01 November 2020 02:34
Everybody loves a ghost story and luckily the North East is swamped with them. From tales of long-dead murderers returning to the scene of their crime to love-lorn ladies wandering corridors and even child ghosts - always the creepiest - scampering around in attics. Scenes of local hauntings include castles, rural roads and historic buildings - and pubs. There are a lot of old pubs with a claim to a spectre or several which proves that back in the midst of time most people - just like now - gravitate towards a nearby watering hole when they can. So, just in time for Halloween, we've rounded up a selection of what are - according to local stories - our most haunted locations, which are guaranteed to send a shiver down the spine.
Steeped in history, the 13th century fortress in Northumberland has just topped a new TripAdvisor list which named it Britain's most haunted historic castle. Said to have six ghosts, they include a 'blue boy' - or 'radiant boy' - said to have been sighted in the castle's Pink Room during its popular ghost tours. And going back to the 1920s, one witness - Leonora, Lady Tankerville - recorded several ghostly encounters such as being watched by a young officer friend, who had earlier died, and seeing portents of the war. Twice voted the most haunted hotel in the UK by the Poltergeist Society, it lays claim to one particularly creepy story involving a man who killed his wife and two children there and then himself. A woman guest staying in the same room - number 28 to be precise - has reported waking during the night to find her daughter in apparent conversation. For more about Northumberland's ghost stories see here. This 12th Century pub in Blanchland - originally the guest house and kitchens for Blanchland Abbey - is said to be haunted by Dorothy Forster, niece to the Bishop of Durham and Lady Crewe and sister to General Tom Foster who she apparently helped spring from a London prison, saving him from death, during the 1715 Jacobite rising. Dorothy's ghost apparently waits by the window for her brother's return. This old coaching inn was reputedly a favourite with Charles I who was allowed to visit it in 1646 during the English Civil War despite being held in Newcastle as a prisoner by Parliamentarian forces at the time. There's a replica in the pub of his favourite seat and there are reports of people seeing the outline of a spectral figure sitting on it. The atmospheric 19th Century library looks ready-made for spooktacular stories and in fact there are many actually housed within its own shelves. Among its books are 500 volumes about ghosts, folklore and the supernatural dating back to the 17th century. The vast Grade II-listed space is said to have more ghosts than any other building in the city, with at least 16 spectres haunting its three floors. A SELECTION OF SPOOKY SIGHTINGS IN NEWCASTLE William Coulson was killed in an accident on 16 June 1852 after being hit His ghost is reputed to haunt the Victoria Tunnel, and may have His ghost is reputed to haunt the Victoria Tunnel, and may have been seen by a tour guide in 2018. A house along Stevenson Street in North Shields was haunted by the cries of a child, and the heart wrenching sobs of a woman - an infant's body was later discovered concealed within the building. In Robinson's Wine Bar, in the Cloth Market in the mid-twentieth century, a ghostly figure was seen leaning against a wall within the bar. A ghostly man and his dog have been spotted in the Old George, Newcastle, vanishing if approached. Another ghostly figure has been seen sitting in a chair, while elsewhere footsteps without feet go about their business. In 2006, a 4ft tall black mass was photographed at Black Shadow, Newcastle, during a ghost hunt, seemingly coming out of a wall. It is reported that the Egyptian mummy's ghost at the Hancock Museum is still active, and now walks around the museum at night. Customers at this old pub on a former brewery site in South Shields are said to be frequently spooked by ghostly figures in their peripheral vision and particularly in the area of the gents' toilets. Staff have reported being followed by footsteps when there is nobody there, seeing items thrown off the bar and hearing disturbing sounds of grinding and clanking metal. This pub, also in South Shields, claims a number of regular spooks, including a lady of the night called Giggly Meg - apparently after her fondness for drink - while another, known as Old Charlie, appears to live in its creepy cellar and he harks back to the days of Roman soldiers. And, yes, here's a third haunted pub in South Shields and this one - at the foot of the limestone cliffs of Marsden Bay - has been said to be the most haunted in Britain. The story goes that a John the Jibber, reputedly murdered by fellow criminals after he sold information to HM Customs, was left to starve in a barrel in nearby Smugglers Cave - and his cries are said to be heard ever since. Visitors to this museum - full name the North East Land, Sea and Air Museum - are said to have encountered the ghost of an army sergeant who has not been able to rest and sightings which have inspired an appearance on TV's Most Haunted. Near the site of an airfield, which opened in 1916 and played a key war-time role, its other creepy goings-on include sightings of the lower half of a man wandering among the aircraft, dark shadows and reported poltergeist activity in the hangars such as stones being thrown and an old gramophone starting to play by itself. Wartime lovers, a man murdered by a jealous husband and a woman who was the victim of an accident also add to the ghostly mix. Victorian serial killer Mary Ann Cotton, normally associated with County Durham, is said to haunt this city centre pub which is believed to occupy the site of the remains of two of her victims. The macabre crimes of the so-called Black Widow, believed to have poisoned 21 people including several husbands and 11 of her 13 children, have contributed to the inn's reputation as one of the city's most haunted locations. Singing, crying and screaming have been heard coming from empty rooms and there have also sightings too of a Victorian woman and a young child, perhaps Cotton herself. For more of Sunderland's ghostly tales see here. Guests may well find things go bump in the night at this 13th century manor house which occasionally hosts paranormal investigations - it has one coming up on November 14 - as well as ghost tours. It is said to be haunted by the spectre of a Grey Lady with other spooky residents including a woman searching for her lost love and children in the attic - which sounds the spookiest of the lot - and over the years there have been reports of dark shadows moving through walls, dogs barking, running footsteps and doors slamming shut in empty rooms. Lumley Castle Hotel There are stories of guests who have fled their rooms and been sent running from the medieval castle following night-time scares. The 630-year-old castle's famous ghost tale tells of Lily of Lumley who in the 14th century was thrown down the on-site well by priests when she rejected the Catholic faith and refused to renounce her own. The location is often the subject of odd happenings and reports of ghostly sightings within its walls - and visitors can still see the well (thankfully now covered) where Lily is said to have met her death.