The West Midlands region is one of the most populated parts of the UK and is rich in history. It includes the Black Country - which was a driving force during the industrial revolution, Warwickshire - home to Stratford-upon-Avon the birthplace of William Shakespeare, and Shrewsbury a town rich in history with plenty of haunted history. The longest river in the UK, the River Severn, flows through the region and Ironbridge Gorge is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
With so many people living and dying in the region, so much history and emotion attached to the region's beautiful towns and landscapes, it's no surprise that the West Midlands has some of the most haunted places in the country. Below are the 20 locations that are most famous for their paranormal activity.
The New Alexandra Theatre, commonly known as the Alex, is a theatre on Station Street. One of the property's former owners, Lester Collingwood, was killed in a road traffic accident in 1910 and was succeeded by Leon Salberg, who died in his office at the theatre in 1938. His ghost is said to still roam the building.
Other ghostly sightings include that of a former master of the wardrobe department who also died in the building, a military man in a top hat, a stage manager called Dick who can be heard jangling his keys and the mysterious grey lady who was first seen by a cleaner in the 1980s.
Aston Hall is a Grade I listed Jacobean house built between 1618 and 1635, today it is used as a museum. The mansion is said to be haunted by Sir Thomas Holte, who built the hall, as well as several other regularly sighted ghosts.
There's been multiple sightings of a female spirit, a white lady, who is thought to be Holte's daughter, Mary. Holte imprisoned her in a room for years as he didn't approve of her choice of lover. The story goes that she went mad and died 16 years later.
There's also the spirit of a servant boy called Dick, who's said to have hung himself in the staff quarters in the attic due to the fear of the repercussions after being accused of theft.
Other visitors to the building have reported seeing a green lady sitting on a chair in the great hall, who is said to be Holte's housekeeper. Records show that Holte was charged with her murder, but he wasn't found guilty of the crime.
The Black Country Living opened in 1978, much of the site is said to be haunted included the school house. The museum celebrates the Black Country's important role in the industrial revolution as one of the greatest iron producers in the world. Most of the buildings on the site have been rebuilt here having been moved brick by brick from across the area.
Visitors and staff have reported a wide range of paranormal activity at the museum, including strange nosies, the sound of footsteps, and the voices of children in the old school house. The site is said to be home to four apparitions.
The school made it into celebrity ghost hunter, Yvette Fielding's ten scariest moments from the television show 'Most Haunted'. Her and her team investigated the school building in 2015. At one point, Yvette her husband Karl Beattie were given the fright of their lives when they carried out a vigil in a pitch black classroom. The pair experienced furniture moving in front of their eyes and even the bench they were sat on moved beneath them.
Yvette spoke about her experience after shooting the episode, "it was extraordinary. I was scared but at the same time mesmerised. That is a very active place that is haunted. However, it was not negative. It's my belief they're children who simply want to play."
Clopton House is a 17th-century country mansion to the north of the town. It was here that Margaret Clopton, abandoned by her lover, ventured out into the night and drowned herself in the ancient well in the house's grounds.
It is thought that her story influenced the story of Hamlet's Ophelia, it's said that her ghostly figure is still seen kneeling by the well.
Birmingham Town Hall is a Grade I listed concert hall and events venue in Victoria Square, which opened in 1834. The building is said to have one very famous ghost, the spirit of Charles Dickens, who gave his first reading of 'A Christmas Carol' at the venue on Boxing Day of 1853. His ghost has been seen sitting in the empty theatre and strolling along various corridors in the building. Another of the theatre's resident ghosts is said to be the spirit of a Victorian-era man, who's been seen smoking a pipe at the back of the theatre, when approached the figure simply vanished.
The building's great hall is allegedly haunted by the ghost of two stonemasons, who died in 1833 during the construction of the town hall. The pair were said to have been working on the external carved pillars when part of the roof collapsed and crushed them. Ever since, the men have been seen and heard continuing their work, chiselling away at the pillars.
