A SPOOKY new book tells the story of one of England’s most famous landmarks. Untold Stories – Beachy Head by Sheila Ryan (S. B. Publications, £10.99) is fraught with smugglers, sinister murders, spectral sightings and tragic suicides.
It even brings in witchcraft.
According to Ms Ryan (via one Doreen Valiente) the unlucky number 13 is closely associated with Beachy Head.
The council-run bus service to the top of Beachy Head is number 13 on a Sunday.
And Ms Ryan goes on to link the infamous occultist and mountaineer Aleister Crowley with a famous pinnacle east of the lighthouse called the Devil’s Chimney.
Crowley predicted that if it ever fell, Eastbourne would perish. He often tried to climb the notoriously difficult pinnacle.
According to Ms Ryan, the Devil’s Chimney crashed into the sea in 2001. A group of certain people converged on Beachy Head that June to ‘ritually cleanse the aura’ of the area.
On a slightly lighter note: “The haunted shore, witness to sea battles, suicides and smugglers, has many more tales to tell.
“In the 17th century and early part of the 18th century no organisation existed to prevent illegal goods being landed on the south coast of England, despite the Romans having the vision to watch the shores for invasions from Saxon longboats in 400AD and the Tudors creating watchers on the cliffs to warn of any attack from the Spanish Armada, which paid off when the first sighting was dispatched to London via Beachy Head.
“Not only did smugglers have a free hand at landing goods, they were also hard at work taking goods, such as valuable wool and tin, across to Europe.”
An unusual book but one with a message.
Ms Ryan even includes a chapter on suicide statistics at the lonely spot.