Did you know that there are many spooky stories about Preston?
Uncover those creepy stories with us if you dare… Here is the first part, the second will follow soon.
Have you heard of the Bannister Doll? If not, then don’t be surprised- many locals refuse to talk about it as it might attract the unwanted attention of the ghost. According to legend, a man named Major Bannister lived in a building at Snow Hill, near Walker Street. He had a daughter, Dorothy, known locally as Bannister Doll. She was attractive and had many suitors.
One day she admitted to her father that she was pregnant, which enraged him so much that he dragged her out of the house and whipped her to death for besmirching her family’s honour. A stone was later placed at the corner of Ladywell Street and Heatley Street to mark the spot where Dorothy was murdered. Mothers would take their daughters to this spot to warn them of the consequences of promiscuousness.
After Dorothy was laid to rest the murders began to happen… Not long after her death the corpse of a young man was found in the centre of Preston. His rib cage and skull had been crushed to a pulp. Only two weeks later another young man was found in a similar way, and then a third. Soon word spread that the Bannister Doll had returned from the grave and was taking revenge on all men for the way her father had killed her.
The deaths stopped, but the sightings of Dorothy did not. Many locals claimed that they saw the spirit of Dorothy floating up Snow Hill, and it terrified those who saw it. She also haunted the house of her family, and many families fled the house in terror.
She is still said to be seen and it is said to be an unnerving sighting. This is understandable, as according to some reports she showed herself as a headless lady! According to legend, she can also transform herself into a large black dog and other animals. She is also said to make strange noises, like the rattling of chains.
Samlesbury Hall is said to be haunted by a few spirits. A white lady is said to wait at the bus stop outside the hall. Many bus drivers have seen a ghostly white lady at the bus stop or in the nearby fields. She is said to be the restless spirit of Dorothy Southworth, who fell in love with the wrong man. They were forbidden to marry as her family was Catholic, and the young man Protestant. They planned to elope and marry in secret, but they were found out. On the night of their planned escape Dorothy’s brothers killed her sweetheart. She was sent away to a convent where she died but her restless spirit returned to Samlesbury Hall.
But the spookiness doesn’t stop there… A wood floor inside the hall bears the marks of a priest’s blood. His spirit is said to haunt the ancient halls. He was found in hiding in the building and beheaded on the spot, which caused the blood stain. This stain was permanent, and no matter how often attempts were made to clean it, it would just come again. Even after the old floorboards were replaced, the stain kept reappearing.
Check out our next spooky stories blog post!
Newspaper clipping about Bannister doll, image via https://www.flickr.com/photos/rpsmithbarney/8434442994
Samlesbury Hall, image via http://www.blogpreston.co.uk/2014/09/haunted-lancashire-two-preston-buildings-named-as-paranormal-hotspots/
Priest Room at Samlesbury Hall, image via http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/4545136