prize with so many competitors… none more famous than Harry Ramsden’s on the sea front, this shop is a well used establishment, and the name alone ensures a regular turn over, for this trip I could not afford their prices.
Saturday came in, although the day was still cold and drizzly, to me it was lovely, I had had a great sleep, unusual for me in a strange bed, usually the first night is terrible, at breakfast most of my friends were chatting about lat nights performances at the festival opening, and who they wanted to listen to today.
One of the ladies turned to me and asked:
‘ What do you have planned for the day Alan ?’
‘ I am going to walk South bay to start with, then have a look around town, there is such a lot to see here .‘
Getting to South bay is a good walk in itself from our abode, as we are on the North shores away from all the tourist area, just lovely for me, after breakfast I took my regular walk up the road and along to the cliff edge over looking North bay, a view that always enthralled me, this was what I came for, not the tourist bit, but the rugged coastal area with the howling wind in my face.
After about 45 minutes just sitting and watching, I decided to go back to the room for a coffee, with my illness I cannot stay on my feet too long, so our guest house is the ideal spot for me.
As I set off for the South bay area and the sandy beaches, my walk took me past another place I had always wanted to visit, the Scarborough cricket club, as a Yorkshireman, I should have really had the urge to visit Headingley in Leeds, to see the test ground, but this had for a long time been my desire, probably because for years I had watched cricket, and the matches at Headingley were televised, or was it because the idea of seeing a local ground near the beach enthralled me, I have no idea, as the ground is easily seen from the road, I took a few minutes off my route, just to go and see what it is like there.
The 35 minute walk across town to the South bay was an intriguing walk through a mix of old cobbled streets with shops that had been there for generations, mixed in with the new shopping mall complete with all the usual shops you see in most towns.
When I arrived at the South bay via the old iron bridge above the funicular railway, one of only 2 in the country, the other being at Lynmouth in Devon, I took the path along the top of the pavilion to where you have to come to road level, and then onto the pavilion, after 5 minutes my path was blocked by a barrier and a sign saying Musicians only past this point.
Time to turn around and come back, with the rain beating in my face and the wind blowing from along shore the beach was empty apart from some surfers who were either brave OR foolish, depending on how you view the sport, here they had to walk out about half a mile, then paddle out about the same to get the waves.
Walking along the sea front, I stopped off at one of the many stalls selling fresh sea food and bought some crab sandwiches, all the time imagining all the thousands upon thousands of people that had visited the town, and never got further than the beach, not for me I thought, when I visit anywhere, I like to see and feel the place.
The main object in view on the south bay, is the lighthouse, which over looks the secluded harbour, usually the sea walls would keep the winds at bay, but today the sound of ships bells could be clearly heard, as I rounded the corner, a sure sign that Mother Nature was telling us that stormy winds were to be expected for the weeks ahead.
As I walked, thoughts of the girl I had seen still plagued my mind, I did not get a good view of the clothing but was sure it was early Victorian by the dull and plain design of the dress, worn more for functionality than to look smart or pretty.
Walking along the front, in the face of a driving rain and wind, the sea clashing on the man-made rock below, the sounds so lovely to hear, all I could think about was the girl and why had I seen her.
As I rounded the point below the castle, I was awakened from my thoughts by a huge wave, so big that the wave NOT the spray broke over the road, getting me .soaked in the process, then before I had gone another 20 feet, another one caught us. To give some idea of the power of the wave, the sea front walkway is about 20 feet above sea level, at an angle of elevation of about 25 degrees and the path is about 12 feet wide, these waves broke over all the path.
As I was soaked through, I was in a bit of a rush to get back to the room, and get dried and warm again, so I walked back to the room, and made myself a coffee as I dried off.
Sunday came, and at breakfast, as usual the talk was about the music to come, and here I made a discovery, as my friends agreed that one of the performers I was really looking forward to seeing, was actually a terrible singer.
What a let-off I thought.
My friends asked what my plans were for the day, and when I mentioned the sighting, and what I had in mind interest started to gather, as this was something new to them, and of great curiosity.
