A Natural Body and a Spiritual Body: Some Worcestershire Encounters With the Supernatural by J.S. Leatherbarrow
Hardcover – Ash-Tree Press – 2007 – 110 pages
A ghostly goat; the strange inmates of a country nursing home; the oddly dressed inhabitants of an unusual village; the vengeful guardian of a family horoscope; the evil possessing a church carving; the horror of a visit to a stately home: these are some of the themes running through A Natural Body and A Spiritual Body, J. S. Leatherbarrow’s collection of ghost stories, first published privately in 1983.
Many of the stories are set in Leatherbarrow’s beloved Worcestershire, and the author notes that they are partly autobiographical, partly local history, and partly sheer invention, but that ‘for the life of me I can’t tell exactly where one category ends and the next begins’. One previously uncollected story has been added for this edition.
Little has been written about Leatherbarrow—indeed, he seems destined to remain something of a mystery for some years, as his private papers are sealed until 2039. For his introduction, however, James Doig has unearthed some fascinating biographical information, which helps us better to understand the character of the man behind this collection.