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TALES OF THE UNEXPECTED – GHOST STORIES FROM AROUND PETERBOROUGH

ESP reporter Mikey Clarke loves a good horror film and a great ghost story so he’s been gathering up your local tales of the unexpected to give you the chills this Halloween…

Those that know me will know that I have a soft spot for all things supernatural. I particularly love a good story. Throughout the years I’ve participated in numerous ghost walks in Peterborough and beyond, whilst often sharing the highlights in my ESP articles.

With almost all ghost walks cancelled this Halloween, I thought I’d share with you something a little different. I took to Facebook to ask locals if they’ve ever encountered a ghost. Not a believer? You just might be after reading these responses…

Lizzy Bailey told us…

“I have two stories, both taking place in Spalding. Firstly, Ayscoughfee Hall is this stately home/ museum in Spalding where (importantly) absolutely nobody lives. I quickly walked past one of the rooms and caught a glimpse of an older lady in full white. She was sat up in one of the beds coughing and it sounded horrific. I returned just seconds later as I thought it best to check on her welfare but absolutely nobody was present in the room nor were there any signs of having been somebody in there.

“The second story takes place at a chain bingo club I used to work at. We had a paranormal team in after closing hours and two members off staff were required to stay. However, due to morbid curiosity, three staff members ended up staying for the paranormal investigation. In the main hall, the three of us thought we were quite hilarious… every time the team beckoned forth for signs from the other side, we were able to throw skittles, squeak chairs and silently giggle our lungs up as the team mistook these ‘paranormal signs’ for child spirits playing in the hall.

“Well, later we went upstairs to the old cinema section that has not been in use for, perhaps, 30 years? We were all sat in the cinema seats, awaiting responses from the other side. Out comes the spirit box courtesy of the paranormal team… and out comes the crackling voice of somebody telling us that there are ‘five of them there and we should all leave’. Then silence. Suddenly it was no longer entertaining. One member of staff excused herself to go to the bathroom, only to come out feeling much worse after seeing a figure in the bathroom similar to a lady who would offer out towels all those years ago when the hall was a functioning cinema.”

Karina Hawkeswood told us…

“I once did a Ouija board in the Pyramid Park with a group of friends when I was about 15. The minute we all put our hands on the glass, it shattered. We all ran off and never went to that park again. I was not a believer then. I’m not so sure now!”

Karina Cox told us…

“My old house in Woodston had a passageway between mine and the neighbour’s that led to the gardens. It was really late, so I turned the TV off to go to bed and heard kids laughing and skipping down the passage. It was odd given the time. Also, there were no young children that end of the street and my neighbour was elderly. I took a peek and absolutely nobody was there.”

Nats Smith told us…

“I go ghost hunting regularly and the best experiences for me have been at the Peterborough Museum, where I’ve had evps of children singing, seen shadow beings and been physically touched.”

Ross Ayres told us…

“So, a while ago in Cornwall (there is a Peterborough link, bear with me) I went to Bodmin jail, a very old building with lots of history. I was looking around and stopped in one spot for a moment when I got this strange feeling like I was falling. My legs went wobbly and my head was spinning.

“This was the first time I’d ever felt like that except when feeling ill. I moved away from the spot and started to feel normal again, so I looked around for someone and found a member of staff nearby. I told them I had just gone all dizzy and pointed to the spot. She looked at me rather knowingly and said: “Yes that’s the hook up there where they used to hang people.”

“A few years later I got into paranormal investigations, even though I remained sceptical, I was hoping to see if I had that same feeling in other locations. I’ve been in all sorts of locations in Peterborough and got the wobbles: pubs (when sober), churches, the museum and round one particular friend’s house (I won’t say whose in case they freak out) but I keep getting this sensation with no common link except a history of death in that spot.

“In the museum there’s a spot on the servants’ staircase and also in the operating theatre where I often feel it. The first time I felt it there I had no idea that people had died in those spots and when the museum historian told me about it I was quite freaked out because I noticed the pattern. Nowadays if I go round someone I don’t know’s house and start to go a bit dizzy I make my excuses and leave.”

Sarah Lou told us…

“I did a ghost tour of the museum a few years back. Walking down one of the back staircases I felt like I was being pushed from behind. I was told later that when the museum was a private house, that that was a servants staircase and a maid had been pushed down those stairs and killed.”

 Peach Emerton told us…

“I stayed overnight at the museum and had a ghost whisper the name Emily in my ear. It turns out she was murdered there. Also, in one of the back rooms that holds the butterfly collection, the cupboard opened by itself whilst we were in the room.”

It is no surprise the museum was mentioned by so many people. Parts of the building are from the 1500s. For much of its life the building was used as a city hospital until the 1930s when it was donated to the Peterborough Natural History, Scientific and Archaeological Society. If ghosts are indeed real, chances are you’d find them in a place like this.

You may have heard the name Stuart Orme. The local historian worked at the Peterborough Museum for 14 years and during an interview I had with him a few years ago, he confirmed that he has zero doubt that strange things happen in the historic building.

Stuart told me about the museum’s most famous ghost, saying – “When it was used as a hospital in 1916 an Australian soldier – Thomas Hunter – was wounded whilst fighting in France during World War I and died from his wounds whilst being treated at the Infirmary. Today, the infamous ghostly grey figure nicknamed ‘the lonely ANZAC’ is often seen by terrified witnesses on the stairs and the first floor of the museum. An early sighting of Thomas’ ghost was witnessed in 1931 by a caretaker’s wife who lived in the premises at the time, walking along the corridor on the first floor. She described the apparition as a being a thirty-year-old man dressed in a grey suit with a ‘phosphorescent glow’ around him. The ghost of Sergeant Hunter has even been spotted in recent times.”

Have you had a spooky encounter in Peterborough or beyond? Feel free to share your story with us.

Mikey Clarke

Photos: Inside Peterborough Museum by Emma Bothamley for ESP

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