top of page

1917: Did villagers read burial service backwards at midnight?

Updated: Dec 8, 2023

Ghostly scene visualised by Bing Image Creator using AI

Dear Sir,

I was very interested in reading your account of Mrs. Sergison. I should like to know if there is any truth in the legend that after Mrs Sergison was buried her ghost was supposed to have haunted the neighbourhood of Cuckfield …

… and that a Mr Osborne, a Sussex yeoman, of Newtimber Place, and a bit of a sport, would not believe the story until one night he was riding home when his horse stopped suddenly and shivered, and his rider thought he saw the apparition, and, dismounting, led the animal some distance before remounting and continuing his journey. After this happened it is stated that a special meeting of the viliagers was held at midnight, when the burial service was read backwards to lay the ghost.

Yours faithfully,


Richmond Place, Brighton

January 5th, 1917.

P.S. Aside: My wife is a great granddaughter of Mr Osborne, through whom I relate the story.

Mid Sussex Times, 9 January 1917

Contributed by Malcolm Davison.

Visit Cuckfield Museum, follow the link for details


bottom of page