all of the ghosts I met as I traveled throughout England. There are a LOT more ghosts in England that I did not (yet) meet, and here is the first of several postings from Devonlive in Devon, U.K about some of them.. - Rob
Did Sir Francis Drake have mystical powers? Does the pirate of Burgh Island still haunt the place where he was hung on the anniversary of his death? And were pacts made with the devil which have left a Satanic chill hovering over these Devon landmarks to this day?
Why Devonians think Sir Francis Drake was a wizard
Both the Spanish and the British believed that Sir Francis Drake was a wizard who used supernatural methods. The swashbuckling Elizabethan sea hero helped defeat the Spanish Armada apparently against all the odds.
After Drake was knighted by Queen Elizabeth I he took his duties to the people he represented very seriously. One summer during a particularly bad drought it is said that he rode up on to Dartmoor until he found a spring to deliver drinking water to the people of Plymouth.
He is said to have 'bewitched it with magic incantations and then galloped into town with the stream at his heels.
The stream is still visible as Plymouth leat which rises three miles north and Sheepstor and threads it was down into a reservoir to the north of Plymouth.
In places the Devonport Leat appears to travel uphill, which some believed was against the laws of nature.
The leats were designed to carry water, by means of gravity.The art of the leat builders was a skilled job as they had to ensure the flow of water was not too fast so as to flood and not to slow as to stagnate. This was achieved by following the natural contours of the landscape. On the eastern flank of Beardown where the Devonport Leat flows down towards Plymouth, a section appears to flow uphill.
There are still Devonians who believe the spirit of Drake reincarnates with every successive British naval hero.
Even Drake's drum is supposed to have supernatural powers. Drake took the drum with him when he circumnavigated the world. Shortly before he died he ordered the drum to be taken to Buckland Abbey and vowed that if England were ever in danger and someone was to beat the drum he would return to defend the country. According to legend it can be heard to beat at times when England is at war or significant national events take place.
As recently as World War II the drum was said to bang again although many said it was the sound of Ack Ack antiaircraft guns.
Now owned by the National Trust, Buckland Abbey was once the home of Sir Francis Drake who is now believed to haunt the Abbey.
After returning from his three-year circumvention of the globe, Drake was sold the Abbey in 1580. However the locals believed he possessed supernatural powers granted to him through a pact with the devil.
According to reports, Drake’s ghost is said to travel across Dartmoor in a black coach driven by several headless horses, followed by a pack of howling hounds. It is also believed that any living dog that hears the packs’ cries will die immediately.
This picturesque Yarcombe Inn pub was once owned by Drake and is now said to be haunted by his spirit. The grade II-listed building, on the Devon/Somerset border, dates from the 14th century. Its other claim to notoriety is that Admiral Lord Nelson stayed at the inn when he travelled between Portsmouth and Honiton.