Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Book review: Haunted Harborough by Mike Eason

Haunted Harborough
Mike Eason
Gibson Publsihing, 2012, £9.99

Interpreting 'Harborough' widely, Mike Eason introduces us to more than 20 hauntings in the town, district and wider area.

Market Harborough's two major coaching inns - the Three Swans and the Angel - both have the supernatural guests you would expect, with the former perhaps being haunted by its former landlord John Fothergill, whom you certainly wouldn't want to run into on a dark night.

Fothergill's Bar, as it is now called, was a snug and our smoke-filled room when I was a councillor, but it has now been opened out. Perhaps the old monster is objecting to these structural alterations?

What was once the Manor House is also discussed, and the alleged haunting there has even made the national press. Certainly, when I worked at Golden Wonder and the Manor House formed part of its offices, there were several people there who could report uncanny experiences.

There is even supposed to be a ghost in one of the houses across the road from me here in Little Bowden - not somewhere to deliver Focus after dark.

I don't buy the more Derek Acorah elements of Haunted Harborough, but one of the chapters - indeed the very first chapter - is genuinely unsettling.

The Broadway is a street of council housing built between the wars. It was just about the first such street built in the town, and the houses must have seemed like palaces to the families who moved into them from the cramped yards behind the High Street. It was also a good source of Liberal votes in the days when I sat for Market Harborough North.

One house on the street is reported to be haunted by a 20th-century soldier and an old lady, and also to be home to poltergeist activity. These phenomena have been experienced by more than one family. You expect ghosts in creaky old coaching inns but it is harder to laugh them off when they occur in such prosaic surroundings.

I don't know if I believe in ghosts, but in cases like this there is clearly something very interesting going on that cries out for further investigation and explanation. So I would recommend this book to anyone from the Harborough area with the slightest historical or intellectual curiosity.

There is a Haunted Harborough website, but at present that is devoted to an earlier DVD which Mike Wason helped produced. So for the time being you should buy the book via Amazon.

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