Of all the settlements along this stretch of the Calder, Elland is amongst the most ancient and as such the one with the richest tradition of what we might call folkloric hauntings, that is tales which first entered the oral traditions centuries ago and now persist primarily as tourist guide fare and folk memory rather than first-hand experience. However, like any other town it also still has its share of more contemporary and arguably rather more prosaic supernatural encounters. Such mundane hauntings, however, make up the bulk of those recorded today.
The first of these pertains to the former Elland Police Station on Burley Street, where according to an Evening Courier article dated 16th October 1974, a dog belonging to one of the constables – a West Highland terrier named Douglas – refused to go up or down a staircase in the building and would act in a hostile fashion in its vicinity. No further story is offered to account for the phenomena, although the reporter speculates whether the dog could be picking up vibes from the multitude of ghosts elsewhere in the town such as “Old Leathery Coit“.
Another largely unremarkable series of events plagued at a house in the Dewhirst Buildings, which lie just off Park Road and were originally constructed in 1905 for workers at the adjacent Valley Mills. In an Evening Courier article dated 15th November 1972, the current occupier Mr. Derek Dewsnap – a pipe worker and apparently a champion coal-carrier at local charity events – reports a haunting which had occurred ever year for the last three around Christmas time, ever since his family had first moved into the house.
The documented events include the mysterious opening of doors within the house overnight whilst the outer door had remained locked; lights inexplicably turning themselves on and off; clothes and cushions found scattered across the room; and mysterious noises in the early hours of the morning. The article reports that Mrs. Dewsnap wished to move house but her husband was convinced that there was no malevolent intent at work. It is coincidental, however, that the article was published just prior to another of Mr. Dewsnap’s coal-carrying marathons.