HAVE you ever seen a ghostly horse and carriage travelling between Laughton Common and Thurcroft, before disappearing into the road?
Or heard the sound of someone swinging from a rope at the approprately named Gallows Pub?
According to a new book called Haunted Rotherham, the Dinnington area is alive with ghostly activity.
It’s been written by paranormal investigators Richard Bramall and Joe Collins who have researched a host of spooky tales from the area.
They set up their own website rotherham-ghosts.com in 2003 and wanted to make sure the stories people were telling them weren’t lost in the mists of time.
Richard, 40, of Rawmarsh, said: “Joe and I have over 30 years experience between us of the paranormal and we wanted to write it all down, because otherwise it would be lost.”
“Writing a book has been a real learning curve for us. The research has involved a lot of leg work and door knocking, we’ve been known to sit up until four in the morning trying to get one paragraph right.”
Joe, 33, of Mexborough, said he first became interested in the paranormal after a dramatic childhood experience at home which resulted in him having to go and live with his grandparents.
He said: “Nobody believed me at the time but it was only later, when certain things happened, that they realised I was telling the truth.”
“A lot of the stories in the book have been handed down through word of mouth and in a couple of generations they would be gone if we hadn’t got them down in print.”
“Both Richard and I are also interested in history and these stories are part of local history too.”
Richard and Joe are both dads and their children’s friends call them ghostbusters will ask them to tell a scary ghost story.
But they both maintain a healthy scepticism about reports of paranormal activity until they have chance to investigate.
Richard said: “We go in trying to find a cause for whatever has been happening, we don’t just assume straightaway that it’s the paranormal.”
“We had one lady who said she kept hearing whispering and smelling a perfume - but it turned out to be her automatic air freshener.”
“In someone else’s house the banging noise they kept hearing was coming from the water pipes.”
Richard says he is more sceptical than Joe about the existence of an after life.
Joe said: “I think that there are some things we don’t understand about what happens to people from a past time, and there’s an intelligence behind some of the activity we see so I think there is an after life.”
“It might just be a transfer of energy, an imprint that someone has left behind of their time here, that science hasn’t caught up with yet.”
The Gallows Pub, on Hangsman Lane, Laughton Common, marks the spot where villains were executed.
Traditionally gibbets were sited on crossroads so that the sinner’s spirit could not find it’s way to the next world.
It is said that late at night the creaking of the hangman’s rope can still be heard near the pub, as if a body still hangs there.
Richard said that a horse and carriage had also been seen apparently disappearing into the road towards Thurcroft.
He said: “The carriage appears to vanish into the road at the raised railway bridge, instead of going over it.”
“We discovered that the road used to be all at one level, before the bridge was built over the railway, so it appears that the carriage is following the orginal course of the road.”
In the book Joe recounts a spooky experience he and a sceptical friend had on a visit to the 12th century Roche Abbey at Maltby.
Joe’s friend was mocking the idea of spirits, but when they returned to Joe’s van in the car park they discovered facia boards strapped to the roof had curled over. Then when they set off up the cobbled driveway the engine suddenly stalled and rosary beads hanging from the rearview mirror snapped and scattered.
The van wouldn’t restart until Joe’s friend had apologised for his behaviour.
Another tale comes from Dinnington where residents of Park Avenue Road described seeing ‘the walking dead’ wandering between the trees at nights.
Apparently in the late 1970s and early 80s homes were built on the site of where a barrow containing 20 skeletons was excavated in 1862.
Meanwhile the ghost of a psychopath who escaped from Aston Hall when it was a lunatic asylum in the early 1900s is said to haunt the Ulley Reservoir bridge.
Legend has it that he threw himself off the bridge and drowned while trying to avoid being captured and taken back.
n Haunted Rotherham is out now priced £9.99.