In his 1983 book “Yorkshire’s Ghosts and Legends,” Terrence Whitaker relates the story of a haunting at a property near Bank Top (the area of Southowram before the hill descends towards Halifax) in February 1962. The tenant Mr. John Harris was alone in the house whilst his wife was in hospital after having a baby. and one night at around eleven o’ clock when suddenly he heard “a resounding crash… the cat leapt up and appeared to fly around the room several inches from the ground, howling in terror,” followed by the sound of “giant footsteps crossing the room overhead, from one corner to the other, slowly and very loud”. Harris investigated but found nothing which might account for the phenomena. Upon discussing the experience with his neighbour the following morning he was told that he would have to get used to such disturbances, as she had heard them herself many times over the years.
Subsequent research by Mr. Harris revealed that the house he occupied had once been part of Blaithroyd Farm, formerly Blaithe Rood, where accordingly to John Crabtree in his “Concise History of the Parish and Vicarage of Halifax” occupancy dates back to at least the 14th Century. Crabtree goes on to claim that in the late 16th Century, during the reign of Elizabeth I when the practice of Catholicism was banned, papists would gather to worship there in secrecy. He also says “a little distant from the house was also some ground in the delph-brow called the burying-place”. In apparent confirmation, Whitaker writes that builders excavating land behind the house prior to the tenancy of Mr. Harris had in fact disturbed a mass burial site which they took for a plague pit or an internment following the 1643 Civil War skirmish at Bloody Field on the lower flanks of Beacon Hill nearby. Such history is certainly ripe with potential for unquiet spirits.