Chris Wade








By East Leeds Magazine Editorial Staff


As owner of Yorkshire Cleaning.Org, Nigel Turner is used to seeing places differently to how we do. From shopping centres after dark to burnt out buildings, Nigel has seen it all. And often alone.

"I don't get freaked out, I'm a non-believer in the spirit world although I am partial to the odd whisky. I always think there's a logical reason, buildings warming up and cooling down; draughts, that kind of thing."

Nigel has a soft spot for the City Varieties, next summer the old theatre will reopen after it's refurbishment and Nigel is looking forward to resuming work there. Shortly before the theatre closed for it's revamp, Nigel was busy cleaning the carpets in the stalls. He was alone in the building with manager Mick Sheard:

"The lights in the whole of the theatre just went off and on a couple of times before leaving us in the dark... It couldn't have been Mick because the only switches are up in the circle. A couple of days later I was in one of the dressing rooms. It was a small room, the door was closed behind me and the only window was shut. All of a sudden a fixed rail of coat hangers just clattered from one end to the other. These were big heavy hangers and nothing like a draught could have done it even if there was one."

Most of the regular staff are pretty blase about spooks at the theatre. Mick Sheard's answer to Nigel was 'Oh is she playing up again?' But for contractors it can be pretty scary. One builder packed his bags and left after a series of strange incidents. Nigel remains a disbeliever, convinced there must be logical explanations, but these two tales would probably make him reach for his whisky.


Chris Wade is a writer who published a book on strange experiences in Leeds. Here's an edited extract centred around a house he lived in in East Leeds.

“A couple of years ago I was living alone in a basement flat which was beneath my landlady’s house. One night there was a knock on my door, it was my landlady, telling me the tragic news of the death of her father. She asked if I would download some of her dad’s favourite old songs for his funeral. One particular song had been her father’s favourite from the 1930's. I found the tracks, including his favourite and downloaded them. Everything seemed OK with them all apart from his favourite, it sounded extremely odd - very tinny and quite bad quality, as if someone had taped themselves singing over the record. I thought nothing of it at the time, putting it down to a bad quality recording.

A night or two later, my land lady knocked on my door once again and asked me to come and listen to the disc with her. There, once again was that ill-fitting voice bawling over the music. Much to my surprise, my landlady explained that the voice was her father’s. He often used to record himself singing over his favourite songs on to cassettes. Now I don’t know how this happened, but somewhere in the process of me downloading the track from an internet MP3 site on to her hard drive, her father’s voice had put itself on the track. We could not explain it. It didn’t scare me as such as I knew he meant no harm. But it certainly was strange and it remains my only real brush with the supernatural. To me, it proved that there is something after death yet it still makes very little sense. A few weeks later, my landlady met a spiritual medium. Right away, the medium said: “Your father is here, he's laughing because of that song the other week.”


Louise lives in Leeds 15. To protect the house prices for the current owners we will keep her anonymous.

"We'd lived in the house for about two years and we'd always have odd things happening like keys constantly going missing. Then doors started to open and close, we put it down to draughts, then knocking started, we thought maybe it's the plumbing. One morning we went downstairs and a 3 piece suite had been turned over. Gradually it got worse. We heard footsteps in the house, latches turning, doors opening. The hairs on our dog's back used to stand on end and he used to stare and bear his teeth, he was seeing the things we were feeling. We investigated the history of the house. It was quite new but we found out it had been built where an old inn used to be. Apparently, in times gone by, the inn used to double up as a court house and execution area. Eventually we contacted a Spiritual Church, we half-expected them to come like Ghostbusters but it was a couple of little old ladies. They only stopped five minutes, I swear their purple rinses turned to grey, they said there was definately something going on in the house and were off, although they did telephone us later on and referred us to a Psychic Phenomena Investigation Group from London.

They came with all sorts of equipment, the place looked like a TV set. After a couple of vigils they declared we had a poltergeist and that was about it. A couple of nights later, I had an early night and I felt something get into bed next to me. A few minutes later my husband came in the room and saw me levitating above the bed and speaking in a strange foreign language. That was the final straw, the next day I packed my bags and left. By chance, I bumped into the current owners about ten years later, I didn't ask them outright but steered the conversation round to psychic type things - if anything strange had happened. They didn't mention it. When I left the house our marriage left with me, I wouldn't say the poltergeist split us up, I think it's more likely that my 'ex' set the whole thing up to get rid of me!"