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The plague

Ghosts, light humour and serious beliefs, item 37

You might have heard of something called the Black Death.

One of the most devastating and fatal diseases in human history, it swept across Europe in the thirteen hundreds, leaving hundreds of millions of people dead in its wake. Its symptoms included the development of pus-filled sores across the body, the blackening of skin as it deadened and fell off, and the eventual, usually inevitable, death of the afflicted. The disease reached Britain in 1350, and had spread across the entire country by 1351.

A plague of this nature, as you might imagine, brought about any number of legends, myths, and ghost stories. But one particular story persists, one about a young doctor who lived only a few miles from here, and who understood the plague- and it’s deadliness- better than anyone.

The doctor, who went by the name of Frederick Post, began to study the plague as it began to creep across the whole of the British Isles. Tragically, during his study, he discovered that the disease was not only fatal, but highly contagious, and within a matter of weeks he was displaying a handful of symptoms that he recognised only too well. Terrified, the doctor knew he only had a matter of days to find a cure- and, in his desperation to rid himself of the illness, he called on forces outside his control.

Frederick immediately consulted a local healer, begging that the she find a way to save his life. She swore to him that she would find a way to do so, but in return he would need to bring her the blood of three new plague victims in return for his life. In a hurry, Frederick fled back to the city and continued work as though nothing had changed, attempting to hide the increasingly noticeable symptoms of the plague.

Luring plague sufferers into his office, he promised a cure and, when they were unconscious, collected the blood by murdering off those who were already close to death and draining them- amidst the chaos of the plague, no-one noticed a few more corpses on the pile, even if they did have a few suspicious-looking contusions.

Once Frederick had acquired everything the healer had asked of him, he returned to her and Frederick got his wish.

When he demanded that she extend his life, the healer obliged- but, instead of curing him of the plague, cursed him to wander the streets forever as a ghost, still suffering from the agonising symptoms of his disease for all eternity. As she explained to him, all he had asked for was that his life be extended, and his callousness proved that he was not worthy to look after the patients he claimed to treat, but rather should join the ones he had failed in the spirit world.

They were released from their suffering, but Frederick Post can still be heard, very late some nights, trying to find a kind doctor who might cure him of his ailment…

Ghost, Spiritual Or Historic Stories For Pubs And Restaurants