Tired of the TV? Bored of the pub? Or just generally seeking an alternative form of midweek entertainment in Sheffield? Look to Mr P Dreadful and his Steel City Ghost Tours, and spend an evening in the company of departed locals.
Ghostly convenor, storyteller and local historian of the paranormal, Mr P has nearly ten years of experience in leading ghost tours of the darker side of Sheffield, sharing tales of the spirits who are thought to inhabit certain city-centre buildings and back streets.
I wanted to get the full ghostly experience so waited for the darker winter nights to set in before joining Mr P on a Thursday night tour. I arrived early and cautiously approached a character standing in the eerie shadows of the entrance to the Town Hall, not at first recognising him as Mr P without the top hat I'd seen him wearing on the Steel City Ghost Tours website. Thankfully, I'd approached the right man, and after I'd paid my fiver and he'd put on his hat, the tour began.
We were immediately told not to expect a Most Haunted/Yvette Fielding-style experience (thankfully). What we did get, though, was a well-researched, enthusiastic and thorough two-hour tour, detailing industrial accidents, macabre business activities, criminal undertakings, and religious and nefarious acts that led to ghostly activities in various places around the city. Before moving from one location to the next, Mr P invites questions, giving you opportunity to dig further into the history of the place and the people whose spirits inhabit it – though expect any response to end with the caveat "and that’s the best answer I can give you”.
Certainly at times a chill ran down my spine. Whether these shivers resulted from the tales of dead children’s faces appearing at windows or the near-freezing conditions on a late November evening is questionable, but we'd advise you to dress warm either way.
Steel City Ghost Walks set off from the Town Hall steps at 7:30pm every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday evening (no need to book), with the only exceptions listed on the website being cases of "nuclear holocaust, natural disaster, or death (then again this one might not stop Mr Dreadful from turning up anyway!)" Mr P also conducts private tours for groups, as well as occasional special themed walks such as Halloween, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Funereal Rites and Myths, and Crime and Murder. And if you happen to find out what the "P" in his name stands for, do let us know.
- Words by
- Luke Wilson
- Images by
- Alys Mordecai