Miriam looked at Joseph’s watch. It was almost 10:30pm. They were engaged, but in spite of this and the fact that she was in her 20’s, she still had to arrive home by a certain time. Joseph really hated this.
But time it was and they had been courting in the shadows down a little lane and still whispering sweet nothings to each other, they walked slowly down the lane to the main road lingering as long as possible.
There is now a garden and a housing estate on the main road, but then it used to be an open piece of ground with a rubble wall round the perimeter, Joseph and his pals often played football there when they were children, but his thoughts were miles away from sport.
As they went round the corner, they came abruptly into a pool of light from the street lamp. Before their eyes had properly adjusted, Joseph gave a startled cry and grabbed Miriam’s arm even tighter. Leaning back against the wall as a man, wearing a long, dark cloak, his face hidden in its shadows. He swears that the man was much taller than normal – almost seven feet tall, but it was not that which had caused him to pull away. The man had an aura of threat, almost of evil.
Miriam ignored Joseph, wanting to get home before her dad noticed how late she was. But Joseph refused to pass by the stranger, pulling her over to the other side of the road. As they walked down the road, the only sound was the tap-tapping of Miriam’s heels. Joseph looked back over his shoulder but the man still stood there, not moving.
Joseph felt rather silly about it. Looking back on it in the cold light of day, so to speak he could not explain why he had felt threatened.
Till 4 days later. He was at the band club playing billiards with a friend, when Freddie pulled him over to a quieter part of the room.
“Joseph, you will never believe this,”, he started. “You know the field, the one where we used to play football? Well, a few days ago, I was walking Grace home and we were, you know, holding hands. And then I saw this man coming up towards us, and I don’t know why, but I felt really frightened of him. I suppose it was because I could not see his face, because he was wearing some sort of long cloak. Anyway, he just pushed straight between us. I shivered, I can tell you that. I felt frozen where he had brushed against me…”
It had been the same day, the same place in year 1953.
Seven years later, a company was drilling by the bastions there. One night a power cut plunged the engineers into darkness. One of them, a Scottish guy, was sent out to investigate. He walked up the wall that ran along the side of the bastions, checking the cable connections that they had put there temporarily while they were drilling. Everything seemed to be fine. But his message did not get back to the other engineers, who were still waiting in candlelight for the electricity to be switched on again.
When a few hours had passed, another man was sent out to look for him. He was found unconscious by the wall. When they managed to revive him, he said that a tall man, wearing a dark cloak, had just picked him up like a ragdoll and thrown him against the wall.
These 3 sightings of a tall, cloaked man, would qualify for the title of strange all on their own.
But years later, Joseph found a book in a jumble sale in United Kingdom. In it there was a story of an Englishman, Paul Take, who died in mysterious circumstances in that same place in Spain in 1935.
“Across the square, he could see a remarkably tall man in a long, dark cloak, standing motionless under one of the mess windows. Something about the appearance of this solitary shrouded figure attracted his attention. To be wearing such clothes in such a heat wave seemed peculiar.
With a leap, the cloaked man sprang onto the windowsill and disappeared through the curtains into the mess… Then after a few seconds, an ear piercing scream rang out – a harsh , appalling cry of rage and terror and to his horror and utter amazement, he saw the man reappear at the window with Paul in his arms. Both men vanished around the corner..
He ran to the mess and found the card-room in chaos. On the floor, surrounded by half a dozen officers, lay Paul Take, dead.
A formal military enquiry revealed that no civilian was in the garrison after 10pm that day. The card-players testified in their evidence that a momentary gust of wind seemed to shake the nearest window. Simultaneously, the card table was stirred and Paul Take, throwing his hands up into the air, slumped in his chair gasping as though in a fit. Medical evidence showed that he had died of a heart attack…”
This post was written by Nadia Vella