A ghost hunter has captured the creepy moment a “ghost” opened a door inside a Newcastle library, which is deemed the city’s “most haunted building.”

The paranormal incident happened at the Lit & Phil in the city centre while organisation, GHOSTNortheast, was carrying out an overnight investigation on Saturday, October 29. And that’s not all, as a photograph captured during the event appears to show the ghostly head of a man looking out at the group from one of the bookcases in the library’s Sir James Knott Room.

Steve Watson, founder of GHOSTNortheast, has spent more than a decade offering members of the public the chance to join his team of investigators on “ghost hunts” across the North East.

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“We always go out with our equipment and the public have a go [then] we see what happens,” he said.

“Some nights nothing happens but some nights you get some very unusual photographs, sounds, videos and experiences.



Corinne Read captured what GHOSTNortheast believes looks like a face in one of the bookcases in the Sir James Knott Room at The Lit & Phil
Corinne Read captured what GHOSTNortheast believes looks like a face in one of the bookcases in the Sir James Knott Room at The Lit & Phil

“I class the Lit & Phil as the most haunted building in Newcastle. There are book racks on wheels in the basement and the amount of times we have had the racks moving by themselves…

“We have heard footsteps, seen figures. and we have a photo from a few years ago that everybody says looks like a man standing in the basement that was taken by a desk.”

The latest photo of a “ghost” at the library was captured by a member of the public during the visit just before Halloween but the group didn’t spot the figure until the image was developed.

“We had been getting some noises and activity coming from that area and somebody said they thought they had ‘seen somebody over there’,” Steve, from Newcastle, said.

“One of the guests took a photo at the same time [but] nobody saw what was on the photograph until after it was taken.

“I have had a look at it with filters on the computer and I have ruled out unusual orbs or reflections. There are 99 reasons what it could be but I haven’t got an explanation for it.

“I can see a face and a head but there is a darkness underneath it that makes it look like a body. Other people have seen it and said the same.

“We do try our best to explain everything. We only put out stuff when we don’t know what it is as we want to see if we can find answers to explain what we are looking at.”

But despite racking up a number of spooky encounters over the years, the 50-year-old admits he is still left frightened by the unusual experiences – including the latest incident at the Lit & Phil.

The group of 24 staying overnight at the library was left shocked and “terrified” when two heavy doors appeared to open by themselves – despite no one else being inside the building at the time.

“We have had the doors open a couple of times in the past and it is one of those fantastic things that happens,” Steve said.

“We caught it on video this time and it was pretty impressive. The doors in the Lit & Phil are not small doors, they are big, heavy wooden, old-fashioned doors.

“I have been doing it for many years now but I must admit, I was still scared!

“People were buzzing and excited by it and there were those who were terrified and those who try to explain it. That’s why we ask people to come along and ask them if they can explain it, to please explain it, as it might be something that we have missed.”

The Lit & Phil said there are many stories of paranormal incidents over the years and event revealed that some staff have felt someone touching them on the shoulder or back when working in the basement.

The library has been welcoming GHOSTNortheast into the building for 11 years and also organise their own ‘haunted Lit & Phil tours’ which always a sell-out.

Kay Easson, head librarian at The Lit & Phil, said: “The Lit & Phil has had a reputation for being haunted for many years – but by friendly ghosts, of course. There are stories of mysterious shadowy figures in the Reading Room, the sound of books being put back on shelves when no one is there, loud bangs, and even the rustling of paper.

“That’s something I heard not very long ago when it was just me and one other colleague in the building. People have also reported the sound of pages being turned in the Silence Room when no one else is around.

“Some staff have felt a touch on the shoulder or back when working in the basement store. Very strange!”

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