by Melinda Pillsbury-Foster
We met for the Ghost Walk just as the colors of daytime were being muted into grays. We hadn't planned our trip to Bath, England, to include hauntings, but a brochure at our Bed and Breakfast had caught my attention. It sounded as if it was a carefully staged event, with the parts of the spooks enacted by actors, temporarily between jobs.
This turned out to be a misapprehension. The ghosts are all very long time locals.
Earlier in the day we had eaten lunch at Sally Lunn's, located at the center of Bath. Sally began serving her now famous buns there in 1680, but baking has taken place on the site since Roman times. I can still taste the Queen Victorian's Tea, with clotted cream.
Bath is a town for walking so we returned to the Bed and Breakfast to put on our sturdier walking shoes.
Five of us met for the Tour at dusk, myself, my three daughters, Morgan, Dawn, Ayn, and another lady. Only the four of us finished the tour with the guide who, though cheerful, did not seem given to levity.
The tour begins at The Garrick’s Head Pub is adjacent to the Theatre Royal. The ghost most reported here appears in both locations as a misty gray presence reportedly, leaving a scent of jasmine in the air. Through the dimming light we visited the Royal Crescent. By the time we arrived it at the Gravel Walk it was very dark. Here, the guide pointed to the 'haunted bush,' which legend says hosts the specter of a dueler who died, his blood soaking into the earth from which the bush now springs.
Dawn, never nervous about anything, asked questions about the body, when it was found, why it was still hanging around and what it generally did to people who were there at the time the duel had originally taken place. Dawn nodded, eager to find out more. The guide asked us to move closer to the bush, which was rustling in the wind.
This was when our fellow tourist bolted. We all watched her disappear.
As we arrived back at the Bed and Breakfast Morgan asked if she could borrow my perfume before we went down to dinner. I shook my head knowing perfectly well it was back home in California.“You were wearing your jasmine cologne, weren't you?, she asked, her eyes growing wider.