Fishermen casting off from a iconic Victorian pier in North Somerset have found their lonely vigils interrupted by a “ghostly figure” who appears and disappears in the mist.
Anglers who use the historic Clevedon Pier regularly say they have caught glimpses of an apparition staring out to sea.
The ghostly figure has walked through locked gates, and been seen talking to itself in the corner of the pavilion building.
One of the first to see something spooky was Clevedon Angling Club member Jack Hulbert.
Mr Hulbert, a retired antiques dealer of Stonehouse, Gloucestershire, said: “It happened a few weeks ago.
“I had come on the pier early in the morning – it must have been about 4.30am – there wasn’t anyone else I could see.
“I got towards the end and I saw a figure of a person learning on the railings looking out to sea.”
Mr Hulbert, 72, shouted across to what he thought was a fellow fisherman then put down his rods while walking across for a chat.
But when he got to the other side of the pier the person he had spied had “disappeared”.
Mr Hulbert decided someone was “having a laugh” as his friends on the pier are notorious for playing practical jokes.
He said: “I thought I’ll double check and I walked all around to see if it was shadows or the light playing tricks but I knew what it was.
“It was definitely the definition of a person wearing dark clothes but I couldn’t see whether it was a man or a woman.”
Two of Mr Hubert’s aunts are mediums but he said he had never seen “an apparition” before in his life. The “ghost” which can walk through the locked pier gate without triggering off the security light has been seen by other fishermen.
Sometimes it is seen halfway down sitting on the side benches or standing mumbling incoherently in the corner of the pavilion.
Pier mistress Linda Strong, 56, was told the area was dubbed the “ghost coast” because of the number of “unexplained strange sightings”.
Mrs Strong said: “There have been a few different stories.
“A young man called Chris Buxton used to come on here at night and fish quite a lot and he swears he saw something as well.
“It hasn’t come from one or two sources, it has come from several people now and you start to think there must be something happening on the pier.”
There are theories it could be the ghost of an old fisherman or the spirits of the departed who’s loved ones have thrown their ashes off the pier but no one really knows, said Mrs Strong.
Mr Hulbert added: “The figure I saw took a human form I am 99 per cent sure of that.”
Mrs Strong added: “Clevedon Pier is quite an eerie place to be when you are on your own you get a sense of a presence. There is something about this area which is known as the ghost coast but it doesn’t feel scary.”
The Somerset – Paranormal Database Records show Brockley Church and Brockley Court as the spookiest place in North Somerset but other “manifestations” have been recorded in Clevedon.
Some date back to the turn-of-the-century when a man rowing from Clevedon to Portishead claimed he was attacked by a large serpent which pulled him overboard. He fought back and escaped with his life.
The old Clevedon Mercury offices at Elton Road were said to be haunted by a “grey lady” and more recently tenants of a property in Old Street told Clevedon Town Council of a “spiritual presence’.
This was last October, and the council asked to be notified when the apparition appears again so it could arrange for a psychic evaluation.
Clevedon Town Council property committee chairman David Shopland said: “We were told the tenant had seen an aged gentleman in semi-clerical garb sitting in the corner of the room.
“I wouldn’t say there is no such thing as ghosts as my Victorian grandfather swore he saw one on the coastal road towards Portishead.”