Ghosts of Sunderland: 13 of the most haunted buildings in the Sunderland area - and the spirits that walk them

Spectres in pubs, the famous Cauld Lad - and even a haunted Greggs.

Tuesday, 5th February 2019, 7:50 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th March 2019, 1:58 pm
Haunted Sunderland

There are plenty of tales about Sunderland's haunted buildings and the ghosts said to walk them. Here's a look at some of the spookiest spots in the area.

Reputedly Sunderlands most haunted pub, thought to be visited by victims of Mary Ann Cotton. Crying, screaming and singing have been heard, and apparitions of a young girl and a Victorian lady seen by staff and customers.
Reportedly plagued by an eerie cackling attributed to to the ghost of Carry On legend Sid James, who suffered a fatal heart attack on stage at the venue in 1976.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The front of house is also said to be haunted by the ghost of music hall star Vesta Tilley and a stage manager, Molly Moselle.
Originally built as a church in the 1800s, the building was used as hospital throughout the First Word War. Ghostly footsteps are heard on stage and in the back stairwell, and full apparitions are seen at the back of the auditorium.
Said to be haunted by the tormented spirit of a former landlord who hanged himself from a beam in the bar. Customers have claimed to have seen an apparition of his dangling body.
The ancestral home of Americas first president, George Washington, is reputedly haunted by a grey lady, who walks the corridors of the upper floor and is sometimes seen weeping. No one knows who she is, or why she is crying.
Other ghostly goings-on at the Old Hall, which was used as tenement block in its past, include a strong smell of lavender perfume reported in the entrance hall and the figures of children seen playing on the stairs.
The Cauld Lad is probably Sunderlands most famous ghost, said to be the spirit of stable boy Robert Skelton, who was killed after being caught napping by Baron Robert Hylton.
We haven't heard of any recent sightings, but spooked staff have kettles boiling by themselves, banging and clashing, and a smell of lavender.
Supposedly haunted by the spirit of a 14th Century lady of the manor, Lily Lumley, who was apparently murdered by two priests after refusing to become Catholic. It is believed she was thrown down in a well on the castle grounds.
There has also been the sighting of a strange man that has been sitting in the corner of the bar, and orbs are often seen in pictures taken guests hotel rooms, with some light anomalies also witnessed.
The grotto's most famous ghost relates to a smuggler named John the Jibber, said to have been murdered by his fellow criminals by being hung in a barrel in a cave close to the present lift shaft and left to starve.
The museum lies on the site of RAF Usworth. The airfield was used in both World Wars. Each of its hangars have their own ghostly entities, some associated with the airfield and some with the planes which are now housed there.
Mysterious hammerings reported on the toilet doors, while burglar alarms have been triggered. The ghost of an airman is also said to have been seen in the bar, which sits next to the former RAF Usworth site.
Legend has it the pub is haunted by a Green Lady - a lovelorn girl who was dumped by a visiting coachman, and pined herself away. She haunts the upstairs of the pub in her fine green dress, bought to impress her would-be suitor.
There are reports of paranormal activity including a nurse called Rachael and the spirit of a man who apparently died of unnatural causes in the pub.
The lighthouse, which was investigated by TV show Most Haunted, is said to house several ghosts, including a lighthouse keeper, a lady, and a pitman who worked at the nearby mine.