Birmingham Council House is a Grade II listed building in Victoria Square that was built in 1875. The building is said to be haunted by a former mayor of Birmingham, Joseph "Brummagem Joe" Chamberlain, who laid the first stone. Sightings of his ghost usually coincide with the smell of flowers.
His apparition has also been seen by staff in the Lord Mayor's office, wearing a black velvet coat and red neck tie, sat behind his wooden desk, upon which he insisted on always having freshly cut flowers.
The hall was once part of an old monastery, which is thought to be linked to sightings of a shadowy monk roaming the corridors. Others have reported seeing the ghost of a former councillor, who allegedly hanged himself in the entrance hall. His ghostly figure is seen hanging at the top of the main staircase.
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The grade I listed building was originally built as a monastery in the 12th century, it was only open as a hotel in 1992 and since people have reported lots of odd goings on. Guests have reported seeing the ghost of a hooded figure, believed to be the spirit of Abbott Geoffrey, one of the original cistercian monks. It's said that he was murdered in the monastery in 1345.
There's also said to be the ghost of a young girl called Matilda, people have reported hearing her footsteps walking around the hotel grounds. The story goes that she was stablehand who fell pregnant to the master of the house. He refused to accept that the child was his, but sadly the baby died during childbirth. She then placed a curse on any young children born in the building. Some believe her hex may have worked as the Craven family who took up residence in the house lots several children during their time there.
The Ancient High House was built in around 1595, for the wealthy Dorrington family, the ornate timber-framed exterior of the building, is said to be the largest surviving timber frame Tudor townhouse in England.
Footsteps have been heard walking along empty corridors, doors open and close of their own accord, disembodied voices are heard in the dead of night and ghostly figures are seen wandering the building, including a terrifying ghost of a woman who passes through a wall where a door used to be.
The Victorian Room is one of the building's paranormal hotspots. A writing desk in the room has become infamous with the museum staff, because it apparently locks and unlocks itself at will. The ghost of a young child has also been seen here, but when approached, she disappears and the ghost of an old woman has been seen in a rocking chair.
One paranormal incident led to the police being called to the building, the officer arrived and was told their was an intruder inside, but when people described the person to him, he couldn't believe what he was hearing as they were describing a gentleman known to the police man who passed away a few years before.
A twelve-roomed former farmhouse on the outskirts of Stratford-Upon-Avon where the wife of William Shakespeare, Anne Hathaway, lived as a child. The cottage has been in the hands of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust since 1892 and was damaged by fire in 1969. The house is now open to the public as a museum.
The house is said to have a sinister presence in one of the upstairs bedrooms and passers-by have seen what they believe to be the ghost of a female through one of the upstairs windows. The apparition was seen late at night after guests had lift and staff had locked up for the night.
An antique chair is said to move around overnight, as if being returned to its proper place, and an old Bible in the house has on many occasions opened by itself while still in its glass display case.
When Yvette Fielding and the 'Most Haunted' team visited the cottage for their live show entitled, 'The Life And Loves Of William Shakespeare' in 2004. During their investigation a cradle was seen rocking of its own accord.
The Leopard Inn pub in Stoke-on-Trent hss entertained guests for at least 300 years, but where there's history, there's haunting. The pubs landlady, Sharon Crisp says she was a skeptic when she moved into the historic inn, located in Burslem, the mother town of the Potteries.
But during her time running the pub, she's seen dark shadowy figures, witnessed doors slamming, glasses being thrown and the last orders bell in the bar is also said to ring on its own. Sharon was even hit in the head by an unseen force on one occasion. One of the bar staff also reported hearing unseen children singing the nursery rhyme, 'ring o' ring o' roses'.
The top floor of the pub, which was once a hotel, is now unused and has fallen into disrepair. In the room which is said to have once used as a children's nursery, lots of people have witnessed the sound of children playing, laughing and running around. A music box in the room is also said to mysteriously play on its own.
The castle as it stands today was built in 1068, but settlements on the site date back more than 150 years before this. The castle saw its fair share of battles, it was attacked in 1264, besieged in 1642 and damage by fire in 1871. And of course with an interesting history comes interesting spooks.
