Now that we are fast approaching Halloween I thought it would be fun/interesting to look into some local ghost stories.
I have compiled the six stories below from various sources. I have removed names unless they are in the public domain to save any embarrassment.
I would like to say thank you to everyone who contributed to these stories. (Both living and Dead.)
DISCLAIMER:- Please be warned. Do not read any further if you feel you may be adversely affected by these tales of the Supernatural in and around Penistone.
Penistone Paramount Cinema
The Paramount Cinema, as it is now known, has long been one of the Jewels in Penistone’s Crown. It was originally built in 1914 as an Assembly Hall and for many years held dances with its purpose made sprung floor. With the introduction of moving pictures the building was used as both a cinema and a dance hall up until the 1970’s when permanently fixed seating was put in place. Now the Penistone Paramount proudly hosts blockbuster films along with live concert events (some involving the buildings mighty Compton Organ) and local plays and pantomimes.
Over the buildings 104 year history it has seen many a happy patron, some so happy they may never have really left the building.
One ghostly inhabitant who has been seen numerous times is an elderly Caretaker and his dog, who’s love for the Paramount means that they still hang around the building to make sure it’s being taken care of properly. The spectral Caretaker and his dog can some times be seen sitting upstairs as well as standing under where the clock used to be next to the curtain by the organ. Sometime the Caretaker and his pet are a little more discreet about making an appearance but the dogs bark can still be heard echoing around the building.
Whispering and the sound of women chatting has also been heard on several occasions and on investigation a group of women dressed in period clothing circa 1914 have been seen stood gossiping in the Circle corridor, only to vanish when approached.
A little boy who can be heard laughing has been seen to run through the downstairs auditorium and fade from sight before the auditorium doors have swung open and closed one after the other as if someone had gone through them despite the child no longer being visible. On one occasion a former member of staff felt an ice cold chill pass by her side immediately followed by another staff member charging in asking if she had seen where the young boy had gone. Needless to say no young boy had been seen and there was no where he could have gone without passing the staff member.
One late evening a staff member was alone doing a final check on the dressing rooms when someone whispered in her ear. “What are you doing?” Chillingly the staff member knew she was the only one in the building doing her final checks before locking up for the night.
On one occasion a local Operatic group were rehearsing in the building when they became aware of being watched by two figures sat up in the circle despite the circle being closed off. On investigation the circle was empty. Staff have reported smelling cigarette smoke despite the premises long being designated non-smoking and no one else being present. And just for good measure, and perhaps so as not to be ignored, staff have had the sensation of being pushed or had something brush against their legs or back.
Perhaps harking back to the dance hall days a grey figure can sometimes be seen walking through the seats in the stalls, and in the Circle staff have also witnessed some of the seats move and shake as if someone is sat in them. So the next time you are enjoying your favourite film, and just before you take that first bite into your choc-ice, you might just want to just take another glance at that person sat next to you!
THE DOG AND PARTRIDGE COUNTRY INN AND HOTEL
The Dog and Partridge Country Inn is situated on the A628 Woodhead Pass surrounded by Moor land high above Penistone. The Inn has a warm welcoming atmosphere giving no hint that the establishment has residents of the Paranormal variety!
The existing buildings date back to the 16th Century and was originally a Moorland farm. Perhaps due to its siting on the old Salt trail the farm began selling Ale to passing travellers and developed into a pub then a coach house. During these bygone years the Inn has also being used as a temporary mortuary for persons who came to grief on the Moors.
There has been many ghostly occurrences and sightings over the Inns long history and in recent times they peaked when the Inn underwent a full refurbishment and work was carried out on the structure of the building. This period of intense haunting was such that a team of Paranormal researchers including several scientists and mediums were called in. During this investigation one of the mediums made contact with a spirit called William Turner and a later search of records revealed that someone of that name, did at one time reside at the Inn.
One apparition that has been seen by staff and several customers is that of an old man with a white beard, who has been seen in several locations in the main bar but mostly on the corner bench near to the ingle-nook fire place. People who have seen the ghost usually get a feeling that someone is close and notice the old man standing or sitting nearby when they glance up. However the moment they blink or take their eyes of him the old man vanishes into thin air! Some witnesses to this apparition have said that it bears an uncanny resemblance to the man with a horse and cart in an old photograph situated above the fire place.