As my friends gathered in their rooms and chatted about how to see the most for the ticket price, I made my way up the street to the café, and turned towards the cricket ground, on my way to the North bay.
The walk to the sea life centre was one of the calmest of the weekend, even though the tide was running high and strong, the off-shore winds were very calm, I walked past the changing rooms, all empty now and with the paint a little worn, showing the ravages of the winds and sand blasting.
Having got soaked through the previous day, I was still aching but wanted to know if I had seen the girl, when I got to the North point, looking into the waves, I thought I saw the face of the girl again, crying out to me, and with arms stretching out in front of her, as if begging for my attentions.
What were her intentions, her face was not angry, as if she was trying to claim my soul as hers, and drag me to the watery grave.. No she was more pleading with me for something.
Over the waves, I thought I could faintly here her say:
‘ Please find me, and bring my soul to rest !’
These words haunted me, who is this little frail figure, begging for her soul ?
I walked up the hill to the church, thoughts running wild into my mind, I decided to have another look at the graveyard, and the lonely forgotten grave, maybe that would give me a start for the quest I had taken on.
All that revealed was that the body had been placed therein sometime in the early part of the 1800s, as all the engraving work, had long since been eroded and faded, the vicar told me that church records couldn’t help much as at that time the records only recorded notable deaths.. How sad I thought, that this can happen.
Time was against me this trip, but my interest had been peaked, and to me that is a great incentive, after talking to the vicar, I had been given some contact information, but neither of us expected too much.
Still the face from the spray haunted my minds eye, and her pitiful voice crying too me.
Why had I been chosen ?
Was I just the person who chanced on the vision for no reason ? Was it because I had an enquiring mind, and would do my best to find things out to help others ? Did I see her, or did I just imagine I did ?
All these questions I kept putting to myself, as I walked back to my room, in 2 days all I could hope for was a starting point, not expecting to make any headway at all. Looking at maps, all I could find was the rocks had been named the Betty Moffat rocks, this was a start, even though I had no dates, I had a starting point.
Was she the girl in the broken grave‘, and what did she mean by ‘Please find me and put my soul to rest !’
On Sunday, I went to St. Mary’s church, to pray for guidance to help with the mystery, and to pray for the soul of a lost child, whom I never knew existed before this week, that is how much my spirit was affected by the sight and pleas of this poor girl, I was sure I was in no danger mortal or otherwise, and had no need of either exorcism or spiritual protection from this girl.
After the service, as the congregation was leaving, I stayed a while to re-visit the graveyard, in amongst all the kept graves, this poor one had my heart, who lay there ?
And why did the family care so little for the grave ?
As I stood thinking of what to do next I heard a voice from behind me
‘ Good morning my son, I haven’t seen you here before, are you new to the parish ?’ it was the vicar.
‘ No father, I am but a traveller who has come to seek some answers, and maybe to solve a puzzle ?’
‘ What can I do to help my son ?’
‘ Father is there a record of who is buried here, the grave looks so lonely and small ?’
‘ That is something I have been trying to solve for a decade, all I can find in the records is that in the early 1820s, a small child was buried there, name unknown, no family, an orphan on the streets of a town that had begun to thrive .‘
‘ If I maybe so bold as to ask, what is your interest in this grave my son ?’
‘ Father, there is no problem there, I was walking by some rocks on the North bay point area, and thought I saw a face in the spray, thought I heard a little girl pleading with me to find her, and put her soul to rest, as this is the local church, I thought it would be a good starting point, especially as there is an unkempt and very old grave here, in a lonely corner, out of sight of the main graveyard. ‘
‘ The grave had been kept up by the church for over a hundred years, nobody knew the reason, but when funds got too low, we could not afford to do it any longer, I know it is a shame to let it go that bad, but with no family help pay for it, we had no other options !’
‘ I fully understand Father .‘
The sight of the broken grave called to the root of my soul, and I was hoping that my experiences and this grave might be linked, or was that too much to hope for.
