Monday, 4 May 2020

The Black Monk of Pontefract.


let’s head to the UK and look at the story of Water pools mysteriously appearing, lights turning off and on again, furniture overturning, pictures being slashed, objects flying or levitating, knocking sounds, objects disappearing and appearing again, foul smells, farmyard noises, heavy breathing sounds, sudden drops of temperature.
It’s time for The Black Monk of Pontefract. 



The topic of Ghosts and investigations into paranormal activity has been gaining in popularity of late. Many television shows document ghosts hunts and the adventures of paranormal investigators.
Most of these shows come up short in the evidence which they gather.
One location they should be descending on is the town of Pontefract. Pontefract being a historic market town in West Yorkshire, England. This old English town is famous for its cakes, small, black, circular sweets made of liquorice.
It is also famous for its ghosts with one in particular being said to very dangerous!
A rather volatile, frightening, and violent entity that has come to be known as the Black Monk.
The story begins at Number 30 East Drive, on the Chequerfields Estate, East Yorkshire, Jean and Joe Pritchard, their son Philip, aged 15 and daughter Diane aged 12 called the house home.
For a number of years they lived happily at the address this was until strange phenomena began to occur, working in cycles, which would sometimes see activity on a daily basis, broken by long periods of silence, sometimes lasting for weeks at a time, but eventually, the weird goings-on would resume.
Water pools, lights flicking off and on, furniture being tossed around, pictures being torn, objects flying through the and even levitating in place, knocking and banging sounds, disappearing and reappearing objects, foul smells, bizarrely farmyard noises, with heavy breathing sounds, sudden temperature drops and the appearance of an entity that is believed to be causing all of the chaos.
A mysterious black-robed figure that would become known as the Black Monk of Pontefract.
The strange events started back the August Bank Holiday week in 1966. The Pritchards’ had been holidaying in the southwest of the country leaving their son 15-year-old Philip at home with his grandmother, Sarah Scholes.
The grandmother was the first to experience the ever-increasing paranormal activity in the house, it started out simply with cold breezes but quickly escalated when the boy noticed strange white powder falling from mid-air all around the living room, onto the floor.
The white powder would make many suspicious, but the boy and his grandmother believed that this was dust falling from the ceiling. This in itself would have been strange as the family said the house had recently redecorated and well cleaned.
To be a little sceptical this decorating work may have disturbed more dirt which could be caught in the air, but that doesn’t explain the other strange events to come.
Confused and a little scared, the grandmother fetched her daughter, Marie Kelly, who just happened to live across the street. The women also saw the white powder falling to the ground and went into the kitchen to grab a cloth to clean up the mess, she slipped in a pool of water that had appeared from nowhere.
This puddle was the first of many which would materialize, it’s important to note that it was at this point the house was inspected for water leaks. The water was even shut off yet the puddles kept appearing!
With the water shut off explanations for these puddles are harder to find.
Jumping forward to 7pm, the grandmother settled down to watch a little TV her relaxation was broken when the boy Philip shouted "Grandma, it's happening again!”
The grandmother went to the kitchen where she and the boy saw the kitchen worktop covered with sugar and dry tea leaves that neither of they had spilt, then the button on the tea dispenser began to slowly move in and out covering the draining board in tea. As if this wasn’t strange enough the tea maker still pumped tea over the kitchen counter even when it was empty!!
An event not easily dismissed.
The terrified woman shouted “stop”
As she did, there came a thunderous crash which echoed from the hallway. Opening the kitchen door and looking for the source of the noise the pair saw nothing.
 The activity was just starting up, the two made their way to the stairs investigating the loud sound and this is when they found  a plant that was normally at the bottom now halfway and missing its pot, the pot being located on the landing above. With only the two of them being in the house who could have moved the heavy plant?
Confused the silence was broken once again by loud noises coming from the kitchen.
Heading back into the room they came upon something they could not explain, the cupboards which housed the crockery were vibrating the dishes rattling and the door shaking as if the objects had come to life and were trying to escape their cupboard prison.
