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The Phantom Coach and Horses

Pluckley Uncovered
The Phantom Coach And Horses of Maltmans Hill. 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


There is one original story that can be ascertained and that is purely that a spectral coach and horses can be seen and heard galloping up Maltmans Hill towards the village centre.

However it actually gets more interesting than that.

The Sightings

There are no traceable authenticated reports of a visible ghost at Fright Corner.

Whilst we could take this a the end of the account let us also consider the reasons why this may be, as this may be pertinent. It may be as simple as there is no location such as Fright Corner or a tree on a corner or junction.

These are just a few of the 'actual' documented sightings.

1. One October a lady was lady driving home from babysitting her granddaughter, just after midnight. At Pinnocks Crossroads she could see a coach being pulled by horses with light coming from its windows.
2. On another occasion, one local resident using the back roads to get home had the coach pass straight in front of him.
3. In early November 1997, around 7.00pm some one who was driving through Pluckley had the inside of their car filled with the sound of horses' hooves on cobbles. The road wasn't cobbled but in the past it would have been.

It seems the late 1990's was the last alleged sighting of this phantom. There are other reports and the number of horses varies between two and four.

It is also clear that the locations vary around the village which also makes this phantom unique.

The History

Uniquely also, there is no history behind this ghost. By history we mean that there is no suggested link with an actual event or person of any standing or suggested names to research.

Unfortunately this means there is no tangible delving to be done.

One would imagine though that historically this mode of transport would place it somewhere between the early 1700's and early 1900's. Other than this we cannot speculate on an age for the apparition.


The Historical Figures

Again there is little research that can be conducted into this one.

Exploring the Possibilties
There are a number reports of a visible ghost of this nature other than in 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 although it hard to imagine what could be mistaken from such detailed alleged sightings of such detail. It is possible that some low lying mist in the autumn months, reflections of the witnesses own car headlamps, shapes caused by flora and fauna's shadows.

Unusually though, these sightings are quite detailed and some are also accompanied by the sounds of hooves.

The whole thing could be a story and nothing more.

Conclusions
Many stories get diluted and altered over time.

The differing reports of this ghost could easily be sightings in another location of something else. Was a four horsed carriage seen in one location but a two horsed one in another?

As there are actual claims to have seen The Coach and Horses then this would seem to be easier to explore but in fact it is the opposite. Locations and features can be accounted for, history can be accounted for or indeed used and abused for ones own end (see The Hanging Man) but with varying, apparently genuine sightings this one is so much harder.

Yes it featured in Frederick Saunders 1955 book along with all the disputable ones but was this one already rooted in some factual account and needed no embellishment.

Could it also be that it is actually made up? Well it could be. The time period quoted was rife for such tales made up by smugglers to keep people away from their hidey holes. This may stem from one of those accounts.

We also cannot ignore that there are many other sightings of such phenomena claimed across England. This makes this type of ghostly apparition far from unique.

We may never be able to nail our colours to the mast on this one.

The Coach and Horses rides on!

As a footnote Ghost Connections have also investigated a location where a similar sighting has been reported in recent times. On one of our visits we were sure we heard the clatter of hooves come towards us along the driveway and stop right by us. We did not see anything to support the sounds.

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  By Dave Godden

 

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