Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Ghostly Inspirations O is for Owd Nance #AtoZChallenge 2018

Welcome to my offering for The A to Z Blogging Challenge 2018
My theme this year is Ghostly Inspirations
a collection of spirits that have been prompted by my encounters with places and times. Some are spooky, some more about atmosphere. I'll be describing each inspiration and the phantom that came to my mind, and then I will share a drabble, which I hope will entertain. :)

Disclaimer: The places and experienced I have used for my inspiration are real, but my ghosts and drabbles are complete fiction, linked to nothing and no-one, alive or dead. When writing about my inspirations, I may have changed names and obfuscated specific details to 'protect the innocent' :).


O is for Owd Nance

Today I’m letting a ghost, or rather a ghost trope inspire a ghost. Burton Agnes Hall is a grand Elizabethan house open to the public in Yorkshire, but it is most famous for being the home of Owd Nance, a screaming skull ghost.

I have visited this house twice and the dramatic carvings all over the inside was enough to convince me that it could well house the ghost of its former owner Ann Griffiths. She was killed by footpads and wished her head to be kept at the home she loved. When her loved ones naturally balked at the request, Ann, known in her ghostly form as Owd Nance, made a ruckus in her old home. Thus, her skull was installed in the house and peace returned. Like many other screaming skulls, if she’s ever removed, trouble starts up again.

So, today, I intend to introduce you to my own twist on this ghost trope.

Sir James Gerrard was parted from his head during the English Civil War. He fought for the King, and the roundheads who killed him strung his head up as a trophy. They found out that night that Sir James was not at all happy about this desecration as he drew up the fires of hell themselves to denote his displeasure. By the morning, Sir James had been reunited with his head, and was interred in his family vault with a warning to all comers to respect his corpse.

Only idiots ignore the warning.


Do Not Disturb

Sir James watched as his skull was tossed around between the nervously giggling miscreants. If he’d had any, his blood would have been boiling. Instead, he drew the heat from the room, building the power in his chest until the troublemakers were breathing out fog.

They slowed in their sport and their laughs. James grimaced, drew in a remembered breath and then the rumble started low. They stopped completely, eyes wide, heads turning, fear beginning. Rumble became howl, and with it James spun up the wind. They cowered, screamed, ran. Sir James laughed into the nightmare as his persecutors fled.


Other paranormal and spooky stories by Sophie Duncan.


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  1. Humph! That'll teach them! Serve them right, eh? ;-)

    Aussie children's writers: O Is For Wendy Orr


  2. Great flash fiction, both of them.

  3. I can see the laughing Cavalier and hear the wind.


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