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By Jeffery Pritchett
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Real Life Grim Reaper Encounter

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I read, with interest, the piece in the Independent [about Mark Chorvinsky's Grim Reaper research]. It reminded me of an experience my wife and I had a few years ago. About five years ago my wife, children and I were driving down the A1 on a dark winter’s night, returning to our h…ome in Hertfordshire after a weekend visit to my wife’s parents in North Nottinghamshire. The children were asleep in the back of the car. Near Peterborough, at about 10 P.M. on a very empty road, we saw a dark cowled figure walking — moving might be a better word — north, on the very edge of the carriageway, towards us. We passed very close by this figure. It resembled a monk in full robes and hood made of some dark material. We did not really see the face, which seemed to be in shadow and indistinct. After passing it I looked in the rear view mirror, but could not see it again.


Both my wife and I felt a strange sense of unease and menace, and in fact my wife urged me not to look back. We discussed it — only very briefly as we both felt disturbed by this figure, and we both felt it was not something totally natural. The obvious possibility was that it was a broken down motorist, but we had not, and did not, pass any stopped cars. This is a fairly lonely stretch of road and it is unlikely that any locals would be walking along it at that time of the night — or at all as walking on the edge of what is one of the busiest and fastest dual carriageways in the country is not exactly encouraged. Also, there was the question of the figure’s dress and the fact that I could not see it in the rearview mirror.


For some reason we never really discussed this in depth subsequently — we did not feel inclined to — and in fact never mentioned it until about a year ago, when, prompted by a TV program, our children asked us if we had ever seen a ghost. We told them we were not sure, but had seen this strange figure…. Also, by some sort of unspoken agreement, we always use the M1 now when returning from the north at night!


Name Withheld by Request


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