Bedgebury Pinetum


An acquaintance of David's passed a few minutes at a recent trade show by retelling this intriguing tale of an unforgettable incident by a Kent lake: here is 'Mr Plumb's' story......

"My brother and I were, at one time, very keen anglers: we have caught large pike in the moat at Leed's Castle and good roach in the many rippling streams of our home county. But our favourite spot used to be the beautiful tree-girt lake at Bedgebury Pinetum.

Not an easy water to obtain permission to fish, our every opportunity was keenly anticipated for weeks, if not months: a specimen Tench or Bream was always on the cards, while huge, wily carp haunted the dark waters.....

I should tell you, at this juncture, that the lake was created in the 17th Century by the flooding of a valley and the small hamlet that then occupied it.....

One Summer's evening my brother and I settled down for an evening's angling: conditions were near-perfect and our state of 'alert expectation' was high: but only for fish!

After some good sport, things slackened off around midnight, and we slumped back in our chairs and gazed out silently at the lake. All at once everything changed: all the familiar night-sounds vanished from the valley as a blood-red miasma suddenly arose from the inky surface of the lake. Coots, ducks and other water-fowl seemed instantly to disappear, while our noses and throats were assailed by the most foul and - well EVIL - stench it has ever been our misfortune to encounter. And then, far worse, I felt drawn by a powerful and almost unconquerable urge to walk down into the dark water: it took all my resolve not to do so! I began to retch: the sound shattered the 'spell' and I found myself once more in control of my body. What is more, the effluvial stench, the red mist and the painful silence all receded.
At the time I briefly thought all of this had been a product of my imagination, until, forcing myself to turn to my brother, his gaunt expression told me I had not been alone in my experience.
With scarcely a word, we packed our tackle and fled to the car and home!

Some time later, at a meeting of our angling club, we happened to mention that we had occasionally fished the 'Old' lake at Bedgebury. An elder stateman of the group drew deeply on his pipe before exclaiming:

Well you'd never get ME there at night! They say folks who do go get drawn down to Hell by the old villagers!

Granny lends a hand!
have been sworn to secrecy NOT to reveal the identity of the trusted teller of this story: she does not believe in ghosts or anything to do with the supernatural, and, in her words, wishes to retain '...some credibility!' For the purposes of our narrative, we shall call her Jane!

Our chum is a professional woman and a mother of two. Some years ago, after the birth of her second child, she decided to return to work, aided in this ambition by her grandmother.

Although elderly, the lady was sprightly, and completely amenable to the idea of looking after two children, one a babe of just four months. She had, our friend reports, many quirky ways of doing things: all had to be just so! Nevertheless, the arrangement worked admirably, and the return to work - and wages - went without a hitch…..

Without warning, tragedy struck:  our friend's grandmother was rushed to hospital following a massive heart attack, from which she sadly failed to recover……

A replacement child-minder was advertised for and employed: an  efficient and enthusiastic young woman who had recently received her licence: Jane was able to resume her career once more.

One day, on her return from work, the nanny led her aside: she said that, while freely admitting her comparative unfamiliarity with terry-towelling nappies (diapers!) she had been trained in their use. The mother's eyebrows were raised enquiringly….

The nanny continued: it seemed that whenever she went to change the baby's nappy, it had somehow 'reconfigured itself'! Jane asked tbe shown: the baby was fetched and its nappy exposed: Jane's blood ran cold: there, unmistakably, was the hallmark nappy-fold of her dead grandmother !!!!!
Even in death, things still had to be

……….just so!