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Brian Holland

The Man in the Mist (A Christmas tale)

Come, come join me for what I am about to relate to you would be no surprise to the locals of the area.

Essex is filled to stories of hauntings by ghosts, Witches inhabiting villages still to this day after being cast to the pyres by a certain Matthew Hopkin, 

Draw up a chair by the winter fire as I tell you a tale.

It was late when I got there, and the rain had been lashing down all day making the ground around the lake a sodden sticky muddy swamp. There were other people on the lake on arrival, but I managed to get a swim I fancied looking across the lake at its deepest points. I started setting up the bivvy first to keep the fishing gear dry as I slowly trudge back and forth through the mud from my car. By the time I had set up all the other fishermen had pulled off for the night leaving only myself.

The weather had turn and a mist descended upon the lake and the swim. With the rods set I retired into the bivvy for some warm food and to watch a film whilst waiting the bite alarm to scream off.

I must have nodded off because as I woke, I could see a figure on the opposite bank setting up in the mist. It looked like he had an old oil filled lantern which made the mist around him light up as it swirled in the light breeze making the silhouetted man drift in and out of focus.

Even though the mist could impair the vision across the lake, I could tell it was a rather thin man, quite nimble as he flitted from one side of the swim to the other setting up his rods ready for the nights action. From what I could tell as soon as he was set up the light was extinguished, and the mist enveloped the area taking away any sight of the man.

The moon was a Waxing gibbous with a clear sky, the rain had now ceased, the mist was a bright white as it reflects the moons glare. The lake was like a mill pond, with the mist settling just above it. I had no view of the lake and if one of my alarms was to go off, I would be playing the fish by feel.

So, I retired to my bivvy to settle down for the night

Now I woke to the sound of a little jiggling of a bell through the mist, looking across the lake I could see a figure on the side of the bank playing a fish. Within half an hour the little jingle started again and again through the mist I could se the figure playing another fish.

My alarms stayed silent as I listened to the little jiggling one after another.  As the gentlemen opposite continued to catch fish one after another.

It was just after one am that the bell started jiggling constantly, more than before echoing through the mist. Getting louder it continually rang. Looking out of the bivvy I could not see the figure as before. Suddenly sounding through the mist, a large splash as the bell kept on jiggling.

He has fallen in, I rushed to put my clothes on and leaving my rods I was running around to the opposite side of the lake. All I could here was the bell through the mist, ringing, ringing.

I reached the top of the swim through the mud-soaked ground I hurled myself down the embankment, Still the bell kept ringing.

Reaching the bottom nothing was there, No rods, no bell, No man.

My head torch caught the water as I gazed around puzzled and confused, a face, A bloody face staring in agony back up at me, the dark black eyes open. I plunged my hand into the water grasping for the body. Something to grab to drag the poor soul back to land. But nothing, no body but a face still staring as it sunk deeper into the lake, Stricken I grasped again now plunging the top of my body into the water keeping my head just above the surface. My hand touched something, something metal. I stretched again as far as I dare clasping between two fingers, I pulled up a single bell.

One reply on “The Man in the Mist (A Christmas tale)”

I too had a similar experience 45 years ago at a place called woldale …. Still think about it a lot .. never really explained it

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