After a short history lesson as we walked the graveyard and through the church, it was becoming more obvious to me, that if anything was to be found, it was going to be a long journey, and one in which I was very willing to take part in, this was as much a pilgrimage of love as going to Lourdes is one of faith. A soul was lost at sea, and had asked me for help, why I had no idea, but I had been asked, and was entangled, the only way my mind would rest, would be either to solve the mystery of the girl.. Or convince myself that I had done my utmost to bring her to rest.
I thanked the father for his helpful talk, and left the church, taking one last look at the grave as walked up the path between the graves.
As I walked out of the churchyard and turned back towards the castle, heading down to the bay, as time was on my side for now, I walked down one of the paths, that had been worn down the Cliffside over the years, catching the stiff breeze full in the face, it almost knocked me over, the waves were in full flow now, crashing over the stalls on the front, and the few cars foolish even to be driven along.
Walking was just as hard as on Friday, as I walked to the North point, not really thinking of anything, drawn to the area by some unknown force, as I reached the point, I looked out to the sea.
Standing there on my own, lost in thought, watching the waves crashing against the rocks, and thinking.
Who were you ?, Why ask me ? How can I help you rest your soul ?
Was I taking on something, I could not finish, and would plague my mind for ages, even if I could just make a start that would be a huge help, at this stage I had no information, no idea how or where to start, just a few jumbled ideas and thoughts, hoping they could join the dots, and go somewhere.
The only noise to be heard was the roaring of the waves, as I looked out, lost In thoughts, maybe that is why I saw her on the rocks that afternoon, a small child in the plain clothes of an early Victorian schoolchild, plain grey dress, white shirt, hair all a mess and straggly, but look beyond the first impressions, and you can see what flower was plucked before her time.
Standing on the rocks, lost and lonely, with pitiful eyes she looked up at me, and with her arms wide, she mouthed something, but the wind and waves drowned her out, it was easy for me to see, she meant no harm to me, her face was sad and lonely, begging for my help, not at all angry at having gone before her time, as she might have been, Maybe she accepted that her death was a better place than the poor life on the street as a beggar.
To many it would seem odd that a time when the town was beginning to flourish, in many parts children like her were still begging for a pittance
The wind was whipping my face with and salt water. It was a lovely feeling, and yet to some extent I felt at a loss, in a place and with no worries to clog my enjoyment, I should have been totally at ease, but this was beginning to be a project I needed to see some movement in.
With the autumnal nights and the storm clouds rolling in, the sky darkened quickly, and it was time for me to head back to the guest house, I knew there would be nobody there, as my friends had made plans for the festival, and today was the climax for them, as tomorrow they would be on their way back home, I still had one day left before I had to leave, and I had planned to walk both bays before I left, a walk that until Monday I would be unable to do, due to the festival barriers, after tonight all would be free to walk.
When I got in, I made a coffee in the room, and went down to the front room, to sit and do some writing, and reading, as I sat there lost again in my thoughts as I typed our landlady came in for a quick chat.
‘ Are you from Northallerton?’ I asked ‘as I have an aunt from there, and your accent is very similar ?’
‘ No, I am from Bradford, and Andy my husband is from Hull .’
It turned out that in-between my making the booking in March and my arrival in September, the guest house had changed hands, as Nicki and Andy did not know much about the town.
The town is a lovely mix of old history in the back streets and down the lanes, and a totally modern shopping area, with all the usual shops you expect in ANY mall in the UK..
With only one day left on this trip, I realised this was going to take a further journey, and serious researching into now, walking down to the breakfast room that final morning, I was sad to see know my new friends would be leaving, they had been here for the week, and had seen the Jazz festival, so they would be happy, even if some of the artists were not as good as they hoped, the overall view was that it had been a great festival
We got to chatting about their journey home, a long trip down to Kent for some, one of them was staying though, as he had only arrived late on Friday night, and wanted to make the journey from Scotland worth the trip, he would be returning on Tuesday he told me.
My objective today had been to walk the bays from North to South via the point under the castle, but I had made a change to the plans, and intended just to go to the North point, and sit and look at the sea, and try to fathom out why I had seen the apparition, and what her meaning was.
