Old Mother Leakey

Being from Somerset, I thought I'd share with you all a tale from one of my ghost books. About a lady called Susan Leakey better known as Old Mother Leakey. Now if your from the area, you may already know about this whistling spirit, who is said to haunt the waterfront of Minehead


A popular seaside resort for Victorians, Minehead still has plenty of character & charm. For years Minehead was, said to be haunted by the dreaded 'Mother Leakey' an indomitable individual who many believed to have been a witch. Even on her death bed - in 1634 she remained cantankerous. She told her daughter inlaw that she would return after death 'in the devil's likeness'.

Initially she appeared in no likeness at all, but disrupted the household with a fury of knocks, bangs, crashes & other noises. In one of the bedrooms there came a cacophony of sound like 'a drove of cattle' passing through. When Mother Leakey's 14 year old grandson lay dying of a long, debilitating disease, the unfortunate child claimed he could get no rest because of constant appearances of his late grandmother in his room. After the boy died, a black mark was noticed on his throat which some thought resembled a handprint.

Mother Leakey's daughter saw her apparition in her bedroom about a year after her death. According to a contemporary report, quoted by John Garland in his Haunted Somerset: 'She saw within her chamber, sitting in her chair, her mother in full proportion, & in her usual apparel & being much astonished she beheld it a quarter of an hour but could not speak to it nor stir & at last, it vanished away with a mighty groan'.

After that, Mother Leakey's ghost was frequently seen about the house & then she took to roaming around the town, bothering the townsfolk (on one occasion she kicked a, doctor who had irritated her!) Her ghost was given to whistling wherever she roamed. Witches were believed to be able to 'whistle up' storms; for over a century, storms off Minehead were blamed on Mother Leakey's ghost, especially those which led to the foundering of ships.


📖 From... Somerset & Bristol Ghost Stories - by Richard Holland. Pg 47 to 49.

Image from - my own book at home 📖

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Another good read about this wayward spirit is - Mother Leakey and the Bishop: A Ghost Story by Peter Marshall.


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