Most haunted places on campus...
18 October 2017 - Penny Brazier
Did you know that Headingley Campus’s historic buildings are packed to the rafters with spooky spirits? From a ghostly butler and a haunted bell in The Grange, to the whispering spirits of Bronte and Macaulay and the ghostly soldiers of the James Graham, there are endless stories from staff and students about their eerie experiences. In the spirit of Halloween, we met with our campus ghost expert, Ian Crossland, to find out more about the spooky side of Leeds Beckett… read on if you dare!
During the First World War, James Graham was a war hospital where an astonishing 57,000 sick and injured soldiers were admitted to recuperate following injury in battle.
With all that sickness, death and suffering within its walls, it’s no wonder the building is alleged to be haunted, and many staff members working late in the building have unexplained stories about strange noises in its long, winding corridors. One security guard told Ian about the time he was locking up one evening, alone, when suddenly all the doors along the length of the corridor he was standing in opened and closed, one after the other….
Home to our International Office, the building right at the bottom of the central car park closest to Beckett Park was once a hall of residence. One of our security guards reports opening up the empty building one morning by the back entrance and hearing the sound of somebody exhaling sharply as if they were standing right behind him. Could it have been the ghost of a former lecturer, rumoured to have died in Bronte around 1920?
A relatively modern building, Carnegie Hall has still had its fair share of inexplicable occurrences. One member of staff working after dark on a Saturday reported hearing doors opening and closing when they were the only person in the building.
Cleaners frequently report hearing groups chatting in the ground floor corridors of Macaulay when working alone in the building. Macaulay basement is another hot-spot, having previously functioned as a morgue when James Graham was a hospital. When a tape recorder was set up after hours, amongst the silence and the sound of the whirring tape, an audible sigh can be heard as if somebody is standing right up close. We went down to the basement with a camera phone this week to see whether we could find anything in the dark….
Of all the buildings on campus, The Grange (the old grey stone building at the bottom right of The Acre if you stand with your back to James Graham) is legendary for its supernatural incidents, with many of our cleaners refusing to enter the building alone. Professional ghost hunters have investigated the premises and there have been late night sit-ins for staff and students to get to the bottom of its spooky mysteries.
Here are The Grange’s hottest spots for spirits:
The grand spiral staircase in The Grange entrance is a striking feature, and reportedly where one of the Becketts’ servants (name unknown but affectionately known to Leeds Beckett staff as ‘Fred’) plummeted to his death after having his heart broken. Spooky incidents in the vicinity include a member of staff placing her hand on the bannister at the foot of the stairs and feeling an unseen presence touching her arm, a figure standing in the archway at the first floor and stories of pipe or cigar smoke being smelled on the stairs and throughout the building.
The back stairs in the old servants’ quarters have also seen their fair share of spectres. Our head porter reports seeing a woman in white descending the stairs who vanished once he looked up. The bell at the foot of the stairs has no ringer, yet it has been heard to ring out loud and clear late at night.
The Panel Room
This imposing room has plenty of spooky stories. Audio equipment left recording when the building was empty has captured an audible banging, and the gavel on the mantelpiece is often moved around when there’s nobody there.
The Top Floor
The claustrophobic second floor of The Grange, a maze of low ceilings and complex corridors, is a hive of reported supernatural activity. We’ve heard reports of lights being seen from outside in the attic room window on a misty day (there is no light in the attic room), an eerie blue light that appeared to a group during a late night sit-in and furniture being moved around inexplicably. One of our toughest CARES room staff, generally unbothered by the spirits of The Grange, told us: “There’s only one place that I don’t like – the top floor. We’ve had proper ghost hunters here and they said there was a bad spirit in Room 209. Nobody likes it up there…”
As our resident ghost expert, Ian is keen to collect the stories and experiences of staff and students who might have had ghostly experiences on campus. Drop Ian an email on I.Crossland@leedsbeckett.ac.uk or pop in to chat to him in G02 Design and Technology Centre if you’ve something to report!