Have you ever been driving along a stretch of road at night just as it’s going dark and think that you’ve passed someone on the kerbside. You can’t be sure, it did look like a person, but think no-one would be around at this time of the evening. It’s funny how your eyes start playing tricks on you. Shadows of plants and signs turn into shapes of people. Well our story today just might make you think again. Maybe what you’re actually seeing is a wayside ghost going about it’s business in the country lanes of Herefordshire.
Our story this week doesn’t just focus on the presence of a single ghostly entity, it tells the tale of the appearance of an entire ghostly inn complete with its staff and customers. Callow is well known to Herefordshire folk, its a village south of Hereford just off the A49. In previous times travellers would pass through Callow on their way to and from Hereford and be met by the welcoming lights of the Callow Inn. It was somewhere they could pitch up for the night, enjoy some much needed ale, cider and food and rest their weary heads. What the travellers didn’t know was that some of them would be lucky to see the morning! The inn was a place where terrible crimes were committed.
The landlord and his wife were a colourful pair, on the surface very welcoming, friendly and amenable but both hid a dark secret. Initially they began stealing from their guests, pilfering small items that customers may not initially notice were missing. They were careful not to overdo it though to ensure that no-one would come knocking on their door asking awkward questions later. Over time they became more ambitious, the landlord’s wife would target wealthy gentlemen. Using her charms and wiles she would make it her business to find out more him to establish whether his family or friends knew where he was staying for the night. If the poor man advised that he was alone and that no-one knew of his travel plans sadly his fate was determined and he was about to meet a sticky end. After getting the gentleman tipsy by plying him with fine wines, the landlord’s wife would then tuck the worse for wear chap into bed. All cosy like, so he wouldn’t suspect a thing.
As soon as the inn had closed for the night the landlord would quietly make his way upstairs, murder the guest and pocket his valuables. Terrible deed complete the landlord and his wife would then carry the body away from the inn across the fields and bury it deep within the woods, so no-one would find it.
One day however they picked on the wrong person, one of the gentlemen who they had murdered came up missing and an investigation was launched into his disappearance. The trail led investigators to the Callow Inn and they were shocked at what they uncovered. This was not the first disappearance of its kind that was connected to the inn, there were many more. To this day no-one knows how many wealthy gentlemen shared the same dreadful fate at the hands of this ghastly pair but it is thought to be quite a few.
The pair were charged with murder and subsequently hanged for their crimes. You may think that that was the end of this terrible tale of misdeeds and murder but it is not. There have been sightings of the ghosts of the landlord and his wife on multiple occasions, mainly on moonlit nights. They appear staggering alongside the old main road carrying what looks like a dead body between them. Others have reported sightings of the long demolished inn too, lights shining brightly through the windows, the people inside enjoying themselves. But it strangely vanishes if anyone approaches it.
So on a beautiful moonlit night as you travel through Callow and something in the shadows catches your eye, it might just be the two miscreants that were responsible for the demise of many an unsuspecting wealthy traveller. Time to hit the gas and get out of there!
These stories are curated from many sources and retold in our fun ESL style, in the true spirit of Folklore.
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