Finding spirits in a haunted pub

Ghost hunters investigate the Black Horse pub in Wakefield
Andy Undead, Kyle Thompson, Jamie Russell, Tony Padgett, Jules Quinn, Javiera Soto, Becci Midnight, Mark Vernon
Ghost hunters investigate the Black Horse pub in Wakefield Andy Undead, Kyle Thompson, Jamie Russell, Tony Padgett, Jules Quinn, Javiera Soto, Becci Midnight, Mark Vernon

A ghost hunter called into a city-centre pub in search of spirits, ghosts and ghouls has declared the site ‘heavily haunted’, including the presence of a 19th century woman who was brutally killed by a bear.

Mark Vernon, who says he has powers of clairaudience which allows him to detect and hear those from beyond the grave, was invited to the Black Horse on Westgate this week to conduct an investigation following a series of strange goings-on.

Staff at the watering hole have long complained about strange noises, including banging sounds on the wall and footsteps above, along with feelings of being watched in the cellar.

So 52-year-old Mark spent overnight at the pub, joined by members of the Barnsley-based paranormal team, Soul Reaper.

They set up cameras, motion sensors and recorded audio in the hope of capturing electric voice phenomena - spirit voices heard within the recordings.

And there was plenty that went bump in the night, including video footage showing ghostly ‘orbs’ moving across the screen.

Ghost pic Bretton Hall

Ghost pic Bretton Hall

Mark, of Eastmoor, who does not charge for his investigations, said: “It’s heavily haunted, definitely, there’s no shadow of a doubt.

“The sensors in the room kept going off even though we were in another room, there was definitely something moving around.

“We encountered a male spirit in the cellar, he was a bit grumpy and didn’t like us being there - that’s why the staff don’t like going down there - he’s following them about.

“You never know what’s going to happen until you get in these places. There are some places I have been to where people think they are haunted and they’re not.

“With the pub, I knew when I walked in.”

But it was the stirred spirit of a woman that intrigued Mark.

He added: “I’ve lived in Wakefield all my life but I’ve never been in The Black Horse.

“I heard someone say ‘Hi my name is Hannah’ when I went in there. I did some research and came across a Hannah Haselgrave, who was killed by an escaped bear not far from there.

“The inquest into her death was also done in the Black Horse.”

Records show that a bear lived at the nearby Orangery when it was open as a small zoo in the 19th century. The death of Hannah Haselgrave led to its demise.

Jules Quinn, who took over as manager of the Black Horse only last week, explained why she called in investigators, saying: “I heard the stories from the staff and I thought it would be good to get someone in so we rang Mark.

“It was brilliant, everyone was really freaked by it, including Mark and the Reaper team.

“Even the locals sat at the bar interested and were just sat staring at this CCTV footage from the ghosthunters’ cameras on an iPad screen, it really captured everyone’s imagination. Even Tony the landlord, who is pretty sceptical about these sorts of things says it’s undeniable what things have happened.”

The spirit of Hannah Haselgrave is the latest in a long line of residents ghosts said to haunt buildings in the Wakefield area.

1) The ghost of notorious highwayman John Nevison is said to stalk the Three Houses pub in Sandal, the pub where he last tasted freedom in 1684.

Known as ‘Swift Nick’ he was not quick enough to escape justice when he was caught napping on a chair in a pub when he was arrested, dragged to York and hanged.

2) A poltergeist was reported to have taken up residence in the Old Grove Inn pub in the 1950s. The ghost had a habit of smashing relfective surfaces and moving furniture around the now-defunct pub, while one landlady claimed the spirit tried to smother her in bed.

3) The mysterious ‘grey lady’ is said to walk between the vacant rooms of the 18th century Bretton Hall and has allegedly been spotted crossing the lakes in the grounds.