GHOSTS and ghouls will be out in force this weekend thanks to lots of nifty costume-making – but where do the real ones live?
Yorkshire, mostly, according to sightings collected by the Paranormal Database.
The county has more ghost activity than anywhere else in the UK, while Cumbria is the most cursed area and Norfolk and Wiltshire have the worst infestations of slavering, flame-eyed hellhounds.
Here, AMY JONES reveals the UK’s most haunted hotspots and brings you some of the most terrifying tales . . .
YORKSHIRE: MOST HAUNTED
YORKSHIRE has had 607 ghosts reported throughout history, more than any other region.
The terrifying ‘Black Monk of Pontefract’ climbing stairs 30 East Drive, Pontefract[/caption]
They range from floating heads seen in Bradford to a spectre that stalks a golf course in the form of a robin.
Perhaps its most chilling case is the Black Monk of Pontefract, who terrorised the inhabitants of an unassuming Fifties terrace in the East Yorkshire town.
Jean and Joe Pritchard moved into the home at 30 East Drive, below right, with son Phillip, 15, and Diane, 12, in August 1966. Strange things immediately began happening.
An ‘expert’ claims the ‘Black Monk’ had been executed at a gallows just opposite the house for the rape and murder of a young girl[/caption]
Green foam would appear from the taps and toilet, lights would flicker on and off and plants leaped out of their pots.
Cupboards would shake violently, treasured family photographs were slashed and objects – including a solid- oak sideboard – would hurl themselves across rooms.
Jean and Joe Pritchard moved into the home at 30 East Drive, below right, with son Phillip, 15, and Diane, 12, in August 1966 – strange things immediately began happening[/caption]
Finally, the then-teenaged Diane was dragged kicking and screaming up the stairs, leaving her seriously traumatised and with visible finger marks on her throat. The family moved out in the early Seventies.
Paranormal investigator Tom Cuniff spent years researching the case and believes the culprit is the ghost of a 16th century killer monk. He had been executed at a gallows just opposite the house for the rape and murder of a young girl.
The house is now open to brave ghost enthusiasts, who have photographed alleged images of “the Black Monk of Pontefract” climbing stairs, main photo, and creeping through the corridors, above.
WILTSHIRE & NORFOLK: MOST DEVIL DOGS
BOTH Norfolk and Wiltshire have 28 reports each of hellhounds on the loose.
Particularly notorious is the dog called the “Black Shuck”, which has prowled the Norfolk and Suffolk coast for centuries.
Reports go way back to 1577, when a huge thunderstorm raged around St Mary’s Church in Bungay, Suffolk, near the Norfolk border.
As people inside knelt in fear, praying for mercy, a 7ft-tall hellhound with flame-red eyes tore through the church doors. It attacked the congregation, mauling two men to death.
Describing the beast, above in an artist’s impression, historian W. A. Dutt wrote in 1901: “He takes the form of a huge black dog and prowls along dark lanes and lonesome field footpaths, where, although his howling makes the hearer’s blood run cold, his footfalls make no sound.”
Graham Grant says he spotted the beast in 1972 while on night duty at the Gorleston coastal rescue HQ.
He said: “I saw a large black hound-type dog on the beach, about a quarter of a mile north of the lookout. What made me look was that the dog was running then stopping, as if looking for someone.
“I watched it for one or two minutes and then it vanished before my eyes. I kept on looking for a time but it did not reappear.”
CUMBRIA: MOST CURSED
CUMBRIA has seven reports of curses, more than anywhere else in England.
Many locals blame their bad luck on a granite Cursing Stone created in 2001, below.
The Cursing Stone artwork, above, was created in 2001, and locals blame it for much of their bad luck[/caption]
The artwork by Andy Altman is inscribed with a long 16th century curse, originally read from pulpits to frighten livestock thieves.
Shortly after it was installed in Carlisle’s Millennium Gallery, livestock herds in Cumbria were wiped out by foot-and-mouth disease. Carlisle was plagued with devastating floods in 2005 and 2015, factories were shut down and Carlisle United dropped out of league football in 2004 for the first time since 1928.
