Dancing Bones of Dalton Hill Head
The following story has been published several times. The following account appeared in ‘Notes on the Folk-lore of the Northern Counties of England and the Borders’ by William Henderson (1879). ‘From the Rev. J. F. Bigge I learn a few particulars respecting another haunted house—Dalton Hill Head, once belonging to the family of Hedley, of Newcastle, but purchased from them by Mr. Collingwood, of Dissington. Some years ago a woman, named Mary Henderson (a connection, it appears, of George Stephenson, the engineer*), had sole charge of the house; but the gardener lived close by, and kept a mastiff, called “Ball.” Against the advice of the gardener, she pried into a hidden closet, and discovered in it a quantity of children’s bones, some in hat-boxes, some wrapped in articles of clothing. She begged for the dog as a companion through the night, closed the house, and went to bed, but was soon awakened by strange sounds of dancing and singing up stairs. Being a bold woman, she got up to investigate into the matter, but the dog was terrified, and unwilling to accompany her. She took him in her arms, and went round the house. All was still and empty, but an attic window stood open. We are not informed whether the disturbances continued after this investigation.’
*Another source suggests she was his sister-in-law.