Alderley Edge-The Black Crossroads
Close by Windmill woods on Alderley Edge there is a strange place known as “The Black Crossroads”, traditionally crossroads were known as a kind of no-mans land, neither here nor there, a place beyond the real world, a liminal space where normal physical laws did not apply. At such places it was possible to make contact with the spirit world.
Wayside shrines and common crosses are a common feature of crossroads all over Europe, and suicide victims and murderers were frequently buried at such places as it was seen as unconsecrated ground, set apart from the everyday world. Such outcasts were not for heaven and were buried in a place where their spirits would be forced to wander indecisively for eternity. Burial in these places was a safeguard, but the reasons for this are unclear. Perhaps the shape of the traditional crossroads created the impression of consecrated ground, as suicides were denied a normal Christian burial; perhaps it was believed that the maligned spirits of the dead would disperse along the roads leading from the crossroads and not be concentrated in one spot. As a consequence, ghostly legends became attached to crossroads and they have become widely associated with magic and the appearances and activities of Demons, the Devil,, Witches, Fairies, Ghosts, Spirits and other paranormal phenomena.
The traditional associations of the crossroads with spirits and ghosts can be found all over Europe and the British Isles, as well as Greece, India Japan and amongst Native Americans and Mongols, which suggests that the origins of these beliefs must have had some basis in real human experience.
Crossroads were believed to be haunted by various entities which took great delight in leading travellers astray, All Hallows Eve is a favourite time for spirits to gather at crossroads, a time where the boundaries of this world and the Otherworld are most likely to be breached. Welsh lore attests to this annual gathering at every crossroads. In European lore the gathering Halloween spirits walk in procession to visit the homes of their relatives. These ghostly processions can be seen if you stand at a crossroads and rest your chin on a forked stick.
The photograph on the right shows a tree in Windmill wood which is close to the Black Crossroads, I was told that this tree has some sort of connection with the Fairy Folk, and when this tree finally dies so that connection will be broken.
Danish lore instructs those who wish to contact the Otherworld to stand at a crossroads within a rectangle formed from cart tracks and call out the name of the ghost that you wish to speak with. In Britain, folk memory still records the belief in spirits and methods of protection against them. Spirit “sweeping” was practised in the Isle of Man; Bernadette Thomas in the Ley Hunter states that as a child she was told that evil spirits could be dispersed if she went to a crossroads at midnight and swept the intersection clean with a broom.
The Black Crossroads on Alderley Edge as well as the Edge itself has always had a connection with Witches and Black Magic, this may be the reason that along with suicide victims and murderers being buried at the crossroads, Witches are said to be buried here as well. This is a place where Phantom Black dogs seem to be drawn to and have been seen on occasion, also they can often be seen where a murder has been committed. The Black Crossroads is a place where few animals will linger, and anyone who is slightly sensitive to atmospheres will feel uncomfortable. Along with the uncomfortable atmosphere that can be felt here, it is said that a black energy can be detected if you dowse here!
The photograph on the left shows another Black Crossroads which can be found on the Congleton to Rushton road beside the 1200ft hill known as the Cloud. This location is close to Drummers Knoll where the ghost of a drummer boy is said to have been seen.