Halloween is fast approaching and here at StaffsLive, we’re starting to get in the spooky spirit. We’ve had a look at the most haunted places in Staffordshire that are definitely worth checking out.
Tutbury Castle in Burton, has been around since the 1700’s and is extremely well known for its spooky happenings. History shows that Mary Queen of Scots was held captive here on four separate occasions. It was here that the plot for her eventual death was conceived.
Tutbury Castle is said to be home to several ghosts and as you would expect, Mary Queen of Scots is apparently among them. People have reported to have seen her walking across the grass and a senior member of staff, who denied all paranormal activity, is also said to have seen her! To be fair to her, wouldn’t you haunt the place where you had been held captive?
Alton Towers is obviously most famous for its theme park, which is scary enough in its own right. However, people seem to forget about the mansion that stands in its grounds. The site has certainly had a colourful history and has seen multiple different structures built. The current mansion belonged to Charles Talbot, the 15th Earl of Shrewsbury. Legend has it that in 1821, Charles was on his way home one night when his coach came across an old beggar. He refused to help her and she pointed to a nearby tree, saying that for every branch that fell one of the Talbot family would die. A storm hit that night and one of his family members died due to sudden illness. The following morning, Charles checked the tree to find that a branch had fallen off. He attempted to keep the curse at bay by chaining up the tree, and the chains are still there!
The whole area of Alton Towers is reportedly haunted and one of the areas that is said to be the most haunted is the Hex ride. It is located in the old armory and people have said to have had stones thrown at them, as well as seeing children dressed in Victorian clothing. Perhaps the screams that can be heard aren’t coming from the ride after all.
The grave of Molly Leigh
It is claimed that the ghost of a witch that is buried in Burslem has been haunting the town for centuries.
Molly Leigh lived alone in a cottage on the edge of the moors in Burslem, and made her money from selling milk from her cows to travelers and people who passed-by her house. She was said to be an eccentric person (pretty obvious, for someone who is apparently a witch) and kept a pet blackbird. She was known for her quick temper and the townspeople were highly suspicious of her. In those days, any woman who lived on their own in remote places were often labelled as witches.
A local reverend, Rev. Spencer, made the accusation that Molly was a witch and claimed that she sent her blackbird to sit on the sign of the Turk’s Head pub that he frequently visited and the bird’s presence turned the beer sour.
Molly died in 1746 before she was tried for witchcraft and was buried in Burslem churchyard. After she died, sightings of Molly in her cottage were being reported and her bird was causing trouble around the town. In an attempt to stop her from rising from the dead, he grave was moved to be at a right angle to all the other graves. Reverend Spencer, along with clerics from other parts of Stoke-on-Trent, exhumed her body, opened the coffin and threw in the still-living blackbird.
To this day, people still claim to see her ghost walking the streets apologising for her sins. It is also said that her spirit was exorcised by several priests and some of them died in the process. Apparently, if you skip around her grave three times chanting “Molly Leigh, Molly Leigh, chase me around the apple tree,” her spirit will return.
Gladstone Pottery Museum
Gladstone Pottery Museum in Longton, is apparently known to be extremely haunted and staff openly admit that they have been taunted by spirits. A security guard was once standing in a room, and suddenly heard very loud and fast footprints approaching and climbing the stairs. As he opened the door, the footsteps stopped and he seemed to be staring down an empty flight of stairs. These sounds and doors being violently flung open are said to be widely reported.
The Colour room in the museum is apparently the most active room in the museum. The room was formerly a storage area for glazes and paints, and apparently those brave enough to rearrange the paint pots in the room have experienced a full-scale tantrum from a poltergeist. People have reported objects being hurled at walls by apparently invisible hands.
The museum is so haunted that Yvette Fielding and medium Ian Lawman visited the site to film an episode of “Most Haunted”. Whilst filming, they experienced strange and sudden changes in temperature and flying objects.
The Leopard Inn
The Leopard Inn has been described as one of Stoke-on-Trent’s hidden gems. The inn has also been described as one of Britain’s most haunted pub. It is a listed building in Burslem that is full of history and the discovery of some secret tunnels has added even more to it. These tunnels were found behind a panel at the back of what was thought to have been just a cupboard.
It is said that Molly Leigh also haunts the passages in the building and footage captured by ghost hunters is thought to be her. Their footage shows a small, white orb bouncing along a tunnel on the top floor before turning into a white mist in front of the camera.
Many ghost tours visit the inn and people have reported to experience some extremely scary things, including dark shadows, footsteps and an apparition in the old maid’s quarters.