Ghostly goings-on on our doorstep and a little further afield

The Customs House at the Mill Dam has plenty of ghost stories.
The Customs House at the Mill Dam has plenty of ghost stories.

With Halloween looming, I asked you for some suitably spooky tales from the past. And you didn’t let me down.

Here’s a few of your frightfully thought-provoking stories.

South Tyneside paranormal expert, Andrew Ross, shared a couple of creepy tales with me.

His first comes from the late 1700s or early 1800s, and involves the Marsden Grotto pub ghost.

“The story suggests that the pub was a smugglers’ den,” explains Andrew.

“One day, a smuggler was having a drink there with, what he thought, was another smuggler. But the other man was actually a customs officer.

“All along, the officer was getting details of who the main smugglers were until finally the smuggler realises what’s happening and makes a run for it.

“He runs from the pub and out onto the beach, where the pursuing officer shoots him dead.

“After that, the barman would fill up the smuggler’s tankard every night, and by the morning it would be empty ...”

His second involves a spirit with a gift for foretelling tragic events at sea.

“It was said that if there was a disaster at sea, the family which was left behind, would receive a knock on the door – even before they had been informed of the tragedy involving their loved one.”

Moving to the 1900s, and we have the tale of the mysterious black dog.

As Andrew explains, there was a family whose son went to sea, and was away from home for quite a few years.

During that time, his family began to take in lodgers, killing them and keeping their money.

However, when the son does eventually come home, they don’t recognise him, and kill him too.

His ghost is said to take the form of a large black dog that can be seen wandering the streets.

Two fellow paranormal-seekers, husband and wife, Dennis and Julie Whitlock, of Whiteleas, both witnessed strange things when visiting Arkenshaw Cottages, in Kielder.

During their stay there, Julie (51) saw an old man, who was there one minute and then gone the next.

Dennis, meanwhile, managed to take a photo of the ghostly presence he felt in the cottage.

“I was at the bottom of the stairwell when I felt a presence behind me,” explained the 53-year-old.

“I got the camera I had with me and took a photo over my shoulder.

“There was a picture of a little girl standing there.”

But the image didn’t remain within the camera for long.

“When we looked again ... she was gone.

“During the last couple of weeks, one of our friends caught the image of a (ghostly) little boy on her camera.”

So what does Dennis think they are?

“They can be residual energy of something that has happened in the past, repeating itself,” he explained.

Another ghostly tale involving children occurred when a family moved into a terraced house in these parts.

During the “moving-in day” the family’s two children were befriended by a boy and girl from “across the way” who invited them in to play.

They stayed there all day, returning only when it started to get dark.

Their mother, who had been glad to “get her children from under her feet” decided to pop over to express her thanks.

But when she did so, the person who answered the door looked puzzled. There were no children living there, although there had been once, but they died tragically in a house fire ... many years before!

Here in Shields, a ghostly figure, believed to be an old seafarer called The Captain, is said to haunt the Customs House, at Mill Dam. Have you even seen him or any other ghostly images?

• I’ll include a few more spooky tales in Friday’s page.