Sometimes no ghost is seen at all but staff have experienced a strong feeling that they were not alone and that someone was watching them even though no one else is present. This has been accompanied by all manner of items disappearing only to turn up in the most unusual of places with no one having any knowledge of how they got there.
During the refurbishment in 2003/2004 a strong smell like rotting vegetables would suddenly emanate from no where then move from room to room with no apparent cause.
To the rear of the Inn is a large barn which during the refurbishment was converted into 12 en-suite guest rooms. At this time a number of photographs were taken of the barn documenting its conversion. Whilst looking over these photos some time later a face could clearly be seen in one of the second floor round portal windows. What was unnerving about the face was, not only was no one inside the barn at the time the photograph was taken but the entire second floor structure had yet to be built.This would mean that whoever or whatever was up at the window had nothing to stand on and could only have been at the window by hovering in mid-air.
So the next time you call in at the Dog and Partridge it might be an idea to buy an extra drink for the old man at the next table who you catch in the corner of your eye. It could well be the ghost. (Or better still it could be me!)
THE BEAST OF PENISTONE
Around the mid 1990’s the Police in Penistone received several reports of sheep being killed and partly eaten. Nearby were found large, but too indistinct to identify, footprints belonging to some large four legged animal. The farmers, who are pretty knowledgable about these types of attack were left baffled as none of the traits seen on the attacked sheep matched any known predator that they had come across previously. They were confident that the attacks were not carried out by dogs or foxes. The Police who were equally dumbfounded decided to keep the details on these events out of the public domain until they could better understand what was carrying out the attacks. Two or three of these attacks had already occurred on open farm land when the Police received a call from a businessman who lived in an isolated old house over in the general direction of Woodhead.
The businessman, who had no knowledge of the sheep attacks, was duly visited by the Police and was found to be visibly shaken. He informed the attending Officers that early that morning whilst it was still dark he had opened the front door of his house in order to walk across the yard to his car and leave for work. Halfway across the yard he suddenly heard the padding sound of footsteps. Looking over to his left he saw a large black panther type cat a matter of only a few feet away. Both the big cat and the businessman stood stock still staring at each other for what was probably seconds but felt like hours. The cats eyes burnt bright green. For whatever reason, just then, the large cat reared on its hind legs turning on itself 180 degrees and ran off up the yard leaving the business man to also turn 180 degrees and run back to the shelter of his home.
On relating the story the businessman, a very down to earth no nonsense type of a person, was clearly embarrassed and requested to remain anonymous.
Over the following days and weeks searchers were made but no trace of the beast was ever found and the sheep attacks stopped as suddenly as they had begun, so what happened to the beast no one knows. Perhaps it was just passing through.
So the next time you are out after dark and you see a black cat it may be wise to just do a quick calculation as to how far away it really is, before you get any closer. It may be bigger than you think.
The Penistone Galleria is a tall three story building on Penistone’s Market Street and is home to several shops and businesses. Over its long history the building has seen a many and varied turn- a-round of occupants and visitors. So it may not be surprising that some may wish to return on the odd occasion. Even though they may have shuffled off their mortal-coil.
It is the top floor of the building that seems to attract the most attention from the other-side. The third floor is currently home to a a couple of shops one of which being ‘Pretty Things’ haberdashery. The staff has on several occasions caught a glimpse of a dark figure climbing the stairs outside the shop only for it to suddenly disappear before reaching the top landing.
However the most frequent ghostly visitation isn’t a person at all, but a small black cat that slowly prowls past the open door of the shop only to vanish within a split second should anyone try to look for it. On one occasion a regular customer who had just walked out of the shop was heard to scream, out on the landing. Staff ran out to investigate to be told by the customer that she had screamed out, because, she had just seen a black cat walk towards her on the landing then turn and go through the door to the office next door. The staff immediately went to shoo the cat out office but on trying the office door they realised it was locked. Turning quizzically to the customer the shaken witness said. “You don’t understand. When I said the cat walked through the door, I mean the cat actually walked right through the closed door! “
The staff located the keys for the office and made a search but needless to say the phantom feline was no where to be found.