As all this happened a noticeable chill filled the room. A drop in temperature being something that is said to occur when a ghost is present.
The three sat talking and trying to find a reason for what had just happened, then at about 9.30pm Marie left and Philip and his grandmother decided to go to bed. After locking up and turning off the downstairs lights Sarah went into Philips room to wish him goodnight, as she did so, a heavy chest of drawers began to sway, again with no explanation as to why.
This was the final straw they left the house and went to sleep at a neighbour’s fearing for their safety.
When Mr and Mrs Pritchard returned home from their holiday, the strange activity stopped. Two years passed by the house was quiet not even the slightest in paranormal activity.
This peace would come to an abrupt end.
In the following years the family would be  faced with increasingly strange phenomena, it became so common the poltergeist became known to the Pritchard family as Fred.
The resolve of the family would be tested by many violent the event, the daughter, Diane, was often thrown from her bed, in one particularly freighting encounter she was dragged up the stairs by her throat, the invisible the hand that had grabbed leaving scratches on her neck.
Nearly daily unexplainable crashing and thumping sounds were heard, objects flew through the air. And many other strange events disturbed the family’s life.
So they decided to fight back on two occasions, exorcisms were attempted, this only seemed make situation worse.
The family needed help!
Facing an escalation in malevolent activity, the family appealed to the Church for help, several exorcisms were performed on the house, during which crucifixes were yanked from the hands or smashed to pieces. Inverted crosses would appear Painted or scrawled upon the walls in red and black ink, neither of which were kept in the house.
During one of these exorcisms an invisible hand held a candlestick to a priest’s face, the terrified clergy man fled and never returned.
The ghost then began to take a physical form, at first in the middle of the night as a dark shape standing at the foot of the beds staring at the different family members. On another occasions they would wake to see a figure in flowing black robes hovering over them as they slept.
The ghost was dressed in black robes and had a hood covering the face, this reminding the family of a medieval monk and earned the apparition the nickname “The Black Monk.”
The Black Monks attacks grew in ferocity. Unexplainable Scratches and bruises on her body would appear of the family the daughter being the focus of the ghost’s anger she would sometime be thrown from her bed, and on at least one occasion was choked and slapped by the unseen force, this happening in full view of witnesses.
Maybe the scariest incident happened when the girl’s hair was seen to stand up as if someone were pulling and yanking on it, after which the girl was forcefully dragged up the stairs kicking and screaming.
This was the final straw the family couldn’t get the help they needed from the church and turned to paranormal investigators. The researchers looked at the history of the house and uncovered some interesting details about the land the house sat upon.
Investigator Tom Cuniff discovered that not only had the area once been the site of a bloody battle, but also that it had once been used as the town gallows, hundreds of people had met they demise at the hands of the executioner where the Pritchards now sat watching TV.
One story that offered an identity to the angry spirit is the tale of a monk who was hanged there, after being found guilty of raping and killing a young girl who just so happened to be around the same age as the daughter, this event occurring back in the 16th century.
As the investigators worked, the paranormal goings on continued all until one day, when as suddenly as this had all started it all stopped.
The Pritchards eventually moved out, the house then became a popular destination for paranormal investigators, this popularity seemed to trigger the angry spirit as the Black Monk lashed out at these new trespassers to his domain.
The Black Monk gained television fame when the house was featured in the TV series Paranormal Lockdown. The show record a range of strange activity and grew the tale of the black Monk to almost legendary proportions.
To this day the house has remained a hotspot for debate, discussion, and investigation.
Many claim this all to be a hoax or a some kind publicity stunt, others point to the numerous witnesses of the strange phenomena and that the events at  Number 30 East Drive, on the Chequerfields Estate, East Yorkshire and say that it is proof of the paranormal.
What do you think is this haunting proof ghosts, or is this all just a made up story for a family to gain themselves a little local fame?
Let me know what you think in the comments below.


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