The Persistency, the Pertinacity
The haunting of a station-master’s house in Chollerford, England, seems to have been fairly well examined. That is, if one trusts an article in the January 10, 1891, issue of The Shields Daily Gazette and Shipping Telegraph, which takes its information from another newspaper. The article is slightly tricky to access — and tells a great story — so I’ll tack the whole thing up here:
A series of station masters heard the unaccountable rattles, footsteps, and scraping. Unnamed others knew of them. Spiritualists were intrigued enough to hold three séances. And those Spiritualists’ findings were convincing enough that the most recent station master dug up a garden in search of bones! Rarely do these old reports describe this much activity being ignited by a haunting. Indeed, it had become famous enough that an article on the ghostlore of England’s northern region points to “the scare at Chollerford” as an example of how belief in such matters persists.
On a side note, let me add that — from Athenodorus to the Fox Sisters — substantiating spectral manifestations by uncovering skeletal remains is something that recurs suspiciously often in allegedly true ghost stories. I discuss it in Certain Nocturnal Disturbances: Ghost Hunting Before the Victorians, but remind me to blog about it, too, some day.
The Station’s Name Was Changed
In 1891, it might’ve been easy for the passengers traveling northwest on the Border Counties Section of the North British Railway to have mistakenly detrained at Chollerford Station, when they should have waited for the next one, named Chollerton. In 1919, our haunted station was renamed Humshaugh Station, presumably to make things less confusing.
Luckily, Humshaugh Station and the house attached to it still exist, and this page provides plenty of details and photos. Among those details is the location of the place: “East side of Military Road B6318 at the end of Chollerford Bridge over the River North Tyne.” According to this other site, it’s now a private house, which might make ghost hunting there complicated — unless the owner would love to allow such a thing!
Even if plans for a ghost hunt are thwarted, Chollerford seems well worth a visit. It’s steeped in history, and I’m talking Roman Empire stuff along with a battle against the Welsh in the 600s. There’s a handy hotel beside the bridge that leads to the once-haunted site. (That hotel has a nifty story attached to it, too.) Please leave a comment if you go for a visit or if you know anything more about the historic town, its vanished railway, or its lingering ghosts.