True Ghost Stories | Ravenswood | Lydia Atley
This Is How a Ghost Became My Best Friend
“What are these,
So wither’d, and so wild in their attire;
That look not like the inhabitants o’ th’ earth,
And yet are on ’t?”
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth
In 1850, Lydia Atley disappeared from Ringstead, Northamptonshire, a village in England. Witnesses heard the young woman arguing with the married butcher and father of the baby she was about to deliver. The last anyone heard of Lydia were her screams on that fateful night.
Her ghost is said to haunt the village, where I lived for several years in a quirky stone cottage.
This is an introduction to several bizarre but true stories I will share in the coming days about my encounters with her in my cottage.
She was waiting for me. She must have known my own ghosts when we met. She must have seen inside my soul and understood the grief, the longing, the desperate need for healing — and for peace.
After all, she permeated every space in the cottage, every room, every quiet corner; she was everywhere — and nowhere.
So deep was my own pain, I hid most of it even from myself. I chose, instead, as I had always done, to focus on the joys in my new life. I shoved away the dark thoughts that invaded my soul. I delighted in having just moved into a quirky, 500-year-old stone cottage; it was a lifelong dream come true.
It was my fortress, my safe place to hide and heal after decades of trauma and its ugly fallout. It was my fresh start, my clean slate, a chance to begin again where no one knew anything about me. No one except my then-husband and my sweet daughter, Willow, the three of us eager to enjoy this adventure together.
We could never have imagined just what kind of an adventure it would be. It would become a parapsychologist’s dream, the perfect place for scientists to explore and confirm what I had known since I was a child and communicating with spirits…