Halloween 2021

I've a Yorkshire tale for them as likes ghost stories, it happened in Robin Hood's Bay, just the other day, before any on us here was born.

So, there were a farmer, and he were a Yorkshire lad through and through, so he never spent a pound where a penny would do, and the only thing he'd treat himself to were a nice pint of beer at the Windmill Inn, in Stainsacre. This farmer was Bert Marshall, and he was well known for his teeth.

Why did people natter about Bert's teeth? Well, I'll tell thee.

I don't know if Bert were short of brass, or just being tight, but he'd lost his own teeth and couldn't or wouldn't pay for a set of false uns. Somehow he managed to come by a lovely set of teeth, and it tonned out he'd pinched them right out of the mouth of a corpse. Appen it just seemed like good sense, mind, as the dead man had no more use for false teeth than for a chocolate fireguard. Bert fettled them teeth up and stuck them in his gob, and he were pleased as punch with his sen for getting summat for nowt. But of course people talked about Bert, and his dead mans teeth, specially cuz after a couple of pints Bert were prone to taking them teeth out of his mouth and waving them around, bragging about how he got them for free, he were that chuffed with them.

Now, another peculiar thing about Bert was that he had no horse, appen he could've bought his sen an horse but he didn't want to spend the money, maybe he had nowt to spend, anyroad it med no odds because he had his own two legs to walk on, and they took him about just fine. So every Friday night, whatever the weather, Bert would walk ovver to Stainsacre, about 5 mile yonder, have a drink and a bit of a yammer, and then walk back home by his sen, following along of the railway line.

There were this one Friday night, it were dark, and it were nithering cold, and the wind howled and wuthered as it does around there, tha knows. Bert were drinking in the Windmill Inn, and having a proper good laugh by all accounts, and he had more than a couple of drinks in him when he set off back home. He must have known the way like back of his hand from walking it all his life, and often in the dark of night, but this night were pitch black, there were no moon showing on account of the clouds. Maybe Bert were so drunk he fell down, appen he got muddled in the storm, anything can happen if tha goes out alone on a dark and stormy night. Them at saw it say there there weren't no one there, so it seems we'll nivver know how Bert ended up lying across the railway tracks in the path of an on coming train.

Poor old Bert didn't stand a chance, the train driver couldn't stop in time, and it were morning afore the police got out to him. They found a gory scene, it were summat terrible to see, the body on the tracks, dead as they come, and Berts second-hand teeth lying right there next to the body. But the worst of it was that Berts head had been chopped clean off by the train. How them teeth wasn't in Bert's head is a mystery, but they reckon they fell out when he fell down, so there was just Bert's headless body and his famous teeth, lying there. They looked and looked, but Bert's head weren't never found, appen summat wild ate it, I wasn't there, so I cant tell.

So Bert were buried without his head, and as they knew back then, a body had to be buried whole for the spirit to rest.

Nowadays, if you go walking along the old railway path above Robin Hood's Bay, most likely when it's stormy, appen you'll hear a clicking or maybe a chattering sort of sound, and if you hear that noise you should turn back swift like, or you'll be confronted with a most gruesome sight. Folks say that the headless ghost of Bert Marshall is still out there, holding his teeth in his hand, and he clacks them like maracas while he searches for his missing head.

So I've told you all that I know of the ghost of Headless Bert, and you'll have to talk amongst yourselves to decide what's the truth, unless you go and see it for your sen.


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