Is Shaldon bridge haunted? That was the question back in 1976 when it was believed by some that a ghost was on the prowl again.

He or she, no one seems quite sure of the sex, kept low for some time but recently there have been several new sightings.

Many sane and level headed people are convinced the bridge across the Teign is the home of a spook – which would not be surprising because Shaldon must be most haunted village in the country.

Most of the properties date so far back into the mists of time that nobody is really sure of their exact age.

There must be dozens of ghostly legends regularly doing the rounds, especially among the older folk, and most of them are linked with smugglers and other sea faring types who used to walk the narrow streets and live in the cosy cottages.

Tales of strange, unexplained happenings, such as ghosts being seen late at night and objects suddenly violently moved by unseen forces, are rife.

Luckily for the inhabitants and the many holidaymakers who flock to the village in the summer, the ghosts all appear to be quite friendly types.

One old house in Ringmore is said to be haunted by the ghosts of a kindly monk, and another woman in the same area cheerfully admits she is living with a ghost!

She, like many others, does not want to be named for fear of ridicule by sceptics, but she has even had the ghosts blessed by a clergyman, and describes the spook as a real gentleman who even turns lights on and off for her.

Outsiders might mock such a tale, but to many villagers it is something they accept without question.

But back to the bridge. Just why it should be the haunt of a ghost is not clear. One theory is that it is the spirit of a man who probably committed suicide there.

About six years ago when the sightings started, a pile of a clothing was found on the bridge but the owner was never found or a body recovered from the river.

Local greengrocer Jack Dale remembers driving across the bridge one evening at about 10.30pm, when a figure in a long type of coat leapt into the road in front of him. He pulled up, but found nothing..

He is now a firm believer in ghosts.

A young Shaldon man, Austyn Hallworth of Riverside, was walking home across the bridge with a friend in the early hours when he heard a hissing noise.

‘I spun around and not far away was a white mist just drifting along. It then suddenly vanished. I ran off like a rabbit - it was very frightening’

Whether you believe in ghosts or not, it has to be admitted there is something happening at Shaldon which defies a logical explanation.