That morning I went to the point, sad in the heart as this would be my last time this year, and making no progress with the puzzle set me, my only hope was the lonely grave, after much deliberation on the point, and not seeing her again, I walked up to the church, and went to pay the grave a visit, on my way I bought a bunch of flowers, slowly walking to the grave, I knelt before it, and placed the bunch on the grave.
As I stood taking it all in
I said to myself:
‘ I will try to help bring your soul to rest ‘
I said it so quiet, the words hardly formed, almost like a loud thought more than the spoken word.
As I stood there, I heard a voice say to me:
‘ I know you will, I can sense your feelings, and how this haunts you ‘
Before leaving, I took the time to go back in the church.
‘ Father have you just returned from the graveyard ? ‘ I asked as the priest approached.
‘ No, my son I have just come from the vestry, why do you ask ?’
‘ I was out there, and just thought to myself, I will try my best to help this poor soul find some peace, when I heard a voice saying I know you will.’
‘ I can assure you my son, it wasn’t me.’
As we both pondered the meanings to this, we decided to walk to the graveyard and see if we could find a reason, but none came to mind.
At this point my mind began racing as this was I thought a sure sign from the girl, that we had made a pyschic connection, and this was the first forward movement, she knew I would try to bring her home and find the peace she deserved.
Through the coming months, I contacted various people in the area, both local and in the Yorkshire records, there was no record of a Betty Moffet having had the accident I thought of, for the naming of the rocks, but this just made me more determined to find out.
All attempts from home via letters, emails or the internet were coming up blank, this was getting from mere curiosity and heading into obsession now, WHY would the rock outcrop have such a personal name.
In the spring with still no more information at hand I returned to Scarborough, the wind was still blowing and the seas were rolling but now it was a gentler breeze with a warming.
My researches had come up blank, so I had arranged with the curator of the museum to be able to check old maps of the coast for the period 1800-1850, as the records office had already said that they had the name as early as 1850, and the girl was definitely in early Victorian clothing, this I knew from my days working in museums down in Bristol.
I was in the museum poring over the maps for hours just trying to find a link, could the spirit have been Betty, was there a link here, somewhere in the maps, as the museum closed for lunch, and I had been there for over 3 hours looking at the maps, with still no link appearing, I gave my thanks to the curator as I left, and went to get some sandwiches from one of the fresh sea food stalls that are along the south shore.
Sitting on the sea front looking out at the surfers and wind sailors, I was more than ever certain that I had been picked for this research, because I believe in spirits, and because I had had some contact with the spirit world in the months after my friend Faye’s death.
All my life I held the view that I did not discount the presence of spirits, but I was not saying the did exist, if it could be proved to me, that they did, then I would believe, over the previous yrs, I had had a few contacts with the spirit world from meditation to déjà vu, then Faye, and now this.
Many of you dispute the existence of a soul, I do not, if we did not have a soul we would not have love, compassion or empathy for fellow people and our pets, we would be a robot.
A soul is a chemical energy force, and as such it cannot be destroyed in my view, but it can change into other forms, I wont go into high science, as it is personal if you believe, you do not have to be religious to believe in the soul.
After finishing my sandwiches, I walked along the promenade past the lighthouse, stopping to look at the boats rocking gently in the breeze, bells softly jingling, and thinking what a difference from last time, with the high winds, raging seas, it was dangerous to walk too near the seawall.
Here in the late spring, was probably the best time for me, it was getting warmer, but not too warm, and still there were not too many tourists, as most of the children were in school.
Walking past the lighthouse and where in a few weeks the children would be on the many rides, getting great enjoyment, I could not forget that autumn visit, when I first saw the spirit of the girl, and again found myself drawn to the spot, would I see her in this fine weather, or was her spirit to be seen just at high tide ?
At the point, I stopped for a while to look at the rocks, and it was then I saw what I was meant to see.
There she was playing on the platelets of rock, this little frail schoolchild, so thin and weakened by hunger, she was looking in the pools, as children do, when from out of nowhere, a freak wave hit her full force, she had no chance of survival, a schoolgirl so frail, and the cotton clothes absorbed the salt water so quick, she went down, like a rock, never surfacing again.
