A Night with the Black Monk

Inside 30 East Drive, Home of the Black Monk of Pontefract

At 2 a.m. the ghost hunters left. I was alone in the haunted house.

After the demise of Borley Rectory, this was quite possibly the best contender for ‘The Most Haunted House in England’, at least according to the house’s website. And I was there for the fiftieth anniversary of the start of what some have called the most violent poltergeist case on record.


I turned the key in the lock and pushed the door open. The smell of neglect met me on the doorstep – thick, heavy, like an invisible presence – rotting carpets and black mould, a reek of urine from the downstairs toilet. This was where I would spend the night. I went in and closed the door behind me.

The ghost hunters had not arrived yet. I got the house key from the next-door neighbour, Carol, who acted as an unofficial housekeeper. She had been in earlier that day to tidy up. Sometimes, she said, things happened when she was in the house on her own.

She was standing at the sink, washing up a few things, when she heard creaking on the stairs. It sounded like someone coming down them, not too heavy, not too light – a small adult, perhaps.

Her own house is haunted as well, she told me. She is quite used to these sorts of things; not scared at all. Except this time. As the creaking progressed down the stairs, the colour drained from her cheeks. She dropped the cup back into the soapy water and bolted.

As we stood chatting outside her house, she told me about her other paranormal experiences. Last night, she had investigated the case of an ‘incubus’ in Huddersfield that had left visible scratch-marks on a badly frightened child’s legs. And her own house: that was even more haunted than the famous ‘haunted house’ next door.

‘You’ve got me worried now,’ I laughed.

She grinned as she handed me the key. ‘Tell them ghost hunters not to start screaming in the middle of the night. The neighbours complain.’

‘I will.’ I had been well and truly psychologically primed.


For the full article see Leo Ruickbie, ‘A Night with the Black Monk’, Paranormal Review, 83 (Summer 2017).