At one time the motion detector in the stairway repeatedly activated the alarm and staff suspected someone may have been entering the building and prowling around.
For this reason a cctv camera was placed in the stairway and the next time the alarm activated, the video link was immediately checked. To the utter disbelief of the staff no intruder was spotted but what could clearly be seen was two brightly glowing orbs climbing the stairs at a height roughly where a cats eyes would be.
These occurrences are not common but it has been noted that the frequency tends to increase when the fabric of the building is disturbed by maintenance and repair work. So the next time you need to by some fabric please make sure it’s not the fabric separating this life from the next!
Situated on Mortimer Road at the Southern edge of Penistone is Cubley Hall Hotel, Bar and Restaurant. Records show that a dwelling existed in this location back in the 18th Century when the site and four acres of surrounding land was originally a ‘Pocket Farm.” The existing Hall was subsequently built and became a Gentleman's residence .
During the late 1800’s to early 1900’s the property was purchased by Mr George Lockley and his wife who lived there with their four children. One of the children, a daughter, was called Florence Mary Lockley.
After the Lockley family, the Hall had various occupants, including various managers for Camel and Lairds, and during the second world war soldiers were billeted there for a time. After the war the Council turned the building into an Orphanage and it is in this capacity that the Hall remained until the present Owners took over the building in 1980 and converted it into its a Hotel, Bar and Restaurant.
Contrary to all the dire tales we sometimes hear about Orphanages, the one at Cubley Hall was apparently well run and the children well cared for. So much so that every year at least two or three people who were children at the Orphanage pay a visit and fondly reminisce about their time there. On these occasions, and without fail, these visitors always ask the current owner and staff “Have you seen Flo?”
It seems that many of the children that resided at the Orphanage saw the apparition of a lady dressed in a long, turn of the Century, grey dress. The apparition never did any harm and the children and the ghost seemingly developing a mutual fondness, with the grey lady regularly being seen sitting at the end of a children’s beds when they were feverish and unwell, as if watching over the children.
The Children at the Orphanage called the ghost Flo and it is thought to be the apparition of Florence Mary Lockley. At one time the window, on the main stairs in the Hall, had a stained glass image of Florence that would cast a ghostly image of the young woman into the hallway when it was hit by the sun. Unfortunately this window is no more. However if anyone should still like to see Florence there are several photographs hanging in the main bar area. These Photographs date back to 1904 when Florence married Mr John Morrell at the Penistone Methodist Church. One of the Photos show the wedding reception held at Cubley Hall and another shows Florence in a grey dress with her sister Beatrice.
With no children to tend to Florence rarely seems to visit the Hall anymore. But every now and again there is an unexplained door opening and closing or the odd clattering sound in the kitchen when no one is there. One or two guests who have stopped overnight at the hall have said they have seen shadows moving in one of the rooms, and one member of staff said that she could feel a presence up on the second floor and point-blank refused to up there alone.
The photographs of Florence were kindly donated to the Hall by a niece, and what little else is known of Florence, is that she passed-away in Durham in 1956 right at the beginning of the Halls tenure as an Orphanage. So just be aware of what type of spirits may be served up on your next visit to Cubley Hall ,and above all don’t be tempted to go with the Flo.
In the early 18th Century Stocksbridge was little more than a densely wooded valley through which the Little Don River ran. Around this time a fuller (a person that cleans wool) by the name of John Stocks built a small wooden bridge over the river and the name, by which it became locally known, forever lent itself to the surrounding area.
With the passage of time, the small dirt track near the bridge grew into a toll road and became increasingly busy. Legend has it that around that time the toll road was the scene of a horrific stage coach crash killing all on board the horse drawn conveyance. For many years after this dreadful accident it was said that during the dead of night unwary passers-by would hear the sound of furiously galloping horses before witnessing the horse drawn coach still carrying the its passengers, the unquiet dead.
The years continued to pass by and apart from the very occasional sighting of the phantom coach all was quiet. That was until the land was disturbed in order to build the A616 The Stocksbridge Bypass.
