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Paranormal Lancashire by Daniel Codd
Being born and bred in Lancashire I've grown up surrounded by the rich folklore, ghost stories and paranormal experiences that are embedded in the county, call me bias, but we have some of the most diverse and well documented stories from the famous Pendle witches to headless boggarts, lonely ghosts, black cat sightings and UFO's.
So, no pressure on Daniel but I'm expecting great things from his book, Paranormal Lancashire, which is published by Amberly Press as part of their Paranormal series.
The book is split into two main sections – the first looks at the world of boggarts, ghosts and poltergeists in the area, including the tale of a terrifying apparition seen by a young girl during the night and her family subjected to unnerving night-time noises from inside their house.
There are a number of Screaming Skull stories in Lancashire which are covered here, the skulls of Timberbottom are perhaps most famous and Daniel explains the history behind them, a photo of the skulls shows them on display where they currently are at Turton Hower.
Daniel covers brief tales such as the Old Madam of Egerton, a ghostly lady seen in 1842. The Headless Ghost seen in Penny Street, Lancaster, and the ghost of a girl, named 'Lizzie, who is said to appear in the village of Withnell every Lent, although no-one seems to know what causes her to appear.
The more in-depth reports are well written and include stories of the many ghosts that haunt Lancashire's Halls and well known buildings, Daniel writes about the White Lady of Samlesbury Hall, the ghost is that of Dorothy, the daughter of Sir John Southworth who lived during the reign of Elizabeth I. After her lover and companions were murdered she was sent to live at a convent, becoming increasing deranged and dying crying out for her dead lover, her ghost can be seen gliding along corridors in the hall and softly wailing in despair.
Of course, Daniel doesn't leave out the many public houses in Lancashire that are reputed to be haunted, including a ghost spotted at the Three Mariners, Lancaster's oldest pub. Within it's unique gravity-fed cellar, a misty figure is seen by the stream that flows through it.
Other tales include the legend attached to the grave of John Paslew, the last abbot of Whalley, hanged for his part in the Pilgrimage of Grace against King Henry VIII. His grave has a family death omen attached to it, family were fated to die within a year if they stood on the gravestone.
The second section of the book explores the other side to paranormal Lancashire that includes the famous Pendle witches, UFO's, animal legends, black cat sightings and tales of devil encounters such as the story of the Devil visiting Lancashire and taking up residence in the village of Cockerham. He was tricked by a cunning local schoolmaster into washing a rope made from sand in the local river without losing a grain. On losing the bet the devil left the village and the distraught residents. Other stories featured include a tale dating back to 1646 which describes how a gentlewoman in Kirkham gave birth to a monstrous child with no head or neck, and it's face embedded in it's own chest. Lancashire Vampires also feature, with Daniel covering the account of Sarah Ellen Roberts – a case which is fairly recent. Daniel brings us up to date in this second part and includes more recent experiences which makes the book more relevant to today’s audience and shows that Lancashire still has an incredibly strong connection to the paranormal.
I'm pleased that this book is one of the better ones I've read on the county. Daniel Codd has done an excellent job in researching and writing this book. As an author he is passionate about the paranormal, legends and folklore and this shows through in his research and writing. Presently based in Lincolnshire and living in a house by a village road lately (2011) reported to be haunted by a green-faced ghost; he is currently researching British murder cases from the age of the gibbet. I'm sure that we'll be reading more of his books in years to come.
Paperback: 160 pages
Publisher: Amberley Publishing (14 Nov 2011)