|The Bear Public House in Stock, Essex.|
ONE of the most famous ghosts in Essex was that of a man nicknamed Spider, who worked as an ostler at a pub called The Bear at Stock.
As usual, it's James Wentwoth Day who gives the most vivid picture of the man.
"A tiny little man in dirty white breeches, a faded pink hunting coat, black velvet hunting cap, boots and stock.
"He was steady as a hanging judge after 14 pints of beer, lousy as a hedge pig and swore like a Crimean trooper."
His real name was Charlie Marshall.
He had no home or family and lived in the stables at the pub with the stable cat as his bed warmer.
He became well known in the area for his party trick which was to climb up the chimney in the tap room; then covered in soot he would reappear down the chimney of the bar parlour.
He would get a few coppers or a free pint of beer for his trouble. Sometimes, out of a sense of mischief, he would take his time to reappear and he would stay until the pub's customers lit a bunch of straw and smoked him out.
His hiding place was probably a bacon loft straddling the two chimneys.
|The Bear in Stock - Circa 1917|
Sadly the joke went too far one Christmas Eve.
He did not seem to want to come down at all.
A bunch of rowdy customers tried to get him down by lighting logs.
He never came. He was suffocated to death.
No body was found.
Later they tried to find that bacon loft.
They pushed a long pole in to test its depth, only to find a large crack appearing. Panic!
The crack was quickly cemented over in case the building collapsed!
It didn't, but his presence was still there.
Many people since have claimed to have caught a glimpse of a ghostly figure in boots and white breeches, still teasing his tormentors.
Story Source: ThisIsTotalEssex