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The Colonel

Pluckley Uncovered
The Colonel has no other name or details. We will examine the details of the story, any facts or witnesses, and determine their credibility, giving our thoughts on the likelihood of there being any truth in the stories.
The Story

The original version has remained consistent in the main and involves an unnamed man who travelled to Park Woods in Pluckley and committed suicide. He appears to wear a military uniform and has been christened 'The Colonel' due to this.

The Sightings


We cannot find any reports of sightings of this spectre.

The History

A simple tale with little detail to go on but we can explore some parts of this story.

An unnamed man who committed suicide. This is a possibility however mist similar deaths are reported in the local press. There is also no record of an unnamed burial in the churchyard

The death occurred in Park Wood. If you look for Park Wood in Pluckley today you won't find it. It still existed in 1946 but was gone by 1998 as the maps and aerial views below show. It's location was between Elvey Farm (also reportedly haunted but not as one of the Ghosts Of Pluckley mentioned in Pluckley Was My Playground by Frederick Saunders published in 1955. It may still have existed in 1955 as we cannot find any records of when and why it was grubbed out. A current public footpath crosses the site and may well have existed then.

A military uniform. The recognisable khaki uniform that, with some variations to style, still exists today first came into use around 1900 and was widespread by World War I.

So the description of this spectre could well be accurate to the time period if we knew what that was.

No time frame is given for the event described so this cannot be explored.

Park Wood 1923


Park Wood 1946


Park Wood 1998


Park Wood 2015

The Historical Figures

There is no record to be able to trace an unnamed colonel and there is certainly no account prior to 1955 of such a death in the locality.

There was a Remounting Station near to the village in World War I although the traffic of troops through there would mean a suicide, particularly of a colonel, wouldn't go unnoticed.

Exploring the Possibilties
There are no known sightings since the original published account of Frederick Saunders from 1955 recounting childhood memories from the 1920's.

Natural phenomena may be responsible for any original sighting. It is possible that some low lying mist in the autumn months, reflections of the witnesses own torch, shapes caused by flora and fauna's shadows has caused such sightings especially given the location within a thick wood.

Unless you know the area the name Park Wood is relatively unknown. It is now an open agricultural field. Any figure would be noticeable.

The whole thing could be a story and nothing more.

Conclusions


Many stories get diluted and altered over time but this one seems to have had very little embellishment.

It could be a pure work of fiction based upon a local person who was known to the locals around the 1920's.

Any sightings could be an example of pareidolia based upon previous knowledge of the story whilst experiencing natural phenomena at the location.

 


The sight of Park Wood 2016. The Original site of the wood was near to the dark trees centre left and extending up the slope to the right where the windmill used to be.
Source
Maps and Aerial views - http://webapps.kent.gov.uk/KCC.HeritageMaps.Web.Sites.Public/Default.aspx
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  By Dave Godden

 

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