Ash Tree photos_-5

Since we are not yet past the Christmas season, I couldn’t resist sharing an unusual anecdote. Despite my passion for Jamesian ghost stories and the macabre, I am very sceptical about the supernatural. However…

Just before Christmas I had been walking the dog on Ash (Hants) military ranges, opened to the public for the holiday season. From the highest point it commands a spectacular view towards the South Downs and seems desolate enough to be moorland. This particular day was very windy. Along one of the highest tracks stands a tall solitary tree. Two of its major branches are malformed, and to the fanciful could appear as arms. In the wind it was making some awful creaking and groaning sounds.

And then, upon on my word, as an M R James character might have put it, I heard a sound like (I initially thought) the cry of a small child as though from a great distance. It was not the most cheerful of sounds. The dog, a German Shepherd, became agitated. Despite the fact that there were no squirrels or birds in the tree, she began jumping up at it, then sat down, looking up. This was unusual behaviour and I started filming her with my iPhone (she jumped up at the tree once more as I did). I recorded a little more on the phone to see if I could capture the eerie sound but there was nothing on the recording save for the wind in the tree. And then I left, all the while straining to hear the sound again.

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Something about this tree was bothering the dog…(iPhone footage)

A couple of days after Christmas, I was walking the same route with my partner and stopped to show her the tree. I decided to have a much closer look and, walking around the base, looked up and saw something very unusual. On the underside of a stubby branch, which would be perhaps 12-15 feet above the ground, I could see something in the fading light. Someone had managed to attach two polythene-wrapped photographs of a small dog, it was difficult to tell at the height they were and in the poor light, and it was only when I saw the photo that I could tell it appeared to be two dogs. This was clearly a most unusual memorial (perhaps a Pet Sematary?) and I can’t help but wonder just what our dog was seeing…

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At a height of 12-15ft, facing away from the main track, were photographs of two dogs…(the branch to the left in the upper third of the shot)

Ash Tree photos_-7