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Page last updated at 09:07 GMT, Tuesday, 20 October 2009 10:07 UK
Slaughterford's phantom footwear
By Sarah Jones
BBC Wiltshire

Pink stilletto boots
Mysterious footwear- the infamous pink stiletto boots

When you tackle the Weavern Lane stretch of the Macmillan Way, in Slaughterford, it's in wellies.

The dark and leafy lane, rutted and muddy, is no place for a stiletto heel.

But over the last 20 plus years that's exactly what's been making its way down the country track to exactly the same spot under a tree.

Strange things, it seems, are afoot on the Macmillan Way.

So what exactly is going on and who is Slaughterford's footwear phantom?

According to Liz Newman, who's lived in the area all her life, it all started back in the 1980s when the first pair of mysterious shoes made an appearance:

"The first pair I saw were a pair of high heeled stiletto shoes," says Liz. "They looked to me like they'd come from the 1950s.

"I didn't think somebody had lost them as I couldn't imagine walking down there in a pair of stiletto shoes and then I realised that they'd been tacked to the tree."

In fact 'tacked' is a bit of an understatement. The incongruous looking high heels had actually been bolted to a metal bar and then screwed into one of the tree roots lining the lane. Somebody had gone to a lot of trouble to make sure these shoes didn't walk:

"I pulled but I couldn't move them," says Liz "and when I took a closer look, I found that somebody had used washers to stop the screws being pulled through the bottom of the shoes.

"Yes, they were secured there alright."

These boots weren't made for walking in

And for the next few years that's exactly where they remained, slowly disintegrating, until another pair mysteriously showed up:

"The next pair we had were a pair of knee-high boots," says Liz, "filled with expanding foam to keep them upright and sprayed pink.

A pair of men's brogues
The most recent addition - a pair of men's brogues

"And as they disintegrated, with the weather, another pair appeared."

This time it was a pair of white stilettos, looking just as incongruous on the muddy track, that had been carefully positioned in exactly the same spot.

The Imelda Marcos of Slaughterford had struck again.

And recently? Well, in a bit of a departure from the kinky, it's a sensible pair of men's brogues that have stepped in:

"The shoes are of all different styles," says Liz. "We just got used to seeing them but we couldn't find out who was putting them there. I asked but nobody spilt the beans and I began wondering if it was somebody I know very well.

"But whoever it is, it's obviously a special place to them."

Macabre shrine?

Karen Crawford, who took over the disused paper mill in the village a few years ago, is also mystified:

"The first pair I saw were a tall pair of pink stiletto boots," says Karen, "and initially I thought somebody had lost them but no… someone must be putting them there.

"It's quite a muddy footpath so it looked quite surreal seeing stiletto shoes on this very muddy track."

Weavern lane
Weavern lane

Meanwhile on the Colerne Community Forum, local walkers are equally baffled and there's speculation that the first shoes made an appearance, 'one year after a murder in the area'. So is this a macabre shrine to a Slaughterford murder?

"I don't think so," says Liz, "I'm sure the local village would have made a lot more of it or been really scared if somebody had.

"I thought I would have found out by now though. I thought somebody would have said something but nobody has and I'd be really interested to know."

And so would we, so if you know anything about Slaughterford's footwear phantom let us know by clicking on the link below:




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