Peak District Online Uncover a mine with a murky past In deepest, darkest Derbyshire......
Magpies are intriguing creatures with lots of superstition surrounding them - some of it good, some of it bad. It all depends on the number of magpies you see at one time so it's said, but in a lot of cultures the bird is considered an ill omen.
What is spooky, is that a reputedly haunted mine in this gorgeous part of the world is named after this bird, Magpie Mine in Sheldon, a mine shaft which is also reputed to be cursed.
When Steve Wake, the landscape photographer and director at Peak District Online visited recently to take some photographs for the website, he didn't feel anything untoward, apart from peace and quiet and the promise of spring with the warm breeze on his face, but perhaps the unsettling feeling some visitors to the mine report is because they know the truth behind the story.
'Magpie mine in Sheldon, is reputed to be haunted by three men who died in sulphurous fires, fires which were deliberately set underground by opposing miners, ' says Steve.' It has a history of murder, suffocation and fighting miners in its past, but if you visit there today, it is a really peaceful and beautiful spot, hard to believe it was the scene of such bitter disputes long ago.'
The new page added to their very popular Peak District Guide section is yet another spooky tale, one of many legends and myths attached to this area of the UK.
As always, it contains very interesting, if not creepy information, accompanied by some stunning photographs taken by Steve. Particularly evocative are the black-and-white photographs which instantly transport the viewer back in time, imagining what it must be like is life as a feuding miner all those years ago.
'Arguments raged for several years both underground and in the court room,' explains Steve. 'Each group of opposing miners would light fires underground to smoke out their opponents but unfortunately three miners were suffocated by the fumes in 1833 and 24 Magpie Miners were put on trial for the murder. Several were immediately freed and eventually all of them were acquitted because of the difficulty in identifying who the culprit may be.'
The tragic and spooky tale doesn't end there because allegedly, the wife of the murdered men put a curse on mine and it closed soon afterwards.
The 'One for sorrow, two for joy' children's rhyme varies from different parts of the Peak District.
One for sorrow,
Two for joy,
Three for a girl,
Four for a boy,
Five for silver,
Six for gold,
Seven for a secret never to be told
or even more spooky
One for sorrow
Two for mirth
Three for a funeral
Four for a birth
Five for heaven
Six for hell
Seven's the Devil his own self
Dare you go to see Magpie Mine in the dark? I don't think we would!