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Carlisle's Haunting Past

As it will be Halloween soon I thought I would take a look at the haunting history of my home city of Carlisle and the surrounding areas. I decided to go on the late night tour of Carlisle city and train station. The tour (known more commonly as the Ghost walk) begins in the centuries-old station. After a brief history you are guided around the station and taken to areas long thought of as haunted. Although I didn’t have the ‘fortune’ to meet a real ghost I did learn a great deal about Carlisle’s haunting past.

The most famous ghost stories come of course from the castle, and with a history over 1000 years old is it any wonder? There’s the unexplained sighting of two medieval soldiers and the spirit of the old caretaker, a black shadowy figure often seen by anyone who has wandered around the keep.  He can be seen in a picture at Queen Mary’s table that hangs in the keep. An unknown yeoman can supposedly be seen walking up and down the stairs near to the cellblock entrance towards the old Regimental Headquarters. There is also the supposed ghost of King Stephen which leans against the wall of the inner keep.

In the station itself there is the infamous ‘Butchers Room’ where the hooks of old still hang, a room filled with a gruesome and chilling past.

Outside the city centre the most famous ghost story is that of the old woman of Talkin Tarn near the villages of Castle Carrock and Hallbankgate.  It is said that this ghostly old woman had been responsible for a mysterious plague that affected a small number of inhabitants. The townsfolk sought revenge, a revenge that cost them dearly. The village of Talkin became waterlogged after a heavy rain storm, the people were forced to move and their new home became the sight of the present day Talkin.  Thus the urban legend was born that there is in fact a whole village sitting at the bottom of the tarn.

So those of you out trick or treating in Carlisle this year, remember not all ghosts may be people dressed up...happy haunting.

Neil K Spencer



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