|A 2013 photo of Skilige Pypke. The bridge has since been replaced.|
|Also Known As||Schele Pijp|
Skilige Pypke (translation: Skewed Pipe) was an old haunted bridge on Oastein street over the Goddeloaze Singel near Feanwâlden in Friesland. A dirt road named Spûkloane (translation: Ghost Lane) led from the bridge to the north, where a castle used to sit alongside of the road. Within this castle used to live a greedy man who kept all his valuables under lock and key inside of a lead box. After his untimely death he haunted the castlegrounds and nearby bridge. The bridge was destroyed in 2015 to become part of a highway.
Tale Of The Greedy Old Man
The old man who lived in the castle got older and decided to bury his treasure somewhere close to his residence. He picked the first Christmas night to do this. Some say he suposedly learned a spell by reading Albertus Magnus' book of magic, which had him call in the help of the devil. After repeating the mysterious sentence three times, the old man was finally at peace and returned to his donkey. Wanting to get a good look at the scene, he ascended and rode on it backwards. Some say it was the devil who made for his donkey to stumble, causing the man to tumble and break his neck. The heirs of the greedy old man never found his fortune but townsfolk quickly came to understand that it must have been buried somewhere. It is said the treasure was found at some point, but nobody could claim it as it would constantly sink deeper into the soil. Some believed the treasure would stop sinking deeper into the ground if one were to dig without uttering a word. Alternatively you would have to utter the spell cast by the old man in verbatim, as that would unlock the curse. Unfortunately nobody knew the words.
The Old Man's Apparition
After the castle was taken down along with it garden, the old man's ghost started roaming Skilige Pypke. He always appeared on the night between both Christmas days, but other nights were common too. All witnesses have seen him sitting backwards on a donkey with its tail in one hand and in the other a lantern which illuminated the eerie smirk on his face. Some say he showed up in a red mantle, white nightcap and slippers with yellow heels. Others claimed he wore a wig with no hat, a yellow sash around his waist, a skirt with green stars on it and slippers with yellow heels. Alternatively he was said to be a short old man dressed in black, with grey hair covering his sunken face, wearing culottes and shoes with yellow heels. Again others said he dressed up in a long white winding sheet, strapped with a broad red belt. There's even sources claiming he appeared as a black dog sometimes. Even after the castle was taken down, some claimed he sometimes paraded through what used to be the castle garden. He mostly appeared around Skilige Pypke; a place many people tried to avoid.
The Haunting Of Skilige Pypke
Many strange and supernatural things happened at Skilige Pypke. Sometimes people tried to cross the bridge but they were held back as if by invisible boney hands. These same boney hands were strong enough to pick up pedestrians and even entire horse-pulled carriages which would be disposed off in the waterway. A peat worker crossed the bridge in conversation with a young man one time and stopped talking mid-sentence. It was as if he was grabbed by the throat, lifted off the ground and thrown into the canal. A brewer crossed the bridge at some point when he heard a donkey bellow behind him. He took up the pace and only barely crossed the bridge in time, as it collapsed behind him.
The Excorcism Of Skilige Pypke
Townsfolk were sufficiently scared of Skilige Pypke and decided to call in the help of an exorcist. Hendrik Miente from Feanwâlden bravely volunteered, but since the devil was involved, this was hardly something he could do alone and so he summoned the help of 6 other exorcists from the region. They used a cariage pulled by 4 horses and set out to look for the ghost. Eventually the old man was found and Hendrik Miente requested of him to come sit on the cariage by saying "Hee âlde, spring op’e wein", though others claimed he first spoke "the 7 words" every ghost should adhere to. The ghost obeyed and sat between the chanting exorcists. Hendrik Miente tried his best to get the horses to move, but they mysteriously would not budge as they worked up sweat and foamed from the mouth. It took hours before it rang 2 'o clock in Feanwâlden and with its last chime, the horses finally moved at an impossible speed towards the west. Hendrik was the only passenger to notice how the cariage uncontrolably launched itself to the Beampoel (a body of water close to Readtsjerk) and managed to throw himself off the wagon. He watched on as the carriage launched itself into the pond and disappeared. Nothing was ever found of the horses, the exorcists or the cart. From that night onward, the curse of Skilige Pypke was lifted.
In Kollumersweach to the east of Faenwâlden a similar story is told. They say a castle used to sit on the farmlands. The ghost who inhabited the castle would sometimes come out at night and ride around on a white horse. Described to be a man with red hair and scars all over his skin, he too was supposedly excorcised when he entered a cariage that rode into the Beampoel.
Yet another such story is told in Hurdegaryp, where 2 men dug for the old man's treasure but it kept sinking further and further into the ground. Then appeared a ghost with yellow heels. Both men fled to their carriage where their fearless driver invited the ghost to hop on. The ghost complied but the cariage wouldn't budge until 2 'o clock. The cariage then moved at uncontrolable speed into the Beampoel and disappeared. 
- De Westereender, 16 December 2015, Pagina 23: Mysterie rond Sintrale As en Boppewei blijft (http://www.westereender.nl/Westereender%20december%202015.pdf)
- Jacques R.W. Sinninghe: Nederlands Sagenboek