Get ready for all things spooky ahead of Halloween on Wednesday as a ghost story enthusiast from Lincolnshire finished writing his late father’s book before launching it in Skegness this week.
Stephen David Briggs started writing the book ‘A matter of life and death’ 30 years ago, which is nine chapters of real life ghost stories mainly from the Lincolnshire area with accounts from different family members.
He died in 2009 and his son Stephen Nicholas Briggs, 39, who has lived in Lincoln and Skegness, has been writing the rest of the book in stages since before launching the decades of work at Skegness Library on Monday, October 29.
The book gives details of much local history including Lincoln Castle, Cathedral, Greestone Steps and many tourist attractions across the county such as Tattershall Castle and locations in Skegness.
The experiences have not been the result of one particular haunting, but contrast with presences and occurrences that have made themselves evident in the course of ordinary life, in different places, and throughout the years.
Stephen Nicholas Briggs, who was previously a journalist at the Skegness Standard for 15 years, told The Lincolnite: “One teacher at secondary school made me read one of the stories in front of the class then accused me of lying and laughed through it.
“When some of the stories first went in the press a year ago I received online hate mail and a lot of trolling, but if anything it made me stronger and made me want to spread the word more.”
Lincoln story extracts
Back in 2014 Stephen was at the Ritz Cinema in Lincoln at a screening of Casablanca when he felt his head turn right and things faded away in front of him.
The whole right side of the auditorium was men wearing shirts and ties and and he said “I found my head turning, an electric shock down my neck, I saw the beam and lines of men in hats.”
As the beam from the projector sliced towards the screen he saw that the seats were full of men in ties and trilby hats, but he said there is no projector (the projection room upstairs hadn’t been used since the 1990s).
One Saturday, while Stephen and his siblings were happily locking each other into the box pews and then climbing the steps to “preach”, their mother sat on the warders bench to watch them.
“I was aware of someone, or something beside me. A feeling of desperation emerged and my arm was tapped. A voice clearly said “please, please tell them it was not me, I didn’t poison him’
“Startled, I jumped up and joined my son in the pulpit. Nobody was about, and my daughter was in a cell. I sensed the initials “EB” and a youngish female presence.
“Touring the prison grave yard where the executed prisoners lie buried, I came across a grave for “EB 1862”. Research gave us a name and that someone else had confessed, on their death bed that they poisoned a wealthy farmer. EB had been the cook, and the obvious cuplrit. I wonder if she had told the warders only to be ignored?”
Spital Street tenant
“The terraced houses on Spital Street in Lincoln would have housed a thriving working community when they were built in the 1900s, they now mainly house students. Many have period features.
“Sat on the sofa one night my girlfriend jumped and her jaw dropped. We had both seen the same thing, a large pair of legs and the lower part of a dress shuffling up the stairs. Odd that I saw a white dress and dark slippers, the girl claiming to have seen the reverse, a black dress and white slippers, but either way we saw a woman at the same time making her way up there.
“Far more frightening a few months later would be when I sat up in bed to find my feet literally on the other side of a figure in a long white robe – and my feet were frozen. I could see a large golden brooch on one side of the figure’s gown. The figure had a wide black hole of a mouth which gaped open, but thankfully there was no sound.”
The book is available to buy for £6 from Lincoln Antiques on Steep Hill in Lincoln and Moon Spirit in Spilsby or in person from Stephen.