A live streaming event led to paranormal investigators encountering a restless spirit from the past. British team Retford Ghost Hunters, based in Nottinghamshire, were exploring Sheffield General Cemetery by night when the floating spectre presented itself… or rather, herself!
While they didn’t see the ghost themselves, one of their eagle-eyed audience did. Ghost Hunters’ head honcho Rachel Parsons was alerted to, in her words, a “floating white lady” who appeared in footage from October 17th. She’s quoted by the Daily Mail, who wrote the figure was “lingering by the graves” in the run up to midnight.
Not that Parsons didn’t sense something was up at the time. She reportedly picked up on an unquiet observer as she roamed amongst the gravestones. “It felt like she was a tormented woman” Parsons revealed “and it made me feel uneasy most the way round.”
Why was this translucent presence tormented? The answer lies in who she might be. Parsons and co think the ghost is that of 19th century widow Katherine Parker.
Mrs Parker faced financial ruin and a bleak future alongside her 5 children following the death of husband William in 1837. Parker is referred to as a merchant. When he passed away, Katherine and family were not provided for. Tragically, she took her own life by hanging 7 years later… easy to believe she might be haunting the high profile graveyard.
William held a highly prestigious role in the city as Master Cutler of Sheffield. What’s a Master Cutler? They represent the area’s proud industrial past. Sheffield built a chunk of its reputation on steel and cutlery production. William Parker would have headed up the Company of Cutlers in Hallamshire, which has been in existence since 1624.
The group’s website details how the Company is elected on an annual basis, made up of “a Master, two Wardens, six Searchers and twenty-four Assistants.” They support local communities by promoting business, protecting the city name and working with charities and educational bodies.
Mr Parker’s demise ties in with the formation of Sheffield General Cemetery. The Victorian resting place was created as a necessity in the face of grim reality. A cholera pandemic swept the country in 1832 and Britain needed fresh graves. BBC News writes that nearly 90,000 souls are buried there. It closed in 1978.
William Parker was among the Cemetery’s first occupants. His memorial is Grade II listed. He shares the grounds with other notable figures from Sheffield’s history. These include George Bassett, who founded famous British confectionary brand Bassett’s. The location is on the National Register of Historic Parks and Gardens, compiled by English Heritage.
Retford Ghost Hunters aren’t the only ones taking part in eerie activity at the site. In October BBC News reported on survey work to be undertaken at the Cemetery.
Lucky investigators are descending into the creepy catacombs to see how they’re bearing up. Not a task for the faint-hearted! The 1930s saw a “concrete structure” built there, and modern day experts want to see if it’s made an “impact” on things down below.
Quoted by the BBC, Cabinet Member for Culture, Parks and Leisure Mary Lea described the Cemetery as “a fascinating and unique part of Sheffield’s history”.
It’s been a busy year for Parsons’ team. Run up to Halloween aside, they also met another “White Lady” in the shape of Lady Arabella Stuart at Rufford Abbey – part of the legendary Sherwood Forest – in September.
Stuart, Mary Queen of Scots’ niece, starved to death at the Tower of London. She was in line for the throne but wound up perishing in bleak circumstances. “I told our viewers watching the live stream on Facebook to get screenshotting” commented Parsons to Lincolnshire Live, “because I knew she was there.”
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In the 21st century eyes are everywhere. The ghoulish gaze of spooks haunting historic locations. And the watchful eyes of people glued to their devices…