Leeds Times (13/Jan/1855) – Mysterious Death

The death of Sarah Ann Lumb is also covered in this blog post.

It’s worth noting that whilst this article adds extra details missing from the coverage of the inquest printed the same day in the Huddersfield Chronicle, there are some minor discrepancies between the two — for example, this article states it was Sarah’s father who visited Captain Hudson, whilst the Chronicle states it was her uncle, Samuel Whitehead. Given that the Chronicle covered the initial disappearance and then the inquest in more detail, I’d be inclined to suspect the Leeds Times report contains errors.

Mysterious Death.

An inquest was held on Friday week, at the Ship Inn, Hepton, before T. Taylor, Esq., on the body of Sarah Ann Lumb. Hannah Haigh, weaver, deposed as follows:—

On Thursday night, the 14th December, I called at James Lumb’s, at Marsden, deceased’s father. Shortly after eight o’clock I started to go home, and deceased went with me to Snaith Horn Bridge1, which crosses the Colne. She then left me to go home, it was very dark and windy. She would have to go over another bridge across the river Colne before she got home.

From the evidence of the father it appears deceased did not arrive at home so soon as he thought she might have done, the distance to Snaith being 300 yards, and he made inquiries of the neighbours but could hear nothing of her. Search was made, and on the following morning her skirt and shawl were found in the river, about a quarter of a mile below the bridge, and on the Sunday following her petticoat was found in the river at Slaithwaite; her dress was found near the aqueduct by Scar Wood. It appears deceased’s father was persuaded to go and consult a mesmerist at Huddersfield. When they arrived his companion said “Here is a person to see if you know of any girl who can give information respecting the young woman who is missing.” The mesmerist said he thought he should be able to give some information. A girl was fetched, and was mesmerised by Capt. ——, (mesmerist) who asked her if she could tell what the two gentlemen had come about. She said about the young woman who was drowned at Marsden. The Captain again asked where the young woman was. She appeared to be asleep for five minutes, and then said deceased was within 100 yards of the second bridge in Mirfield, and that she was covered with mud, except her feet. Deceased’s father went to Mirfield next morning and set men to search, and deceased was found twenty yards above the bridge. She was covered with mud except her feet. John Parker, Esq., surgeon, examined the body and found a cut on the right temple; both eyes were swollen up and quite scarlet. He found the stomach and other viscera quite healthy. There was no fracture of the skull. He was of opinion deceased must have received a violent blow before her death, but that the immediate cause was drowning. The jury returned a verdict of “Found drowned.”

Huddersfield Chronicle (13/Jan/1855) – Extraordinary Mode of Finding a Missing Human Body

The death of Sarah Ann Lumb is also covered in this blog post.

In March 1855, Miss Challand also attempted to contact the Seed Hill Ghost.

Extraordinary Mode of Finding a Missing Human Body.

The following statement will be sufficiently intelligible without any explanation on our part :—

An inquest was held by Thomas Taylor, Esq., coroner, at the Ship Inn, Mirfield, last Friday afternoon, on view of the body of Sarah Ann Lumb, who was 15 years old, and the daughter of a farmer named James Lumb, residing at Marsden. It appeared from the evidence that on Thursday the 14th ult. the deceased left her home about eight o’clock in the evening, the weather being very boisterous, and having gone about 300 yards with a schoolfellow, she turned back, and is supposed to have accidentally walked into the river Colne, particulars of which occurrence were given in the Chronicle of December 23rd. Samuel Whitehead, of Marsden, builder, deposed that deceased was his niece ; that her skirt was found in the river on the 15th ult„ about a quarter of a mile below Marsden, and that her shawl was discovered on the following Tuesday, her flannel petticoat on the 24th, and her dress skirt on the 28th ult. Advertisements were published offering a reward of five pounds, for the recovery of the body, and witness at the request of deceased’s friends, though opposed to his own judgment, had been to Holmfirth to consult a “wise man,” who, however, could give no information. Enquiries were made at Huddersfield, Dewsbury and Wakefield without success. However, on Tuesday last the witness received a letter stating that Captain Hudson was mesmerising persons in Huddersfield, and last Wednesday he accompanied Mr. Joshua Farrar, mill-owner, of Marsden, to the mesmerist’s lodgings. The captain on being asked if he knew of any person who could give information respecting a young woman who was missing, mentioned the name of a female residing at Mold Green, named Challand, a dressmaker. The witness, accompanied by Mr. Farrar, went for her and brought her back in a cab, but did not tell the purpose for which she was required. She was immediately mesmerised, and then asked if she knew what the two gentlemen had come about. She replied “Yes, about the young woman who was drowned at Marsden.” She was then asked if she knew the shawl there on a chair ; she said “yes, it is the shawl that young woman had on her head when she was drowned.” She also identified the dress-skirt which was very much torn, and was told to see where the missing woman was. The mesmerised person appeared to be asleep for about five minutes, and then gave a description of the progress of the body down the river, and ended by saying that the body was covered with mud, except her feet, within 100 yards of the second bridge in Mirfield, where horses go over. In conscience of this statement the witness went to Mirfield last Thursday, and commenced searching in the river Calder near Legard Bridge, but was told that Shepley Bridge was the second, and he accordingly had the workmen removed to the latter, where after three or four throws deceased was found in the mud about 20 yards above the bridge, and her feet did not appear to have been buried. The distance by land between Marsden and Mirfield is about 14 miles. A post mortem examination proved that deceased had come to her death by drowning, and the jury returned an open verdict. The name of the Clairvoyante is Mary Ann Challand, aged about 18; and her father for 20 years has acted as traveller to Mr. James North, of Kings Mill. She knew nothing of deceased previous to being in the clairvoyant sleep.

Extraordinary Mode of Finding a Missing Human Body