Ghostly goings-on had more earthly explanation

Cookson Country
Cookson Country

EVERYONE loves a ghost story, and I thought I’d come across a cracker when going through some old papers for the 1880s.

It was centred on a house in Ingham Street, off Mile End Road in Shields, where there was great consternation caused by strange noises, loud enough to reportedly shake the building.

The police were called and it was eventually discovered that the ‘ghost’ was two young servant girls banging on the doors and running away.

But then, curiously, another story of the supernatural emerged from Walpole Street in the town, where even crowds gathered, so impressive were the stories of strange noises, furniture moving on its own and things being thrown at the windows.

Again, the police investigated, “and one step towards exorcising the spiteful spirit was the catching of a substantial individual in active operation throwing stones...”

But what amused me about both of these stories was that they coincided with appearances of Pepper’s Ghost and Spectral Opera at the Library Hall in Ocean Road. This was an exciting attraction of the day, which used projection to create ghostly effects.