IN THE middle of the 19th century, two women were walking along the beautiful old road that ran along the foot of the Ochils near Alva.

It was night time but not particularly dark as the moon, although not fully risen, was shining brightly, its light brightening their path. They soon came to a part of the road that was shaded by a row of trees. Although they had lost their leaves, the trees still cast a gloomy shadow over the area.

This set the women on edge as they walked along, and as they approached the darkest part of the road, they thought they saw something. To them it seemed like an unearthly presence had crossed the path in front of them.

Thinking it was just their imagination, they continued their walk. At last, when they were emerging from this shady part of the path, the old parish church came into view.

The village churchyard was also seen in the dim light where the villagers who had passed away lay at peace.

As the two women passed the church gate, there, standing in front of them, was an apparition, dressed in a shroud, the head enveloped in a white covering hiding its face.

The two women were alarmed but reason told them it was simply someone dressed up trying to frighten them.

One of the women asked sharply: "Who are you?" but the ghost remained silent, although it did raise its hands three different times.

The women, now scared out their wits, took to their heels, running in terror and did not stop until they reached a friend’s house.

They told their story to the occupants of the house, including two men who happened to be there at the time, who then set out to find the ghost, with the intention of giving it a piece of their minds. When they got to the graveyard, they could not see anything untoward, and no sign of the ghost, so after two hours of hunting high and low for the spectre without success, they returned to the house.

Over the years, the apparition was seen on several other occasions, but it was said that it always kept a respectful distance.

Many women in the district became fearful and refused to go anywhere near the graveyard at night, not knowing whether this was indeed the restless spirit of someone who was buried in the graveyard, or someone simply playing a trick on passers-by.

No-one ever confessed to being the ghost.