At this sight, I was so horrified, I sat and cried for her soul for about 20 minutes, head bowed low and weeping eyes, still not fully understanding the true meaning of the visions, but I did now have an idea of what I was meant to do.
After recovering, I decided to walk into town, to try and find the offices of the Scarborough evening post, maybe in the local newspaper archives, I could find what I wanted.
On arriving at the offices, I had a talk with the men at work, and was finally allowed to be taken down to the archives to search, I now thought I knew what to look for, I was just hoping to be right after all this time.
It took hours of searching through their database to get to the pages I needed, and I knew the descriptions would be vague, but all I needed was the outline to prove my theory right.
And there it was..
June 15thHeadline read:
‘The body of an unknown girl aged between 5 - 8, has been washed up on the rocks, body is unidentifiable owing to sea damage, there will be a burial at St. Mary’s church on June 20th’
Feeling half way to completing the research, I had now got the reason for the visions, the poor girl was drowned and never identified, all I had to do now was have a talk with the father to confirm this.
As I walked to the church, a sense of purpose now exuded my soul.
Could I finally put this poor girl to rest after nearly 150 years‘, it would be so nice to feel I could achieve this for her, it was her plea, my quest, and her release from a watery grave.
On arrival at the church, I met with the father.
‘ Hello my son, I see you have come back to us again, is your soul at peace now, as when you left here last year, I remember the look of mystification that held you ?’
‘ Father, I feel I have the answer we have been looking for, but need the church records to confirm it.’
‘ How can we help ?’
‘ Can you check the records for the date June 20th1847 please, what I am seeking is notification of the burial of a headless body between the ages 5-8.’
‘ Do you think this is the reason for your visitation last year ?’
‘ I am now 85% sure father, and just need this to complete the other 15%.’
The father left me alone in the church for a while, during this time I sat and prayed, for the lost soul I hoped we had found, and hopefully could put to rest, whist deep in prayer and contemplation, the father returned.
‘ My son, you are right, on that date, a small body was buried here, as there was no family, the church buried it in a secluded corner, over the years, it had a few visitors, but none so curious or determined as you.’
‘ What made you so determined ?’
‘ There were many things from plain curiosity, to the need to put this girl to peace father, it started many years ago, when I first tried to get tickets for the jazz festival, out of curiosity, I enquired as to the naming of the Betty Moffet rocks.
‘ What intrigued me, was why they were named after a lady, so I did some researching, and unfortunately all attempts come to nothing, there is no record of an accident in which a girl or lady died on the rocks, all records after 1850 have the rocks named.
‘ Then as I told you, I was walking along the north bay, and saw the vision, being on the rocks, I had hoped she was Betty, but maybe that was too hopeful, then it became my quest, to find and put this poor soul to rest.
‘ I have found our restless spirit, and we know why she is restless, we need to find her head, and I think I know where, but we will need someone with diving experience to get it.’
‘ Why my son ?’
‘ I think it is buried under the rocks, and only a diver can get to it.’
‘ Well it will take a few days to set this up, but we can do it.’
As I walked back to the lighthouse to sit and ponder the next few days, and what we had achieved, my mind settled down for the first time in many months, I had almost completed this search, putting her soul to rest would be such a wonderful feeling.
On the Thursday, I got a call from the father.’
‘ It is set up for this afternoon my son, at 400pm low tide will be out, so the diver will go down for us.’
I thanked the father, and gave him my assurances that I would be there for this wonderful moment.
At the appointed time, the diver went down, at the spot where I had had the visions, after about 15 minutes, his hand broke the surface, in it was the tiny broken, but still recognisable shape of a child’s skull.
We carefully took it back to the church, and laid it on the altar, the father led a short prayer of thanks, and asked the Lord to take this child’s soul in his arms, as she had been waiting too long.
As we left the church in the afternoon glow, a cloud shaped as a bird appeared in the sky, chance OR a sign, readers make your decision, I know what I thought The next day I had my usual walk to the point, in the calm seas and gently rolling waves, no longer did I hear her crying to me, I heard the gentle rhythm of thanks, and as I watched the rocks, I saw her one last time.
This time arms wide and waving goodbye, with a gentle smile.