The darker, ghostly side of Blackpool's bright lights

Local historian Juliette Gregson explores the most talked about ghost stories and haunted tales of Blackpool...

Thursday, 29th October 2020, 3:45 pm

Frenchman’s Cove: The South King Street premises which once housed Duckworth’s Tobacco warehouse.

Reports include that workmen building in the cellar thought that someone or something have been watching them. Billy, one of the pub’s owners, received an article and photograph from the time the warehouse was built, revealing the ghost in question came from Scarborough and was called Laura Schoons.

To this day late at night staff still feel that someone or something is watching them. Ghost tales from Lytham and St AnnesFoxhall: Blackpool may owe its early reputation for healing the sick in mind and body to the priests who took refuge in the isolated building of ‘The Foxhall’ in the 17th century.

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At the gates of Carleton Crematorium, near Robins Lane, a taxi driver claimed to have seen a green faced ghost. Photo: Daniel Martino

The original building was far from grand.

It was a long, low, three-gabled residence which resembled a farmhouse.

Its three storeys each had four to five rooms with low ceilings - the ground floor also included a private chapel.

There was a small lead tower on top of the house (Blackpool’s first tower?) gained from within by a staircase and the thick walls contained many hiding places (priest’s holes) and secret passages. Over the years this house turned into a house, hotel and public house.

The Foxhall

Many ‘spirits' over the years have been seen that have ranged from priests, smugglers and aristocracy.

The Old Coach House: A former Vicarage reputed to be the oldest building in South Shore.

Over the years, the owners have been told by guests about the spirits that reside and watch over them. Allegedly one guest said a male figure was staring at them eating a meal and was wearing a cap and black cloak.

A second spectre was female and had the name of Shirley and looks after the dinning room.

The oldest ride at Blackpool Pleasure Beach, Sir Hiram Maxim's Flying Machine, pictured in 1904

Blackpool Pleasure Beach: Has not one but several ghosts that reside in the world famous amusement park.

If you dare, visit the Ghost Train itself where the footsteps of Cloggy, a former ride operator who always wore clogs, have been heard.

My late Grandfather worked as a joiner there and at times had to repair the track, when I asked him, he said “Oh yes, there was something or someone that watched over us!”

Starr Pub: At the Starr Pub ( now gone ) there had been sightings of shadows and a male figure in the cellar, living accommodation and Morgan and Griffin Bars. He was said to bear a resemblance to Karl Marx and two workmen claim to have spotted him.

A figure has also been seen during the night walking through the bar before disappearing.

Such goings on include the moving of pictures on the walls of the first floor in the building, the sound of a woman singing, glasses and bottles being moved and lights being switched on and off - not to mention the disturbing black figure in the cellar.

The ghost of a small female child, aged about nine, is said to have been seen at Sir Hiram Maxim’s Gift Shop.

Sir Hiram Maxim’s Flying Machines is the oldest ride at the park, built in 1904, and about three years ago an item moved itself overnight to a completely different spot.

The Ice Rink claims to have several ‘spooks’.

Various things have been seen backstage in the dressing rooms, perhaps previous show skaters of years gone by.

Late at night I myself have heard someone or something skating on the ice, when I have gone to look, nothing was there.

Lights and equipment move of their own accord and doors have been wide open when they have closed with padlocks.

Staff working late at night, walking across to the tractor bay, have felt really cold, chilled to the bone and an “awful” presence.

The Eagle and Child Pub: The pub claims to have a ghost that goes by the name of Murph, apparently sometimes after midnight you can hear him moaning at the bar and scaring away the customers. Rumour has it he was an old highway robber from London who came to hide from his previous crimes.

Carleton Ghost: In December 1936, the Blackpool Evening Gazette carried an article which began excitedly; ‘Carleton Ghost?’

A Layton taxi-driver claimed he has seen a ghost with a green face, near the gates of Carleton Crematorium.

The article meaningfully pointed out that five years previously a lonely widow had been battered to death in nearby Robins Lane – a quiet area near to Carleton - and perhaps the green face had been this poor woman’s ghost?

The Taxi driver Harry Hodges picked up a young lady from North Station and was instructed to be taken to the crematorium.

He pulled up to the gates and turned to take the fair, and found himself staring into the face of an old man, ‘with sunken eyes, long dark hair, a Punch-like nose and prominent chin’.

The woman screamed and jumped out of the cab and ran off, Harry watched as the face moved in front of his cab and then disappeared.

The Illuminations Department building on Rigby Road: An old building which has a history as a donkey stable prior to taking on its current use.

Due to the nature of the work, involving a lot of nightshifts, staff are often in the building late at night.

Several of them had what they perceived as supernatural experiences.

One of the fitters, Frank Murray had often complained of feeling cold and of a presence hanging around when he was working in the fitting shop early in the morning and other staff reported strange noises.

A medium also identified the spirit as a “Ted” who had owned a boat and died by drowning.

After all the regular trams have stopped running for the night, a phantom tram is reported to travel slowly and silently down along the rails.

Raikes Hall: The hall was previously a private dwelling and is now a public house in Blackpool.

Once a convent, one of its former inhabitants who drowned herself nearby comes back to visit from beyond the grave and move items around the pub.

Late at night regulars have heard strange noises from cellars.