Illustrated Police News – Yorkshire Ghost

by MJ Wayland

I always enjoy reading the archives of the Victorian Illustrated Police News for their plain silliness and over the top reporting.  However sometimes you find interesting leads to ghost sightings long lost.

On January 19th 1878, the Illustrated Police News published a short report and illustration on the “Yorkshire Ghost”.  Allegedly since Christmas a ghost had been causing considerable alarm amongst the good people of Storrs, near Stannington in Derbyshire.  In 1828 Storrs Hall was “well known” for being haunted and apparently by means unknown the ghost was laid. However fifty years later it had returned with vengeance.

The IPS reported, “mysterious rappings were heard, doors were thrown open,  windows were broken and strange voices heard. The household were terrified.  Servants armed with hay forks and anything that came handy.  Issued forth immediately the knocks were heard, but they never discovered anything, and on no assertion did the ghost condescend to show itself.”

The owner of the Hall, Mr Ibbotsley threatened to leave unless the police could provide a guard for himself and his family. When the officers came to the Hall they succeeded in unravelling the mystery.

“A servant girl fourteen years of age was the ghostly villain. She first frightened one of the farm servants by rapping at the door of the barn in which he was milking and the success of the trick encouraged her to proceed.  So easily and warily had she committed the mischief that no one suspected her, and she would very probably not been discovered if she had not made a confession.”

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