My sister and I regularly take walks up to Saint Andrew’s church, it’s only a 10 minute walk away from where we live. Sometimes we go at night hoping to see a ghost, and other times we walk around the graveyard in the day reading the names on the gravestones and taking pictures of squirrels.
Sadly, we’ve still not seen a ghost here. Even at night, it doesn’t feel particularly spooky. It actually feels quite happy and bright which is unusual for a graveyard.. however the church itself is rather foreboding. It has an odd feel to it and an unusual history.
Back in medieval England, the villages of Immingham and Killingholme sat side by side; on land owned by Lord Yarbrough. Killingholme was the smaller of the two villages and so they did not have a church like Immingham did.
One day, the villagers in Killingholme decided that they would like a church of their own, and so they began work to build one. However, the villagers found that they couldn’t finish it one their own. They decided to ask the people of Immingham for help. The people of Immingham gladly helped the villagers and soon the new church was completed.
A few years later, there was a terrible storm and the church in Immingham was struck by lightning and damaged. The next morning the people of Immingham inspected the damage. They decided it was so bad that they would have to ask for help repairing it, so they asked the villagers in Killingholme for help.
The villagers, however, refused to return the favour they had been granted a few years earlier. The people of Immingham were left to fix their church on their own.
Eventually they had repaired the damage, but the villagers of Killingholme had annoyed them greatly. They decided to stick a gargoyle on top of the bell tower, with its naked backside pointed toward Killingholme. The gargoyle can still be seen today.
Unfortunately I couldn’t get a decent picture of the gargoyle as I’d have to climb a tall tree to capture it. It’s right at the top of the bell tower so it’s not very easy to see from the ground.
There are many little urban legends and kids games around the world involving ghosts like ‘Bloody Mary’ and ‘Resurrection Mary’ (Yeah there’s a lot of dead Mary’s) Saint Andrew’s church has it’s own little legend and game that local children have been dared to play.
Apparently if you run around the church counterclockwise three times and then look at a particular carved face on the north facing church wall then the Devil will appear to you.
About two years ago, my sister and I attempted this little game. The only problem was that we were unfit chain-smokers and we ended up giving up. Believe me, running around a church three times seems more strenuous than you’d think! I suppose the other reason why we stopped is that we couldn’t really take it seriously. It’s the kind of thing that can scare the hell out of little children, but as adults it’s hard to get that naivety and magical spark that kids have.
Regardless of the fact we’re now supposed to be cynical adults, we’re going to give it another go next week, I’ll let you know how Satan’s doing in my next post.