Ghost Stories from the Archives: The Haunted Farmhouse

From the Yorkshire Evening Post in 1902 comes this strange and funny story
Ghost Stories from the ArchivesGhost Stories from the Archives
Ghost Stories from the Archives

This morning, the sequel to a ghost story at Brierley, which, during last week, has created considerable interest in the district, was told at the Barnsley West Riding Police Court.

Four miners, named James Turner, John Scott, Benjamin Thompson, and Jas. McQueen, of Grimethorpe, were brought up charged with having been on enclosed premises of James Laybourne, farmer, of Brierley, on Sunday night.

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Superintendent Quest said the circumstances were peculiar. It had been rumoured in the village of Brierley that the house of Mr. Leybourne was haunted, and, consequently, large numbers of people had visited the farm, and considerable damage had been done to property, and the inmates had been annoyed.

The police had kept watch, and about ten o’clock on Sunday night two of the defendants were seen to enter a house. The men were secured.

Two other men were in the kitchen enjoying themselves by finishing off the rest of Mr. Laybourne’s supper. Both prisoners were worse for drink.

The Chairman, addressing the defendants, asked how they explained the occurrence.

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Turner: We had no intention of damaging anything, or doing anything wrong.

The Chairman: You surely knew it was wrong to break into the house and to eat his food.

We were prepared to apologise for it, but we had to come here for it.

Scott referred to the alleged ghost, and stated that the people said they were frightened to stop at the farm until 12 o’clock and see it.

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“I don’t believe in ghosts,” remarked Scott, “and I went to stay until 12 o’clock, but instead of the ghost it was constable who came.” (Laughter.)

Defendants were fined 40s. each, and costs.

Our Barnsley reporter adds the following :-

Mr. Laybourne’s story is a most remarkable one.

For a long time, in the wash-house, the dolly tub, etc., have been playing antics, jumping about suddenly. Clothes leap about the place, and even go up the chimney, and he (the farmer) related one incident of how, on the washing-day, this wonderful incident was tested.

The wash-tub was found overturned, and after the tub had again been placed on its bottom, the house was left, and a watch was kept, and again the mysterious force overturned the tub.

In the house pieces of furniture and various articles were leaping about in the most astonishing fashion. Cushions had leaped into the fire-place with a suddenness, Mr. Laybourne said, that you could scarcely see them go.

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Actually small articles had travelled up the stairs, as though directed by some magic wand, and such articles were strewn all over the place.

Asked if the inmates were disturbed during the night, Mr. Laybourne said the disturbances chiefly occurred in the forenoons, and were confined to the kitchen, though in the rooms above there had been heard mysterious sounds.

Mrs. Laybourne and the members of the family have left the house, but Mr. Laybourne and his farmer man are still living in it.

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