ANDY OWENS picks his favourite ghost stories and haunted places in spooky West Yorkshire
School Spirits at Prince Henry’s Grammar School at Otley
Mrs Jacqueline Francis writes: “I was reluctant to write to you as the memories set my nerves on edge to this day.
“When I worked as the cleaning supervisor at Prince Henry’s Grammar School at Otley, I had a strange experience. I was polishing the floors and was in the building alone. Floor polish is very slippery, so all the outer doors were locked and bolted from the inside to prevent anyone walking in and having an accident. We had a machine to suck up the dissolved polish slurry. I was going to move the buffing machine into the hall to start my work, but I discovered it had already been moved into the hall, even though I was alone in the building.
“Another time, I put polish on the floor one day, and returned the next day to find footprints in the polish. They led from six feet inside a locked and bolted room, and down the corridor where they suddenly stopped. The caretakers couldn’t understand it and it took a long time to remove it. A boy is thought to have hung himself in a spot which is now directly below the hall where the footsteps ended, and where the buffing machine was found.”
Phantoms at The Fleece, Elland
Once called the Great House, The Fleece is regarded as one of the most haunted buildings in Yorkshire. While I am very sceptical about programmes such as Most Haunted, which are from documentaries, there was one episode which featured a chair being flung over the bannisters of the Fleece and narrowly missing the landlady, Christine Watson.
I visited the Fleece in 2019 and Christine showed me the upstairs landing where the chair was apparently flung from, and I remain convinced that it was probably genuine poltergeist activity.
I did an investigation here in 2021, and there was a piece of apparatus known as a ‘spirit ball’ which kept lighting up on request by a member of the team. After the session, I tested it, to see if I could make it light up without touching it, by shaking the seat it was placed on and blowing air on it, but neither worked. Was it a spirit making the ball light up, or was it a hoax perpetrated by a member of the team? If it was a hoax, I had no odea how they did it!
Ghosts of Bolling Hall, Bradford
On an investigation here in 2021, I chatted to long-serving security guard Paul Hodgson, whom I had featured in my book Haunted Bradford, and who recounted two of his experiences.
Firstly, he was hoovering up in the main part of the hall when he felt as if someone was watching him. He turned and saw a woman in n old fashioned dress observing him, who turned and began walking away and who faded away as she neared the far wall.
His other encounter was of a man in old fashioned clothes who seemed as surprised to see Paul, as Paul was to see him. Paul thinks this was a ‘time-slip’, whereas the sighting of the woman was a spirit.
Creeps at the Crown Court, Leeds
The ghost on elderly, bald-headed man has been spotted crouching in the corner of one of the court rooms at the Crown Court in Leeds city centre.
A female security guard told a newspaper she had seen the man several times. The first time she saw him, he was walking the corridor and entering the courtroom but on reaching the court, there was no sign of anyone. It was only then that she realised that the man had not even opened the door to enter and had just seemed to ‘pass’ through the closed door.
Have you seen a ghost in West Yorkshire? Tell us about it in the comments section below!
ANDY OWENS is a paranormal investigator and writes the blog Spooky Vocation. He has written several books on ghosts and mysteries and his latest in Ghosts: First-Hand Accounts of the Supernatural. There are 79 original accounts in the book including 30 from Yorkshire. Find out more at https://owensandy.com