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The Ghosts of Edgwick Abbey and other strange tales

The Ghosts of Edgwick Abbey and other strange tales

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The Ghosts of Edgwick Abbey and other strange tales

170 pagine
2 ore
Sep 5, 2010


here is a collection of 40 stories by harry riley covering a wide variety of subject matter. many of the tales are quirky and some have a decidedly ghostly thread running through them. all are fiction and most have a twist in the tale. they all have one thing in common, in that they spring from the author's love of the unexpected and unusual. whilst the stories are not strictly science fiction or fantasy they often have a hint of the supernatural about them. until quite recently many of the old superstitions were still around to haunt our daily lives. this book explores the validity of some widely held beliefs and takes the reader from the present to the future and sometimes back to the murky past. the benefit of these short tales is that they can be read on a bus, car, plane or boat journey without the reader feeling trapped in a deep plot as in a complicated novel. It is light reading for a foggy night or to take with you on a summer holiday; lounging on the beach. If you are amused, entertained or simply relaxed, then the author's time has not been in vain.

Sep 5, 2010

Informazioni sull'autore

Harry RileyNottingham born author of mystery novels, short stories, poetry and travel guides etc.Married with two grown up childreninterests: reading classical books, history, soldiers autobios, touring Northumberland and Scottish BordersGardening. Member of and

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The Ghosts of Edgwick Abbey and other strange tales - Harry Riley

The Ghosts of Edgwick Abbey

and other Strange Tales


Harry Riley



Published By:

Harry Riley on Smashwords

The Ghosts of Edgwick Abbey

and other Strange Tales

Copyright 2010 by Harry Riley

All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, brands, media, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of various products referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The publication/use of these trademarks is not authorised, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners.

Smashwords Edition License Notes

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person you share it with. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then you should return to and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the author’s work.


The Ghosts of Edgwick Abbey

and other Strange Tales

(A collection of short stories by Harry Riley)


Table of Contents

Charlie Sunset...

The Lighthouse Keeper…

The Ghosts of Edgwick Abbey...

Deadly Rose...

Killing two Birds...

Lucky and the Case of The Left Hand Club...

The Victory Club...

Buried Alive...

Hit and Run Driver...

Phoenix McBeth...

Naja The Bear...

Pretty Blue Eyes...

Sun Ghosts...


The Raven

Mirror Image...

The Hallelujah Chorus...

The Red Rain…

The Rocking Chair…

The Voice in His head…

The Midas Touch…

The Fighter Pilot…

The Whistle…

Virtual Extinction…

The Clay Pipe…


True Colours…

Little Billy…

Demolition Man…

Blown to Glory…

The Echo Man…

Visit to Helmeria…

The Paradise Club…

Greg Thomas…

Crisis at The Paradise Club…

The Death of Victor Adams…

The Cat and the Crafty Canary…

Dark Christmas…


Harvey Meekat…


Charlie Sunset

There are some people who seek out adventures and there are others who are content to cruise through life without making too many waves…I fall into the latter category.

However over the years I have made a hobby of collecting memories from interesting characters…the more offbeat the better.

I never knew his real name but in the district where I settled for a while in the late 1960’s he was known as the village odd-job man-the Irishman…old Charlie Sunset, nobody seemed to know his real name and everyone thought of him as a likeable rogue. Often on a Sunday morning I would pop round to his ancient ‘knitters cottage’ at the edge of the village and look into the adjacent barn he used as a dilapidated workshop to borrow one of his heavy-duty power tools.

Here lining the walls and taking up every inch of space were countless antique aids for wood and metalworking (an Alladin’s cave for someone like me.) At the end of the barn he had an old forge and anvil where he would make horseshoes for local riding schools.

He would carry on working whilst I explained my errand or my new project and he liked nothing more than to relate his past experiences.

I was a willing listener. He was full of country lore and claimed he could hypnotise a chicken, a pig or a goat and it wouldn’t move until he did a certain thing. Over several years during which he lent me his portable cement mixer and hired out other useful tools for a modest fee I got to hear his remarkable life.

As an unskilled but otherwise fit and healthy youngster he left Dublin, crossed over to Liverpool and drifted to Humberside doing casual labouring. From there he had taken work aboard a ship bound for the continent.

Once over there and pretty well penniless Charlie had lived for a while with some travellers. These were itinerant fairground and circus workers who flitted about the countryside getting into all sorts of scrapes as they lived by their wits attempting to evade the law. After a year or two of this he could speak several languages and had already survived a couple of attempts on his life as he slept under the stars.

And he had the scars to prove it! Running down his neck from just beneath his left ear was livid scar tissue that continued to his shoulder, caused by the knife of a giant French circus clown who suspected he was after his weird girlfriend, the bearded lady. It had taken twenty stitches to repair the wound and after this Charlie went back to the comparative safety of a life at sea.

Eventually his wildness returned and he jumped ship in Australia, living with some Aborigines’ for a spell out in the bush.

During the Second World War he came out of hiding and in a fit of conscience, enlisted in the Australian Army faking loss of memory.

It was just his luck to find himself bound for Tobruk but his ship was torpedoed and he was catapulted into the sea struggling to survive. The Germans picked him up and he was sent to a succession of prison camps.

Finally repatriated by the Allies in 1945 they brought him back to England where he settled down in Nottinghamshire. Years later, he visited a travelling circus and saw a familiar large clown. After the show he found the caravan where the performer lived and shook hands with him to show no ill feeling.

The giant was full of remorse for his previous impassioned rage and said he had married the bearded lady. They had two children a boy and a girl, the boy was working in a circus training to be a clown but the girl was definitely not inclined to follow her bristled mother’s footsteps.

