Here is a piece of entertaining folklore from my own county of birth, Buckinghamshire in England. I do hope that you’ll find the authentic Buckinghamshire dialect used in this tale adds to its folk heritage which dates from the 1920’s and particularly so as it involves an equally traditional ghost – one with its head tucked underneath its arm.
Headless ghosts, with or without a misplaced head, are an essential ingredient in certain folklore and supernatural tales. Indeed, J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series gave an additional twist to the headless ghost genre with the creation of Gryffinder’s resident ghost – Nearly Headless Nick. The forty-five blunt axe blows of his botched execution left his head attached by a mere flap of skin and sinew, leading him to lament, “My faithful old head, it never saw fit to desert me.“
Humour, it seems, remains a close companion of what is clearly a terrible fate and in the English county of Buckinghamshire, skilled linguist and folk-lore researcher, Horace Harman, discovered the tale of the Salden pond ghost just down the hill from village pub which again takes on a certain light touch, especially when recounted in the local dialect which was Harman’s specialty. 
The following story is from a much longer conversation recorded by Harman in 1929 on a stormy night in a pub in the small village of Drayton Parslow, Buckinghamshire.
This photograph was taking during the 1920’s by the Reverend David Sheppard.
Here we meet Jim and Chawley – two wonderful Buckinghamshire characters discussing the Salden pond ghost. It is written in dialect form and I realise this presents an interesting challenge but it certainly flavours the humour in a way that would lost otherwise.
Chawley: “What a night! ‘Tis as dark as pitch. I a jes come up the road and I dint know how to find mi way. I got in the hedge once or twice as I was a-trying to git out a the way a the pond. This is, I think, about one a the darkest nights as ivver I was in. I could jist see the trees in the hedgerows agenst the sky, and what with the wind a-blowin in the branches and the noise they made, I felt quite creepy as I come up. I shoont like to git fur afeeuld to-night.”
Jim: “You ought to goo down to Sauldin [Salden] an a night like this. That’s wheeur you ought to goo, and then ood see summut.”
Jim: “Sauldin’s a rum ole pleeace, Sauldin is,’Tis a rum ole pleeace, I tell ye!”
Chawley: “What do you see?”
Jim: “Why, an ole fellur with his feeace under his arm – he comes out an a night like this, I tell ye, ’tis a rum ole pleeace.”
Chawley: “A you sin him?”
Jim: “Ant I begad – many a time.”
Chawley: “What does he do?”
Jim: “Well I ull tell ye. When you git down tuther side a Sauldin pond on a night like this, and you be a-gooin an the road, thaiur’s an ole fellur as comes and walks by yur side – thaiur he is a-gooin and by the side a ye, and thair’s he old feeace under his arm a-looking at ye all the time, and he keeps an till he gits to a certain pleeace and then he leeaves ye. He walks by yur side all the time and nivver speeaks.”
Chawley: “Don’t ye crack him an the head wi yur stick?”
Jim: “No begad; I allus let him alooan; these things be best let alooan. Beside, he nivver hurts ye. Many a time has he bin by mi side and he nivver does nauthing. If ye were to follur him, I rickun he ood taiak ye to a pleeace wheeur thaiur’s a pot of money or summut like that; but thaiur ‘aint anybody has got the pluck to goo wi him.”
Chawley: “When did you see him fust?”
Jim: “One dark night when I was wi ole Tom Kirk. We were an tuther side a pond when ole Tom says to me, ‘Look out Jim, heear he is!’ And thaiur he was too, a-walkin’ by the side an us. My heear stood on end and lifted mi cap right up.
I tell ye I had got the wind up properly. There he kep an by the side an us with his old feeace under his arm a-lookin’ at us.”
Chawley: “What did ole Tom do?”
Jim: “Nauthin. All he said was. ‘Let him alooan. Taiak no no-atice an him.’ Ole Tom had sin him many a time, so he was quite used to him. He lived just tuther side a the pond and had walked the rooad all the times a night, so he dint mind him. I ull taiak ye down to Sauldin pond one a these dark night. Will you goo?”
Chawley: “Yis, I ull. What’s the time?”
Jim: “Why gettin’ an.”
Chawley: I shull have to make a move.”
Jim: “So shull I.”
Chawley: “I hope I don’t meet the ole fellur down the road.”
Jim: “He dooant get as fur as this. We ull goo down to Sauldin pond one a these nights and ull show ye him.”
Chawley: “I shall taiak a good stick.”
Jim: ” You leave him alooan: he won’t hurt ye. If you got a-meesin him aboot, thaiurs no tellin what he ood do!”
Chawley: “Well good night all.”
Jim: “Goodnight. Keep yur eyes open when you’re gooin down. Look well into the hedge.”
Chawley: “Goodnight Jim, Shant believe these things you a told us tonight.”
Jim: “Pleease yurself. They all be true.”
 The above extracts are reproduced with thanks to Harman, H., Buckinghamshire Dialect, Hazell, Watson & Viney Ltd: London & Aylesbury, 1929.