As Hull prepares to lose its UK City of Culture shiny badge and matching rosette we thought we would let our good friend and resident of Hull, Mike Covell, tell you about some paranormal culture that you may or may not know about.  Take it away, Mike.

"In this day in age a group only has to have a vested financial interest in a property for it to be announced to the world that it is the most haunted property in the world.  Many forget to do the legwork, or look at the historical primary sources to ascertain whether there has been a precedent for historical hauntings at the property. "As a local historian, with an interest in the paranormal, I tackle cases of historical haunted properties by going back in time, albeit through the archives.  With this in mind I have gone through the archives to bring you ten stories from the haunted history of Hull" - Mike Covell

1, ANLABY ROAD: The Anlaby Road Ghost Scare: Hull in 1852 was rapidly expanding, but many parts of the city that we know today, were still agricultural.  Vast portions of land on Anlaby Road at this time was devoted to large gardens and orchards and it was here in October of that year that one of the earliest examples of a ghost story was reported. 

It was at the residence of Mr. William Bee, of Wellington Gardens, Anlaby Road that the strange spirit tappings were heard.  He reported it to the Hull press, which in turn went national, then international, with newspapers around discussing the case.  It was never solved, but it did lead to the first ever incident where local scientific minds were dragged in and the first ever mention of “a ghost hunter” in Hull’s press. 

2, PARK STREET: The next case comes from Park Street in the year 1899.  On Wednesday May 3rd 1899, The Hull Daily Mail headlines screamed “A GHOST!  HULL ALARMED” by an apparent ghost at a property near the train tracks on Park Street.  Local lads would play truant from school to visit the scene, often throwing rocks through the windows of the abandoned property to scare off the ghost. 

Interestingly, it became the first incident in Hull that involved the Hull Watch Committee and the Hull City Police Force, who had to put on extra police on the beat to keep the crowds away from the property.  To this day no one knows who or what was seen, but several people wrote to the press claiming they had seen curtains move inside the property.  One eyewitness boldly proclaimed that it was probably the wind, blowing through the newly smashed windows!

3, BALFOUR STREET: Balfour Street in East Hull, off Holderness Road, has changed dramatically post war, but in 1912 the street was a proud row of terraced houses.  It was here in July of that year that a house was the subject of spirit rappings, and items moving of their own accord.  An east Hull reverend, named Rev. J. Maurice Turner, was called in to help.  He had previously worked all over east Hull and had a reputation has been a no nonsense man of the cloth.  He remained with the family night after night but reported back to the Hull Daily Mail that he heard nothing of the reported noises and left the house.  Other eye witnesses would later claim that it was a hoax, perpetrated by the family’s daughter Hilda. 

4, KENT STREET: Further along Holderness Road  stood Kent Street, now lost under Reckitt’s, but he was here in January 1939 that little Dorothy Galyer was subjected to knocks, taps, and even scratches by an unseen hand.  The mattresses in the house would bounce of their own accord, and the family eventually turned to the church and the help of the Hull Daily Mail. 

The property quickly became a tourist attraction, drawing crowds from across Hull, and Dorothy became something of a local celebrity, often asked to attend séances.  Visitors would report hearing bangs from the house 50 yards away, and those who dare to venture into the property reported feeling very cold. 

5, HULL PRISON: Hull Prison has a long dark history with ten officially sanctioned hangings and its own share of turbulent history and colourful characters.  The foundation stone was laid on October 9th 1865, with the prison opening in 1869, and the first death reported on August 19th 1870, when Mary Ann Midgely, aged 25, died through syphilis in the prison infirmary. 

One such ghost said to haunt the walls of the prison is Ethel Lilly Major, the last woman to be hanged at the prison on the 19th December 1934.  She has reportedly been seen near the condemned cell.  On August 19th 1971, another twist in the tale came when the Hull Daily Mail ran an article from the Home Office who stated that they had launched a full and thorough investigation into the claims that prisoners and staff had reported anything ghostly at the prison.  They claimed that they found no evidence, and even the then governor laughed off the stories.

6, SYKES STREET: Sykes Street, off Freetown Way is a modernised area today, but back in 1908 it was the scene of a much reported incident that involved an Olympic Champion Wrestler, who was also a police officer, known as Police Constable O’Kelly, and an alleged poltergeist. 

