Stories of Herne the Hunter date back to 1597 with the earliest mention in William Shakespeare’s play The Merry Wives of Windsor. The spirit is said to torment cattle and rattle his chains. It’s not clear to what extent Shakespeare may have incorporated a “real” local legend into his work.
The origin of the Herne the Hunter is still unknown.
One theory is Herne was one of the keepers of the ancient Windsor Forest during the reign of King Richard II between 1377 and 1399.
According to BerkshireLive the ghost appears when the reigning monarch is close to death.
One day while hunting with King Richard, Herne was severely injured by a massive stag.
A mysterious man offered to cure Herne with somewhat unorthodox medical methods.
This involved removing the now dead stag’s antlers and attaching them to Herne’s head.
Herne was eventually nursed back to health and allowed to remove the antlers from his head.
He was rewarded by the king for his bravery at Windsor Castle.