Wells Journal (14/Apr/1855) – The Yorkshire Ghost

The “Seed Hill Ghost” is covered more fully in this blog post.

This article was widely syndicated and reproduced in many local newspapers, of which this is just one example.


The Yorkshire Ghost.

During the whole of the past week, says the Sheffield Examiner, the neighbourhood of Seed Hill, and in fact the whole of the “lower region” of the town of Huddersfield, has been in a state of extraordinary excitement owing to most alarming “noises” made in the house of Mr. Samuel Routledge, an extensive dyer, at Seed Hill. Mr. Routledge first called the attention of the police and the public to the matter last Saturday, declaring that the noises resembled the “striking of a door or a table-top with a stick or switcher with all one’s might ;” that these noises were very frequent, and had frightened all his servants, and even the cat, from the house, and that he was thus left in awful solitude. The rumour spread rapidly, and every day since the house has been regularly besieged by crowds of people, all anxious to see and hear for themselves the marvellous doings of the ghost. On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday several policemen were stationed inside the house. The ghost, however, was not to be intimidated, either by the crowd or the police — “bang, switch, bang, switch, bang, switch” continued at intervals to echo through the corridors and rooms of the building. Impudent and cunning ghost! He is quite a ventriloquist : when you are seated in the dining-room the sound appears to come from the front door; and when you are at the front door, the sound appears to proceed from the dining-room. A policeman was therefore placed at each of these places, determined to catch the ghost. “Bang, switch,” echoes once more; each policeman rushes from his post to catch the fugitive; they meet in the passage, and a terrific collision takes place, each knocking the other down, and in the mêlée the ghost escapes! These watchings continued, until Wednesday evening, when the police, fairly baffled, raised the siege, and left the ghost in undisputed possession of the fortress. On Thursday night, it was suggested by a gentleman that a number of them should go on a tour of inspection through the house, and, by applying their walking sticks to different articles of furniture and washing utensils, see whether it was possible to produce a sound at all corresponding with that produced by the “ghost.” Accordingly they went, and a short time succeeded in gaining a clue to the affair. One gentleman having brought his stick to bear upon the washing machine, the result was most conclusive, and upon interrogating a little Irish girl of about twelve years of age, named Catherine Heeley, who was employed as maid-of-all-work by Mr. Routledge, she confessed to being guilty, and was forthwith taken into custody. What motive could have prompted so young a girl to such an act, and by what means she has been able so long and so successfully to baffle the investigations of at least half the people of Huddersfield, is at present shrouded in mystery.

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