Local Lib Dem councillor Jim Tootle tried to have the stone destroyed in 2005, blaming the “non-Christian artefact” for “disasters reaching biblical proportions”. He died suddenly aged 59 a few years later.
STAFFORDSHIRE: MOST WEREWOLVES
THE place you’re most likely to see a werewolf is Staffordshire, with 20 sightings in the Cannock Chase forest alone.
In April 2007, the West Midlands Ghost Club investigated the reports of a “werewolf-type creature” prowling around.
Several people also claimed they had seen the “wolf” walking on its hind legs in the German War Cemetery in the Chase.
The club took “credible eyewitness accounts” from a local scoutmaster and postman, who claimed they had come face to face with the werewolf.
Everyone interviewed thought that the creature was a large dog – until it raised itself up to its hind legs, standing at almost 7ft tall. The beast darted into the bushes when it was startled.
Some date the first sightings to 1975, when a local boy is said to have contacted Satan via a ouija board and sold his soul for the ability to become a werewolf.
EDINBURGH: MOST SIGHTINGS PER PERSON
EDINBURGH has the highest number of hauntings per capita of any UK city, with one out of 100 people saying they have had a paranormal experience.
The city’s most haunted spot is Greyfriars Kirkyard, where the ghost of a lawyer emerges from his own mausoleum, below, to cause havoc.
Greyfriars Kirkyard, where the ghost of a lawyer emerges from his own mausoleum[/caption]
George Mackenzie was infamous for persecuting Presbyterians. He imprisoned 1,200 of them in Greyfriars Kirkyard itself, where many died, earning him the nickname of “Bluidy” Mackenzie. Since his death in 1691 his ghost has been blamed for attacking hundreds of visitors. They are typically left with bruises and scratches.
Local Jan-Andrew Henderson once said: “I am a very scientific person, and I don’t know if I believe in ghosts or not, but I just don’t have an explanation for the sheer number of people who have collapsed, had their fingers broken or whatever.”
ISLE OF WIGHT: MOST GHOSTS PER HECTARE
WITH 74 accounts of ghostly goings-on, the Isle of Wight is not just the UK’s but the world’s most haunted island per square hectare.
It’s hotspot is undoubtedly the site of Knighton Gorges Manor. It was pulled down except for its gateposts, below, in 1821 but every New Year’s Eve the grand house is said to reappear.
One year a traveller even knocked at the house to ask for shelter from the rain.
He saw people inside in Regency clothes dancing, but when no one came to the door he went on to the village of Newchurch. In the morning he was taken to the site of the “house” to see nothing more than the lonely gateposts.
LONDON: SPOOKIEST PLACE
GREATER London is Britain’s spookiest place, with 547 hauntings reported.
The capital’s most haunted place is the Tower Of London, where the ghosts of Guy Fawkes, Lady Jane Grey, Henry VI and Anne Boleyn are said to lurk.
In a snap Mary Ryan took of daughter Kayleigh at the Tower of London, a ghostly figure of a little boy appears above her shoulder[/caption]
In January this year, visitors Mary Ryan, 40, and daughter Kayleigh, 18, from Liverpool, believe they had a ghostly encounter with another royal.
In a snap Mary took of Kayleigh, a figure of a little boy appears above the teen’s shoulder, above.
Mary believes it is Edward V, sent to the Tower aged 12 in 1483 with his young brother by King Richard III and never seen again.
CORNWALL: MOST MYTHS & LEGENDS
CORNWALL has 54 reports of myths and legends.
One of its most treasured traditions is that the famous round table belonging to King Arthur, below, lies deep in the earth under Bossiney Mound in the county’s north.
If you a round table emerging from the Cornish soil – duck! The appearance of King Arthur’s Round Table signals the end of the world has arrived[/caption]
Legend has it that the 1,600-person table rises on Midsummer Night. Local 19th century Reverend Sabine Baring-Gould wrote of what happens next: “The flash of light from it for the moment illumines the sky, after which the golden table sinks again.
“At the end of the world it will come to the surface again and be carried to Heaven, and the Saints will sit and eat at it, and Christ will serve them.”
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