The haunting of Strood causeway
Barrow Hill, Mersea Island, Essex The 1880s
In the 1880s the Danes wintered on Mersea and in summer cruised along the coast, looting. Their two leaders were twin brothers. One spring they sailed up the creek to St Osyth's nunnery, where they killed Osyth but carried off her beautiful sister.
When they got back to Mersea each wanted her for his own and their love turned to a triangle of jealousy. They drew their swords and by nightfall both were dead. The ghosts then put the woman in the hold with a dead brother on either side.
They then raised a barrow "and buried them all, the living and the dead together. When the new moon appears, the flesh grows on their bones and breath comes back behind their ribs... and if you listen at full moon... you can hear the brothers fighting. But when the moon wanes, their armour falls to bits, their flesh drops away, the blood oozes out of the veins, and at last all is still."
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