I came across the following eerie story in an old newspaper clipping (Shields Gazette 2005). The story was wrapped around Boldon Colliery Coal Mine.
Boldon Colliery used to be a mining village in the North East of England. The village, more like a small town these days, is still there, but the mine workings were closed in the early 1980′s and has since been replaced with what I would call a beautiful forest and nature trail walk. Despite the closure this story of ghostly happenings seems to have stood the test of time.
When Boldon Colliery Coal Mine closed in 1982 there were only two coal seams being worked. However back in the 1950′s, when this ghost story came to life, there were four seams being worked, these being (I think as paper clipping wasn’t too good) The Yard, Bensham, Five Quarter and Hutton.
There was a fifth seam called Beaumont which was no longer in use and had not been worked since 1869. It is the Beaumont seam that give rise to the story.
As it goes three young miners were busy doing what miners did on a coal seam, when one of them decided it was time to take his bait (lunch break). He headed off to find a nice quiet place to have his bait when he became aware of footsteps behind him. He turned, and seeing no-one there he continued on his way only to hear the footsteps behind him once again. Quickly turning again he still found no-one there.
A little later he mentioned his odd experience to his two mates and was surprised to find that they themselves had experienced the ghostly footsteps. Laughing the experience off, it would appear, was the wrong thing to do. Just a few days later while working the three young men heard cries coming from a distance. Thinking someone had been injured the men went to the rescue. Following the cries they arrived at the old Beaumont coal face. Here the cries for help stopped. feeling a little unnerved the men walked away only to hear the cries start up again louder than ever.
The newspaper cutting went on to say that the story was soon the talk of the village and the three young miners were adamant that they hadn’t been the victims of a practical joke.
The reporter himself thinks the young miners could have heard a replay of a tragic accident. Back in 1873 John Wardle was employed at Boldon as a driver guiding horses on the main road underground. Mr Wardle, only 12 years of age at the time, was working near the Beaumont seam when unwisely he attempted to alight from the truck while it was still being drawn by the horses.
Sadly young Mr Wadle was crushed between the truck and the coal face, his cries for help as he lay dying, could be heard throughout the rest of the pit. The reporter himself feels that this is what the three young miners had heard, or maybe the eerie cries of other miners who had died at the Beaumont seam before it closed.
One of the young miners involved was a Mr Chris Lawler who according to the news clipping has since long ago moved to the Midlands. As for his two friends, the reporter is unaware of their location.
Since this report was made in 2005 the reporter may have gotten his wish for the men involved to get in touch with him… I don’t know.
Although the mine shaft at Boldon Colliery has been filled in I am left wondering if the cries can still be heard and how lonely, sad and terrifying it must be to be buried underground with no-one ever to answer your cry for help… Ghost, or no ghost.
The picture above is taken from that particular news clipping. Although the clipping has seen better days I managed to get some of it scanned the rest I have added to, it adds a little atmosphere… me thinks!