A furious monk who shoves furniture, screaming Scottish prisoners trapped inside a Cathedral, and even a blood-thirsty vampire rabbit who stands guard over a graveyard are just some of the terrifying ghostly tales that are said to haunt the buildings of Newcastle.
The North East city dates back almost 2,000 years, so it’s little wonder it’s home to countless ghost stories.
The oldest buildings in have stood since Roman times, surviving wars and plagues, and are popular tourist attractions today – not least because of the terrifying tales that surround them.
According to local paranormal expert Steve Watson of GHOSTNorthEast , who organises “ghost walks” across the region stopping off at all of the spookiest sites, here are five of the most haunted places that Newcastle has to offer.
The Castle Keep
The Roman castle in the heart of the city centre is where Newcastle got its name, and its foreboding keep is a popular spot for ghost hunters.
There are several spooky stories of sightings within the keep, including the famous tale of a flower girl who walks the stairs.
Legend has it that there is also the ghost of a Spanish cavalier, whose legs can be seen walking across the great hall.
What’s more, dark figures and shadows have often been seen in the cloisters, and footsteps have been heard in empty rooms.
The keep has such a reputation for hauntings that it has a regular events programme of ghost hunts, where visitors can use Ouija boards and other spirit-summoning gadgets.
Some brave partakers have even told of being pushed by unseen forces when trying to communicate with the keep’s ghostly residents.
Amen Corner and Newcastle Cathedral
The history of both the Cathedral and the street that runs alongside it have fed into several supernatural tales.
Amen Corner, so called because monks used to walk along this lane from the friary and bless the poor who would congregate at the corner and pray for food, has been the site of many a ghost sighting.
Fittingly, there have been lots of reports of monk-like figures wandering down the lane, before vanishing into thin air at the corner.
The Cathedral itself is said to have plenty of its own resident spirits. Scottish prisoners were held hostage inside the building back in the Civil War of the 1600s, and legend has it that visitors can sometimes still hear their screams.
The Cathedral’s graveyard is also home to a more unusual supernatural story – not a ghost this time, but a vampire.
The story is inspired by a rather scary-looking statue of a rabbit perched above the doorway of a building overlooking the graveyard.
Painted black with bright red eyes, and huge blood-red fangs and claws, it certainly doesn’t look like a typical bunny. Local legend has it that the rabbit used to come down from its perch and scare away any potential grave-robbers by sucking their blood.
The Lit and Phil
Newcastle’s oldest library has been dubbed the most haunted building in the city.
Situated near the central train station, part of the famous Hadrian’s Wall runs underneath the library, which has fuelled the ghostly tales that lie within it.
The building itself claims to be home to 16 ghosts, with stories ranging from hearing a little girl cry out for her mother to sightings of Roman soldiers – and there’s even a tale of a librarian apparition who still wanders the bookcases today.
A former monastery that now houses a restaurant, Blackfriars is another spot with a host of spooky tales attached to it.
It’s been said that screams have been heard in the grounds, followed by an apparition of what looks like black smoke rising from the field where the monastery church once stood, which is thought to be linked to the story of King Henry VIII sending in his armies to burn down the monasteries.
The ghost of a nun has also reportedly been seen accompanied by a strong smell of herbs and flowers.
It’s thought that she may have been a nurse to the older and dying monks, as she is always spotted near the former infirmary, and the smell that follows her is said to be that of her mixing medicine.
The Centre For Life
Far more modern than the other spots on this list, the Centre For Life may seem an unlikely candidate for one of the most haunted places in Newcastle – but it’s the ground it stands on that gives the science village its ghostly reputation.
The Centre is built on the former site of Newcastle Infirmary, built in 1753, and many skeletal remains were discovered beneath the ground when foundations were being laid for the Centre For Life.
One of the spookiest tales goes that at closing time one night, a staff member was reminded by a member of the public to let the “Victorian actors” out of the building.
The concerned staff member explained that they didn’t have any Victorian-themed exhibitions on at the time and there were no Victorian actors inside, but the visitor insisted that they had seen a family in Victorian dress in one of the back rooms.
When the staff member went to check, the room was empty.