Friday the 13th: The 10 spookiest places in Sheffield

The John Watts building.
The John Watts building.

Today is Friday the 13th - considered by many to be an unlucky, spooky and downright frightening day on the calendar.

The fear of the number 13 has been given a scientific name - triskaidekaphobia and fear of Friday the 13th is called paraskevidekatriaphobia - and the superstition is thought to date from the Middle Ages, originating from the story of Jesus' last supper and crucifixion in which there were 13 individuals present.

Armadillo Self Storage at West Bar.

Armadillo Self Storage at West Bar.

According to figures, an estimated 17 to 21 million people in the US are affected by the fear of this day, making it the most feared day and date in history - and some are so paralysed by fear that they avoid their normal routines in doing business, taking flights or even getting out of bed.

To mark the date, we've delved into the archives to bring you our guide to Sheffield's ten most frightening places...

1. Bunting Nook, Norton, and its big black dog

Dark black fur, snarling fangs and eyes blacker than the dead of night, the Dog apparently roams the streets around Bunting Nook, Norton, hunting for men to savage in the dark.

The Stocksbridge Bypass.

The Stocksbridge Bypass.

The huge black dog appears in an instant in front of people’s cars, and it targets men.

But it is not the driver who is at risk. The dog makes the car stall, before preying on the passenger, according to legend. It was last sighted in 2007...

2. The Northern General’s Vickers corridor

This spooky old corridor at Sheffield’s main hospital has apparently had many reports of ghostly patients walking up to nurses and doctors asking them to help them to sleep.

A sign pointing to the old Vickers Corridor.

A sign pointing to the old Vickers Corridor.

But when the staff reach out to them, they disappear.

They have also had what had been reported as ‘the knife and fork incident’, where a night shift canteen suddenly decided to throw its own cutlery and trays around in front of night staff. According to the stories, that particular kitchen was closed and never used again.

3. The Hartshead area in the city centre - including The Star’s own building

Campo Lane, in the city centre near the Cathedral, is the dividing line between ‘old Sheffield’ and the newer half of the city.

The Star building in York Street is haunted.

The Star building in York Street is haunted.

Right in the centre, the old area is known as Hartshead, and it’s allegedly home to many, many ghosts thanks to being built on the site of an old well from Celtic and Roman times.

The Star’s own building has two. The first is a little girl who loves to play with customers in the reception area, and touches ladies of a certain age ‘as if they were her mother’.

Even The Star’s own security guards have reported hearing feminine screams overnight...

But that’s nothing on our second, much more violent apparition.

The building behind The Star’s has a room below ground that people don’t like to use, they feel as if there’s a presence pressurising them, watching them.

Even the service industries refuse to go below into the cellars to put the phonelines in, they’re unusually above ground in that building.

Whatever it is that’s living below the ground there, it’s apparently an old spirit and it’s used to being worshipped - the old well that sat at Hartshead was filled with gold and silver items from Celtic and Roman items.

4. The Old Queen’s Head, Pond Hill

The oldest domestic building in the city, built in 1475, it was always bound to attract attention from those interested in the paranormal.

The Old Queens Head is said to have a Civil War soldier who stands in front of the fireplace and has been seen by the general public.

Then there’s a medieval child who’s known by the name ‘Pierre’ who loves blonde-haired women and pulls on their hair to get their attention.

There is also apparently a large hunting hound that sits on people’s feet and lays across their laps if he likes them.

Even more spooky, a lady in white sits upstairs and watches celebrations has been seen on several occassions, dressed in a beautiful 1920s dress.

5. Cavendish Court job centre, Meetinghouse Lane

This building is said to be home to a lady dressed in a beautiful purple dress, Victorian in style, who walks through the place to her death.

She has been chased before and disappeared at the back of the building, say Steel City Ghost Tours.

There’s also the little man in the brown suit (whom the Steel City Ghost Tours say they have seen with their own eyes, who asks for a shop with certain windows and he’s been seen in the job centre downstairs holding a half pint of beer.

When he’s asked to remove it and himself, he just gets up and walks away into nothing, and he’s been seen by clients as well.

6. West Bar Roundabout

Several disturbing tales have been told by men working in buildings along West Bar and near the roundabout; and the vast majority have been put down to a strange, ethereal vision known only as Mr Porter.

Mr Porter was allegedly an attendant at the old cinema which once stood on West Bar roundabout, now the site of Armadillo Self Storage.

When the place was being refurbished, two electricians saw him walking past them into the toilet upstairs. One of the men followed him about to tell him it was closed off and to ask why he was there, and when he got to the toilet Mr Porter wasn’t there.

The electrician called down to his mate to ask if he’d seen him pass him, but he said he hadn’t seen anyone.

The staff reported to the manager that they’d seen flashing white lights coming out of the old projector room, but when they investigated the room was empty of any machinery.

They contacted Mr Porter’s old apprentice, whom they invited to the shop to explain about Mr Porter. When he entered the shop, he asked the staff if they were running the old projectors as he could feel the vibrations through the floor. He was then told the room was empty, but he insisted that he see the room for himself. When they got to the door, the sounds were loud as if they were running, but when they opened the door the room was empty and it had been burned out in an accident earlier in the week.

7. The old John Watts building

Then there’s a tale of builders having a fright in the John Watts building, which is now a residential building.

When it was being developed, a few incidents of ghostly activity were reported. But the most alarming is the one where a lump of concrete was thrown at builders.

They were clearing an area when a child was seen in the main clearing zone. She was shouted at to get out and away because of the danger of being hurt.

She then looked at the builders and ignored their shouts, instead she looked over to a pile of rubble and made a chunk fly at the machine driver.

The builders watched the lump hit the machine and when they turned back to where the child had been, she was nowhere to be seen.

The men walked off site and didn’t return until they’d been assured she wouldn’t try to kill them again.

8. Stocksbridge Bypass

Probably Sheffield’s most famous haunted locale, the road connecting Sheffield and the Peak District has been well documented by those interested in spooky goings-on.

There are countless reports of dark figures and shadowy beings spooking drivers.

‘It looked like someone was trying to cross the road, but as I got nearer I could see it was like a man in a long cloak. Then I realised it had no face and was just hovering above the road.’

Several tales tell of grim events in the area. A monk buried in unblessed ground was apparently disturbed by the building of the bypass.

9. Carbrook Hall Pub

Billed as Sheffield’s most haunted pub - although Steel City tell us that the Old Queen’s Head takes the crown - this watering hole is nevertheless said to be home to many a restless spirit.

The ghouls that inhabit this pub have been known to throw open doors, smash bottles and even lock people in the toilets against their will.

10. The White Lady of Highcliffe Road, Ecclesall

A phantom woman who lurks along the road at night. Little is known about her, or why she remains, but the road was once known as Dead Man’s Lane.

Ecclesall is also said to be home to another restless spirit. Ecclesall Woods houses a haunted grave; a woodsman who burned to death in a strange, unexplained accident and returns to the woods at dusk, his screams still echoing in the dead of night...