6. ‘The Dead Hand’

A time before his time the Cars were a fearsome place. Wouldn't like to do as Long Tom Pattison did. “I'll tell thee about that and I reckon that's a true tale...” He was a wild slip of a lad, always up to mischief but no one had an evil word against him as he was full of fun. There were lots of tales of boggarts and horrors and such and people would not be alone out at night. But everyone carried something to keep the evil one's off – my father told me he'd seen many. Tom wouldn't have a safe-keep though his mother had got one from the wise-woman for him. Tom said he would cross the Cars on the darkest night of the year with just a lantern, even round by the willow snag. Despite everyone trying to stop him, Tom went out onto the Carrs, with his lantern, singing and whistling. The other lads followed him. As they came near the willow snag, the wind came up the valley with a moan, and chill and damp came from the sea – wailing as if it carried with it all the evil things that dwell in the darkness. Out went Tom's lantern and he stopped singing and stopped still by the snag. The horrors came. The lads dropped onto their knees watching and prying to the saints, Virgin and wise-women. They heard Tom shouting and swearing and could see him fighting with the things. They saw a disembodied hand pull him towards the black bog. The horrors came round the lads but their prayers and safe-keeps protected them. Tom's mother searched for him to no avail. Seven nights later he was seen sitting with his back to the snag and his feet in the water. He was shaking, his hair had turned white and his hand had been pulled clean off. He never spoke again.
He and his mother died a year later and until the Carrs were drained they haunted the area.