It was back in 1969 that the hunchback ghost of Pentylands Lane made itself visible to about 20 Highworth teenagers according to a report in a local newspaper. It all started in October when youth club members were returning from a charity walk along the lane. They say they saw a ‘white figure’ moving across the fields and according to one witness, “It was about 10.30pm and there was a full moon. We saw this figure lying across a tractor in the field. As we watched, it got up and we saw it looked disfigured or deformed and it was shining white. It could have been a boy or a small child, about 4ft 6in tall. It seemed to stand by the tractor for a while and then started to move towards us. We were all scared and it seemed to know what we were doing. We all started to walk back up the lane and it followed us along the hedge. Then it followed us back again so we got out quick!”
Another witness, who said he saw the ghost about an hour later stated that the figure was bent and white. He put it at about a foot taller and said that it was floating a couple of feet from the ground and “just drifted” towards the hedge.
The next night, some of the teenagers decided to return to Pentylands to see if they could find any trace of the apparition, but unknown to them, one of the group decided to play a trick on them. He put a sheet over his head to scare his friends but they were not fooled. They said he looked nothing like the thing they had seen the night before, and anyhow, other reports stated that the ghost was seen in another field at the time he played his prank.
Word was beginning to spread around Highworth’s youth and about a week later another group of teenagers decided to go on a ghost hunt. Amongst them was an 18 year old Highworth lad with his girlfriend, who went down the lane on his motorbike.
When it was time to leave he could not start his bike and the others went on ahead. It was then that he and his girlfriend saw the ghost. “I saw this shape. It was about 4ft tall and was grey and just stood on the verge without moving. It was definitely there. It was not a reflection and I didn’t have my lights on”. His girlfriend was understandably in a hurry to leave so he ran with his bike to get it started and they left as quickly as they could.
Another account of the ghost is given by a 14 year old girl who went down the lane with a group of friends to see what they could find. When she saw the apparition it was about 3 feet from the ground and all hunched up. One arm was outstretched, pointing at her group and it’s head was tucked into it’s shoulder. Then it seemed to be sitting on a gate but didn’t seem to have any legs. It was all a kind of a grey mist.
On a second visit a 13 year old girl was in the group. She actually fainted in the lane and when brought round by her friends she said she had seen the ghost ant that it had touched her. She also told the story of a girl that she knew who had ridden her horse down Pentylands Lane during daylight with some friends who were on foot. The friends said they saw the ‘thing’ touch her on the head, but she saw and felt nothing.
When this took place the horse shied and refused to go further down the lane.
Pentylands Lane seems to have been quiet since then but when looking back through the years there apparently has been three deaths in the area. One man drowned in a pond, another was killed by a tractor and the third died after being kicked by a horse. Could it be one of these men paying Pentylands a visit or is it all down to the over enthusiastic imaginations of a group of Highworth teenagers? Maybe we will never know.