Of Gorse and Granite: Hands

Written in


They say the best stories are the ones with some truth behind them.

The ghost stories of the Moor evoke a dreadful, chilling atmosphere. What follows in this and other posts like it are entries in a terrifying adventure across a barren and haunted moorland. These are based on folk stories told by generations of people who have lived on or near the moor. Each telling is different. Every person emphasizes them differently – their own personal horror.
These are mine.


Beware, traveler, the Highwayman’s bridge. Travel not too late into the night, if you must cross the bridge to the Moor. You will find the reigns taken from your control by a spectral force. Strong hands, calloused and hairy, appearing on the edge of perception. Crack go the reigns on the horses flanks as the hands take control. Hoof beats quicken as the reigns tug left, then right under the sway of the Highwayman’s grip. Few are the survivors’ tales but terrifying, every one, as they recount how the horses galloped unerringly to plummet into the inky waters below.

The Highwayman’s bridge is one of the last remaining crossings by road onto the moor, making its treachery a somewhat necessary risk for travelers from the South.

It is a stocky structure of large granite blocks. Lichen dapples it’s rail and gorse bushes line the road to it on both sides like sentries.

The tales are told by survivors who have lost their livelihoods or more to the spectral apparition of the Highwayman who died here, as they carted their wares and tools over the bridge.

They burst, dripping wet, into the nearby inn, shouting about the hands which draped themselves over their own hands and clamped tight to drive their horses at a gallop. One thing unites these survivors: they are all farmers, travelling in the course of their work.

As many survivors as there have been to share their story, there are many more who cannot. Splintered timber drifts in reddish water till the river drains the Highwayman’s victims and they are collected by their neighbours for burial.


Stats as ghost.
Appears after dusk every night, most often as a pair of hands only.
Cannot speak, but may gesture in conversation if the right questions are asked or a generous offer made.
He waits for the cart of the man who betrayed him and will not rest until that man floats downstream.

  • The party are sitting in a nearby inn when a survivor arrives to share his news. The locals ask when this plight will end, and employ the party to seek a means to stop the attacks.
  • The party are traveling along the road over the Highwayman’s bridge, and find a group of people clearing debris from the river beneath.
  • The party fall foul of the Highwayman while taking a ride with a local farmer to a moorland town.

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