Early in the 20th century, my grandfather, William Sallitt, was returning home to his house in Ilkley along a long, straight, deserted country lane. The November night was falling fast, as were starched, curled leaves which crackled beneath his feet as he walked, because, very unusually for the West Riding, there had been no rain for weeks.
Surprised to see an old woman approaching with a black shawl around her head, he raised his hat and bid her ‘good evening’, at which she totally ignored him. Only after she’d passed him did his blood run colder than the evening, as he realised her feet had made no rustling sound in the dry leaves. Swinging round, he found no one in the long straight lane. She had vanished without trace. Crossing himself in terror, he ran all the way home.
This is an extract from the Christmas issue of the Spectator, out now. To read more ghost stories, click here