Haunted Manchester: Dunham Massey Hall

I’m just going to get this out of the way- I whole-heartedly believe in ghosts. I’m not going to go into the nitty-gritty details of what my beliefs actually entail, but I saw a ghost when I was a teenager, and that is that.

I am a proper horror junkie too, so even if I didn’t believe in spirits, I would still be researching, reading and keeping myself up at night-scared shitless – with creepy tales of ghosts and ghoulies. My latest project is about finding out all the haunted spots in Manchester, to give a bit of history, set the scene, to see who haunts it and why.

First on my list is Dunham Massey Hall. The hall that stands today was built in 1616 but has since been remodelled a few times in the 17th & 18th centuries. This is where the first haunting comes in- supposedly an Architect responsible for one of the remodelling jobs fell from the scaffolding to his death in the late 18th century. His spirit is said to roam the corridors on the upper floors. Whoever he is, he doesn’t seem to bother anyone. My kind of ghost.

On the other hand, there is a slightly more malevolent spirit residing at Dunham Massey. The Oak Bedroom is a centre point for lots of spiritual activity including sudden temperature drops and even the odd pair of invisible hands throttling an unlucky visitor or two.

Just in case it could get any scarier, during the First World War Dunham Massey was transformed into Stamford Military Hospital between 1917 and 1919 which we all know is the horror movie staple along with ex-mental institutions, disused fairgrounds and abandoned orphanages. If you go and visit Dunham Massey, you will see it set up as a hospital in some parts, complete with an operating theatre manned by faceless mannequins which is a terrifying as you can imagine.

On one occasion, staff went into the Oak Room bright and early one morning to find someone had used the bath. There was a damp towel folded neatly over the bath, and the room was full of condensation with a little wet residue left on the bath itself. Thing is, the bath was one of those you had to fill up with multiple buckets of water from the kitchen…and the room was locked, in fact, every door in the house was locked and the whole place alarmed. Granted, this could have been a particularly cleanly and skittish squatter, but all the same… creepy.

So when it comes to spirits, I hate to think how many people could have died within those walls never mind the family that lived there for a little over three hundred years. It must be positively crawling with them- although not everyone is up for letting themselves be known it would seem.

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