Many popular Victorian newspapers regularly printed reports of spectral sightings and ghostly visitations, and one British publication that did this with particular gusto was the Illustrated Police News.
In January 1898, it was reported that a mysterious figure with
“the ghastly appearance of a headless woman” was haunting an isolated crossroad outside of Buckingham. The phantom was first witnessed by a well-known local farmer and his companion who had the misfortune of encountering the wraith while driving his “horse and trap.” “The night was well advanced and dark,” when suddenly the farmer saw standing a few yards in front of him a black object near a weather beaten hand-post at the corner of the cross-roads. He called out as the figure was blocking his path but there was no answer and the figure remained motionless.
As he got closer, he noticed the other worldly appearance of the woman and his horse began to “tremble like a leaf.” In shock, he called out again, “What do you do there? Move on, please.” Again, he was met with no response. The horse panicked and backed into a ditch, forcing the farmer’s companion to jump down to seize the reigns. Suddenly, “the queer visitant disappeared,” but, as the pair got back in the trap to flee, the “black sombre figure” appeared again “in the same motionless position as before.”
“Their situation was now getting positively serious. The farmer whose presence of mind had stood him in good stead, now finding his nerve on the point of giving way, asked the apparition in the name of God to speak. Then it was that the spectra slowly drifted away, and appeared to float through the thick set bordered hedge.”
Numerous others later claimed to witness the ghost and the reporter commented that it was “not a little surprising that the spot referred to has been less frequented of late.”
Read other Victorian reports of ghosts at Ghosts of the Past: Historic News Reports of Victorian Hauntings