1943


20
YEARS

THE WHITE HORSE

“One other case of haunting came to my notice

while I was in the Army…”

“This concerned a large private house

which had been requisitioned for officers’ use.”

“It stood in secluded surroundings

at the end of a winding drive

bordered by overhanging trees.”

“It was a square Georgian house

with a curiously brooding atmosphere…”

“...which may or may not have been connected

with the tragedies

 that had undoubtedly taken place there…”

“...a former owner,

during a hunt ball…”

“…had ridden his horse into the house

and along the hall…”

“…and had then tried to make the animal

climb the stairs...”

“The horse had missed its footing

on the narrow second landing…”

“...and horse and rider crashed to the hall below,

crushing two guests

and breaking the necks of steed and rider...”

“There was a tradition that a ghostly figure…”

“...mounted on a white charger…”

“...had been seen

in the upper rooms of the house…”

“…and there were those who suggested

that it was this apparition…”

“…that had so startled the horse that it

missed its footing…”

“…in the succeeding years

the sound of a horse’s hooves was heard for several nights 

during the early months of the year…”

“…and on one occasion,

when a party of officers sat up to listen for it…”

“...[they] heard the sound move along the hall…”

“...mount the stairs, and then cease,

leaving the would-be ghost hunters…”

“...holding their breaths...”

“I was most intrigued by all this,

and managed to make the necessary arrangements

to sit up by myself in the house…”

“…but I heard no noises other than the

somewhat unnerving cracks and groans...

that any old house might make at night...” 

“...I must have picked the wrong night…”

“…[for] a couple of evenings later

the noises were heard again by several officers

who happened to be returning late…”

“…and were puzzled by the clip-clop of a horse’s hooves

which appeared to follow them up the gloomy drive

 to the house….”

“As they reached the door (which stood open)

they waited on one side, and...the sounds seemed

 to pass them and enter the house.”

“They...stood in a group just inside the door,

looking at the stairs and landing above,  

listening to the sounds as they appeared to mount the stairs.”

“One of the officers had been among those

who had heard the noises a few evenings previously…”

“...but on this later occasion, he assured me,

they were much sharper and louder.”

“He said that he felt he could almost

see the horse and rider

in a shadowy kind of way…”

“This time, as the sounds crossed the second landing,

the landing rail suddenly cracked and gaped open

as though something had fallen through…”

“A second later there was a dull thud

from the direction of the passage below,

and then an uncanny silence…”

“Next day I examined the broken landing-rail…”

“It seemed and sound firm,

but had been broken

as it might have been with great force….”

“There seemed no normal explanation for the damage…

and I found myself asking…”

“...whether the supernormal

can affect the physical…”

No Common Task
pp.37-38