Probably the castle's best known ghost is that of Sir Fulke Greville, who is said to haunt the tower. Greville is a former resident of the castle who was murdered within the castle's walls in 1628 by a servant. There's also said to be a negative entity that resides in the dungeon, poltergeist activity has been witnessed, as well as extreme temperature changes, light anomalies, and the sensation of being physically pushed or grabbed.
When you imagine a haunted house, the image you conjure up in your head won't be far off Guy's Cliffe, it's the typical haunted house. It has dungeons, winding stir cases, creepy portraits, dark corners, creaking doors, an imposing clock tower, gothic windows and lots and lots of history, and in World War II the building was used as a school for evacuated children.
This property is made up of the ruins of a grade II listed manor house which dates back to 1751 but fell in to disrepair in the 1950s and was destroyed by fire. Behind the ruins was an adjoining building, St Mary's Chapel. The basement of this chapel used to include the house's servants' quarters.
In the 1970s, the chapel was restored by the Freemason. Today the two Freemason temples contained in the chapel are decorated with eerie Masonic symbols and objects and are used for their ceremonies.
Recent visitors have reported making contact with the spirits of Freemasons, children, and servants from the house. Most of the spirits are said to be male as historically the site is quite male dominated.
At one point in its life, part of chapel was used as a brewery and some mischievous ghosts known as the "Brewery Boys" are said to haunt this area. While out in the grounds a mischievous stable boy called Jacob has been witnessed in the coachhouse which is carved into the rock of Guy's Cliffe.
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Birmingham's Steelhouse Lane Lockup, a historic Grade II listed police station which operated for 125 years. The prison was built in 1892 and has housed some of the most infamous convicts in British criminal history, including members of the Peaky Blinders gang, and the mass murderer Fred West.
The grim prison is packed full of small cells on all its floors, and inmates would be confined to their cells as there's no dining area or exercise yard in this fairly small city centre prison. It was used as a remand prison, which meant criminals stayed here while on trial, hence the lack of facilities you'd find in a longterm penal establishment.
In recent years, the grand old building started to struggle to cope with the demands of modern policing and in 2017 its doors were slammed shut for the final time. Like most prison, Birmingham Central Lockup has its fair share of ghost stories. Many people have reported seeing dark shadows walking across empty corridors, and objects moving on their own. They've heard the moans of a distraught woman throughout the day and night, as well as the loud slamming of heavy doors, jangling keys, and heavy footsteps. Most of the paranormal activity is said to happen in cell B23.
Cannock Chase in Staffordshire is a former Royal forest with a history of paranormal activity. The most famous ghost, known as the Lady of the Chase, has been witnessed by many visitors to the area. She's been described as tall and slim, with large, dark, hypnotic eyes. The wood is also home to sightings of children with black eyes, some believe them to be the victims of murderer Raymond Leslie Morris.
As well as these ghostly apparitions, walkers have also reported seeing strange lights and UFOs through the trees. But what makes Cannock Chase really creepy is its array of strange animals.
There's the legend of a big cat, a large black panther-like animal, which has been seen countless times in the area. There's also a demonic dog that comes out at night, it's said to have pointed ears and glowing eyes. Could this be the same creature that others have described as looking like a werewolf?
Ettington Park has been a luxury hotel since 1983, but was once home to the Shirleys, one of Warwickshire's oldest families. The house is said to be haunted by various ghosts. Staff and guests have reported icy chills, disembodied voices, footsteps, and even a candle which appeared to float through the air. The ghost of an old woman in Victorian clothing has been seen walking around the building. There's also as spirit of a man and his dog who haunt the library.
The hotel's two most famous spook are a woman in white and a woman in grey. The lady spotted in the white gown has been seen around dusk and throughout the night walking along the corridors, before passing through a wall. While the grey lady is seen floating at the foot of the stairs where she's believed to have fallen to her death at some point in the building's past.
