Wearside Online normally concentrates on the local area around the River Wear, of course. However, many people like a good story if it involves ghosts. So, some of the stories here come from around the north of England. But, around 50% are from the area around the City of Sunderland. Of course, if you know of any other ghost stories or mysteries, drop us a line.
This section on mysteries, hauntings and ghosts is quite large, so there are many pages. Therefore, to see all of them, remember to click all the pages below.
Archie Armstrong’s Ghost
Thomas Swinburne panicked and quickly left the meeting to gallop his horse all the way home back to Northumberland. Unfortunately he was far to late to save Archie Armstrong. There on the cell floor lay the horrifying sight of Archie’s dead body. In desperation for food, Archie had gnawed the flesh from his own arm. It was not until many years later that the ghost of Archie Armstrong was exorcised from the castle, by a local vicar and a black lettered bible. When the bible went to London for binding, the ghost of Archie Armstrong returned to Haughton Castle. But, when the bible came back to Northumberland, the ghost was very rarely seen again.
She is said to stumble and then cry out, as she is seen falling down the steps.
The explanation given is that a local girl called Jane was sent by her poor family to beg for food at the castle. There, she was taunted by the guards and then turned away by them. Weak with hunger on her way down the steps, she collapsed and fell to her death, along with the baby she was carrying. The ghost has the name of Green Jane due to the striking colour of her cloak.
Indeed, here we have a little information about two ghosts from the Beamish area.
Firstly, Beamish Hall is said to have the ghost of the Grey Lady. She is said to appear near Beamish Burn from time to time. This was after she suffocated in a trunk she was hiding to avoid an arranged marriage. The family involved are also related to the world famous Bobby Shafto.
Secondly, The Sun Inn at Beamish, is said to be haunted by Wandering Willie. It is said he hanged himself after a broken love affair. When the pub was dismantled and taken from Bishop Auckland to be rebuilt at Beamish museum, Willie moved with the pub.
Bellister Castle’s Grey Man
The minstrel, well aware of the Lord’s hostile attitude, thought it would be better if he left the castle. So instead of going to the room which had been prepared for him, the minstrel slipped outside where he felt more safe. This was to be a terrible mistake by the minstrel. This was because the Lord thought he was right all along, and that the minstrel could not be trusted.
The Lord called for his servants to bring the hounds immediately and they went in pursuit of the minstrel. The minstrel, hearing the hounds, realised he was in great danger and fled for his life. However, the dogs and servants were faster, and the minstrel was caught by the banks of the river. When the Lord and servants caught up with the hounds it was too late, the hounds had ripped the minstrel to pieces. It was said the Lord spent the rest of his life with visions of the minstrel pointing an accusing finger at him. The locals still insist that at night they hear the baying of the hounds and the terrified shrieks of the Old Man of Bellister.
The Canon William of Newburgh, a highly respected priest who lived during the reign of Richard I in the thirteenth century, introduced the tale of the Berwick Vampire to folklore. This was around the time when the plague devastated whole towns and cities in one swoop. Obviously, the northern counties were no exception. Canon William’s story is about a rich merchant who was a victim of the plague, he was also known as a religious and thoughtful man. It was only after his death that the villagers of Berwick discovered that the man had lead a corrupt, sinful life. Indeed, they refused to let him be buried on consecrated land.
Soon after his funeral, some and terrible incidents took place in Berwick. The merchant had begun to rise from his grave in search of human flesh and blood amongst the villagers. The demented demon would bolt through the streets looking for victims shouting, “until my body is burnt, you folk of Berwick shall have no peace”! Behind the Vampire, a pack of howling dogs would follow and their loud baying kept the villagers awake.
The villagers had to end the horror of the Vampire and so they had a meeting. Ten young farmhands were chosen to exhume the merchant’s grave and dismember the body. Then they would burn it until only ashes remained. However, tragedy would not go away. Shortly after the destruction of the vampire, the plague returned to Berwick killing half the population. Villagers claimed, as they buried their dead, that they could still hear the sound of baying hounds and the fearful screams of the Vampire.
Although this story is all about a ‘vampire’ we are sure there are many ghosts in this area. If so, tell us!
Carlisle Castle, built in the 11th century, was also the jail for Mary, Queen of Scots. It holds a mysterious ghost that once appeared to a soldier in 1842. When he lunged at the figure with his bayonet, the figure disappeared. The soldier died several hours later of shock after telling his comrades what had taken place.
Obviously, Carlisle Castle has a greats history. So, if you know of other ghosts from the area, contact us and we may update this article.
Cauld Lad Of Hylton
Without doubt, of all Sunderland’s ghosts, the Cauld Lad of Hylton is the most famous of all. Indeed, he was a rather mischievous chap who often did things out of boredom. Since we already have a full story about one of the most famous of all ghosts, we will not duplicate the content here. So, for more information about this cheeky chappie, click here.