That’s the spirit, lads...

Paranormal investigaters Joe Collins and Richard Bramall are writing a book on Doncaster truelife ghost stories. They are pictured at Wells Road, Wheatley, one of the areas they are researching. Picture: Liz Mockler D8548LM
Paranormal investigaters Joe Collins and Richard Bramall are writing a book on Doncaster truelife ghost stories. They are pictured at Wells Road, Wheatley, one of the areas they are researching. Picture: Liz Mockler D8548LM
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THE woman had become convinced her Kimberworth, Rotherham, home was haunted.

THE woman had become convinced her Kimberworth, Rotherham, home was haunted.

The 48-year-old had grown increasingly scared by an unexplained whooshing sound and smell of perfume drifting through the Victorian property.

At her wits’ end, she called in Rotherham Paranormal, a duo of amateur investigators, to look into what was happening.

“She’d plugged in an air freshener and forgotten about it,” says Richard Bramall, one of the duo. “Incredible, I know.

“There was also the Greasbrough woman who was terrified because a photo on her TV kept falling over.

“We went round and turned down the bass for her. Problem solved.”

Perhaps unsurprisingly, neither of these ‘hauntings’ make it into the debut book of Richard and partner Joe Collins.

Haunted Rotherham sells itself as spine-tingling collection of terrifying tales, urban legends and spooktastic shenanigans from the South Yorkshire town.

There’s the World War One guard still keeping post at Oakwood Hall, the phantom miner of Maltby Colliery, and the spirit (non-drinkable kind) at The Alpine pub in Kimberworth.

But perhaps Richard’s favourite is the mysterious elderly jaywalker who has been repeatedly hit by cars driving along The Whins road near Greasbrough...

Hang on... a phantom jaywalker?

“Drivers always report hitting her,” explains the 40-year-old of Wentworth Drive, Rawmarsh. “Some have said they see her face plain as day as she hurtles into the windscreen – but when they leave the vehicle to help, nobody is ever there.

“There have been independent sightings since the 1970s when a local recovery driver was so convinced he’d really hit someone he reported it to the police – who then told him not to worry because it was a well known local ghost. The rumour is a gypsy was trampled there years ago by a horse and buggy.”

Not spooked yet?

How about the tale of The Alpine pub in Grayson Road where, in 1974, a barmaid reported the pet dog suddenly went crazy in the middle of the night. When she followed the animal into the shut bar she recalled the temperature dropping and mist forming a human shape.

The next day she learned that in the past a cleaner had refused to return to the pub after apparently seeing a hooded figure materialise in the same place.

“The stories are all very different – from the kind of place they occurred to what the ghost is doing,” says Joe, a 33-year-old roofer of Doncaster Road, Mexborough. “But what they have in common is we’ve researched them all and yet we cannot begin to explain them.”

Over-active imaginations, perhaps?

“Obviously everyone has their own opinion but I do believe there are things that are unexplainable,” says Richard, an environmental officer with Rotherham Council by day. “There are things that are on another realm, I’m sure of that.”

Indeed, that was part of the reason for the book.

The pair set up their website – www.rotherham-ghosts.com – in 2004 after a lifelong fascination with the supernatural. And with the website growing in popularity and becoming the central resource for all things supernatural in Rotherham, they decided to write the book.

“We wanted to record all the things we hear, and we hope it will become a reference point,” says Joe

Now, as part of a three-book deal with The History Press, they are working on Haunted Barnsley and Haunted Doncaster books both due for release in 2012. “I’ve been fascinated by the topic my whole life,” says Richard.