Sunderland Ghost stories - Grisly tales from Sunderland's most haunted places

With Halloween approaching, what better time to familiarise yourself with the most haunted spots in Sunderland?

Friday, 1st November 2019, 7:35 pm

The Copt Hill Pub

The Houghton Pub is 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.

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Hylton Castle: The Cauld Lad of the castle is probably Sunderlands most famous ghost

Hylton Castle

The Cauld Lad of the castle is probably Sunderland’s most famous ghost, said to be the spirit of stable boy Robert Skelton who was killer after being caught napping by Baron Robert Hylton.

The Ships Isis

The city centre pub is reputed to be haunted by Victorian serial killer Mary Ann Cotton.

The Ship Isis: Haunted by Victorian serial killer Mary Ann Cotton

Cotton is thought to have had about 21 victims and some believe the remains of one or two may lain on the site of the inn. Crying, screaming and singing have been heard and apparitions of a young girl and Victoria lady have been seen by staff and customers.

The Royalty Theatre

Originally built as a church in the 1800s, the building was used as a hospital throughout the First World War. Ghostly footsteps and are heard on stage and in the back stairwell and full apparitions are seen at the back of the auditorium.

The Jolly Sailor

The Royalty Theatre: Ghostly footsteps and are heard on stage and in the back stairwell

Legend has it the Whitburn pub is haunted by a Green Lady - a lovelorn girl who was dumped by a visiting coachman.

There were no dating apps in those days, and so she pined herself away. She’s said to haunt the upstairs of the pub in her fine green dress, bought to impress her would-be suitor.

Lumley Castle Hotel

Supposedly haunted by the spirit of a 14 Century lady of the manor, Lily Lumley who was apparently murdered by two priests after refusing to be Catholic. It is believed she was thrown down in a well on the castle grounds.

The Jolly Sailor: Legend has it the Whitburn pub is haunted by a Green Lady - a lovelorn girl who was dumped by a visiting coachman

There has also been the sighting of a strange man sitting in the corner of the bar and orbs are often seen in pictures taken in guests’ hotel rooms, with some light anomalies also witnessed.

The Sunderland Empire

The theatre is reportedly plagued by an eerie cackling attributed to the ghost of Carry On legend, Sid James who suffered a fatal heart attack on the stage at the venue in 1976. The star died in hospital, not in the theatre as some believe, but his spirit is said to linger there nevertheless.

Comedian Les Dawson was reportedly so blankety blanked by a visitation from Sid that he refused to return to the venue.

If it is true, Sid’s spirit resides in a veritable supernatural flatshare. 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. Molly has been named as the building’s White Lady, thought to have been there since the 1940s.

Washington Old Hall

The Sunderland Empire: Reportedly plagued by an eerie cackling attributed to the ghost of Carry on legend, Sid James

The ancestral home of the United States’ 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.

Worm Hill, Washington

Not a ghost, but one of the North East’s most enduring legends, this is the home of the Lambton Worm - or rather one of the homes of the Lambton Worm.

Now facing a sleepy residential area, the hill has been named as the spot where the overgreen eel-like creature of the traditional story likes to make itself comfy. But even a mythic monster finds it hard to resist the allure of the property ladder and in later versions of the tale, Penshaw Hill is the one he wraps himself around at the end of a long day. Could there be any foundation of truth to the myth?

Washington Old Hall: Reputedly haunted by a grey lady who walks the corridors of the upper floor
Penshaw Monument: Penshaw Hill is said to be one of the placed the Lambton Worm lives.