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The dark goings on at 3 Fox Street in Preston as it stands abandoned

Posted on - 17th April, 2021 - 8:00pm | Author - | Posted in - History, Nostalgia, Preston buildings & attractions, Preston City Centre, Preston News
The unsafe building is at 3 Fox Street Pic: Preston City Council
The unsafe building is at 3 Fox Street and is also known as ‘The Devil House.’ Pic: Preston City Council

The unsafe building at 3 Fox Street allegedly has a seriously spooky history – one which you wouldn’t expect.

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A temporary road closure is in place in Preston city centre due to an unsafe building.

The building at 3 Fox Street is on the corner of St Wilfrid Street, and this is where there were some spooky goings on centuries ago.

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Between 1837 and 1840 Preston was the headquarters for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or the Mormon Church.

Preston is still the oldest continuous branch of the Mormon Church in the world. Most of the first British Mormons emigrated to America from Preston.

The three Church Elders arrived in Preston on July 22 1837, with the intention of staying two weeks at the Fox Street lodging house.

They wanted to carry out their evangelical work.

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During the early hours of the July 30 1837, dramatic events took over.

It is said, the Devil himself attacked the Elders in an effort to stop their work, unleashing a host of demons and evil spirits from hell.

A visiting Elder Isaac Russell was attacked first and possessed by an evil entity.

3 Fox Street pictured empty in 2008 - the building has struggled to find a buyer Pic: Tony Worrall
3 Fox Street pictured empty in 2008 – the building has struggled to find a buyer Pic: Tony Worrall

He pleaded with Elder Kimball to perform an exorcism to drive out the evil forces. 

As Elders Kimball and Hyde began the exorcism, Kimball was viciously attacked by demons, rendering him unconscious.

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Here is an extract of a written account following the attack:

“The first thing I recollected was being supported by Elders Hyde and Richards, who were praying for me, Elder Richards having followed Russell up to my room.

“Elders Hyde and Richards then assisted me to get on the bed, but my agony was so great I could not endure, and I arose, bowed my knees and prayed. I then arose and sat upon the bed, when a vision was opened to our minds, and we could distinctly see the evil spirits, who foamed and gnashed their teeth at us.

“We gazed upon them about an hour and a half (by Willard’s watch). We were not looking towards the window, but towards the wall. Space appeared before us, and we saw the devils coming in legions, with their leaders, who came within a few feet of us.

“They came towards us like armies rushing to battle. They appeared to be men of full stature, possessing every form and feature of men in the flesh, who were angry and desperate; and I shall never forget the vindictive malignity depicted on their countenances as they looked me in the eye.

“Any attempt to paint the scene which presented itself, or portray their malice and enmity, would be vain. We distinctly heard those spirits talk and express their wrath and hellish designs against us. However, the Lord delivered us from them, and blessed us exceedingly that day.”

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The following morning, Elder Kimball was determined to conduct planned baptism services, and over 9,000 people watched the baptisms take place in the River Ribble.

On his return to the United States, Kimball was still deeply troubled by his demonic encounter and agonised over the events with the prophet Joseph Smith.

The former lodging house has stood empty and boarded up for many years.

This information was originally written in Preston’s Haunted Heritage by Jason Karl and Adele Yeomans, which is available on Amazon

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