The story began in September 1908 when it was reported in the local and national news that the house owned by the Gilson family on Sykes Street was haunted.  The police were called, after the family fled in terror, and Constable O’Kelly arrived, only to have the unseen phantom throw items at him from the corner of the room.  Whether O’Kelly scared the ghost remains to be seen, but when he remained at the property the manifestations ceased. 

7, HUMBER STREET: Humber Street is today the centre of all things cultural but in the 1860’s it was known as something far darker, “The Hull Table Tipping Scandal.”  Table Tipping is a form of spirit communication and divination, used widely in the Victorian period, but frowned upon as causing more harm than good. 

That said, it was not the table tipping that caused the scandal, but its use to steal from people whilst they were watching the tables fly around the room under alleged spirit control.  Mary Ann Summers eventually stood on trial accused with theft of clothes from people watching the tables, but at the trial she revealed that she had made contact with 4553 angels and 43,667 glorified spirits, from her rented room off Humber Street!

8, THE COFFEE CUP, HEPWORTH ARCADEThe Coffee Cup, situated in Hepworth Arcade, was once featured in Derek Acorah’s Ghost Towns television shows and accompanying book of the same name, with stories about ghostly little girls and an overpowering male ghost, said to smack the bottoms of the females! 

The shop was owned by John Hiam, a well loved Hull resident whose wife died in 1903, her obituary being carried in the Hull Daily Mail on March 9th of that year.  John Hiam died in December 1917 and was buried in Western Cemetery.  Many believe Mr. Hiam to be the mischievous bottom slapper.

9, THE FORMER DORCHESTER HOTEL: Situated on Beverley Road the property was originally three different houses, Dorchester House, Tamworth Lodge, and Stanley House.  The properties were built between the years 1869 and 1869, with Stanley House becoming a guest house by 1937, the other two joining in 1958, when they merged to become Dorchester Hotel.  The earliest recorded death at the property came on June 21st 1886, when Henry Croft died at Dorchester House, other tragedies followed when William Henry Wheelwright died at Tamworth Croft in June 1894, but the biggest known name to have passed away that had links to the property was William Cussons, creator of the company Messrs William Cussons Ltd.  He passed away at Dorchester House in December 1907.  He was buried at the Hull General Cemetery.  More deaths followed including Mr. Arthur Wood in January 1917, and Stanley Coates, a 12 year old boy who was run over outside the property in May 1920, but removed into the house before he succumbed to his injuries.

People have reported seeing male and female adult spirits here, and that of a little boy, possibly little Stanley Coates, often walking through newly erected walls between the three properties!

10, DAY STREET: No story about ghosts would be complete without a story of skeletons!  This next story comes from Day Street when a little girl reported to her family time and time again that she had seen three ghostly skeletons in Day Street.  Her family, of course, rubbished the idea, until Friday August 23rd 1935, when the Hull Daily Mail, reported that a dig on Day street, with a view to installing petrol pumps at Riley’s Dairies, unearthed three skeletons!

The Hull Daily Mail, the following day, ran a report that Thomas Sheppard of the Hull Museums was investigating, and that the skeletons could be hanged criminals, possibly highwaymen, hanged outside the old town walls.  The police got involved too, and the skeletons were removed to Gordon Street Police Station, but all inquiries hit a brick wall. 

On Monday August 26th 1935, the little girl, now an eighty year old, had her husband, Mr. Fred Ingham of Victoria Avenue, write to the Hull Daily Mail so that her story could be known about her memories of the Day Street Skeletons!

No reproduction of this article without the express permission of the cool and groovy gang at Haunted Magazine and/or Mike Covell. 
Mike Covell is a local historian and author based in Kingston upon Hull.  He has appeared on Most Haunted, Most Haunted Live, and Paranormal Lockdown, as well as documentaries, podcasts, blogs, magazines, radio shows, news shows, and in numerous newspapers.  He currently writes for Haunted Magazine, Outer Limits Magazine, The Hull Daily Mail, and The Grimsby Gazette. IF YOU WANT TO GUEST BLOG ON OUR SITE PLEASE LET US KNOW BY EMAILING guestblogger@hauntedmagazine.co.uk AND YOUR WORDS COULD BE SEEN BY, OOOH, THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE (note: statistics show that approx 50,000 read the blog)

Haunted Hull image from "Haunted Hull" written by Mark Riley and published by The History Press https://www.thehistorypress.co.uk/publication/haunted-hull/9780752459974/

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