Saturday, January 03, 2009

A Ghostly Apparition

Today I had an hour to kill before picking my wife and son up from the cinema (I couldn't face seeing Madagascar 2), so I went to St Andrew's church in Bishopstone - a tiny hamlet hidden away behind the dreary seaside town of Seaford.

At first appearance, St Andrew's is a typical Sussex church:


But a closer look reveals an ecclectic mixture of styles and materials and although the original church was founded around 1,200 years ago, the building we see today is largely Norman.

However if you look carefully you can still find parts of the original Saxon church, like this sundial, which is at least a thousand years old:

Rather than bore the arse of you with any amateur ecclesiastical history (gleaned, naturally, from my Ladybird book 'What to Look For Inside a Church'), here are some photos:


Historic buildings are usually expensive to visit and it can be hard to savour the atmosphere when you're jostling with hordes of tourists. However not only is St Andrew's free, but you can enjoy having a thousand-year-old building all to yourself.

I like to listen to the silence and imagine the generations of people who've used the church in the past, but I suppose if the mood took me I could also perform a routine from Flashdance (What a Feelin'). In fact I think that's what I'll do next time.

After a few minutes ruminating about whether a better father would have gone to see Madagascar 2, I decided to explore the graveyard:


I must remember to invest in a weather-proof gravestone.

As much as I love churches, I'm afraid that I don't believe in the supernatural. However, as I turned a corner in the graveyard, I witnessed a strange apparition emanating from a sarcophagus:


It reminded me of those strange photos of 'ectoplasm' that were supposedly caught on camera by ghost-hunters? Was I witnessing a supernatural event?

The white mist came towards me and swirled around my feet, like a Hammer Horror fog. I wasn't alarmed, but experienced that slightly unsettled feeling you have when you know that there must be a simple explanation, but can't think of one.

Then I found my answer: the outflow vent of a condenser boiler, fixed at the bottom of a wall next to the sarcophagus. Someone must have been doing some washing-up.

3 comments:

Richard de pesando MA(RCA) said...

oddly enough - I sat up late last night and watched The Fog...

The Poet Laura-eate said...

Someone washing up in the afterlife - I'm impressed. Puts a new twist on the expression 'he'd be spinning in his grave'

I shall be tipping off the NSPCC for your fatherly negligence in failing to accompany your family to Madagascar 2 however...

Steerforth said...

Washing up after death? That sounds like Purgatory.