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Spooky Stories of the Peak District

We have lots of ghosts of the Peak District and ghostly planes in the Peak District to add to that, but there are also several unexplained spooky stories.

The road outside the Eyre Arms at Hassop is said to be haunted by a cavalier. Hassop Hall was occupied by royalist troops in the Civil War but some years ago a man was killed in a car crash near the pub. Just before he died he told rescuers that he had swerved to avoid a horse-drawn carriage coming straight towards him but then it disappeared. On at spooky misty night In the 1980s a stranger ran into the Eyre Arms at Hassop begging for help and said he had just knocked down a pedestrian in his car. Everyone rushed outside but there was no trace of anyone, alive or dead.

Another spooky tale revolves around a Roman Catholic chapel in Tideswell, which stood 600 years ago. It is believed that the worshippers' spirits used to return to the chapel and the townspeople hear hymns beautifully sung by its choristers. Not only that, but the ghostly choir seem to pass in a slow procession along the stone passageways between the chapel and the singing slowly fades away. This has happened several times and always just before a death in the village.

Winnat's Pass is the scene of a murder and on a dark night it is easy to believe that is haunted. The name 'Winnat's' means 'wind gates' and there are all sorts of noises on the wind, which blows through this lonely path and most think it is the ghostly screams of two runaway lovers who were robbed and murdered here.
Many ghost stories in the Peak District involve old lead mine workings and there have been sightings of the spectral old man at Eyam and Hanging Flatt mine. He walks about shovel in hand and wanders amongst the disused workings and sometimes on the surface of the mine. Magpie Mine in Sheldon is home to a phantom miner. In 1946, a group of cavers saw a phantom in one of the tunnels, carrying a lighted candle and when a photograph of a different area was developed, it revealed another spectre. The spot where he was standing is now under 9 feet of water. Maypit's Mine at Sheldon is also said to be haunted. In 1833, three men suffocated in a fire which was deliberately started by a group of rival Magpie miners. Their widows were reported to have laid a curse on Magpie Mine which seems never to have been lifted.

There are also lots of sightings of supernatural dogs in the land of the Peaks, most centring around a big black dog called a'boggart.' Sightings of the spectral dogs are usually strongest on the moorlands of the Peak District, and tales of the Kinder Boggart terrify walkers. It's not hard to imagine how scared you would feel lost on the moors up there when thick fog descends.

The Gurda boggart has a long history of scaring travellers around Gurdal Farm near Winster. A young woman named Sarah Wild was once walking back home when she swears she was accompanied for part of the way by 'something' - she could only ever describe it as a 'face'. Birchover Shale Hillock Boggart lived beside the road at Birchover and hid deep inside a wall so the legend goes, a wall built against a bank of trees. Nobody ever saw it but they heard it plenty of times though, strange gulping noises coming from the hole and nobody wanted to ever pass it, especially at night.

The big black dog is said to guard the graves of the three Jacobites buried near Swinscoe who were ambushed and slain in the 1745 rebellion. Eyewitness accounts have described the Boggart as being the size of a calf, with a shaggy black coat and glowing eyes as saucers. It never makes a sound and vanishes as quickly as it appears, into thin air.

Lead miners connected certain incidents with sightings of a big black dog. A story form Bradwell tells of the experience of two miners returning home by moonlight when one of them saw a 'strange and perfectly black dog of unusual size that came slowly up to them and then vanished right under their feet. His friend saw nothing and ignored his friends warning not to go down the mine next day but he was killed in a rockfall.
A boggart is usually a fore warning of death or disaster.