The riverside city of Sunderland grew as a port and today boasts some of the most haunted locations in Tyne and Wear, everything from haunted pubs to a lighthouse that's said to be haunted by its former keeper.
10. Ryhope Green Crossroads
The first location on our list isn't a building or even a landmark, it is in fact nothing more than a crossroad in the Sunderland village of Ryhope. Crossroads are sites where paths cross and over time many peoples' energies cross here. They are said to be very supernaturally active and a point where two realms can meet, and the crossroad at Ryhope is no different.
The spirit of a man carrying a pickaxe and a candle has been seen walking across the green before using his tool to dig into the ground near the memorial, when he is approached he simply vanishes. Despite this haunting's proximity to the war memorial, he's not thought to be a service man. It's said that he is a young man who lived locally in his wealthy parent's estates, but after falling in love with a servant his family disowned him. The man was said to be so upset that he took his own life, which meant he couldn't be buried in consecrated ground, so was buried at the crossroad.
9. Hylton Castle
A castle has stood on this site in the North Hylton area of Sunderland since the 11th century, originally the site of a wooden castle, but later rebuilt in stone. It's claimed that the poltergeist that haunts the historic castle has at times so been so active that past residents have been unable to sleep in the property. The ghost, nicknamed Cauld Lad, is believed to be the ghost of a stable boy, Robert Skelton. The story goes that Skelton was killed after being struck by a pitchfork when the castle's Baron when he caught him taking an unauthorised nap.
8. Royalty Theatre
Originally built as a church in the 1800s, has been operating as a theatre since 1925. The building was used as a hospital during the First World War. The paranormal activity in the building ranges from extreme sudden temperature drips and disembodied footsteps heard on the stage and in the wings through to poltergeist activity, which has been blamed for objects going missing and belongings around on their own. There are even reports of a ghostly apparition seen sitting at the back of the 216-seater auditorium.
7. Souter Lighthouse
The 75 feet high lighthouse, which was the first electric lights house in the world, is said to have a resident ghost, and staff have heard, seen and felt strange things. Many of them believe the ghost to be the spirit of a former lighthouse keeper.
The lighthouse was constructed by Robert Allison to protect ships from rock and cliffs off the mainland and it was near here that the famous Grace Darling rescued the survivors of the Forfarshire in 1838. Her niece Isabella Darling lived in the lighthouse from 1881.
Staff have witnessed items going missing, seen shadowy figures out of the corner of their eye, heard unexplained sounds and even seen the figure of man who appeared to be wearing an old lighthouse keeper's uniform.
6. Queen Street Masonic Temple
Dating back to 1783, the Freemasons building on Queen Street is the oldest purpose-built masonic temple in the world and its long history of serving the secretive society seems to have left its toll on the temple. The paranormal activity here includes reports of disembodied footprints, unexplained bangs and the sound of children singing. There are also sightings of dark shadowy figures, a man wearing Victorian style clothing and a general feeling of unease and even nausea throughout the building.
5. Wheatsheaf Inn
The Wheatsheaf Inn is said to be haunted by the tormented spirits of children who were tortured and murdered at the pub. Their spirits are said to make their presence known by throwing kitchen utensils around, as well as chairs and lampshades. Staff have also said that a child's handprint once mysteriously appeared in a setting jelly that had been kept in a locked room.
One local medium claims to have been able to make contact with the spirit children of the pub, claiming that there is a total of 37 spirits trapped here, all of which are the victims of a serial killer. One spirit called Jessica made contact with the medium in the basement and said that she was assaulted and murdered in this area of the pub when she was just six years old.
According the the medium, the spirit told her that the murderer was a man called Joseph, a former landlord in his thirties, who buried his victims around the pub.
4. The Ship Isis
With a reputation as one of the North East's most haunted pubs, the Ship Isis has become a regular haunt for local paranormal investigation teams. The pubs is said to be haunted by the spirit of the infamous serial killer, Mary Ann Cotton and her unfortunate victims. It's said that in the mid 19th-century she killed as many as 21 people, most of which she poisoned with arsenic.
It's said that she buried the bodies of two of her own murdered children in the tunnels lead down to the river Wear from the pub's basement. The spirits make their presences known through disembodied cries, screams and singing and staff and drinkers have reported seeing the ghost of a woman wearing Victorian-era clothing and a young girl.
3. The Jolly Sailor
This historic village pub in Whitburn is said to be one of the most haunted in the region, with paranormal activity that includes the ghost of a nurse called Rachael and the ghost of a man who died in the pub of natural causes. The also said to be the spirit of a young girl who was rejected by her would-be suitor, a visiting coachman. The flash of her green dress that she brought to impress the coachman has been witnessed in the corridors in the upper floor of the building.
2. Sunderland Empire
The Sunderland Empire Theatre is a large theatre venue located in High Street West in Sunderland that has been open for more than 100 years. It's said that the venue is haunted by the ghost of British comic actor, Sid James, who suffered a heart attack on stage at the venue in 1976 and died on his way to hospital. Since then it's been claimed that several other starts have refused to work in the theatre, including his Carry On co-star Barbara Windsor and comedian Les Dawson, who apparently encountered Sid's ghost two years after his death.
Other spirits that haunt the venue are the ghost of music hall star Vesta Tilley, stage manager Molly Moselle and the ghost of a violinist, who also died at the theatre.
1. North East Aircraft Museum
The North East Aircraft Museum, part of the Land, Sea and Air Museums based within RAF Usworth, is one of the country's premier collection of aviation history. As well as housing aircraft from the First and Second World War, it's also said to be home to a fleet of ghosts.
Many of the hangars that house the exhibits are said to be haunted with the spirits of the airfield's past, while some are said to be attached to the aircraft that are displayed in them. As well poltergeist activity and an old gramophone that places music of its own accord, other paranormal reports include sightings of the bottom half of a man's body. These ghostly legs are said to belong to the spirit of a pilot of lost his life in a crash.
There's also said to be an angry phantom that hangs around the museum in order to guard his helicopter and the ghost of a Czech collaborator named Gustav Pultiz, who was sent to wartime Britain by the Nazis to steal a plane.