Friday, July 29, 2011

White Lady of Worstead

The opening of a new English pub in Worstead has once again brought to light the story of the White Lady of Worstead Church.

For many years, the White Lady was among the ranks of other spectrally colorful ladies throughout England.  Legend states that the White Lady would appear every Christmas Eve at the church, and many believed that seeing her would result in the witness's timely demise.  In fact, one such story that goes back to 1830 does involve such a scenario.  One brave fellow climbed to the top of the belfry on Christmas Eve, claiming that if he saw this White Lady, he was going to kiss her.  When he failed to return, his friends went searching...only to find him huddled at the top of the belfry.  He managed to mutter "I've seen her, I've seen her," before passing away.

Fast forward to 1975.  It was August 2 and Diane Berthelot, her husband Peter, and their 12 year old son were on vacation, visiting the church.  Diane, who was on antibiotics for an infection, was feeling ill, so she sat down to rest, but also to pray for recovery.  Her husband and son continued to explore the church, snapping photos.

At the time, Diane wasn't aware that as she was praying for recovery, her husband happened to snap a photo of her sitting on wooden bench.  She does, however, remember feeling quite peaceful after praying for the recovery.

After the vacation, the family decided to put on a slideshow featuring the photos from the trip, and for the first time, really got a good look at them.  Friends and family gasped when they came to the photo of Diane sitting at the bench praying, with what appears to be a glowing woman wearing old-fashioned clothing, sitting directly behind her.

The following summer, the family took the photo back to the church and showed the vicar, Rev. Pettit.  He relayed a slightly different version of the White Lady than previous legend states...in the reverend's tale, the White Lady is not a death omen.  Rather, she is a healer, making her presence known whenever there is sickness nearby.

Today, Dennis Gilligan is the owner of the White Lady Pub.  A copy of the original photo is proudly on display here, but that may not be the ONLY sign of the White Lady here.  Dennis believes that since naming the pub in her honor, the White Lady of Worstead has wandered over from the church.  Lights have now begun to flicker on and off on their own, and a ghostly touch has been reported in the cellars.

Information and Photo from Alex Hurrell, EDP (July 25, 2011)

So what does everyone think of this photo?  The comments are fairly enlightening.  It appears that a majority of viewers think this image is faked...that the original photo has been digitally enhanced or touched up for this recent media blitz.  Others simply believe this is a trick of light combined with a slow shutter speed resulting in a somewhat glowing, transparent figure of a real person--a real person who just happens to be wearing trousers and black shoes if you look closely.  I'll let YOU all decide!

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