Do you recognise this picture? – it is taken by the side of the Mermaid Pool, which I began to investigate, when I was writing a build blog on the RCM&E Site about my latest model, the Top Model Ideal – here. I didn’t realise that there were so many rumours attached to the pool.
If you Google the Mermaid Pool, you will find that:-
- It is on the Wild Swim List – how many times have you seen people, wearing very little, park up on the layby, then run hell for leather down the hill, strip off, and swim in freezing cold weather across the pool, jump out, then run back up the hill to their cars? Keith and I have remarked to them as they run past the car looking blue in a howling gail in the middle of February, “are you crackers?”. Surprisingly they do not reply, and keep running across the road back to their cars. As we shelter from the freezing cold wind, and wear fur hats, they swim with just a swimming costume. The reason is, that it is one of those place you just have to swim across. These pictures come from the Wild Swim Site.
- The Mermaid Rumour – I found this extract on the Imagining Staffordshire site “Believe it or not the landlocked county of Staffordshire has its own mermaid folklore. Black Mere Pool, in the North Staffordshire Moors near the town of Leek, is the site of what may be the only inland mermaid legend in England. The small, remote hilltop lake, around fifty metres wide, is a particularly haunting site….” The pool is meant to have a Mermaid who guards the pool from unwanted attention. Cattle allegedly won’t feed, and birds refuse to fly over it. “It is possible that Black Mere Pool produces luminous marsh gas: rare but eerie phenomena known as Will-o’-the-Wisps. This might be the origin of the mermaid legend: a ghostly light hovering over the pool, thought to be a spectral water nymph by mystified night-time travellers.”
A crime is meant to have been committed at the site – a body dumped within by a serial killer. It is meant to be a bottomless pool, which men tried to drain many years ago only to be warned off by the Mermaid. According to this site there are two rumours “The first states that she was brought here hundreds of years ago by a sailor from the nearby town of Thorncliff, in a tale that is effectively a rather charming love story between water nymph and seafarer. However, after the sailor’s death the mermaid became angry and – unable to return to the sea – started to haunt the lake...The other legend is slightly more sinister, and tells of a beautiful young woman who rejected the advances of a local man named Joshua Linnet. Unable to accept the rejection, Joshua accused the woman of being a witch and – being a rather persuasive chap – he managed to convince the local townsfolk to drown her in Black Mere Pond. With her final breath however, the young woman muttered a curse against Joshua and three days later his body was found by the pool, his face covered with claw marks. It is said that her spirit still haunts the pool in the form of a demon mermaid..” If you really want to read more go to http://mondrem.net/myths/Blake_Mere_Mermaid.html and find the ancient sources from history. I have bought and had framed some fabulous pictures by James Grant who has a section on Blakemere Pool, so called geographically – http://www.jamesgphotography.co.uk/tag/mermaids-pool/ It is also in Wikipaedia under Blakemere Pool, with even more references – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blakemere_Pond They say that
- Marsh Gas – again the Imagining Staffordshire site says “It is possible that Black Mere Pool produces luminous marsh gas: rare but eerie phenomena known as Will-o’-the-Wisps. This might be the origin of the mermaid legend: a ghostly light hovering over the pool, thought to be a spectral water nymph by mystified night-time travellers. If luminous marsh gas is responsible for the mermaid legend, then the time to see her would be at night after a period of high wind and heavy rainfall when the usually still waters have been disturbed.”
- A body is buried – have you ever noticed flowers left by the side of the pool. I noticed some lying there, the other day. Keith thought it was a glider at first. There is a rumour on the Midland Heritage chat forum that a body is buried nearby, which would explain the flowers. This person comments “I heard today that there’s a woman buried not that far away from the Mermaid Inn. The grave used to be visible because there were lilies growing on it but they’ve gone now and the grave can’t be seen anymore. It’s not an old grave, she was buried there in living memory”
Read more: http://www.midlandsheritage.co.uk/random-pictures-stuff/2252-mermaid-pool.html#ixzz3bsVtLKeg The Imagining Staffordshire Site says “Over the centuries it has been the scene of a number of mysterious drownings and even a murder when, in 1679, a woman pedlar was dumped in the pool by a local serial killer.”
- The Mermaid Inn – many of the sites of course are out of date because the stone building just opposite the turn off to Elkstone where I turn round each time, not so long ago used to be a pub called the Mermaid Inn. It is still so titled, and can be rented out to corporate events companies, large families or away days. It has 13 bedrooms and the old bar is still installed. The site mentions the Mermaid Pool legend. I have come across hung over visitors battling against a steely cold wind to have a look at a pool. The disappointed look on their faces is evident.
Have you ever noticed the words on the back of the seat which sites beside the pool, where eager swimmers change before diving in? It is somewhat romantic.