Granny Hall, Slead Syke

As the name suggests, Granny Hall Lane once ran by an ancient edifice known as Granny Hall. It is unclear exactly when the house was built, but it undoubtedly stood in the first half of the Seventeenth Century, as plasterwork in the master bedroom was noted for bearing the arms of King Charles I, who was executed in 1648. The redoubtable local historian, Joseph Horsfall Turner was born at Granny Hall in 1845, but he survived his birthplace, which was demolished in 1907 to reach a bed of sandstone for quarrying. Rose Gardens, at the junction of Blackburn Road with Granny Hall Lane, roughly marks the site of the house today. Supposedly the cellars were never properly filled in, which why the gardens are now suffering from subsidence.

The former grounds have been entirely smothered by modern housing developments and in 1997, a family with a daughter named Sarah moved into just such one residence in the vicinity of Rose Gardens. Over the following years, the family noticed a degree of low-level poltergeist activity in the house and were aware of a “presence”. However, it was only around 2001 that a potential explanation for these occurrences emerged. By this time, Sarah was seven and she had apparently gained an imaginary friend named Chloe. When her mother interrogated her daughter about Chloe, “She said she was the girl who lived in the big house and pointed to the right of her room in the direction of what is known as Rose Gardens on Granny Hall Lane”.

Even more curiously, Sarah added that “Chloe didn’t go to school and she had long yellow hair in a bow and a white dress over a black dress… (and) boots (with) lots of buttons”. This struck Sarah’s mother as an unusually imaginative invention for her daughter, who suffered from Down’s Syndrome, and following Sarah’s revelations, the poltergeist activity began to intensify. The television began to switch itself on in the middle of the night; objects mysteriously vanished, only to reappear weeks later, or else moved about without any visible agency; whilst one evening, the family returned home early to discover every light in the building had somehow sprung into illumination. Sarah’s mother even began to see Chloe herself, albeit infrequently and as nothing more than a shadow in the window-glass.

Eventually, the family consulted a local historian about the history of the area, who told them all about Granny Hall. He was even able to show them an old photograph, which featured “horse and carriage pulling up in front of it and, in the doorway, a lady with her arm round a young girl, and that was definitely Chloe, by Sarah’s description”. Unfortunately, there does not appear to be any record of a girl named “Chloe” ever living at Granny Hall and it was not a common English name prior to the Twentieth Century. Nonetheless, a ghost by this name continued to make her presence felt to the family until they moved out in 2009, whereupon Sarah’s mother related the story on the website, Brighouse 247. That web-page has now been removed, but thankfully the story can be preserved.

Copyright Humphrey Bolton and licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Licence.

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