Penny Lane Poltergeist
The following article by Dawn Collinson was published in the Liverpool Echo on 17 May 17 2008. ‘PENNY Lane, made famous by the world-acclaimed Beatles, is one of Liverpool’s top tourist attractions today. But few visitors, or even Liverpudlians for that matter, know that the suburban thoroughfare has been haunted by a poltergeist for over a century.
The earliest reports of this invisible nuisance date back to the 1890s, when numerous people saw a globe of white light, surrounded by a blue aura, hovering over a cottage on Greenbank Road. The eerie luminous sphere drifted towards Penny Lane and vanished behind trees.
As the week wore on, a number of bizarre things took place on the lane.
An open carriage heading for Elm Hall shuddered and as much as the horses tried, they could not pull the landau up Penny Lane for a full half hour.
The wheels of the carriage seemed locked, and the general consensus among the locals was that witchery was responsible.
Whenever the beer tasted sour in Wavertree – or if the summer took its time arriving – the “witch” of Penny Lane was blamed.
By the 1930s, Number 44 Penny Lane became the epicentre of well-witnessed poltergeist activity, with loud thumps and shaking floorboards driving a family out.
The ghost went into hibernation for a while, and was heard even after Number 44 had been damaged by bombing in World War II.
In 1955, a Mrs Hale was returning from Timothy Whites chemist at 41 Penny Lane when she saw a girl of about 13 at the upstairs window of Number 44, across the road, combing her long blonde hair. Seconds later the girl vanished.
At this time, the haunted house was the premises of William G Penny, greengrocer and, as far as he or anyone else knew, there was no blonde girl living at the address.
Days later at Bob Tunna’s butcher’s shop, local resident Mrs Edith McKay was buying corned beef when her sister-in-law rushed in and said a crowd of people were outside Crowes’ baker shop.
The two women went across Penny Lane to see what the matter was, and saw that everyone was gazing up at a girl with long blonde hair who was staring out the upstairs window of the baker’s shop.
Once again the apparition vanished into thin air, this time before dozens of shocked onlookers.
That night, something walked heavily across the slate roofs of Penny Lane, rudely startling people from their slumbers.
The midnight walker stopped on the roof of George Leong’s laundry at Number 117, and vanished with a loud bang.
The poltergeist and the spectral blonde went into another hiatus, but returned with a vengeance in January 1971.
By now, Number 44 was the premises of a printing shop named Xerolith, and when printers Messrs Shackman and Hampton came into work one morning, they were besieged by angry neighbours who complained about the loud machinery that had been left on all night.
The printers were baffled, as no machinery had been left on, and after realising their shop was haunted, they bravely stayed on the premises after dark and recorded the heavy tread of the phantom walker.
The phantom girl also began to appear at the window in broad daylight, but after a few months’ activity, the Penny Lane Poltergeist once again went into retirement … but will it return?