Old Red Eyes ~ The Ghost of Todmorden Station

There was a great deal of alarm in Todmorden at the end of May 1864.[i] Rumours had circulated that one Saturday at midnight, the night watchman on the station platform had seen a ghost and that subsequently both the ghost and the watchman had disappeared. The following Sunday and Monday great crowds gathered round the station to enquire what had happened to the poor watchman and what he had witnessed that night.

            Thankfully, the watchman turned up safe and well, but he had seen something. As he patrolled the platform that night, he saw a strange shape, white and silent, gliding towards him. As it was midnight, dark and lonely, he feared that there might have been a terrible rail accident (all too common at the time) and that he was witnessing a spirit bringing news of the catastrophe. In the words of the Courier:

‘His fears chained him to the spot, and, to add to his excitement, when this something came within the light of his lamp… he saw that it was perfectly white, and had a most brilliant red eye like a flame…’

            The terrified watchman ran to get help from station staff before approaching this fearful red-eyed spectre. However, on closer inspection the ‘ghost’ turned out to be an escaped ferret.

[i] Halifax Courier, 3 June 1854

Published by Paul Weatherhead

Author of Weird Calderdale, musician and songwriter

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