Hello again people and pooches. Joe the Cocker here to tell you all about a local walk that my human took me on recently. We regularly walk around the streets of our town and while I am sniffing every lamppost, tree and wall, he is looking at buildings and stuff. I am personally not interested in buildings and stuff, like he is but, each to their own, I suppose. He says that he is always looking for stuff that we have walked past but never really seen. I don’t know what he is talking about but, I suppose its like me when I sniff things that I have seen loads of times before, I still have to sniff them again.
The barm pot said that on this long walk we would visit some of Runcorn’s haunted places. Partly because it has just been Halloween and also because one of my followers requested us to do a Ghost Walk. I think that you humans are all a bit strange. Why can’t you be happy playing fetch or chase squirrels in the park? Anyway, I went along with his crackpot notions and accompanied him on his crazy adventure. By the way, he decided to do this walk in the dark to make it spookier, he said. I feel sorry for him!
We set off from home and headed for the site of the most famous, or infamous, haunting in Runcorn. We passed the town’s cemetery, which was a spooky enough start in the moonlit night. The old graves cast some eerie shadows as we walked along Victoria Road. As we entered Greenway Road we walked by some even older graves, which my dad said created an atmospheric feel to this damp and misty late autumn evening. At the southern corner of the graveyard we crossed into Byron Street.
It was way back in August 1952 that the first incident happened in Number 1, Byron Street. The occupants of the house had visitors staying with them from North Wales. Four people were sharing two double beds in one bedroom. On the first night of the visit when they were all trying to sleep, the dressing table in the room started to move and shake. The noise became that loud that all four rushed from the room. The sounds died off when they left the room. They all later returned to the beds but, the noises started again and louder than before. This ended in a sleepless night for all four. The following night was worse as the dressing table moved from the wall and the drawers opened and shut on their own. As time passed, investigations into the incidents were performed. A seance took place where two bibles and other items were thrown around a room by the invisible entity. On another occasion three policemen were thrown from a chest on the landing. Incidents such as a clock moving across a room in front of witnesses occurred. On another occasion fourteen witnesses watched items flying around a room and the ceiling cracking, exposing the beams above. It is alleged that the ten-week poltergeist activity caused £20,000 worth of damage to the house. Then, as suddenly as the incidents started, they ceased.
As usual, my human had to start singing as we walked. ‘Ghost Town’ by The Specials was tonight’s little ditty. Its nothing to do with ghosts but, it made him happy. As long as he sings quietly, I don’t mind too much. He is such an embarrassment to me!
We moved on through the town, along Norman Road, down Heath Road and along the full length of Boston Avenue. After a short uphill walk along Halton Brow we entered Halton Village. As we walked, my human told me about the legend of a dragon, that used to fly around the area, before the town was built. Legend says that it was killed by the local blacksmith after people and cattle kept disappearing. Now this story just made me realise that my human will believe any old rubbish!
We walked through the village to the grassy area opposite the British Legion. This is the site of a couple of alleged spooky sightings of a figure dressed in black with glowing red eyes, appeared in 2012. The manifestation is claimed to have prevented two crimes in the area. One when a motorbike was being stolen and the other when a gang of six youths were disarmed before the figure mysteriously disappeared. This area provided a good excuse for me to have a run around and to mark my territory. I think that I have marked most of Runcorn by now. My town!
After a short walk through the village we came to Stockham Lane, the site of our next haunting. It is said that on occasions a Headless Cavalier on horseback has been witnessed galloping along the lane. Accounts have been made that the Headless Horseman appears on misty nights and rushes past the startled observers and then disappears back into the mirk. Firstly, the sound of horse’s hooves are heard getting closer and closer, louder and louder, until the decapitated rider is upon the terrified victim. No harm has ever come to the witnesses, except for being frightened out of their mind.
From Stockham Lane we walked through the Town Park, through the dark and damp woodland of Pickering’s Rough, until we crossed the Bridgewater Canal and walked alongside Norton Priory. The area is said to be a haven for ghosts and ghouls of many kinds. Inside the building cries of a woman have been heard and many sightings of ghostly shadows have been reported. A skull-like face has been seen in the undercroft. Excavations have found ten bodies displaying signs of possible foul play which some say may explain some of the ghostly activity. Reports of beautiful singing and of monks walking in the grounds have been made over the years. As we walked around the perimeter fence, my dad stopped several times to peer through the bushes at the remains of the priory. He said that it sent a shiver down his spine and gave him goosebumps on his arms. During the daylight hours I am usually allowed to run off-lead around this area but, because my human is such a baby, he said that I had to stay close to him, on-lead. I felt like I was his guard dog. Sadly, for him, I would probably run a mile if I saw a ghost. I am no Scooby Do! He said that being near the ancient priory in the dark was not his idea of fun. I think that he needs to get a grip!
As we left the priory grounds, just before Norton Lane Bridge, a black cat raan across the path in front of us. My dad jumped out of his skin while I nearly ripped his arm from its socket as I lunged for the moggy. My human could not remember whether it is a sign of good luck or bad luck. I think that it was good luck that I got away with a yell from him but, bad luck because I didn’t catch it. We walked home along the Bridgewater Canal rather faster than we normally do. Even though he was still hobbling he could go at some pace. Each time he heard a splash in the water or a rustle in the bushes, he would nearly jump out of his skin. I just carried on as normal, sniffing and peeing. Till next time!