The dark and ghoulish myths of the Chanctonbury Ring have become the subject of a new fantasy fiction novel.
Horsham based author Natasha Murray has been haunted by spooky tales of the devil and wandering spirits her whole life after hearing the myths from her grandmother.
“She told me stories about ghosts and that the devil had made the hill. I looked at the Ring in awe and have wanted to write about it ever since,” said the 49-year-old.
Local legend has it that the Chanctonbury Ring was created by the devil and if a person were to run around the circle of beech trees anti-clockwise seven times he will appear with a bowl of soup, but there is a catch - you must exchange it for your soul.
In a bold attempt to experience the Chanctonbury Ring for herself, Natasha ventured up to the hill fort on Chanctonbury Hill one night accompanied by her husband Martin.
“A couple of years ago, I dared to go up there - Martin and I battled our way up the hill in such a strong wind that you could almost lean into it and not fall over,” she said.
“Once inside the Ring the wind dropped and it felt as if it was enchanted and the spirits within the hill were all willing to share their stories and a book formed in my head.
“It was very creepy, but then I had this surreal calming feeling.
“Fortunately the devil did not appear,” she added.
The fiction novel, ‘Chanctonbury’ is an intriguing, fast-paced fantasy story that starts on an autumn day in 2013.
Six people with troubled pasts meet at the Chanctonbury Ring. The devil who lurks within the hill, rather than offer them a bowl of soup, takes it upon himself to grant them their dearest wishes. Sadly, there are consequences for such kindness.
“I haven’t changed the folk lore,” said Natasha.
“I have added to it. There’s quite a few ghosts up there from Caesar’s army to a woman on a white horse.”
Looking to build a name for herself in the literary world, Natasha hopes her fantasy book for all ages will reach a wide audience.
She said: “My first book was young adult fiction, but this one is for everyone.
“I enjoy writing and it is both a pleasure and a compulsion.
“My dream is of course to be well known but it is enough to know that my work is in the public domain for all to enjoy,” she added.
Chanctonbury is out now on Amazon Kindle for £2.04 or on paperback for £10.99. For more details, visit http://amzn.to/1qYgaYx