Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

More Haunted Crime Scenes

A Victim Cries Out

The Wheatsheaf Pub
The Wheatsheaf Pub

In West Bolden, England, stands a reputedly haunted eatery, the Wheatsheaf Pub.  The owners make the most of its creepy aura by holding events there.  One was a charity event involving psychics, and among them was "Suzanne," who believed that some three dozen restless spirits were present in the place.  Eight of them, she indicates, are children.

Suzanne told reporters for Newcastle's Evening Chronicle that she had been in communication with the ghost of a six-year-old child, Jessica Ann Hargreaves, who had been strangled and raped in 1908.  "He cut her up and trampled on her in the cellar," Suzanne related, after she'd recovered from the overwhelming experience. "He tried to get rid of the evidence and threw all her clothes and belongings in a big fireplace."  Apparently the spirit child had told Suzanne that her killer was still hurting her.  In fact, he was there, among the spirits and his name was Joseph Lawrence.

To make matters worse, Joseph was apparently a serial murderer.  Supposedly, he had treated a number of children in the same manner as Jessica, getting rid of the evidence in like manner as well.  Suzanne said that his presence infected the atmosphere and nauseated her.  She was also frightened.  "I felt like he was going to go for me at any minute."

To help Jessica, Suzanne spent two weeks releasing the spirits who were trapped there, finally forcing the killer to leave, too.  (The report does not provide details about her method or proof that it was actually effective.)  She worked with an artistic channeler, Lana Grabinskis, who used Suzanne's descriptions to produce sketches of Jessica and Lawrence. They also took pictures, capturing bright balls of light commonly referred to as orbs — often noted as evidence of ghostly activity.

Suzannne also managed to learn more about Lawrence's background, apparently in his thirties when he died.  He wore grey clothing and had been a worker in the area.  Travelers on their way to Scotland often stopped at the pub as a way station, so it was easy for him to snatch children.  However, Jessica had lived locally, and her father had suspected Lawrence of her disappearance.  In fact, he'd killed Lawrence.

As evidence, Suzanne asked the pub owners to search inside a wall that covered an area where a fireplace had been.  There they found a lock of hair, part of a child's shoe, and torn material that appeared to have been from clothing.  Suzanne said these had been Jessica's.  The items were turned over to a scientist for analysis.

The article that reported this incident also indicated that "staff at the pub say there were a lot of ghostly goings-on before they were released, like chairs and utensils flying around, banging, screaming and the feeling of being pushed or touched by someone who is not there."  One person even found a child's handprint in some jelly.

While there's no real corroborating evidence about Jessica or Lawrence, Suzanne has a mission: learn more about the town's history so she can put Jessica and her long-deceased family members at rest.

It's not uncommon to hear about ghosts naming their killers, but one such case even got into court.

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