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Where was the Green Man of Hughenden Seen?
The story of the Green Man of Hughenden is an interesting one. Many ghost stories are only recorded as rumour, but this tale has not one but three eyewitnesses to back it up. When you look closer you will find some interesting connections to local legends too.
Who are the eyewitnesses of the Green Man of Hughenden?
According to an article from mysteriousbritain.co.uk (no relation), a story in the South Bucks Star in 1986 reports the account of Mark Nursey, who claims he saw the Green Man outside the local cemetery, the Hughenden Garden of Rest on Four Ashes Lane in Cryers Hill, High Wycombe.
The article, titled Phantom of the Forest and dated 26 September, reports a sighting of “a ghostly figure dressed in green…” as he drove by the cemetery on the 20th September 1986. His girlfriend, Allyson Bulpett, was travelling in a second car and corroborates this story.
Mark later described the figure as nearly six-feet tall and well-built. The figure was stooping but he was unable to make out a face or head.
This article in the South Bucks Star quickly found a welcome reception in reader Phil Mullett. Phil was reminded of his own experience in the same place just eight years earlier. In another article published 17 October 1986, Phil recounts his own similar experience.
Phil’s story is that he was also on Four Ashes Lane around 9:30 in the evening. He estimates his Green Man at seven feet tall, and drifting, rather than walking, across the road before returning to the centre of the road and waving his arms. Phil’s own interpretation of this is that the Green Man was not trying to scare him, but to warn him away.
Phil tells how he braked when the figure re-emerged, but feels like he must have hit it. However, when he stepped out of the car, the figure was nowhere to be seen.
He tells the same story that Mark would tell eight years later, that the figure was green, tall and solid, but where there should have been a face, Phil could only see a round, misty shape.
This story is also recorded in the UK’s Paranormal Database.
Problems with the story of the Green Man of Hughenden
As with many stories of this type, some of the details are inconstant between accounts, and between different reporting of the same account. The Bucks Free Press is quoted as reporting that the 1986 incident involved a Green Man of 5’11” tall. However, their own recording of this incident puts the ghostly figure at ‘well over 6-feet tall.
Another Bucks Free Press article says the only eyewitnesses were the two people in 1986, but we also know of Phil, who claims to have seen it in 1978.
Hughenden Manor and the Green Man of Hughenden
Not far away from this sighting is the former home of Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, the Earl of Beaconsfield.
Hughenden Manor is an imposing red-brick Victorian manor set in an estate of 600 acres within the Chiltern Hills. The present Manor dates from 1738, but it is built on the estate of a much older property, one that dates back a thousand years.
Did you know that the Manor is supposedly haunted by his presence? According to an article in Country Life, he smiles at people on the stairs.
The Prime Minister is not the only ghostly figure said to inhabit the Manor. Other stories tell of a gentleman, thought to be from the Victorian period, walking the nearby woods.
If you had to choose the between these two for the most likely candidate to be the Green Man, you would probably choose the figure seen strolling in the woods. After all, there lies the connection with nature that is a common thread among tales of the Green Man,
However, the Green Man seen by local eyewitnesses was described as ‘tall’ and ‘nearly six-feet tall’.
Now, did you know Benjamin Disraeli was 6 feet 1 inch tall?
The Green Man ghost story and ley lines
Ley Lines are said by some to be the lines connecting ancient sites and spiritual places. According to the Strange Folklore Society of High Wycombe, Four Ashes Lane is one end of a ley line.
According to the map of UK ley lines at scribblemaps.com, this is not quite accurate. St Michaels ley line does run past the area, but not quite as close as the Strange Folklore Society claim. However, I am not certain how up-to-date the scribblemaps.com database is.
What is interesting is that the ley line drawn by this society passes through a local pond, which is said to have once been inhabited by a dragon.
The Green Man ghost stories in local folklore
The “Green Man” is a common motif in folklore and mythology, and there are many different ghost stories and legends associated with the figure. The Green Man is typically depicted as a face surrounded by leaves or foliage, and is often associated with nature, the forest, and the cycle of life and death.
Here are some examples of ghost stories and legends associated with the Green Man:
- The Green Man of the Woods: In some folklore, the Green Man is said to be a spirit or demon who lives in the forest and can be both helpful and harmful to those who enter.
- The Green Lady: In some cultures, the Green Man is also known as the Green Lady, and is said to be a ghostly figure who haunts forests and woodlands.
- The Green Man of the Spring: In some folklore, the Green Man is associated with spring and the renewal of life, and is said to be a benevolent spirit who brings good luck and fertility to the land.
The exact nature and characteristics of the Green Man can vary depending on the culture and region in which the story is told but a common motif is a connection with nature, and nature is itself strongly associated with the cycles of life and death.
Is there a connection between the Green Man and Herne the Hunter?
Herne the Hunter is a figure from English folklore who is often associated with the Green Man. Herne is said to be a ghostly hunter who haunts Windsor Forest in Berkshire, England, and is sometimes depicted as having antlers or horns on his head.
In some versions of the tale, Herne is seen as a manifestation of the Green Man, while in others he is a separate but related figure.
Both Herne the Hunter and the Green Man are often associated with the natural world and are seen as spirits of the forest. They are also both often associated with the cycle of life and death, and with the changing of the seasons.
Herne is sometimes said to be a former keeper of the Royal Park in Windsor who was driven to madness and took his own life. His ghost is said to haunt the forest, leading a ghostly hunt through the trees.
Herne the Hunter has been referenced in many popular works of fiction over the years, going as far back as Shakespeare.
William Shakespeare’s play “The Merry Wives of Windsor”: Herne the Hunter is mentioned in this play as a supernatural figure who haunts Windsor Forest.
- The 1980s TV show “Robin of Sherwood” features him too. In this series, Herne the Hunter is depicted as a supernatural figure who helps Robin Hood and his band of outlaws.
- “Doctor Who”: Herne the Hunter has been mentioned in a few episodes of the popular science fiction television show “Doctor Who”.
- “Supernatural”: Herne the Hunter is mentioned in a few episodes of the popular supernatural television show “Supernatural”.
Recent sightings of the Green Man of Hughenden?
As far as I know, there have been no reported sightings of the Green Man in this area for almost 40 years. Does that mean the witnesses made a mistake, or is the time not yet right for another visit? Who can say?
Curiously, in the garden of Hughenden Manor is a sundial inscribed in Latin with the words ‘Hora passus‘. Time passes.
Perhaps not for everyone.
- Hughenden Manor: John Bointon from Watford, UK, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
- Hughenden Manor (b&w): Dave Barber, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
- The Green Man Boss at Rochester Cathedral: Akoliasnikoff, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
- Benjamin Disraeli: Francis Grant, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons