Simon Entwistle of Top Hat Tours tells a ghostly tale about a motorcyclist and a deadly hairpin bend on a road in the Ribble Valley
Keith Mason of Great Harwood worked for a factory in Burnley. During Christmas time 1968 Keith clocked off at 8pm on Christmas Eve, got into his Humber Sceptre and started his journey home from Burnley.
The weather conditions were bad. High winds and sleet were in the air. He advanced toward Read village and noticed he was the only driver on the road. His windscreen wipers were working at their maximum speed.
Suddenly he was about to enter the accident hot spot known as Devil’s Elbow. Keith slowed down to a crawl and as he started to navigate the bend, his car headlamps picked out a motorcycle on its side by the pavement and a person dressed in motorbike leathers.
He was standing next to his bike holding a petrol container. He signalled to Keith to stop. Keith made his way to the side of the pavement next to the rider and wound his window down asking if he was okay.
The motorcyclist wore a helmet with a visor and just nodded. Keith asked: “Do you want a lift to the garage to get some petrol?”
Again the rider just nodded. “Okay lad, get in the car. I will take you to the petrol station.”
He opened the passenger door and the motorcyclist got in. Keith signalled to drive off and as he did so, he could smell the strong aroma of petrol, but also alcohol. He kept his eyes on the road as the conditions outside became dangerous. Heavy snow was falling and he was determined to get home. But this was Christmas Eve – goodwill to all men.
He asked his passenger where he had come from. To Keith’s amazement the rider had not taken his helmet off or lifted his visor. Keith, who had gone out of his way to help the motorcyclist, thought he was being ignorant as he couldn’t be bothered to answer him.
Suddenly, Whalley was in sight and he pointed out the petrol station to his passenger. All of a sudden, the hair on Keith’s head stood up. As he glanced to his left, he was looking at a completely empty passenger seat. The motorcyclist had literally vanished into thin air.
Shaking with fright, Keith turned the car around and made his way back to Great Harwood at some speed. On getting home he had a stiff drink while telling his family about his unusual ghostly encounter. His work mates had also found his story very funny.
Years later in the Wellington pub in Great Harwood, he ordered a drink from the bar and noticed a young lad sitting there with a confused look on his face. “Are you okay mate?” asked Keith. “No not really no one believes me,” replied the young man.
Believes what?” asked Keith.
“Well, last night I was driving from Burnley, the weather was appalling lots of sleet and snow. I entered Devil’s Elbow, and there was this lad standing by the pavement with a petrol can in his hand.”
Keith’s eyes lit up – he realised that, decades later, his own story had been confirmed.
Simon Entwistle will be appearing at Colne Muni on Thursday 25th November in An Evening of Lancashire Tales
To book contact the theatre: themuni.co.uk