Sure, there’s plenty of things that are scary in Manchester: being stopped by a tourist looking for directions, the rent prices in the city centre, single carriage trams… The list goes on… But if you’re looking for a real fright this Halloween, you’ll want to cast your net a little wider to some of our regions older buildings – all of which hammer home the stereotype of old buildings being haunted as shit. If scaring yourself half to death this Halloween is on the agenda, check out our guide to the most haunted places in Manchester. And trust us when we say, we’ll be sitting out for these ones, for obvious reasons.
1. Barnes Hospital
Previously abandoned in Cheadle is the eery Barnes Hospital – a building whose history dates all the way back to 1875. Sure, we know the only words you needed to hear were ‘abandoned’ and ‘hospital’ to send shudders down your spine, but we’re gonna tell you a creepy ghost story anyway. Naturally, a place that experiences death in volumes like a hospital does is bound to be pretty haunted, and there’s been plenty of paranormal sightings throughout the years. We’re talking phantom Nurses, the ghostly cries of patients and even mysterious bangs – despite the building being abandoned at the time. And when the hospital was being watched by security ahead of its recent regeneration, guards reported seeing eery figures in the windows and even the shadows of patients in the empty hospital. Very weird indeed.
2. Ryecroft Hall
A favourite of budding ghost hunters, Ryecroft Hall in Audenshaw has been the subject of quite a few ghostly sightings over the years, with the building itself dating back to the mid-1800s. Once used as a hospital, visitors have witnessed items being mysteriously thrown across rooms, apparitions, and even a Victorian child walking around the premises. It’s the cellar that’s a particular area of interest, however, previously being used as a mortuary and now being home to a number of alleged ghosts – with reported extreme drops in temperature, unexplained smells and sights of ghostly figures. oOoooOoooo.
3. Boggart Hole Clough
Named after its spooky history, Boggart Hole Clough is said to be the home of a particularly pesky boggart – and is often referred to as one of the most haunted places in the city. The ancient woodland is now used as a park by local residents and dog walkers, however, once upon a time, a step inside the woodland would result in an encounter with a mischievous spirit who’s said to haunt the land. From children mysteriously going missing, to dogs freaking out and ghostly behaviour at the decomposing farmhouse – there’s plenty of tales about the place that make the hairs on our arms stand up.
4. Wardley Hall
Dating back to approximately 1500, this huge manor house (which features a moat, may I add), is as haunted as they come. So much so, it’s been referred to as the ‘Skull House’ for over 200 years now. Home to a pretty angry skeleton, it’s said that the house’s dark occurrences all stem from the skull – which refuses to be buried. It was even thrown in the moat once after several unsuccessful attempts but resulted in a savage storm that’s believed to have been cooked up by the spirit of who ever’s skull it is. Rumours suggest it could be St Ambrose Barlow, a priest who was hung, drawn and quartered – but regardless of who’s skull it is, today, it sits on display at the house – unburied.
5. The Ring O’ Bells Pub
The Ring O’ Bells pub is so steeped in paranormal activity, it’s been dubbed one of the most haunted places in the UK – with many accounts of weird shenanigans taking place here (and not because of too many pints!). Haunted by the Sad Cavalier, people have witnessed moving glasses, items being thrown at both the landlord and guests, and mysterious noises – to name a few occurrences. The pub, which dates back to the 12th century, is actually the site of a pretty brutal massacre which took place during the English Civil War, with multiple bodies being buried and dismembered in its cellar. It’s really no surprise it’s haunted…
6. Ordsall Hall
Just minutes from Salford Quays lies all things that go bump in the night – at the very haunted Ordsall Hall. Dating as far back as the 14th century, the hall is haunted by a number of spirits, including the White Lady who has been spotted repeatedly. All of the spirits spotted are seemingly linked to previous occupants the Radclyffes, who lived there in the 1500s, Sir John Radclyffe of which is known for actually touching the people in his presence. Whether you believe in ghosts or not, you can watch for any freaky goings-on at the hall via their live Ghost Cam daily here.
7. Greengate Brewery
The Greengate Brewery, JW Lee’s home brewery in Middleton, is so haunted – the team behind Most Haunted actually visited it to document the place for an episode and were seriously freaked out by what they discovered. Workers have reported some seriously strange things during their employment (even to this day), including the feeling of someone being behind you, equipment being moved, and a number of spooky figures who can be frequently seen in particular areas of the brewery. If that wasn’t enough to give you shivers already, numerous visitors on brewery tours have also witnessed peculiar things, too, with many employees back in the day (and as recent as 2014) suspiciously being killed by ‘drowning’ in the beer or plunging to their deaths.
8. Manchester’s Underground Tunnels
Naturally, going underground is gonna unleash a few creepy sights, and Manchester’s secret underground is as chilling as hidden spots come. Thanks to Keith Warrender, author and explorer, we don’t actually have to go there ourselves – but there is an actual underground rail network down there, toilets, and a phone exchange if you do decide to pop on your ghostbusters outfit. In terms of paranormal activity, there’s been a number of ghostly sightings at Victoria Arches in particular, with urban explorers spotting figures (namely a phantom Doctor) in the corridors and around the staircases, too.
9. Bramall Hall
Built back in the 14th-century, Bramall Hall is a beautiful Tudor manor. But usually, where there’s Tudor architecture, there’s paranormal activity. The Maid of Bramall Hall is no secret, and she’s been spotted on many occasion haunting the bedrooms of the home. A number of spooky sightings dating back to the 19th century have been reported, including a man on horseback, ghostly servants, and, of course, the haunting Maid who is usually spotted in the Paradise Room.
10. The Peveril of the Peak Pub
You might have spotted the oddly shaped outside of the Manchester pub before, but the inside is just as mysterious. The current landlord and lady have both reported glasses moving about the premises (which they also say has happened in front of customers, too), as well as things being miraculously moved, and the feeling of a general chilling presence around them. Next time you pop in for a pint, be sure to look behind you.
11. Smithills Hall
One of the oldest and most haunted spots in the North West, Smithills Hall in Bolton is a prime destination for ghost hunters, with ghostly children and a number of creepy poltergeists hanging around. Sounds like I won’t be sleeping tonight. There’s been a huge number of reports of freaky sightings at the hall – too many to be a coincidence – with many describing the same things: the spirits of children, a short man with curly hair (whose description matches a preacher who was executed there), and even a bum-pinching woman. I’ll be staying home, thanks.