Mr Brett's sketch of eerie vision

This is an eerie and quite disturbing incident which was reported to me in July 2000. On Wednesday, June 21st - the summer solstice - just before dawn, two birdwatchers, or ornithologists, to use the proper title, were camped in a tent at Calder Vale, about five miles east of Garstang in northen England, watching the local scenery with binoculars. As the orange disk of the sun started to emerge from the eastern horizon, one of the birdwatchers - a retired English teacher named Mr Brett, saw something which sent a cold shiver down his spine.

About a quarter of a mile away to the north-east, he saw three women being hanged. The three women were alongside one another in a line, kicking and dangling from some sort of crude gallows, while a group of people stood near by. The people seemed to be enshrouded in an early morning mist which came up to their waists.

Mr Brett had to steady his hand as he focussed the binoculars on the distressing sight. He called to his colleague, a man named Mr Barry, and pointed the eerie scene out to him. Mr Barry saw the triple execution too, and was so convinced that what he was seeing was real, he called the police on his mobile phone. Seconds later, the three hanged women, the gallows and the crowd gradually faded away as the sun's morning rays shone on the area.

The police searched the hill where the birdwatcher's had seen the weird spectacle and found nothing. However, a police sergeant, said he had heard of a few accounts of the phantom hanging from lots of people over the years. He said that 400 years before, during the witch persecutions, scores of innocent women were hanged in the area from gallows and trees. In 1989 a local farmer saw four women hanging from an oak tree early one morning, and when he drove towards the hanging tree, it vanished into the early morning mist, along with the dangling bodies. In the same area in 1994, a couple from Liverpool, a Mr and Mrs Sweeney, were travelling along a B road near Calder Vale one evening, when they saw an eerie spectacle in the adjacent cornfield. Mr Sweeney pulled his car up and killed the headlights. He and his wife saw a circle of women in long robes dancing in circle. Above them loomed the full moon. Mrs Sweeney wound down the passenger window and listened to the strange chants coming from the women. Mr Sweeney unclicked his seat-belt and reached for the video camcorder on the rear seat; he just had to capture the bizarre scene on tape. Then things took a chilling turn, because one of the women pointed to the Sweeneys, and soon, all of the demented-looking women were running towards the startled Liverpool couple. The Sweeneys took off down the road in their car. That night they stayed at their daughter's home in Oakenclough, and told her about the women in the field. Their daughter said a local coven held its sabbath in the area. The mystery deepened on the following day when the Sweeneys returned to the field where they'd seen the women dancing. In the field there was a corncircle. UFOs were blamed for the circle, but the Sweeneys had their own theories.