COUNTY NEWS: Ghostly '˜monk' figure spotted at Sussex beauty spot
A German tourist taking scenic shots at a Sussex beauty spot was astonished to see one showing a ghostly figure.
Gerhard Schrimpf, 49, said the image resembles a cowled monk lurking just below the cliff top at Beachy Head, Eastbourne.
Chillingly, the photograph – which shows a huge shadow resembling a monk-like figure – has echoes of the legendary black monk ghost said to lure walkers to their deaths.
But Gerhard, who had been visiting the town with his girlfriend on a sunny day in December, thinks it was a friendly spirit.
Having only spotted the figure when looking through his photos while back at his home in Kempen, he said, “I was shocked. Then I heard the story of the black monk.
“Maybe in medieval times somebody pushed him off the edge.”
The story goes that a malevolent monk stalks the cliff, urging people to follow him over the edge.
Some say he might have been a monk from the Benedictine priory at Willingdon, thrown over Beachy Head in a vengeful murder during the reformation.
However, it seems the rumour may have first emerged in a Robert Ripley Believe It Or Not! Gothic comic called The Demon of Beachy Head, published in 1961.
According to local ghost expert Robert Stevens, there are no references to ‘mad monks’ to be found before this time.
Mr Schrimpf said he didn’t think of the silhouette in his photograph as an evil ghost.
“We saw lots of crosses on the cliff top. It was so shocking for us in such a beautiful place that so many people go to die.
“We found the place very holy and emotional.”