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Dorothy Dinglett


Although this tale is very old, dating from 1665, the year of the great plague, and the year before the Great Fire of London, it is interesting because the person who performed the alleged exorcism recorded the events, and there were a number of witnesses. Although the exorcism was said to be a success her spirit is still said to wander in the local environs. It is difficult now after such a long passage of time to completely verify the story, but the account has some interesting features. The story appeared in 'English Folklore' by Christina Hole published in 1939.

The story has been preserved in the diurnal of the Reverend John Ruddall, who was the curate of Launceston in 1665, he seems to have used ceremonial magic, mixed with church practice to exorcise a ghost. His help as an exorcist was sought by a Mr Bligh of Bothaten, whose son was experiencing a haunting that was effecting him mentally and physically.

Every morning on his way to his tutors, the boy would meet the ghost of Dorothy Dinglett, who had died around 3 years earlier. She appeared in the same place at the same time, and seemed to glide over the top of the grass pointing to some distant place, neither looking nor speaking to the boy.

Both the Reverend and Mr Bligh went along with the boy one morning and also observed the spectre. The minister described the apparition as having a pale and stony face, misty hair, and eyes fixed firm on something far away. One arm was outstretched, and her other hand was on her girdle. She glided past the spot where they where stood without looking at them, and although the reverend had resolved himself to speak to the spirit, his nerve failed him at the time.

He sought permission from the Bishop to exorcise the spirit and 2 days later, on the 12th of January, he went back to the spot wearing an inscribed ring, and carrying a rowan stick. He marked a circle and a pentacle on the grass, and standing facing North commanded the spirit to enter the circle. Eventually the shade came into the circle and he asked her why she was not at rest, they conversed, although he did not record the nature of the conversation.

The next day at sunrise he redrew his circle and the ghost entered it willingly. He performed the exorcism and the spirit glided off Westward, and was never seen again (although there have allegedly been other reports of the ghost in more modern times).

Authorship
Daniel Parkinson
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