Category Archives: Hallowe’en stories

Strange happening one Christmas in Peterborough

Apologies for the delay in this second story – I have had a battle with certain elements of my computer and Windows 10.  I think I am getting on top of it – so let’s move on:

This second ghostly story is much different to the first one. When I first started the ghost walks this was one of my favourites but it’s quite some time since I told it so here goes: it was on Saturday 9th January 1892 that the Peterborough Advertiser told the story, headlining it as:-
MYSTERIOUS MANIFESTATIONS IN A PETERBOROUGH COTTAGE – THE NEIGHBOURHOOD DISQUIETED BY A NOISY ‘GHOST’.

The opening paragraph reads:
‘Alarming nocturnal noises have compelled a family to dessert their home in Mayor’s Walk, Peterborough, have terrified residents on either side of the house, and have filled the neighbourhood with fear.’
So – what was happening? 22 Mayor’s Walk had become vacant and a Mr Rimes [a worker on the railways], his wife and their three boys moved in. Soon after they took in two lodgers – her brother Mr Want, and a brother-in-law Mr Easy, who both also worked on the railways.
The Advertiser picks up the story, recording that they were: ‘much surprised soon after their settlement in this particular quarter of the city at being saluted at various hours of the night with most unwelcome, and unexpected, rappings at the front door and against the partition wall of the building – noises most unmistakable and unwelcome. The boys – so goes the story – experienced midnight intruders, and on one occasion both lodgers and boys were suddenly deprived of their bed coverings.’
Things got worse – on the Friday before Christmas 1891 the noises were so bad that they woke the neighbours on both sides of number 22. One described the sound as ‘a noise like a cannon going off’. Another described it as being ‘like a giant ripping up a kitchen table and hurling it down the stairs’.
Messrs Want and Easy called upon a Mister Arthur Wright – a friend of theirs who also worked on the railway and was sceptical about the whole story they had told him.  He offered to lodge with them for the night to convince himself of the story. That night ‘the house was carefully locked up, windows fastened, and the occupants of the rooms duly regarded.’ The report says that a few minutes after 12 midnight there was a hum along the bedroom passage followed by a fearful smash – described as being like ‘a giant sack of coal being tipped downstairs’! Wright and all the occupants of the rooms rushed out – but there was nothing to see. The whole passage looked as if nothing had happened!

They then all got together in one room but noises continued. Then there was another crash – described by Mr Butler the neighbour as being ‘like the fall of a house into the passage’. Mrs Goode on the other side of the Rimes’ house described it as ‘like the explosion of a great gun which shook the house and all in it. The noise before it was like that when a boy rubs the string of his toy telephone.’

The Advertiser goes on to tell its readers that: ‘On Friday the family left, and are now living in Monument Street, and whilst Mrs Rimes declares she has had no sleep at night for six weeks, Want and Easy give similar testimony, that for nights and nights they have never closed their eyes, and neighbours corroborate this probability of this evidence. The house, it should be mentioned, has no cellar and no attic, and the noise in the passage and rattling of the interior doors seemed altogether disproportionate to the average strength or movement of any human individual.’

So that’s the end of this spooky story. The Rimes had no more ghostly problems and there has been no repeat of the events for any residents since in this Mayor’s Walk cottage. Oh, and by the way – don’t go looking for the house. It’s still there but the number has changed!
If you want more on this story you can read the Advertiser’s full-length report in the library archives and Stuart’s telling of it is on pages 60-62 of his book that’s available at the Museum, various shops in Peterborough and on-line.

Enjoy

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Ghostly stories for Hallowe’en – an introduction and a ghostly monk

For the past ten years or so I, along with my colleague Stuart Orme, have been leading Ghost Walks around Peterborough. We do these all year round – most times it’s Stu but I have done three figures worth as well.  Over the nights up to and on Hallowe’en we are both at it. Stu starts at 19.30; I begin my stroll at 20.00. All the stories we tell are stories of events that have been experienced and recorded within living memory or are embedded in the records of the long history of our city.
Back in 2012 Stuart had his book ‘Haunted Peterborough’ published by The History Press. You can acquire it in many ways via the Internet – its ISBN number is 978 0 7524 7654 4.

In the meantime – between now and the great day of 31st October 2015 – I’ll tell you a few of our ghostly stories. There’ll be at least one story a day until November arrives – and some of them are not in the book!  The most often question I’m asked is ‘Have you seen a ghost?’ I’m afraid that my answer has always been ‘No’However, ask me if anyone on one of my tours has seen one I would have to say ‘So they say; lots of them say they have.’ Taking that one step further – this is the story of one event where someone most certainly saw something while I was leading a tour in the Cathedral precincts. Let me set the scene:

It was around half past eight on lovely summer evening in August; there were around 15 on the tour and we were gathering on the north side of the cathedral. I had my back to the cathedral and had started to talk about the graveyard and how it had been the monk’s burial place before Peterborough had started to expand and it had become the town burial place. I pointed to my right to show where the monks’ burial place had moved to – and all eyes turned that way and then turned back to me. All, that is, except one lady – she continued to look to her left; toward the Monk’s graveyard.

She turned to me – ‘Where’s he going?’ she asked.

‘Where’s who going?’ was all I could say.

‘Him; that Monk …’ and with that she started to run up the path. One, her friend, followed her; the rest of us just stood where we were and looked at each other in bewilderment. ‘Did you see anything?’ I asked the group. The response was negative from them all.

We talked and waited for a few minutes until the two ladies returned. It took a while to get things back to normal as she told us what she had seen. She described a shortish man, dressed in a long black gown and carrying a book which he appeared to have been reading, walking from the Cathedral side across the grass towards what is now the Dean’s garden. He had vanished by the time she had got there.
We all went up to look. There was nothing for us to see but, in monastic times that garden would have been the Prior’s, and the place the monk had appeared to have come from was the Lady Chapel. That was complete by the end of the 13th century and pulled down and sold in the time of the Civil War. There would have been a path between the two places. Did she see the Prior going back after an evening service? We can only guess.
 
 

Still to come are stories of: Trouble around Christmas; A man and the shop he couldn’t leave; A video on Bridge Street; The cat in a tunnel; Two ladies in white; A dog by the railway; Some wine that moved; A toilet seat moved – and who knows how many more might come to mind!  Just keep watching.

PS: It’s unlikely that any of these stories will be told over our Hallowe’en tours this year!