I came across a very interesting report concerning a mirage that was seen many years ago on the coastal path which borders Churston Ferrers. It happened on the stretch of coast known as Manscove.
In 1938, a gentleman called Mr Bates had decided to take a walk along the cliff path above Manscove which lies between Churston Ferrers and Dartmouth.
I do not know if he was a local person or whether he was just visiting the area, but he was enjoying the walk. As he walked and looked into the distance, he saw what he thought was a continuation of the fields and pathway, which seemed to continue for some way.
He decided to continue along the path and eventually came to a stile. As he was about to jump over it, the phantom landscape in front of him changed and the fields and pathway suddenly vanished.
If he had continued, he would have fallen over the edge of the cliff which would have sent him crashing down to the beach below. He had a very narrow escape.
Mirages can conjure up some very strange images and their causes are mainly due to environmental changes rather than the paranormal.
It sometimes happens when the ground becomes very hot, as on a summer’s day, and the air is cooler. When light shines through the cool air it is refracted, or bends.
An example of this is when you look along a road on a hot day and you see a moving haze just above it. It can look like the road is moving or there is a layer of water rippling on it.
When light is refracted, it bends and our eyes are drawn to it. This is how some things are made to look as though they have disappeared.
No doubt he retold his story many times and probably thought he truly saw a phantom or ghostly landscape, which to him looked very real.
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