What is the story of Jay's Grave?
A Strange Find
The skeleton was recovered, and the dirt piled up so the boundaries of the woman's final resting place could be more easily discerned. A simple headstone was placed at the head of the grave and, finally, the legend of Jays Grave was told.
A Sad Life
In her late teens Jay had to leave the home and was sent as an apprentice and farmhand to a farm located just outside the town of Manaton. She was utilised as cheap/free labour. She worked for the roof over her head and the food in her stomach. She worked both in the house and the fields making for very hard labour.
She would not have been highly appreciated, being treated as little more than a slave. However, when she began to develop more into a woman, she did begin to become appreciated, but for all the wrong reasons.
The farmhands became quite sweet on her, and through these relationships she was given yet another name – 'Kitty', which was a nickname given to girls of a more promiscuous variety. Soon she and the farmers son become more closely acquainted, and a relationship was formed.
Life looked to be promising for Jay, but then tragedy struck. One evening, working the fields, she was raped by a farmhand, and from this became pregnant. Being as things were in the older times she was declared a whore, the farmers son would have nothing more to do with her, and she was finally forced to leave the farm.
Completely at a loss for what to do, and her life shattered around her, she went to one of the barns on the farm and hanged herself.
When she was discovered, she was taken down unceremoniously, and taken to be buried. One after another the local parishes refused to bury her in their cemeteries, as she had committed suicide, which was an act against not only the law, but also against God. She must be buried in a manner befitting her crime.
Eventually she was given a suicide victims burial – she was taken out of town to a crossroads, and buried in a shallow grave in the middle of the night.
She may have had a stake driven through her heart, as was common for suicides back in those days (a practise used up until about 1823) – she was not going to be given a place in heaven, and no risk was taken of her coming back. The burial at the crossroads was to fool her spirit, keeping it trapped at an intersection.
There she would have lain forgotten, had the grave not accidentally been discovered by those workmen many years later.
However, some questions were answered regarding strange experiences that had been known to take place on that crossroad. A dark figure in a black shroud had been seen in the immediate area.
The Haunting of Jay's Grave
Many believe the figure is the spirit of the farmers son who shunned and shamed Jay, driving her to take her own life. The figure is still reportedly seen in modern times.
Another phenomenon that is reported is the arrival of fresh flowers on a continuing basis. It is true that many venture to visit the grave, and many leave tokens – flowers, candles, prayer papers, coins, but some mornings locals will find a brand new cut of flowers. Not strange in itself, but it does become more odd when it is winter, and no footprints can be located in the snow around the grave, and no new snowfall has happened in order to cover them.
One final strange mention must be made, that could be tied to the above strangeness. There have been reports of the apparition of a footless, female figure seen in the vicinity of the grave. Once again, it is not known who this figure could be, but many suspect it is Jay herself, still stuck at the intersection, unable to break free from her church imposed prison.
(there are several versions of the story so I have chosen the aspects that best reflect the most common tellings)
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