Friday April 15th 2016
A matter that comes at a 'slight' delay from when we first heard of it - only some 12 months or so!! - is a visit to a Black Country 'nature reserve', in the presence of a gentleman who reports having had a 'strange experience' there some 20+ years ago....
At the time in question, the man had been out for a bicycle ride with a friend, something they did regularly, and were returning through the area concerned late one night. He had been travelling at some distance in front of his friend and, on rounding a sharp corner - onto a small path that lead to a main road - he espied the figure of a woman in what looked like a white, 'period' dress and black shawl coming towards him.... Because of the lateness of the hour and remoteness of the spot involved, he says that he immediately felt worried for a woman to be walking there so late at night. At this point, he had stopped dead in his tracks and, as the woman drew close to where he was standing, he spoke to her as she went by..... asking if 'everything was alright?'
He reports that there was no response whatsoever from the figure and - with a decidedly 'distant' look to her - she just walked by, completely ignoring him!? Only a matter of a few seconds after she'd passed by, he turned round to see where she could have possibly been going.... but there was now no sign of her anywhere!?
Returning along the short stretch of path to where he'd recently turned - this bend was one branch on a 'crossroads' of paths - his friend then caught up with him. Our witness asked if a woman had passed him as he'd approached, but the friend said that he'd certainly seen no woman on the narrow path he'd been riding on?
If the woman had continued in the direction that the witness had initially seen her walking in, then she would have certainly still been in clear view throughout.... so that clearly wasn't an option. Under the circumstances, only one path remained: a turning that led onto an open field and a sparse patch of young saplings. Immediately checking here, there was no sign of the woman in that direction either!?
Our witness tells us that he has visited this particular reserve all his life - literally thousands of times - and this was the only occasion that he's ever seen anything 'peculiar' over there...!? Interestingly - and perhaps with bearing on the experience - the spot where the woman was seen was, formerly, part of a old, canal towpath.... that stretch, however, having been filled in literally decades ago...!? In reflecting on the position that the figure had proceeded, the witness suggests that she had skirted the path in a somewhat strange position, literally 'hugging' a line of trees and shrubbery along one edge of the track, instead of utilising the man-made, designated pathway....? If one looks at maps of the area concerned, her path does seem indicative of the old 'line' of the former, canal towpath...... Of interest too was the simple fact that to actually get into this position on the trackway, she would have physically, it appears, walked down a considerably 'steep' embankment; a little baffling, given that a ready-made 'flight of steps' were only 5 - or so yards distant!?