Charlie and the clown kept in touch after that and when I went back to the village to attend Charlie’s funeral most of his old pals, and a few of mine were there too, I never did find out how he could hypnotise a chicken and am afraid he took that knowledge to the grave. Maybe someone out there knows the answer?

During the cheerful service where they played Charlie’s favourite tune: ‘The Wild Colonial Boy’ I noticed a tall foreign looking chap sitting in the pew to my right. There were tears in his eyes, and he had a strange looking old woman by his side. She was wearing a black headscarf that covered most of her face and as I leaned closer I was sure I could detect a five-o-clock shadow.


The Lighthouse Keeper.

My name is Jack Broad and I have told this tale so many times and to so many people that I am beginning to doubt my own senses. Now it is 1930 and the incident happened eighteen years ago and it seems so utterly crazy, yet I know it happened, just as I described.

I was a lighthouse keeper for many years on the Grey Rock Lighthouse, Toby Island Point, just off the coast of Newfoundland.

I loved the life and would not have chosen any other but there were certain conditions a young man had to fulfil in order to qualify:

You had to be fit with a sturdy constitution and have a head for heights and you had to keep the lighthouse painted.

The right temperament was vital and as I was a loner it was easy for me to spend so much time often on my own, for instance when my assistant was off sick or on leave. The daily duties were arduous and the perceived romance of the job was far from the truth. I had to be able to navigate a boat in stormy weather and to know basic first aid.

I had to do minor repairs, be an engineer and tackle carpentry work, and of course be able to cook for myself. The prism lens had to be cleaned daily and the oil lamps filled. It was important for the keeper to operate a radio to converse ship to shore, and to keep a daily logbook such as the captain of a ship would do.

Every day I would collect the bodies of dead birds, many would crash headlong into the lighthouse particularly in bad weather and this was the sad part of the job. Often the waves would be so high they’d swamp the lighthouse; not a job for nervous folk. Then of course we had the mists to contend with.

For days and even weeks in bad weather it was total wipe-out with visibility nil. This was a time that tested my mettle to the full.

I have just been released from a long spell in a Mental Asylum and it was all because of the strange radio message I received one dark and stormy night.

I entered it all accurately in the log and my mind was clear as a bell. One of my favourite hobbies has always been the radio, ever since I had my first crystal set as a child. This is one of the main reasons I was first offered the job as lighthouse keeper.

My assistant, young Arthur Bradshaw had been rushed to hospital with food poisoning having eaten some bad fish he’d caught whilst on a quiet spell of duty, so I was alone with no one to corroborate my story.

I had been trying to get rid of the powerful electric magnetic interference on the radio, that always springs up in a storm when an S.O.S cut through loud and clear. The date I recorded was the 11th of April 1912. The operator said he was signalling from the White Star Liner Titanic and gave his call sign MGY and position as 41.46N 50.14W. He said they had struck an iceberg and were sinking fast.

I was able to confirm his name as John Phillips. I immediately relayed his message to my shore base and they put out a full alert.

Of course the Titanic was able to reply that no such S.O.S message had been sent, she was on her Maiden Voyage to New York and it was ridiculous to suggest she was in distress. It was unthinkable. I was accused of being drunk on duty and when I protested my innocence I was relieved of my post and sent home in disgrace.

My health suffered and I finished up in the asylum. The whole world knows what happened on the night of 14th. April 1912, when RMS Titanic hit an iceberg with the subsequent loss of so many lives. How could I have known about a disaster before it happened? The doctors couldn’t explain it. So the easy answer was to lock me away with all the other poor deluded souls.

The worst thing was that I was blamed for the two Marconi wireless operators aboard the Titanic, Jack Phillips and Harold Bride, taking little notice of the genuine reports of icebergs in the vicinity just before the ship was sunk. It was said that my crazy announcement three days earlier had thrown them off guard. A scapegoat was needed and I fitted the bill. Since that time I have experienced other dire warnings of world shattering events before they have actually happened but I will have to leave them for another time. Maybe one day I shall have advance warning of my own funeral.


The Ghosts of Edgwick Abbey.

Er… You-there? Excuse me? Yes…you in the field!

Who me sir?

Yes, you. I see no one else! Are you from the village, you look like a local man?

Why you have me to rights there sir, I’m Graham Raper; old Graham they calls me, born and bred in these parts I be.

"In that case can you tell me if I’m on the right road for Edgwick Abbey?’

Aye that you are sir, ‘bout two miles on and down t’valley, this road goes nowhere else, but. Here the wafer thin; bald headed and oddly shoeless man who seemed to be a simple farm labourer, stopped and rubbed his sweating brow as though deeply puzzled. But why would you go there sir, nobody ever goes there, some say ‘tis haunted and anyways ‘tis covered in mist nine tenths of the year?

But I am right Graham aren’t I, the ruins are still there?

The old fellow seemed delighted to have his name spoken by a complete stranger.

Last owner went mad and wandered off into Blackmoor Bottoms some ten years back so they say, but us village folk…well, we have our own ideas what drove him away.

At this point I left my car, crossed the country lane and stood ready to shake hands as he hobbled to the gateway

Here let me introduce myself Graham, I’m John Barratt, amateur historian and looking for somewhere to stay. Can you tell me where I might get a decent bed for a night or two?

The skeletal man was clearly unused to such strenuous questioning and seemed to have been hard at work in the fields all day. He hefted the heavy, old-fashioned scythe onto the field gate, idly picking off the yellow grain stalks still clinging to the blade as he spoke and took a little while answering. "Well tha could try Bull and Badger in t’village sir. Martha Wimbourne takes an occasional traveller and keeps a good pint. She’ll

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