Fright Night!

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Reabrook
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Fright Night!

Post by Reabrook »

Look through any angling publication over the last few decades and my native Shropshire will appear somewhere as an apparent carp fishing Mecca. This wasn’t always the case. As I was growing up it was something of an angling backwater with regards carp. Myself and two friends were at the time wannabe carp addicts who followed up every lead suggesting carp were to be found in various waters. Often they weren’t but by the start of the 80s that all began to change. A chance conversation with a friend of a friend led us to a small lake in the South Shropshire Hills. Low and behold for once it held our hoped for quarry and was freely available on a day ticket for those in the know.
The fish weren’t huge by todays standard. Most weighed between 7 and 9lb with the odd double thrown in for good measure. It was our fishing heaven and even though larger carp in greater numbers had begun to show up in several local waters we stuck with it. The three of us worked together usually finishing on a Friday lunchtime and heading straight to the lake. On this particular Friday one of our trio had to visit family in Birmingham and wouldn’t be joining us until later in the night. It was an awful night to be fishing. Gale force winds and torrential rain but we stuck with it. Just after dark my mate appeared in my swim and casually mentioned that on his walk through the wood to join me he had come across a coffin laying on the track! I was convinced it hadn’t been there when I walked through, though I had been encumbered with a mountain of gear for the weekend. Despite the rain we went back through the wood to the road and couldn’t find it. Even after a barrage of abuse and mickey taking he decided to relocate to the swim next to mine.
As the night progressed the weather got increasingly worse. Though the wind eased the rain became absolutely biblical. We had not expected the third member of our group to show given the awful conditions and his long drive from Brum. Just before 10pm he appeared in my swim with two bags of very soggy chips and a quip that asked who’d parked the coffin in the car park. Back we went and there it was. A huge coffin taking up a space in the Carpark. The lad who had originally seen it was adamant it was 200 yds further down the track earlier in the night. We joked and laughed about it, with one of them actually climbing in and laying in it before returning to our swims. The weather didn’t improve, the fishing was a non event and sleep didn’t come easily. Not long after midnight all three of us were crammed under the same 50” wavelock brolly making silly, stupidly loud comments and jumping at every minute sound. Dawn came very slowly that night and we packed up as soon as it was light. Back at the cars the coffin was once again no where to be seen.
We called in at the local police station on the way home to report it. The Sergeant there insisted that his PC accompany us back to the lake to investigate. Back at the lake he asked where we were fishing. We pointed it out from the road and told him though there was a track it was pretty much a floating bog and given the current weather conditions his highly polished shoes probably weren’t the best footwear. Undeterred on we went. Forty years on if that PC is still with us I reckon he regrets that decision to this day. As we made our way back from the furthest swim we once again saw said coffin in the ditch below the dam wall. I pointed it out to our friend in blue who promptly declared it was in fact a coffin and legged it back to the Carpark as fast as his polished shoes would carry him. Back at the cars he then insisted we accompanied him back to the Station to give statements. Though it was on our way home it was becoming tedious now and no longer funny.
Back in the office the PC gave a verbal brief conveniently leaving out his rapid exit from the scene. His Sergeant seemed to find his dishevelled look highly amusing and I couldn’t help thinking we were now the victims of some Police prank. The kindly Sgt decided we didn’t need to make statements as he knew who owned the lake and would speak to them in person.
A few weeks later my Mate had a visit from the Police. They had contacted the farmer who claimed to have dug up the coffin whilst ploughing. The local kids had used it as a boat for a year or so (it was lead lined. Two of us couldn’t lift it!) before he’d got sick of people reporting it and filled it full of rocks and sunk it in the lake. There were many reasons we knew that wasn’t true but hey ho the Police apparently believed him so that was the end of the matter.
Not long after the News of the World started publishing stories of devil worship, grave robbing and all manner of occult happenings, events and rituals in that very area. We continued to fish it for a year or so before it became increasingly popular. With nearly every swim taken nearly every day the fishing became very hard and we moved on. It wasn’t a hard decision. We’d learned a lot and carp were starting to show in many lakes we’d previously known not to hold them.
A few years on and I left Shropshire. The first year I was away I missed home terribly, especially the fishing and returned at every opportunity. On a trip home myself and one of my friends decided to return and fish the lake. Things had changed and you could no longer buy a ticket from the farmer if he happened to pass by and saw your car. Now you had to make a conscious effort to find him and pay before setting up or risk getting thrown off the water. Eventually we found the remote farmhouse he and his daughter shared. Knocking on a ramshackle door it was slightly opened by a dishevelled looking girl who quickly took our money and blurted out that we could no longer night fish before slamming said door in our faces. We both stood and stared at each other having both seen a very large lead lined coffin stood up on its end in the tumbledown porch.
Written out now as it is, it doesn’t sound anywhere near as eerie as it was and it cannot begin to describe one of the few times in my life where the very hair has actually stood up on the back of my neck.
Later on that day, as the evening started to draw in, we were considering packing up when another angler joined us to ask how we’d fared. One thing led to another and we shared the above story. I remember that he said, we saw that coffin. It was a child’s one we carried it up to the road and the farmer collected it on his tractor. We never told him but the one in our story certainly wasn’t a child’s coffin! There’s some strange folk out there

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Grumpy
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Re: Fright Night!

Post by Grumpy »

A fine tale.Methinks the farmer had a strange sense of humour.

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DanielGover
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Re: Fright Night!

Post by DanielGover »

Brilliant tale. Thanks for sharing, I love it when a post appears in this section.

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Dom Andrew
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Re: Fright Night!

Post by Dom Andrew »

That would make a good spooky short film if an extra twist to the end of the story was added, like those films they used to do on TV, such as "Tales of the Unexpected. :Hide:

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Bobthefloat
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Re: Fright Night!

Post by Bobthefloat »

DanielGover wrote: Wed Apr 27, 2022 4:45 pm Brilliant tale. Thanks for sharing, I love it when a post appears in this section.
Me too! :Hat:
Your one bite away from the best session of your life.
Len Arbery

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CraigM
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Re: Fright Night!

Post by CraigM »

:Hat: Thanks from me Reabrook.

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