The Eclipse Inn
Close to 500 years old, the Eclipse Inn stands in one of the most haunted squares in Winchester, surrounded by ghost-stories. But the most famous story belongs to the Eclipse Inn itself, where Lady Alicia Lisle spent her last night on earth before being executed on a scaffold right outside…
Welcome to Weird Winchester, a story-tour of some of Winchester’s most haunted buildings, brought to you by Enigmatic Studios and the University of Winchester’s Creative Writing Department!
The Grey Lady
By Elmarie Messina
She sees you.
She gazes from that window, impaling your thoughts with her stare. Your mind is tangled with the sinews of truth and trickery, as if her presence has enmeshed itself in the chaos of your racing thoughts.
Her fingertips, daintily caress the cold condensation upon the window panel of the timbered tavern. The lines she draws meander in an untamed pattern like a cloudy fog gliding through a damp, grassy moor. It seems she is trying to map out all the undecided paths of her life she had yet to wander down.
Alas, the lines have entwined so much so that the glass is now completely transparent. Just for a moment, you can see the face of the Grey Lady. The comatose eyes crafted from lifeless stone. The lips, sealed tightly together as if they had been sewn with a needle and thread. The chalk skin. Chipped. Brittle. Too fragile to touch. A new layer of condensation monopolises the glass abnormally fast and once again, the fingertips begin to redraw the map. She repeats. Again and again and again.
The ethereal being of this old woman disconcerts you, yet, you are not overcome with what you thought would be the inevitable emotion of fear. Instead you find yourself capsized under a drowning wave of sadness. Look into the eyes again. They are silent and lost.
They are the poor, tired eyes of a mother. A mother who sang her children lullabies to shield them from all of the monsters and ghouls. A grandmother that told her grand-children tales of the heroic princess who defeated the tyrannous dragon with her mighty sword, saving her beloved kingdom from harm. And today, in the upper room of the Eclipse Inn sits a frail, fading old woman, once completely swathed in a thick embrace of family, love and cherishment, now completely isolated. Alone. Awaiting the fatal punishment for the kindness she had gifted to a helpless stranger.
‘The Grey Lady’ by Elmarie Messina. Read by Kerry Fussell
Elmarie Messina, a first year Creative Writing student from Surrey, has a keen interest in history and historical fiction which sparks the inspiration for a vast number of stories. She also enjoys reading crime fiction, thrillers and comedic non-fiction and aims to convey a humorous tone when writing her own blog posts and non-fiction pieces.
Look out for more Weird Winchester stories in different locations across the city! Next, why don’t you try the Chesil Rectory?
This Story-Tour has been brought to you by Enigmatic Studios and The University of Winchester. Tell us about your experiences using the #WeirdWinch hashtag!