The open road can be a very scary place, especially for solo travelers. Most people would admit to feeling occasionally spooked when night-driving alone along a motorway or bypass. Imagine then how this fear must be magnified when you know that the road upon which you are traveling is renowned for paranormal activity. This is precisely the predicament that confronts the lone drivers who regularly use the Stocksbridge Bypass. Ask yourself this, would you use this road in light of what has been reported there?
The Stocksbridge Bypass is only 5 miles long, yet since it was opened on Friday 13th May 1988, it has been the site of a bewildering number of serious collisions and crashes. There were 14 deaths in its first 10 years of use alone. This is an astonishing number considering the insignificant length of this stretch of road. In 2002, the Guardian newspaper aptly observed that whilst the bypass had become known as Britain’s most dangerous road, there was actually no obvious explanation for why this should be the case. The road is seemingly mundane, except for one detail. During it’s construction it had been the location of a bizarre series of events that culminated in two police constables testifying to being stalked by a malicious hooded ghost.
The story begins in September 1987. Two security guards had been working a night shift at an industrial site near the location of the bypass construction works. They were patrolling outside when they spotted what appeared to be a group of small children, playing and singing in a nearby field. This was a curious thing to behold given the hour of night and the distance from any residential areas. The two men decided to investigate further, so set off in the direction of the group. As they approached, they were able to make out the children more clearly and were surprised to see that they were dressed in antiquated looking clothing. Then, to the astonishment of the two witnesses, the children vanished from sight.
Perplexed, but not petrified, the two men where not yet certain of what they had just witnessed. They attempted to muster an explanation between them, when they spotted another strange sight. A tall, dark figure appeared to be staring down at them from a nearby bridge. It was dressed in a hooded cloak and was motionless, but clearly watching the men. Again, the two men decided to investigate. One decided to drive up to the bridge, whilst the other kept watch of the figure. As the security guard arrived on the bridge, the headlights of his van shone directly through the hooded entity. It was reported as having a black, featureless face and was hovering above the ground.
The now terrified men beat a hasty retreat back to their place of work, where they contacted the police. Their reports were initially dismissed as not being of interest to law enforcement. However, when some time later a priest contacted the local constabulary on behalf of the men, two officers agreed to pay a nocturnal visit to the site of the alleged haunting. They arrived on the bridge in darkness and sat in their car, surveying the area. For 20 minutes they waited with absolutely nothing untoward happening. With their patience tested, they decided to conclude their inspection and return to the police station. As one of the officers turned to fasten his seat belt he was shocked to see the figure of cloaked man pressed up against his window. He let out a shriek of horror, which caused his companion to turn and look as well, but the figure had disappeared… or so they thought. In fact, it had simply moved and was now pressed up against the window on the other side of the car.
Hurriedly, the police officers attempted to move away, but their car would not start. It spluttered and shuddered for what seemed like minutes until it eventually kicked into life, allowing the constables to make good their escape. However, for nearly the entire journey back, the two men reported hearing a strange banging noise, which sounded as though it was emanating from the boot (trunk) of their car. When they arrived at the police station, they hesitantly inspected the boot of their vehicle, only to find it entirely empty.
The mystery surrounding the events that took place near the Stocksbridge Bypass in September 1987 has never been adequately explained. It is worth noting that the bridge upon which the cloaked figure manifested is the Pea Royd Bridge. First built in the early 19th Century, the bridge, which was subsequently reconstructed due to heavy traffic use, was once the site of a terrible coach crash, that led to the deaths of many individuals. Since this time, the area has been rumoured by locals to be cursed and haunted by the souls of the men and women who perished there.
You can hear more about the ghosts of Stocksbridge Bypass by watching the excellent video below: