Windsor is the oldest continuously inhabited castle on Earth and it has its own complement of ghosts. Let's get rid of one immediately. Herne the Hunter, legend says, was a huntsman falsely accused of theft by his foes and driven to suicide. His spirit roams Windsor Great Park seeking souls. But he never existed, for Herne is a version of Cernunnnos [Hernunnos] the ancient pagan woodland deity, an antlered pagan deity sometimes conflated with the Devil by Christian clerics. His pagan associations are supported by his association with The Wild Hunt, when pagan deities were believed to rampage across the landscape,a phenomenon which exists only in myth.
But there are spooky tales of monarchs in the grounds of the castle dating from the 1060's. In 1820 King George the Third's body was still lying in state at Windsor when the Captain of the guards looked up to the window from which the ailing king, even in his infirmity, used to take the salute from his guards.To his surprise he saw the late king standing there. The officer gave the gave the signal to salute, and the troops obeyed. The king returned the salute and then was gone.He was saying farewell to his guards.
In 1895 lieutenant Carr Glynn on duty in the castle saw a woman in black who strongly resembled Queen Elizabeth the First, whom he knew from portraits, who silently walked past him and entered the library. Intrigued, he followed her. There was only the librarian there and there was no other entrance or exit.He asked the baffled librarian who and where the woman was, but the librarian had seen no one. Glynn was convinced that he had seen the ghost of the deceased queen.
Duty in the Great Park can be onerous, and in 1906 a soldier encountered a group of strangers.Their having failed to respond to the challenge gave him no alternative but to shoot, but while the men's leader shuddered a bit at the bullet's impact they approached.The soldier went in with his bayonet,stabbing the man, only for them to disappear.Despite a search being launched no men were found and the soldier got three days confined to barracks, quite unjust! I cannot believe that the soldier was lying, why would he lie, but what had he encountered?
The Park at night can be disorientating and night duty is not enjoyed.In 1927 a guard shot himself on duty, and for some time soldiers spoke of encountering their dead comrade at night. Whether this still happens I know not.
The last incident was a young soldier of eighteen who had hallucinations as he stood alone in the darkness of the Great Park. When he failed to radio in to base a patrol found him unconscious.He had fainted in terror when a statue appeared to move.The explanation of this tale is that the older soldiers like to play tricks on the younger ones and had been"winding him up" with ghost stories before he went on duty.Some naughty lads there! The army put him on the sick list and withheld his name from the press.