If there’s one thing I love more than the paranormal, it’s a good ghost story. They don’t quite make them like they used to. Building up that fireside atmosphere (although I still haven’t quite gotten over the death of James Herbert – the author love of my life and his chilling books) was a given when it came to stories of old. That’s why when I was taken to the secondhand bookstore in Alnwick, Northumberland (which is a must for any book lover – is an old train station converted into an antique book store and the books there are just beautiful and wondrous) and a 1927 edition ghost book caught my eye, my boyfriend knew it would be right up my street so he bought it for me. The book was M.R James’ ‘A Warning to the Curious and Other Ghost Stories’.
There are several truly chilling stories in this book but the one which took my particular interest was entitled ‘A Warning to the Curious’ and involves an old legend about three saxon crowns of East Anglia which were said to have been buried at three corners of England as protection for us against enemies. And many think the Germans would have invaded and taken us over completely, had it not been for these crowns (despite the fact that two are alleged to have already been discovered, dug up and taken away, leaving just one to man the fort). With two of the crowns gone, legend tells that many sought to look for the third and final due to its archaeological significance (not many Saxon crowns have been discovered!) and also to perhaps put some flesh to the legend.
M.R James’ story describes a man who came across this last crown after the oldest and last guardian of the three crowns died with no kin to take his place. The man then discovers horrifying things happen to those who steal the crown and so on and so on. Read it. It’s good.
I’ve looked into anything which the story may have been based on, as I suspect it has some stock to it, as oppose to just pure fiction but I can find nothing. In fact, all I did find, was this:
Which happens to be an excellent post. Check it out. Also, the below essay was pretty interesting and made a fascinating theory that the “three crowns” could have actually been three Saxon forts positioned defensively on the coasts: