The Diary: ‘Mitchell brothers’ are in good spirits

Richard Bramall and Joe Coliins, authors of a book titled Haunted Rotherham.
Richard Bramall and Joe Coliins, authors of a book titled Haunted Rotherham.
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THEY’VE been called the paranormal Mitchell brothers, have Richard Bramall and Joe Collins.

“We’re not really like them, though,” says Richard. “We’re not tough enough.”

Fearless may be a better word. Or gullible, depending on your view point.

Because for 10 years, this pair have been investigating thing which go bump in the South Yorkshire night. They’ve looked into ghosts, ghouls and ghastly goings on. They’ve searched for spirits and sorcery at asylums, grave yards and Oakwell football stadium. They’ve visited the home of a Greasbrough woman convinced her house was haunted.

“A picture kept falling off her TV,” notes Richard. “We turned the bass down.”

They’ve also published books documenting demonic happenings in Doncaster, Barnsley and Rotherham.

And now? This South Yorkshire Grant and Phil - collectively known as Rotherham Paranormal - are turning their attention to Sheffield. The final addition to the quartet of tomes will be released in the run-up to Halloween this year, and the pair want your stories of the Steel City’s strange and unexplained.

“We’re appealing for information about anything unusual,” says Richard, a 41-year-old environmental health officer, of Wentworth Drive, Rawmarsh. “Sometimes sceptical people say we’re gullible for investigating. But we tend to find those who say that then turn round and want to know what we’ve experienced. They get fascinated.”

And the pair already have some fascinating tales from Sheffield.

They have collated accounts of some of the city’s more famous phantoms including the monk said to haunt the Stocksbridge Bypass, the demonic Spring-Heeled Jack leaping through Attercliffe, and the chilly winds which blow through the city centre’s oldest domestic building, The Old Queen’s Head in Pond Street.

And rational explanations (accidents have been reduced on the bypass since safety measures were introduced, Jack is a British folk legend and the Queen’s Head’s insulation needs improving perhaps) be damned, it seems.

“This book isn’t about proving or disproving which ghosts are real and which aren’t,” says Joe, a 34-year-old roofer of Doncaster Road, Mexborough. “It’s about recording the sightings people claim to have had, and making a permanent recording of what is normally only passed on by word of mouth.”

To that end, they’ve also researched tales of terror at such unusual venues as Dronfield Library (a grey lady wandering amid the books – not the librarian), Ecclesfield Church (another pesky monk) and Meadowhall.

“Several security guards swear the service corridors are haunted,” says Richard, who became intrigued by ghosts after seeing a Victorian gentleman in the family home’s bathroom as a child.

It won’t be the first book on the subject, though.

Haunted Sheffield by P Dreadful (aka Darren Johnson-Smith) came out in 2006.

“But we think this will be popular,” says Richard. “People love ghost stories, especially in their home town. We think we can make your spine tingle.”

Email with your ghost stories.

Supernatural tales from Steel City

Jack The (Old) Lad

Man-like-demon Spring-Heeled Jack has been spotted in Attercliffe for nigh-on 200 years. Yet it seems old age hasn’t calmed his appetite for mischief.

First mentioned in a Sheffield newspaper in 1808, says Richard Bramall, he was also sighted in 1971 where several people claimed he leapt a row of terrace houses. Which puts Jessica Ennis’s high jump in the shade a bit.

Haunted Highway

Stockton Bypass was labelled the UK’s scariest road when two Ecclesfield police officers filed a report claiming they had seen the robbed torso of a monk. Since then several accidents have been blamed on the apparition – by ghost writers, if not by accident investigators.

Meadowhall Misery

Think Meadowhall is Hell on a Saturday? Try the service corridors after dark.

Several security guards have sworn shadows appear and footsteps are heard with no rational explanation.