WITH the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, you may be feeling like you’re in a nightmare, but there are some places in East Lancashire almost certain to give you a real one.
When restrictions are finally lifted and you’re in need of something to excite you, East Lancashire has a host of scary places to visit.
Here are five of the most spooktastic…
1. Pendle Hill
It would only be right to start this list with the Lancashire spot that is also heralded as the most haunted place in the country.
For thousands of years, people have experienced paranormal incidents here but, as all Lancastrians will know, it is most famed for the Pendle Witch Trials of 1612, in which 12 supposed witches, who lived around Pendle Hill, were accused of murder.
While one died during the trials, 10 of the accused were found guilty and hung, with only one found innocent.
It is thought that the witches still haunt the area and work tirelessly to frighten those who attempt contact with them.
Visitors have reported an overwhelming sense of anger when they visit the grounds and with no place in England being more synonymous with witches than this hill, it’s no wonder many have been spoked over the years.
In 2011, a haunting cottage was even discovered, hidden away in the shadow of the hill, complete with the skeleton of a cat bricked into the wall.
Besides the Pendle witches, spirits of children and other adults from the area have supposedly been seen at Pendle Hill – there have even been UFO sightings!
Every Halloween, the hill is climbed by those seeking to experience the supernatural, and all year round you can join a tour ran by Haunted Happenings.
The popular TV show Most Haunted even visited Pendle Hill for a live Halloween special in 2004, and Yvette Fielding said it was the scariest episode they had ever filmed, with 10 crew members fainting.
Speaking on the Jonathan Ross Show, Yvette said “They all said they had the same pressure. It was on their throat like something was pushing in. It was really scary.”
2. The Four Alls Inn, Higham, Burnley
With ties to the Pendle Witches, this Burnley pub, which dates back to 1792, also makes the most haunted list.
Legend has it that Chattox, one of the infamous Pendle witches, put a curse on the pub, turning the beer sour and bewitching the landlord’s son to death.
The pub was even used as a court room to interrogate some of the witches.
The building has other horrific parts to its past, with its cellar previously used as a place to store corpses before they were moved across the road to the graveyard opposite.
Over the years, customers have told of sightings of a figure at the end of the bar, and a young girl who walks through a wall into the toilets.
Although cynics may put these sightings down to beer goggles, the pub was even investigated by The Paranormal Activity Research Team in 2007, who also experienced haunted happenings.
This sober group claim an object was thrown at them while in the cellar, and three members reported “extreme neck pain” in the barn, where a suicide supposedly took place.
When pubs open again, you’ll have to go and see for yourself whether the ghostly rumours are true.
3. Towneley Hall, Burnley
Another Burnley spot makes the list in the form of this 16th century historical hall.
Once home to the Towneley family, legend has it that the restless spirit of Sir John Towneley is destined to haunt the hall for eternity as punishment for his selfish deeds.
According to folklore, Sir John (1473-1540) had enclosed an area of common ground where peasants would graze their cattle and added it to his estate.
This made him a despised figure among locals who then doomed his spirit to wander in restless misery.
Traditionally, the appearance of his ghost would mark the forthcoming death of one of the Towneley family, while some link it to any sudden deaths in the area.
Other ghosts spotted at Towneley Hall include a ‘white lady’ who wanders along the battlements above the entrance, and a large phantom dog named ‘Trash’ who roams the grounds.
One guest in 2016 wrote a TripAdvisor review entitled “I swear it’s HAUNTED!” and described the “eerie feeling” she received in the nursery as “the hairs on the back of my neck stood up.”
A visitor in 2018 also claimed to have taken a photograph of a female ghost on the grounds, with the eery figure featuring in only one of two shots taken within seconds of each other.
4. Mercure Blackburn Dukenhalgh Hotel and Spa, Clayton-le-Moors, Blackburn
Although now a four-star luxurious hotel and spa, this 700-year-old building remains one of the most haunted hotels in the UK.
Formerly a county manor, it is said to be home to a jilted French governess named Lucette, who was wooed and abandoned by a dashing young officer in the winter of 1778, before throwing herself off a bridge on Christmas Day.
Some legends say Lucette’s lover was later killed in a duel with her brother, but whether she was avenged or not, her ghost remains unrested.
According to reports, to this day she wanders the grounds dressed in a winding sheet.
Lucette’s ghost is said to appear every Christmas Eve, moving along the trees and by the site of the bridge, before disappearing.
However, guests have reported seeing this heartbroken ghost all year around, with one horrified guest even swearing he found her sitting on the end of their bed.
The hotel, which was first recorded in 1285, but expected to be older, has 175 rooms, ready to welcome you if you’re brave enough.
5. King George’s Hall, Northgate, Blackburn
Although all theatres may sadly feel like ghost towns at the moment, King George’s Hall has always been one according to reports.
Its very beginnings are foreboding, as despite being built in 1913, it had to be used as a Red Cross hospital during the war and so was not officially opened as an entertainment hall until 1921.
According to Technical manager Howard Alderson-Perkins, who worked at the hall between 1979-2019, there have been numerous ghostly sightings in the venue over the years.
Many people believe that a man died in the hall’s organ room when one of the organ’s brass pipes fell on him, and a local paranormal team investigated in 2012 and reported seeing a man in a top hat whose face had been injured.
They also reported seeing slum children running around the corridors and sitting down to watch the shows.
Speaking to the Lancashire Telegraph in 2011, Howard Alderson-Perkins added: “Stewards report seeing a man walking around wearing a navy suit or a boiler suit, when the building is empty. It all adds to the history for me.”