Monday November 9th 2015
Regular visitors to any of the W.M.G.C. related pages couldn't have failed to be aware that we have been keenly interested in one, particular, Shropshire 'ghost' over the last 10 years – that of 'Madam Piggot', the legendary apparition associated with the Chetwynd region of Newport. In recent years alone, Shropshire-based media have kindly run a number of appeals for information on our behalf, resulting in a considerable amount of data being sent in to us by numerous members of the public…..
One of the main, historical references to the 'ghost' that has always puzzled us, however, is an account that had seemingly been carried into a number of publications over the years, concerning an encounter supposedly experienced by world-famous opera singer, Richard Tauber. While only ever mentioned very briefly, the story claims that Tauber was travelling through the Chetwynd region on a motorcycle - at some point during the 2nd quarter of the 20th Century – when the spectre of 'Madam Piggot' allegedly appeared to him!?!
Sadly, this is pretty much 'all' that is ever mentioned on the topic..... which, of course, is a most perplexing snippet indeed! Some references did indicate that the encounter was reported in the 'New York Times' around the time of the 2nd World War..... but, despite having sent numerous inquiries concerning this data to the N.Y.T. over the years, we have - most frustratingly - never received any response whatsoever on the matter......!?
However…. we have just now, within recent days, happened to discovered an article that appeared in the mid-40's, in the Albany, New York 'Times Union' newspaper, which probably clears up this one conundrum….. while potentially unearthing yet another!?
In the first – aforementioned – instance, it should be noted that, throughout the history of ghostlore itself, a lot of 'parroted' information can simply be downright erroneous…. such 'mistakes' clearly, and frequently quite innocently, arising from numerous different angles and 'Chinese Whispers'!?
With this in mind, one other, known encounter with Mad. P. had always sounded a little too similar for comfort: yet another motorcyclist who also, supposedly, experienced her ghostly form while riding along the old Chetwynd Road, during the latter part of the first half of the 20th Century….. In this experience, however, the gentleman concerned – a local man – is named as one 'Dickie' Talbot……
Dickie Talbot…… Richard Talbot……. Richard Tauber…!?!
The above mentioned 'Times Union' article – written by non-other than Elliott O' Donnell himself – would certainly seem to be the only mention of the ghost of Madam Piggot, for the time-frame indicated, to appear in an American periodical. In his (rather fanciful) account, he clearly mentions the spooky experience involving Richard 'Talbot' at the site known as 'Windy Oaks'…. And this must almost certainly be the account from which the erroneous 'Richard Tauber' story is to later develop!? Of course, this can only be a matter of supposition at best, though, in the absence of any other contemporary articles, directly mentioning Tauber by name, we believe it is a justifiable theory………?
Our earlier reference to a 'different puzzle' possibly being unearthed by the 'Times Union' piece comes in the form of the photograph shown above. The image concerned appeared alongside O' Donnells article and is clearly marked as 'Squire Piggots Tiny Bride – From An Old Engraving'….
At this point, it's interesting / revealing to note that no one has yet been able to identify precisely 'who' Madam Piggot was in life..... if there actually 'was' such a woman that led to this legendary haunting to begin with, of course!? What branch of the Piggot family does she supposedly come from; what time period is she alleged to have lived in? Precisely 'who' is saying that the woman shown in the image concerned is indeed 'the' Madam Piggot of ghostly legend....?
Where did this mysterious, 'old engraving' come from to be featured in the 1945, U.S. periodical and where did it go to subsequently.......?