Bonchurch Old Church. Ghosts of the Isle of Wight, with Margo Williams.

St Boniface church in Bonchurch is among the smallest in the island. A ghost sometimes is glimpsed, and more unwelcomely felt. From time to time members of the living congregation experience the presence, quite literally hands-on.
Photo image of St Boniface Church, Bonchurch. Isle of Wight.
St. Boniface church. Bonchurch. Isle of Wight.

Power of the Priesthood

Among the parish priests who unlock St. Boniface church door to share Sundays and wedding vows are many devoted and passionate people whose mission is to interpret the world and its relationship with the Hereafter.

The source of their information is a holy book written thousands of years ago, and prayer but rightly say the human spiritual journey is a timeless drama.

So too is the journey of the spiritual influencer. Our modern priests have more in common with the mysterious pre-historic influencers - the Druids - than you may realise. But differ in how to deal with a complicated haunting.

Maybe the parish priest is aware of the inappropriate-contacting presence in the old church but what can he, she or they do? The holy book offers no standardised procedure for dealing with ghosts; provides no explicit teachings on what is commonly understood as a ghost. Elijah and Moses, the only two ghost appearances of note.

No mention of spirits of the dead sticking around to haunt the living.

The local priest assumes everyone is quietly awaiting their resurrection at the end of time. Attribution of supernatural phenomena is limited to three possibilities: Holy Spirit influence; angel messaging, or demonic malevolence.

The touchy-feely ghost of Bonchurch old church probably falls into this last category. The priest's toolkit for dealing with this problem is prayer, requesting God's intervention; a bishop's blessing adds higher power to the spiritual cleansing, along with a cross.

And the holy book.

Most Haunted island

Illustration of artist's impression of an Arch-Druid
"What holy book?" asked the Arch-Druid

Why Didn't Druids Have a Holy Book?

Priestly predecessors the Druids did not have a holy book, which is why we know so little about their beliefs. But those who fought the Celts made notes of what they learned in their Druid colleges.

The Celts' fierce courage was attributed to the teachings of Druids about how the soul was immortal. Sure death might sting but it was only temporary, and they would see them after to collect outstanding I.O.U.s to be repaid in the hereafter.

Roman general Julius Caesar: in De Bello Gallico Caesar noted of the Druids:

"They are said to learn by heart a great number of verses; accordingly some remain in the course of training twenty years. Nor do they regard it lawful to commit these to writing, though in almost all other matters, in their public and private transactions they use Greek characters.

Caesar wondered why they did this:

That practice they seem to me to have adopted for two reasons: because they neither desire their doctrines to be divulged among the mass of people, nor those who learn, to devote themselves the less to the efforts of memory; relying on writing, since it generally occurs to most men, that, in their dependence on writing, they relax their diligence in learning thoroughly, and their employment of the memory.

Their religion was simple, Caesar noted.

They wish to inculcate this as one of their leading tenets, that souls do not become extinct, but pass after death from one body to another."

Source Julius Caesar ‘De Bello Gallico'

What Did a Druid Do?

Strabo the geographer traveller who died in AD 24 added that not only did the Druids teach that the soul is immortal, but is indestructible. Diodorus Siculus described the Druids as the 'prescribed intermediaries between God and man'. That is to say all religious activity was overseen by themselves.

Druids elected an arch-Druid; supervised a country-wide network of seminary colleges in which they taught philosophy, science and astronomy. But expressly forbade using a holy book.

Illustration of artist's impression of an Archbishop
"Holy book is God's word," said the Archbishop.

What Does God Think of His Priests?

Modern religious influencers perform an almost identical role to Druids except for three important exceptions - they honour a single god and believe the holy book is His word. The last difference is unwillingness to check for updates, as Druids did. Maybe it is not necessary if you have a holy book.

Modern religious leaders do not engage with the supernatural realms. This is entirely absent. Spiritual leaders ignore all efforts to interact with it, while claiming inspiration by its contents.

It wasn't always so.

Hidden Lands and Forbidden Fruit

There is good reason to believe Druids practised shamanism. Although the living are denied access to the realms beyond life, spiritual influencers in many different countries even today use toxic substances to induce spiritual experiences - Ayahuasca for example.

Some gifted individuals can do this naturally, though others are thought to require the stimulation of natural though toxic chemical compounds to achieve separation of the spirit body. Common practice, long ago even in the so-called Holy Land.

Author Graham Philips notes the Thorn Apple's properties in consciousness expansion. Quotes the Bible:

“And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed… God called to him out of the midst of the bush… (EXODUS 3:2-4)

Philips draws attention to the precise description of the shrub in Hebrew and understanding its effects. "Burning Bush" or "Bush that Burns", a subtle difference in interpretation over the physical effect of the Thorn Apple when eaten. Fiery hot, causes sweats and hallucinations.

Known in the Holy Land as an ancient sacred fruit. Greek Diodorus Siculus refers to this fruit and how it was used by religious influencers, back in the day: “ Being eaten, it has the power to effect fantasy. Their priests will sometimes use the fruit to bring on such fantasy, which they say is the voice of their God."

This plant is identified as Datura stramonium, the Thorn Apple. Fruit which grows on the famous mountain of God where Moses received the commandments.

Image of bearded male face for link to What Happened to the Druids? The Tale of Dermot Mckerval
What Happened to the Druids? The Tale of King Diarmuid mac Caerbhaill

Related link: Tintagel. On Merlin and What Happened to the Druids.

How to Deal with a Difficult Haunting

No one will ever know how a Druid responded to a complicated haunting. Every ghost-encounter is unique. They had a variety of goddesses and gods to call upon, but probably first resolved to sort it directly.

No surprise the Druids didn't have a holy book. Chances are weird toxic cocktail mix experiences didn't ever relate well afterward in the written word. But might offer opportunity to appeal to the supernatural touchy-feely culprit in person. Ghost to ghost, so to speak.

Exploring the haunted Isle of Wight

Thank you for your company on this short tour of Isle of Wight mysteries and haunting. If you would like to know more about Margo Williams' investigations in Bonchurch and other matters of heaven and hell, read this book. Now available from Amazon.

Related Links


Old St. Boniface Church