There's been a prison on the site since 1793, however the building as it currently stands was built in 1877. The prison has seen thousands of prisoners come and go over the years, including women up until 1922. The prison walls have witnessed many deaths over the years, including, murders, and inmates taking their own lives, so many suicides in fact that an enquiry was opened after three inmates hanged themselves over a period of just two weeks.
The prison's A-wing is said to be the most haunted, perhaps due to its dark history of suicides resulting in sad, angry souls being trapped between this world and the next. Most of those who took their own live did so on A-wing, at one point there was one a week.
Plenty of judicial execution were also carried out at the prison. In 1885 five prisoners were hanged in a single day. The hanging room was used until 1961, and was then converted into a group session room. This is said to be a very active area, possibly due to its location next to the condemned cell and with the mortuary is underneath it.
When the prison was in operation, some officers refused to work in C Wing alone at night, they've reported being pushed down stairs, hearing doors slamming, noises like moving all around them, and footsteps. It's said the atmosphere can change in the blink of an eye.
It is believed that one of the female prisoners has refused to leave, she has been seen dressed in a grey uniform many times walking the upper levels. She walks from cell 3 toward the execution room.
The ruins of the castle stand in the town of Dudley, fortification on this site dates back to 1071 following the Norman invasion in 1066. The castle is said to be home to many spirits including the Grey Lady who is believed to be the ghost of Dorothy Beaumont, who once lived in the castle and died there following complications after giving birth to her daughter. Her ghost is most often reported at the castle's keep in the form of unexplained sounds, and icy blasts of air which are often accompanied by a strange blue mist.
However, the most haunted part of the castle is the chapel undercroft, where you'll find a stone coffin which is said to have once help the body of one of the castle's most infamous residents, John Somery. His ghost has been spotted as disembodied legs beside the coffin. Others have reported feeling him tug at their clothing as they walk through this part of the castle.
Like Dover Castle, Dudley also has the ghost of a drummer boy who was said to have been killed by a stray bullet during the Civil War. He's mostly heard at night beating out drum rolls as if in battle. People have also reported seeing dark shadowy figures, hearing strange sounds throughout the castle, and even witnessed a chair flipping over during a paranormal investigation.
Hall's Croft is one of the more prominent buildings in the centre of Stratford-Upon-Avon. It is also regarded as one of the most haunted. It is here where William Shakespeare's daughter Susanna and her husband lived before taking over New Place in 1619.
Some have reported seeing a blue ghost on the stairs, believed to be the spirit of Betty Leggett who fell to her death here, and the ghost of a young child has been seen skipping through the corridors, as well as the spirit of two American females.
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Shrieves House is one of the oldest structures in Stratford-Upon-Avon having survived the plague, civil war, world war and four major fires. It was for a time known as the Falstaff Experience Museum, and is now the Tudor World Museum, depicting the gruesome past of the town. Elizabeth Rogers lived in the house from 1578 and her nephew was known to be Shakespeare's godson. Her husband, William Rogers, is also thought to have inspired the character of Falstaff.
Visitors have reported seeing phantom soldiers standing on the stairs and a ghostly French maid seen wandering the darkened corridors. People have also reported being pushed and grabbed on the stairs by an unseen force.
The tunnels were originally excavated to house the Drakelow Underground Dispersal Factory where Rover produced aircraft parts for the Air Ministry, after the Second World War it was refitted and put on standby during the Cold War as a bunker for the local government.
According to newspaper reports at the time, at least three men were killed by a roof fall while digging out the tunnels in the 1940s, there are reports since of factory workers being killed underground after being hit by trucks and while riding conveyor belts.
Modern-day visitors who dare to wander through the darkness have reported hearing strange noises, screaming and cries, and disembodied voices.
The tunnels are believed to have been built under an ancient hill fort which had its own graveyard where hundreds of bodies were buried. During the tunnelling the dead were disturbed and as a result a "demon guardian" of the burial ground is said to take a disliking to anyone who enters the tunnels.
This could account for sightings of a dark shadowy figure which has been seen by visitors. Airsoft participants have pursued fellow players in the darkness, only to turn a corner and find themselves faced with a dead end and no figure anywhere to be seen.