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Haunted Carlisle by Darren W. Ritson
Discover the darker side of Carlisle in this book from the Haunted series. With over 2000 years of history in the City there is bound to be an odd ghost or three tucked away somewhere and Darren W. Ritson certainly makes some gruesome discoveries along the way in this book.
Darren has written a number of books in and around the north-east, as an established paranormal researcher he is thorough and well informed. As with the other titles in the Haunted series it's a solid book with good accounts and plenty of background research done by Darren. He's been able to meet with local people and recount their tales in this book, bringing together a good mix of traditional hauntings, phantom hounds, royal ghosts and of course the calamities that came with the famous cursing stone.
I should point out early on that I live in Carlisle and like most paranormal researchers I have made myself familiar with the reported strange experiences in my local area, (or at least I thought I had). Picking up Haunted Carlisle, I was expecting to find lots of ghosts I am already fairy familiar with and no doubt references to sources I had used myself. I was really interested to read how Darren described the cases and I was of course eager to discover whether he had uncovered any I was unaware of. What I did not expect to find was that there have been reports of a haunting at the end of my avenue! A ghost I was unaware of and one I now cannot stop thinking about every time I leave my driveway.
There are some classic ghosts stories within Carlisle, one well known account at the Castle features the skeletal remains of a woman dressed in faded tartan who was found in a walled up in the keep. Referring to Jack Hallum's book, Ghosts of the North, Darren writes that a sentry guard saw a mysterious woman before she disappeared into thin air, the guard unfortunately passed away shortly afterwards – perhaps scared to death by what he had witnessed?
The Citadel ghost is another story I heard about early on living in Carlisle, the account dates back to the 1960's when a grey spectre appeared in front of a customer in the Arcade Bar. Darren writes that the ghost as said to have walked across the room after emerging from a solid wall before disappearing into the floor.
Darren also features in the book a fairly recent poltergeist case which was reported in the local press at the time, a family living in the Raffles area reported terrifying activity in their house including household objects flying across the room, strange noises were heard and the image of a human skull allegedly seen in a glass cabinet window. I'm not generally convinced by poltergeist stories but it did gain a lot of publicity at the time, and I'm sure that the family in question were genuinely scared by the unexplained activity.
Phantom dogs have been seen in the Carlisle area, Darren mentions two accounts in his book. One tale dates back over a hundred years but the other is fairly recent which makes it much more interesting for me to read about. It also centres around a street where I used to live as a student!
Another location in the city with a number of ghosts reported to have been seen is the Crown & Mitre Hotel, Darren writes that one ghost includes a former night porter who is seen still wearing his uniform. A young boy has been seen in the basement and other ghosts have been reportedly seen or heard in the ballroom.
As with most of the books in this series, the author looks at locations in the surrounding area, and in this case Darren includes other paranormal cases such as Talkin Tarn, Dalston Hall and Corby Castle. Dalston Hall is well reported as being haunted, as well as being a lovely venue to visit, on one occasion I was there for an evening meal and Ross Hemsworth from Glastonbury Radio was filming for a paranormal programme.
Now I would normally grumble about a book not having a local map however since I live in the area I recognise the locations featured so on this occasion I won't complain to much! Darren includes a good bibliography at the end along with website references for anyone else interested in researching the cases a bit further.
Haunted Carlisle is a good addition to the series published by The History Press and I would recommend it to locals and visitors alike. I also hope that not knowing about a ghost within a stones throw of my house doesn't tarnish my own reputation as an investigator.
Paperback: 96 pages
Publisher: The History Press Ltd (1 Aug 2012)
Product Dimensions: 23 x 16