The history of Preston’s ghosts and paranormal activity are laid bare in a new book about the city, and the county, and its scary connections.Advertisement
Daniel Codd’s Paranormal Lancashire rambles through the county takes in some of the UK’s most haunted buildings, many of them not far from Preston, and explains why the area is so famous for its paranormal history.
The Pendle witches of course feature heavily, especially as it is 400 years since the trials, but there are smaller lesser known hauntings which make the cut.
From Croston to the Playhouse theatre in Preston there are all manner of weird things going on, with some stories dating back hundreds of years while others are in the modern day.
Codd said one of the stories about Preston which fascinated him was in Walton-le-Dale.
In the story mysterious diggers were hunting for treasure in the village and digging random halls.
He says: “While its not a conventional ghost story, the suggestion that huge excavations were being dug and yet nobody could catch – or even witness – who was doing it was an intruiging one.”
The Miley Tunnel also features in the book. It runs from the university area through to Deepdale and Codd said the online fascination with the abandoned railway sparked his curosity.
He said: “Incidentally, the Miley Tunnel story initially came from a blogger on the Fortean Times website, and the descriptions of the tunnel from photos on Flikr.com. The tunnel has also been noted as haunted in the Lancs Evening Post.
“Although a composite piece, this seemed to be the perfect story to end the chapter about ghosts, because it evidenced that ‘ghost stories’ were still with us, even in a modern city like Preston, and as such was evidence that the fascination with the supernatural will be a long time dying out.”
Preston’s ghosts and ghouls
There is a rich history of ghosts, witches and hauntings in and around Preston, here’s a few of the most famous and some which are more obscure.
The White Lady of Samlesbury Hall
Samlesbury Hall, just outside Preston, is well known as one of the most haunted places in Lancashire and has numerous ghost stories. The ghost of Dorothy Southworth, is said to walk the galleries and rooms of the hall after her secret lover was killed by her brother in a brutal ambush. In 2008 the ghost of Henry VIII was claimed to have been seen on a mobile phone photo taken inside the hall by Anne Lambert while staying the night at the hall.
Queen’s Lancashire Regiment Museum, Fulwood
In the officer’s mess the ghost of Private Patrick McCaffrey is said to appear. He was executed in the 19th century after in September 1861 he assassinated two fellow officers at the barracks.
We’ve covered this rather spooky stretch of tunnel before, with our co-editor Joseph Stasko having a paranormal encounter himself down in the depths. There is also said to be the ghost of Margaret Banks down there. She grabbed a passenger’s hand at Deepdale station as a train left the station, and the little girl was dragged to her death under the wheels of the train.
If you visit St Anne’s Church in Woodplumpton you can find the grave of Meg Shilton, known as the ‘Hag of the Fylde’. She was said to have terrorised the area in the 18th century, stealing milk, ruining croops and much more. When she was buried the locals put a rock on top of her grave to stop her escaping, and she is said to be buried head down so if she did awake she would only burrow deeper and deeper.
Christmas spirits at Walton-le-Dale
The church of St Leonard’s in Walton-le-Dale is said to be a hot spot of paranormal activity, and in the 18th century two ghost hunters gathered here on Christmas Eve. They used ancient spells to try and conjure up the spirits of all those who would die in the year ahead. Among the spirits they saw was one of themselves. He died later that year.
About Paranormal Lancashire. You can buy the book via the Blog Preston Amazon store at this link (if you buy through this link, then Blog Preston gets a % of the sale to help us carry on with our community reporting). It’s published by Amberley Publishing and more details can be found on their website.