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STOCKSBRIDGE – THE HAUNTED BYPASS

Posted on: May 22, 2015

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The stories around the A616, the Stocksbridge Bypass, near Sheffield, south Yorkshire, have been around for nearly 30 years now, and are quite well regarded in the field of the paranormal.  One website describes it as “the scariest UK ghost story ever recorded”.  I also remember seeing a very good re-enactment of one policeman’s experiences on the Michael Aspel series ‘Strange But True’ back in the early 1990s (which you can find on YouTube).  This notoriously dangerous bit of road has earned itself a truly scary reputation, and sadly, not just for it’s ghosts.

The phenomena here date back to right when the bypass was first constructed in the mid-1980s.  It was reported that, whilst construction work was going on, the singing of children was heard late at night.  It would go on until the early hours, and could be heard coming from the nearby woods.  One of the workers described it as “really spooky”, and said that the men, McAlpine builders (not the sort you’d think would be easily unnerved),  often had a feeling that they were being watched when they rested in their caravans after hours.

In September 1987 security guards Steven Brookes and David Goldthorpe reported seeing a “group of young children in medieval clothing” dancing round a pylon next to the road near Pearoyd Bridge.  The men stopped their vehicle and went to investigate, but found no trace of the little time-travellers, not even footprints in the mud.

Soon afterwards, the men were to have another unsettling experience, when they saw the figure of a man standing on the bridge.  Brookes stayed at the base of the bridge, whilst his colleague drove round behind the strange person, and shone his headlights on it.  They described what they saw as “a figure … in a  long cloak that appeared to have no head”.  The beams of the headlights shone right through it.  This experience naturally unnerved the men, and they contacted their boss, Mike Lee, who confirmed that he was called out at 4:30 AM by them.

The men contacted a local vicar, asking if he could have the road exorcised, and also the police.  Once convinced the case was genuine, the cops sent out Police Constable Dick Ellis, and Special Constable John Beet, to investigate the area late on 12 September 1987.  They had been sitting in the car for around 20 minutes.  PC Ellis then got a feeling that someone was standing near the car.  Then his colleague let out a scream and hit him with on the arm.  John Beet described the figure staring at them as wearing “some kind of cravat … and a waistcoat”.  The figure vanished as they watched.

The two men drove further along the bridge.  Immediately after they were jolted by a series of thumps on their patrol car, saying it felt like someone was hitting the vehicle with a baseball bat.  They drove away to Deepcar police station nearby, and related their frightening experiences.  Although their experiences were filmed on ‘Strange But True’, the two men were always to vehemently deny that it was any kind of a publicity stunt.  And frankly, it’s hard to see why the police would do such a thing anyway.  The men were to describe their experiences as worse than what you get when normally facing danger, “it was the kind you have absolutely no control over, a feeling of dread”.

It was certainly to have a lasting impression on the two security guards in the original incident.  From what I can gather, neither has worked since.  One has been under constant medication, and the other emigrated to Canada, where he now resides at a Roman Catholic seminary in Montreal.

Father and son, Nigel and Graham Brooke, were also to have a bizarre experience whist out jogging in the area.  They said they saw a figure walking down the middle of the road.  It had no features, apart from eyes and nose sockets, and exuded a “fusty, rotten smell”.  It seemed as if this unsettling figure was walking on a different level to the new road altogether.  In the autumn of 1987 David and Judy Simpson were driving past a field here when they saw a figure floating above the ground.  They said it had no face, and arms and legs which flayed around.

The bypass was officially opened (appropriately enough) on Friday 13 May 1988, and there were fears right from the beginning that the road would become an accident black spot.  The first fatality occurred on 24 August that year. More than 2 dozen deaths have occurred in the years since.  A Guardian article from 2002 described it as “one of the most dangerous roads in Britain”.

A ghostly White Lady in a long gown, a phantom monk walking along the side of the road, an entire family in Victorian costume, a phantom black hound, and more ghostly children have also been reported in the area since the road opened.  One woman posted on a BBC South Yorkshire website in 2002 that some relatives of hers had had a very unsettling experience, when they detected a horrid, fusty smell in their car, “like a rotten body”, and then glimpsed something in a long black cloak on the back seat.

I’m not sure whether I should mention this, (as it might seem overly-sensationalist or frivolous), but it came into my head as I was writing this piece. 616 is the alternative number of the Beast. Most people know it by it’s more familiar number of … 666.

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