Standing before us was a tall, black cloaked woman; she had a very distinctive long, grey plait draped over one shoulder and an unnervingly solemn face, so the audience were immediately visually captivated and waiting with bated breath for her to speak.
And we were not disappointed because Karen is a very charismatic speaker, a skilled thespian and soon had us enthralled by her spine-tingling tales. Her words stimulated our imagination as we all envisaged the desperate galloping horseman of Exchequergate, too late to save his friend from a wrongful hanging; we heard the thud of Bishop Hugh’s severed head as it rolled down the steps, stood next to the monk carrying a fishing rod and learnt the real story behind the castle’s stuffed lurcher.
For Karen, making a living from the tales of the dead started with her love of acting; she was often seen performing as a member of the Lincoln Shakespeare Company and was ‘discovered’ by Margaret Green who was the original ‘ghost lady’. That was 22 years ago however, nowadays Margaret has taken a back seat as Karen does the lion’s share of ‘ghost walking’ round ‘old’ Lincoln. Karen’s performing talents are however, not just restricted to after dark; during the day, she is a familiar face to the people of Lincoln where she is tasked with being the town crier. Her hectic roles see her swapping her daytime green cloak for a black cloak at night as regularly as most of us change socks.
Although Karen has a huge repertoire of tales and yarns, she and her fellow walkers hear new stories every week which they work hard to verify and corroborate before including in their collection. She even lived in a cottage in Greetwell for a time which she believes was haunted and is quick to point out that “things that are happening now have been happening for years and are still happening.”
Karen has introduced thousands of people from all over the world to the city, from exploring tourists to visiting celebrities and politicians. “I’d like to think that I am an ambassador for Lincoln so I tell them about the city’s history as well as its spooky stories”. So, as the booming bells of the cathedral ring out across the cobbled square at 7pm, every Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday night for 51 weeks of the year, this mysterious figure in black is waiting to lead you on a chilling encounter of things that go bump in the night but, are you brave enough to join her??