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What is the oldest ghost and do they fade over time?
Good question Don. I suppose some of the Roman ghosts seen around the UK probably date back 2000 years, but have they been active for that long?
Atlas of the Supernatural by Derek and Julia Parker mentions the following "... [the] Bronze Age Knight from an undisclosed locality in Wiltshire is reckoned to be Europe's oldest ghost at 2500 years".
I have been trying to find more about this particular ghost over the past ten years but not a single mention... does anyone knows more?
"Louhi spoke in riddled tones of three things to achieve: find and catch the Devil's Moose and bring it here to me. Seize the Stallion born of Fire, harness the Golden Horse. He captured and bound the Moose, he tamed the Golden Horse. Still there remained one final task: hunt for the Bird from the Stream of Death"
-Kalevala, Rune XIII-
I haven't heard of Bronze Age Knight Mauro but will see what I can dig up. I think Dan had an encounter at a hill fort some years ago, I'll ask him to put the account up.
Mauro I have heard of a Bronze Age Ghost at Bottlebush Down in Dorset:
A horseman garbed in Bronze age attire has been seen on Bottlebush down. He disappears into a long barrow from the site of a cursus on the B3081.
Many witnesses including respected Archaeologists have seen the spirit. Bottle bush down seems to have been important to early man and is littered with his remains.
The incident took place in 1924 (referenced in Supernatural England by Eric Maple p172). Could be that this is the same account that has been garbled and placed in Wiltshire.(always suspicious about undisclosed locality). I will have a look in some other sources as I am sure I have a better account of it.
Just had another thought 2500 years old would make it an Iron Age 'Knight', Derek and Julia's account might be a bit fishy.
Considering the other accounts given in the aforementioned Atlas I would be suspicious as well but it's good to know that this account has at least some roots in reality, thanks a lot for the tip.
So I think that the ghostly renactment of the Battle of Marathon (Greece) is a good contendant for the oldest uninterrupted ghostly tradition.
I'd be cautious about identifying a ghost from the Bronze Age from their clothing as we don't have many examples of clothing from that period, the best being those found on bog bodies!
I think I'm right in saying Paul Devereux has written of seeing what appeared to be a stone-age era horseman.
Excellent point agricola. What about metal goods like weapons and armour? You'd still have to know your stuff to accurately identify someone as being from a particular age.
Matt, had we domesticated horses in the Stone Age?
Earliest solid evidence of horse domestication is from 5500 BC (give or take a hundred years) form that cradle of horsemen which is Central Asia. Earliest Bronze Age remains from Britain have been dated to 2000 BC (again give or take a hundred years) so it's not a complete historical impossibility. Civilizations do not make neat jumps.
Bear in mind that England is considered to be the original breeding ground of the ancient Great Warhorse, which was the sire of all the large breeds used in the late Middle Ages for warfare (ever wondered how much the armours used at Agincourt weighed and why the French were completely exhausted well before reaching Henry V's troops?) and later as heavy draught animals. The earliest literary mention of this prized animal is in Caesar's De Bello Gallico.
Hope this helped out.
Even with metal goods it's hard to date bodies. There's a lot of evidence that weapons, pottery, etc were handed down - a bit like having your granny's best china.
At the same time, people have preconceptions - such as 'seeing a stone age man' - put asside the fact that it was Paul Devereux who probably does know what he's talking about - how does someone know what a stone age man would look like?
A weight of awe, not easy to be bourne,
Fell suddenly upon my spirit - cast
From the dread bosom of the unknown past
When first I saw that family forlorn.. Read More »