We have heard of
a strange tale attached to the shores of Weybourne, that
they are haunted.
The haunting takes the form of a
persistent whistling, which can be heard out on the
foreshore just as dusk is approaching on nights when the
moon is full. The whistle is not a random whistle
but sounds more like a whistle signal given by a person
who is trying to attract someone’s attention.
Although you may be thinking that there is nothing
unusual in this, no earthly lips are making this
Legend has it, that it is the ghost of John Smythe who was a smuggler from long long ago. One night when the moon was full he and his fellow crewmates came ashore to replenish their provisions at Weybourne. John Smythe was friendly with the daughter of the landlord of the local inn and so informed the rest of the men that he would meet them back at shore at a specified time. However John Smythe was so busy ‘flirting’ with the young girl that he forgot the time.
Unbeknown to him the custom men had been alerted to the presence of the smugglers and had made post haste to Weybourne to try to entrap the smugglers before they returned to their ship.
However, the other smugglers learnt of this entrapment and rounded up the rest of the men and hurried back to the beach. The men waited in their rowing boat just off shore for John Smythe, who they had not been able to locate before their hasty departure. But as the time came and went when he should have returned and there was still no sign of him, they assumed that he had already been captured and so began to row out to their ship.
The custom men not realising that their prey had already fled hid themselves amongst the sand dunes and waited for the smugglers to appear. John Smythe arrived some 10 minutes late and hurried down to where the rowing boat had been left but all he could see were tracks leading out into the sea.
In the dim twilight he perceived the rowing boat making its way out to the ship. Being a cautious man he did not wish to call out to his fellow crewmen but instead began to whistle trying to attract their attention. The tide had turned and the sea was on its way in and coming in fast.
As though this whistle was a signal the custom men erupted from their hiding place and ran towards John Smythe.
He decided to take his chances in the sea rather than be captured, unfortunately as was normally the case in those days he did not know how to swim. So instead he began to wade out hoping that his fellow smugglers would spy him and return for him. Still he did not call out but instead continued to whistle, why we do not know.
The custom men ranged themselves on the foreshore but did not venture into the sea.
John Smythe continued to wade out and the sea rose higher and higher. What happened next is uncertain but some how he must have lost his footing or perhaps the current was so strong that it swept him off his feet whatever the reason he sank below the waves and drowned, his body was never recovered.
So the saying goes that when the moon is full John Smythe returns to the beach of Weybourne desperately whistling trying to attract the attention of his fellow smugglers so that they will come back and rescue him from his watery grave.