By 1987 construction of the Bypass was well underway. Some of the construction workers slept on site in caravans and had on occasion heard the sounds of children singing and laughing during the night. Though late in the hour for young children to be out in that area the construction workers readily dismissed the sounds as coming from local children playing near the site. But all was to change on Tuesday 8th Sept 1987.
Like most construction sites there had been a problem with theft of tools and materials and for this reason a local security company was employed to make regular patrols of the area. That night just around midnight two seasoned and quite burley security guards made their way to patrol the site. Whilst driving along Pearoyd Lane the security men in their land rover saw a group of young children dancing in a circle beneath a large electricity pylon. The children appeared to be playing ‘Ring-a-ring of roses’. Concerned that children so young were out at such an hour the security guards parked their vehicle and began walking across the field towards the children. On approach they noticed that the children seemed to be dressed in raggedy medieval style clothing but before they could get close the children seemed to just vanish into thin air. Confused and concerned the two men checked the muddy ground under and around the pylon but the mud appeared undisturbed with no sign of footprints.
Shaken the two men hurriedly made their way back to their vehicle and continued to drive down Pearoyd Lane feeling somewhat safer and more at ease in their land rover. But those feelings were short lived as only few yards down the lane they came face to face with a monk like figure dressed in a hooded cowl standing in the middle of the road. What was worse was that as the headlights of their car crept over the figure they clearly shone straight through it before the figure vanished completely!
The two security guards fled the scene and later telephone Deepcar Police Station to report the incident. Not surprisingly the local Police treat the report with some skepticism and wrote the matter off as in all likelihood being the result of over imagination in a dark and isolated location.
However the report had to be taken more seriously when the local Priest contacted the Police at Deeper to say that the two security guards where at his church in a state of hysteria, refusing to leave and were demanding that the construction site be exorcised.
On the night of Friday 11th September 1987 Pc Dick Ellis and Special Constable John Beet patrolled the area in a Patrol car. Curious about the events a few nights earlier the Officers parked their car up near to the construction site facing Pearoyd bridge. The evening was quite warm so both officers wound down their car windows.
After a short time Pc Ellis saw something flapping about atop the bridge and so alighted the car and ran up onto the bridge. There he soon discovered a loose piece of tarpaulin which he secured by placing some brinks on top and made his way back to the Police vehicle. In the absence of anything exciting happening the two Officers were just about to call it a night and move on when Pc Ellis felt the strangest feeling. He commented to his companion that he felt like someone had just walked over his grave. Then Pc Ellis became aware of a presence by his side and quickly turning his head to the right he saw a persons torso a few inches from the open window. It was dressed in dark material with a sort of white v shape running down from the chest. Pc Ellis jumped back in his car seat and the torso disappeared only to reappear by the side of Special Constable Beets open window. The car briefly felt like someone was shaking it but when Pc Ellis climbed out of the vehicle and ran around it, there was no one there.
Once back in the car Pc Ellis tried to start the vehicle but imagine the Officers horror when it just wouldn’t start. He turned the ignition key again and nothing happened it was dead. The Officer frantically gave a third attempted and the engine came to life. Trying to think straight and make sense of what was happening Pc Ellis drove to the construction site where he stopped to try and radio the Police Control room. It was at this point that the officers heard a loud bang at the rear of the car. Pc Ellis was later to say it sounded as if someone had hit the back of the car with a baseball bat. Pc Ellis again climbed hesitantly out of the car but could see nothing or no one that could be responsible for attacking the car. The Officer jumped back in the car again just in time to hear another loud bang at the rear of the car and the car to start rocking up and down. Pc Ellis hurriedly started the car and drove away with another loud bang as the car was attacked for a third time.
The Two Officers quickly made their way to Deeper Police station where they made a full report of the incident including personal statements.
Since this time there has been numerous incidents reported of monks and other spectral figures spotted on or near the Stocksbridge bypass with some motorists even bracing for impact believing they were about to collide with pedestrians on the road only to drive straight through them.
So if you are driving along the bypass keep your eyes peeled and your wits about you. And perhaps think twice before stopping to pick up a lonesome figure walking along that road late at night!
A retired police officer
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