Released: March 2014
Publisher: Bradwell Books
Size: 180 x 110mm
Author: David Bell
Be frightened; be very frightened!
These stories collected from around Staffordshire will have the reader on the edge of their seat and are guaranteed to give them a bit of a thrill. Many of the stories have photographs or illustrations to give the reader a bit of a feel for the site in question.
Staffordshire is a very varied county, stretching from the borders of Birmingham and the Black Country in the south to the moorlands of Leek and Biddulph in the north. The county has many places with ghostly reputations. Many are in areas where you might expect hauntings. The castle at Tamworth and the castle ruins at Tutbury each have a large number of ghostly residents. Alton Towers has many legends connected with a gypsy curse that dates from an event there in the 1770s.
There are tales connected with graves in Burslem and Rushton Spencer. But there are more surprising locations: a haunted police headquarters at Baswich, an oak tree on Cannock Chase, and a set of canal steps in Rugeley. There is the macabre account from Tompkin, which explains how the village got its name. There are strange stories about the 11th-century reindeer horns that hang in Abbots Bromley church, and which are used in the annual horn dance. There is a terrifying tale of the young stable boy buried alive by the apothecary of Stone, just to save the social standing of his daughter.
Lichfield ghosts include the Laughing Cavalier – always cheerful despite his fatal wounds – and the heartbreaking story of a young girl trapped in a subterranean tunnel under the city streets. The widow of the rector of Checkley – a formidable and judgemental woman – still haunts the rectory and the church grounds, making her strict moral disapproval known to the residents. Another rectory, this time in Elford, was where the rector saw the figure of a friend, only to hear later that the friend had just died.
The enigmatic Shepherd’s Monument in the grounds of Shugborough Hall has attracted people over the centuries, anxious to solve its secrets and mysteries. Add in Lud’s Church – not a building but a cleft in the earth and the most mysterious location in the whole county – and you will see that Staffordshire has a rich and varied heritage of places for the ghost hunter to visit.
Author David Bell is a well-known authority on local ghosts and hauntings and has a long list of titles on the subject to his name.