Issue 143 UK Adventure: Ghost Riders

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Has Taunton’s bloody history left a chill in the air, or is it just the sweat cooling on Pete’s neck? Words & Photography Pete Scullion “If ghosts do exist, why are they all centuries old? Why are there no ghosts from 2013 moaning about the imminent Scottish independence vote and the rising price of petrol?” Ask anyone whether they believe in ghosts and you will get a full spectrum of answers from the positive and the negative, with various shades of energy put behind their statements. Ghosts have captivated our imagination since time immemorial and the advent of photography saw a rise in their prevalence, only to drop off as cameras got better. Photoshop then saw another spike with any ‘photo’ of a ghost being met with derision and acceptance in equal measure. Ghosts are, not unsurprisingly, the most commonly believed in paranormal phenomenon. A 2019 Ipsos poll indicated that 46% of Americans believe in ghosts. That’s an awful lot of people. Are we simply using ghosts as a way of explaining to ourselves things that we cannot understand? A door slamming shut, missing items, cold patches in a building… Coincidence, but something we feel the need to explain to ourselves? Local legends Why have I travelled almost seven hours south and west to Taunton, you might ask? Well, Taunton has the dubious honour of being one of the most, allegedly, haunted towns in Britain. As usual, the stories that come with these spectres are strongly linked to the historical...

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