BECKY KEANE braves the ‘dark satanic mills’ to look at the haunted factories of Greater Manchester and Lanchashire
Styal Estate/Ouary Bank Mill, Styal, Wilmslow SK9 4LA
Quarry bank mill and the Styal Estate titled the third spookiest property by the National Trust, has a classic ghost story we all know and love. The Styal estate surrounds a village, farmland, mill owners house and the apprentice house which was used to house the children employed to work. Once a hardworking and harsh environment the mill was used to make textiles. It even has it is very own resident ghost – a Victorian lady who roams the upper floors. Although deaths and fatality records were kept none seem to suggest a lady died there. Who knows maybe she was the mill owner’s wife? Or a distraught mother searching for her child/ren killed there to produce cloth? Whoever she is she seems to have unfinished business.
The Apprentice House, Styal Estate, Styal, Wilmslow SK9 4LA
Part of the Styal Estate, the Apprentice House has several spirits. Renovations in the 1980s left workmen terrified after they reported seeing a lady in white in the medical room. Another lady spirit has been spotted lurking in the attic and even directly behind someone, without them knowing. A dog mysteriously became terrified and seemed unwilling to go upstairs in the house, when taken outside, the dog refused to go back. The feeling of being watched is experienced in the schoolroom prompting some to flee in fright. Mediums and sensitives have reported that something dark, disturbing and sheer evil resides there.
The Weir Mill, Chestergate, Stockport SK3 OAG
Called the Weir(d) Mill by ghost hunters, you would be forgiven if you fled this place in terror. A mill has stood on the site since 1790s, the original was burnt to ground and had to be rebuilt. Several extensions and rebuilding has been done over the years to make the mill more productive. A plethora of ghostly goings on have plagued the site for many years. Shadows have been seen, spirit voices have been heard, cold spots, eerie sensations, blood curdling screams and a dark entity who dislikes religion all reside at The Weir(d) Mill. Regular ghost hunts happen at the mill; are you brave enough?
Croal Mill, Blackshaw Lane, Bolton, BL13 5PL
Bolton has a rich history of mills and they litter the streets, sad and derelict. And of course being a Bolton girl born and bred I just had to tell you the tale of Spiffy the ghost. As with most of the mills in the North West a well-known catalogue company used them as distribution centres. Staff named the resident ghost Spiffy, and haunted members of staff for more than twenty years. Spiffy followed staff around the mill and his footsteps where heard echoing the corridors, Spiffy was blamed for throwing toilet rolls and ashtrays. A member of staff said Spiffy pushed him down on to the toilet. It left him terrified and shocked – He was in the right place to be frightened. Compared to Casper the friendly ghost, people would comment ‘Spiffy has been at it again’ whenever any strange activity happened. No one ever saw Spiffy’s apparition but his presence has been felt.
Atlas Mills No7, Bentinck Street/Mornington Road, Road BL1 4EU
While researching to write about the Top 5 Haunted Mills I came across a story I hadn’t heard of before. In a local online forum, a gentleman tells of his story. One particular morning a worker in the mill’s cellar got the fright of his life and was left terrified. He ran up the stairs shouting that he had seen the ghost of lady. She was dressed in clothing from the era of when Shiptons farm once stood on the site, before the mill was built. She drifted up through the floor and simply vanished in front of the horrified worker. It was a very long time before he could muster up the courage to go back into the cellar.