A Haunting In Accrington: The Malevolent Spirit Of Pendle Street

Mrs Carole Chadwick claims that in 1965 she was tormented in her home by the presence of a malevolent spirit when she was just 13 years old. Here is her first-hand story of the paranormal encounters at 38 Pendle Street.

The ghostly encounters reportedly took place at 38 Pendle Street in Accrington
The ghostly encounters reportedly took place at 38 Pendle Street in Accrington

It seems that sometimes the most puzzling and most mysterious supernatural happenings have the most ordinary and normal of settings. Certainly, there was no long family history at 38 Pendle Street, Accrington, nor, as far as is known, any powerful emotional occurrences other than the natural and expected births and deaths. Yet this little two-up-two-down-no-garden house was the setting for a macabre and well-authenticated haunting that lasted several years.

Mr and Mrs Mackey and their three children, Carole, Gary, and Janice, aged thirteen, eleven, and six respectively when the events began, were as normal as their surroundings even if Carole did have a tendency to sleepwalk. This was, however, of a minor nature and she invariably woke up at the top of the stairs or when she was a few steps down them. On one occasion in April 1965 there was an exception. Carole had almost reached the hall at the bottom of the stairs before she was aware of what was happening: immediately she was fully conscious and felt the tomb-like silence and blackness of the early hours of the morning, and the next instant an overwhelming but intangible sense of evil and danger that had never accompanied any previous waking. Terrified, and hoping that the awful sensation would vanish if she shut out the impenetrable darkness around her, she closed her eyes, but a moment later, hearing a faint sound in the lobby, she opened them again.

Instantly, almost before she could see, she experienced a wave of intense heat - most unusual in psychic phenomena, which seem to have a predilection for chills. Then in absolute terror, she saw a glowing formless shape about human size "standing" no more than a yard in front of her. It had, she said, a face, yet no face: there were features which she knew in some non-sensible way were male, yet which were in constant flux, flowing evilly from one character to another, but all the time projecting an inexpressible hatred. Carole was conscious that it reached the floor so that as she was standing on the second or third step its face was on a level with hers staring straight at her. But she could not be certain of any specific limbs in the amoeba-like, changing flow in front of her. Only the "head" and "shoulders" amorphous though these were, held any consistent identity.

For the first instant, it was the sheer ugliness of the apparition that froze all her senses, and after this, the transcending malevolence that it seemed to bear towards her personally. Had she not by chance stopped immediately opposite the light switch it is difficult to know what might have happened, but as she pressed it, flooding the hall with light, the vision vanished. Petrified, she went back to bed, not daring to say anything. The experience was so incredible that she was sure it would be met with ridicule or punishment.

A few weeks afterwards, Carole was wakened by the sound of something falling heavily from a chair in the room below her, and then the noise of dragging and a peculiar rhythmic scratching. Thinking that it was the family poodle who slept in the room needing to go outside, she went downstairs. The regular scratching continued in the darkness but the moment she put on the light it ceased. The dog, she was scared to see, was soundly asleep, and the blanket which covered it was undisturbed.

Mystified she went back to bed. In the months that followed she heard the same sequence of sounds on a number of occasions. Once, she approached the living room door and called quietly into the darkness: the dog at once roused itself from sleep and padded eagerly towards her, but above the pitter-patter of its paws, she could hear the continuing rhythm of the scratching.

In the spring of 1966, Gary, who slept downstairs, confided to Carole that he often got up in the night to see what was the matter with the dog as he kept hearing a bump and an odd scratching noise. The only trouble, he said, was that whenever he went into the living room the poodle was soundly asleep and had apparently been so all night. When she said that she too had heard similar noises, Gary was prompted to a further confidence: on several occasions, he said, when he had got up in the darkness he had seen a vaguely round, but changing, ball of light floating around the living room, but this had vanished the moment that he switched on the lamps.

The haunting at the Mackey home is so bizarre that it would be difficult to know where to start to find antecedents, but it might be worth remembering that Pendle has a significant place in the history of the occult in England. Pendle Street, Accrington, is only a stone's throw from the once-notorious Pendle Forest, the great centre of witchcraft in the country in the sixteenth century. It was here that nine witches out of twenty charged were executed in 1612, and another seventeen were sentenced to death in 1633, though these were eventually reprieved by Charles I after suffering the most terrible torments.

Mrs Carole Chadwick, Blackburn

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