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  • Headless Mine Ghost March 24, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern , trackback

    new mills

    This ghost story comes from a Derbyshire hill town, New Mills. It is deep in boggart country and it is very likely that the miners referred to the ghost as a boggart. Note Ollersett in the top right of the map. We are in 1914, the beginning of the year that would change the world.

    No less horrible apparition than a headless woman ghost is reported to haunting the Ollersett coal pit, New Mills, Derbyshire, and the miners are greatly perturbed. Last week two men on the night shift descended the shaft, and after attending to the pumping engines were making the return journey, creeping on all fours underneath the dripping rock roof. Simultaneously their eyes lighted on an object standing a few feet away, lifting its arms and uttering loud screams. After their momentary fright had passed the men proceeded to the spot with all haste, but the apparition at their approach vanished into thin air, and was not seen again that night. The men ascended the shaft much disturbed by their experience, and related the story to the engine-man. His suggestion that what they had seen was a shadow found no favour with the men, who persisted it was the Ollersett ghost they had seen.

    Note the ‘Ollersett ghost’ suggests that this was an established ghost: this is bourne out below.

    Two nights passed without anything untoward occurring, and on the third night a miner descended the shaft for the purpose of oiling an engine. He had not been down many moments when his comrades on the bank heard the sounding rod, used as a signal to the engineman to draw up the cage, hit with unusual force. When the cage reached the top the miner, white-faced and nearly in state of collapse, stated he had seen the ghost, and his version tallied minutely with that the other miners, although he had neither seen nor heard their adventure. All stoutly declare their experience is not hallucination, but is of the Ollersett ghost itself. The pit has only been reopened about six weeks, the men employed numbering about forty all told. The shaft was first sunk almost a hundred years ago, but as there was a tremendous amount of rock the working it was almost impracticable with the machinery in vogue in those days, and several firms who tried reach the large seams of coal known to be there had to abandon the undertaking.

    Now to the explanation.

    It was some years later that a woman, well known in the locality, was brutally murdered in the vicinity of the pit, the sordid nature of the crime causing a profound sensation in the district. The poor creature’s head had been severed from the body, and when the atrocious deed was discovered it was lying several yards from the trunk. Later, a further attempt to work the pit was made, and miners, descending the shaft for the first time for many years, found at the bottom a gold locket attached to a chain, containing human hair, and shreds of a woman’s wearing apparel. There was, however, no trace of a skeleton. Naturally the men were disturbed by their find, but operations to reach the coal were proceeded with.

    The story seems a little confused. Was there another death? drbeachcombing AT yahoo DOT com

    It was customary for two men to keep the fires going through the night. One stormy night the men had raked their fires and were enjoying a pipe at the door of the boilerhouse, when they beheld a sight in the moonlight which froze the blood in their veins and set them off pell-mell into the village. Not more than fifty yards from where they stood there had appeared an apparition in the form of woman without a head. The ghost, in the full light of the moon, and raising its arms, uttered a long-drawnout unearthly scream and promptly disappeared. Other men afterwards took on the job of stoking, and were equally terrified one night when the visitant again appeared, this time practically at the engine-house door. Again the stillness of the night ‘as rent by a fearful yell’. One of the men, having a wide reputation as a local preacher, waited for the return the ghost on another occasion, boldly walked to within a few yards of it and began to pray. This apparently laid the ghost for it was never seen again until the miners now work at the pit had the experience above related.

    The banshee like noise, the laying of the ghost is all familiar from northern boggart-lore. Beach always struck by how headless bogeys can yell so loud.

    Source: Daily Record (26 Jan 1914), 5