The Lantern Man
The Lantern Man is one version of the common Will o’ the Wisp or Jack o’ Lantern phenomena within Norfolk and the haunted fens. This supernatural belief has many variations throughout Britain.
The Lantern man was always thought to be dangerous and in many accounts would attack whoever came into his vicinity, rather than the usual role of most will o’ the Wisps who lure travellers to treacherous areas.
The visualisation of a man carrying a lantern is also more formal than usual sprite although it was still believed to be a form of marsh gas. A last resort to stand a chance of survival was to fall on the ground and hold your breath which is telling if belief was related to noxious gases escaping from the mire.
The Lantern man is mentioned in the 1900 copy of Eastern Counties magazine, where a novel way of escaping the Lantern man’s clutches is outlined. If two men were on opposite sides of a field and the Lantern man approached whistling would draw its attention, and in this way 2 travellers could whistle in turn and if they were far enough apart lure the Lantern man to and fro until they escaped to safety.