BOOK REVIEW: Haunted Worcestershire. Hunt End Books.

What a spooky old place Worcestershire can be, as a re-print of a classic book makes clear.

The aptly-named "Haunted Worcestershire" was first published back in 1996, and this new edition reveals it has lost none of its charm and ability to fascinate over the years.

Author Anne Bradford has written a number of books about the supernatural, and perhaps her strong point is a focus on spine-tingling details and a dramatic sense when it comes to recounting tales, or the way she allows considerable space for others to speak.

But it's the strong sense of locality which will interest most readers, whether or not they actually believe in spooks.

I was particularly taken with the Top and Whip story from Droitwich, as told in some details by local lady, April Pokorny, who said she saw a young Victorian boy in Primsland Way "playing on an invisible surface which was about 150cms above the road itself." April said she watched watched the child, who was playing with a top and whip, for around five minutes.

An account like this captures the flavour of the book, for most of these accounts come from the mouths of 'ordinary' folks who, one suspects, have no particular axe to grind when it comes to matters of the supernatural.

And what of the ghosts of Worcester city itself?A number of pubs get mentioned as does, predictably, Worcester Cathedral, albeit not for its famous phantom bear which is said to haunt College Green. Since the early eighteenth century, apparently, falling bricks and stones have been recorded in the churchyard, with an implication that a spook may be to blame. Originally the situation was linked to a servant girl, troubled by a poltergeist.

Gary Bills-Geddes.