Long term resident of Stainland, Albert Paradise, described a supernatural experience at his old home in the village which was recorded in both Terence Whitaker’s 1983 tome, Yorkshire’s Ghosts & Legends, and an article in the Evening Courier dated May 17th of the same year. The cottage in question (originally built in 1705), where Mr. Paradise had once resided with his father, has sadly now been demolished. Today, the site of the former cottage is marked only by grass and trees.
At the time of the incident, which occurred on New Year’s Eve 1956, Mr. Paradise had lived in the cottage since his birth in 1920. He explains that his father had a fear of gas and electricity and refused to allow their installation, meaning that during the winter months it was his custom to retire to bed early and listen to classical music on an old accumulator-powered radio set. New Year’s Eve 1956 was no different, although his father had recently died and he was alone in the house.
The night was clear so he left his curtains open to allow in the moonlight, which illuminated a picture hanging above the fireplace opposite his bed. Quite suddenly, Paradise recalls “A face seemed to appear in the frame of the picture and then, to my absolute terror, a figure appeared, as if walking out of the fireplace from the house next door… His face was ghastly white. He had sunken eyes and long, flowing hair, which was as white as his face.” The figure was also playing the violin, appearing to shake his head in time to the music on the radio.
Unsurprisingly, Paradise fled the room. He only experienced minor subsequent incidents such as the sensation of a presence several nights later, but after the fireplace was bricked up, there was no further trouble at all. However, the original manifestation sounds to have had much in common with a hypnagogic experience, a threshold state of consciousness in which artefacts of a dream intrude on waking perception, especially considering the apparent symbiosis between the apparition and the music Paradise was listening to.