My Personal Ghost Story (Or, My Brush With the Supernatural)

When people hear I write paranormal fiction, they want to know whether I’ve seen, or believe in, ghosts. To be honest, I tend to think there is a logical explanation for most things, no matter how strange or weird they appear.

That said, I did have an eerie experience while backpacking in Cornwall quite a few years back.

Photo: DarkmoonArt_de at Pixabay
Cornwall is a county in South West England with Celtic roots. Even if you’re not familiar with it, you may have heard of Cornish landmarks such as Penzance, a historic port town of the pirates fame. 

Or how about St. Ives (“As I was going to St. Ives, I met a man with seven wives.” ), Land’s End (England’s most westerly point) or Bodmin Moor (the setting for Daphne du Maurier’s Jamaica Inn)?

The area has been inhabited since the early Stone Age. The ancient peoples who lived there left behind numerous monuments, including stone circles, neolithic tombs, hill forts, standing stones, and holy wells. It’s said that the Land’s End peninsula has more of such sites than almost anywhere else in Britain.

It was late spring. A bus from Penzance dropped me by the side of a country road surrounded by cow and sheep pastures and wildflower meadows. I was on my way to see a holy well, a natural spring that was revered by the locals in olden times. According to the ordnance survey map that I’d bought, the well was at the end of a short hike through a couple of farmers’ fields.

It was a beautiful morning—sunny, but with a refreshing breeze. The rhododendrons were flowering, staining the flanks of the low hills around me with purple. The air was redolent of grass, cows and the sea, which is never far away in Cornwall.

I wasn’t nervous even though I was by myself. I felt safe here, safer than I’d felt in London or Paris.

I came to a point in the walk where tall hedgerows loomed on either side of me. It was like moving through a green tunnel except you could see the blue sky above. I began to feel that I wasn’t alone. The air also felt “heavy,” as if there was noise that wasn’t quite audible to me.

Pixabay: Stone circle at Bodmin Moor
My uneasiness quickly turned to fear. Of what, exactly, I didn’t know. I stopped and looked around, but I couldn’t see anyone else. I continued walking, but became so scared that I actually screamed out loud when a twig fell on me. For a minute there, I thought someone had put his hand on my shoulder.

The well was really close by. It wasn’t all that impressive. There was hardly any water, and the shrine was little more than a few stones in the ground. I left as soon as I could. I tried not to run on the way back through the tunnel because I didn’t want to show that I was afraid. It seemed important at the time to pretend nothing was wrong. I was fine the moment I was out in the open.

So that’s my ghost story. It’s the closest I’ve ever come to feeling a presence, or presences, near me. It isn’t much compared to what some other people have experienced. 

Could it have been my imagination, or claustrophobia from the tall hedges? All I can say is it was the first, and last, time I felt such fear without a tangible or rational reason.

How about you? Have you had any weird encounters?


  1. All I gotta say is, I don't believe in ghosts.... But I ain't going anywhere near Cornwall now😱

  2. It's also where Doc Martin was filmed. Cornwall is gorgeous, and I would love to visit again (avoiding that particular holy well, of course!).


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