The seaside town and old port of Whitby in North Yorkshire is famed for its Alum and Jet mining, also its links to Bram Stoker’s 19th-century novel Dracula. NIA JONES checks out five of Whitby’s spookiest places…
Whitby Pavilion Theatre, West Cliff, Whitby YO21 3EN
The Whitby Pavilion Theatre is a traditional proscenium arch theatre, originally built in 1878. A very atmospheric building with an abundance of Victorian character; its architecture inspires plenty of eerie dark shadows.
Over the years there have been multiple unexplained phenomena associated with the theatre, many of the staff and patrons report the sensation of being watched and feel as if they are being followed. Some cleaners working the early shifts have even witnessed the theatre’s supernatural resident; no one is sure of the spirit’s gender, but he or she seems to enjoy wandering the gallery area.
Green Lane and surrounding areas, Whitby
A stunning area of Whitby – a phantom stagecoach and horses has been witnessed and heard thundering up the lane, it disappears as it tumbles over the edge into the sea. At Fitzsteps, walking a path between Prospect Hill and Ruswarp a headless phantom has been seen walking with its head nestled under its arm.
Other residents have reported vehicles and road signs being damaged along the area by an unknown entity. Perhaps this is the handy work of a mischievous sprite called Hob, a goblin-like creature which is also reported to haunt, terrorise and stalk the highways and byways of Whitby.
Arundel House B&B, Bagdale, Whitby, YO21 1QJ
Arundel House B&B is a historic Georgian Manor House built by a shipbuilding family, the Campions, around 1790. Margaret Campion also established herself as the first lady-banker in Britain.
Paranormal activity has been reported in nearly every room in the building, this includes strange bangs, doors moving by themselves, knocking in the cellar, footsteps on the stairs, disembodied voices and the sounds of jangling keys. A vision of a lady has appeared ample times to the guests and staff; electrical equipment has a habit of turning itself on and off, and it has been known for decorations in the dining area to fly from the walls.
Bagdale Hall Hotel, 1 Bagdale, Whitby YO21 1QL
Bagdale Hall Hotel is a historic and charming amalgamation of three historic buildings, one is a Tudor home built in 1516, another is No. 4 Bagdale, a Georgian townhouse, and the last is a large detached Georgian property built in around 1770.
Supernatural phenomenon has been rife at the Hall over the years; the hotel staff and guests have heard disembodied voices, the sound of a crying child when the rooms are empty and strange shape gliding up and down the stairs. Some poltergeist activity has also been reported, footsteps on the stairs, knocking and lights inexplicably being switched on and off.
A former owner of the hotel a man named Browne Bushell was executed with charges relating to piracy – many believe it is he who has returned to haunt the hall after his death.
Whitby Abbey, Abbey Lane, Whitby YO22 4JT
Sitting dramatically on the crest of the East Cliff, Whitby Abbey is a reminder of the power and dominance wielded by the Church in medieval times.
The building of Whitby Abbey began in 657 AD, destroyed by the Vikings in 870 AD and then rebuilt after the Norman Conquest in 1067. St Hilda founded the abbey and the legend goes that St Hilda rid the local area of snakes by chasing them to the edge of the cliffs, striking their heads off with a whip. She also believed that climbing the 199 steps leading up to the abbey was a test of faith.
It really isn’t surprising that there is plenty of ghostly activity at Whitby Abbey, the main apparition being St Hilda herself, wrapped in a shroud she has been seen floating in one of the abbey’s highest windows – even Bram Stoker mentions the manifestation in his novel Dracula.
Another spectre is a young nun called Constance de Beverley who fell in love with a dashing young knight and broke her vows of chastity. It is said that she was bricked up alive in the walls of the abbey dungeon for her sins, she screamed for mercy until she died. Her ghost is said to haunt the stairs leading from the dungeon where she was imprisoned, still screaming and pleading for forgiveness.