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Spooky Stories

the headless statue

Peg o'Nell's ghost

Alan Pickover met up with a hooded figure after midnight... could it have been the ghost of Peg O'Nell?

"I have always been sceptical of the supernatural, however events last night have made me change my opinions vastly.

I work as a shift manager at Castle Cement, Clitheroe and last night saw something that I cannot explain.

Part of my duties involve a drive into the surrounding countryside every 12 hours to monitor the plume from our chimney stacks.

On this occasion, the drive took me to Waddow Hall at Waddington, where I parked the van and got out to watch the plume. The time was somewhere just after midnight, so obviously it was relatively dark and there was a chill in the air.

It was then I became aware of a presence, that started out as a shadow, but as my eyes became accustomed to the gloom I could make out a hooded figure that appeared to be making it's way towards me. As it moved, it seemed to glide, and as it approached it became obvious that it was much bigger than myself, and appeared rather sinister. At this point I retreated to the van and drove off back to the works - I am not ashamed to say that I was absolutely terrified.

On raising this with my colleagues, a number of them told me that it must have been Peg O'Nell, a ghost out of local folklore. Whatever it was, it has changed my perception of how I view the supernatural forever, and means that I will be very wary the next time I venture into that area again at night."

last updated: 15/12/05
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Have you had a ghostly experience in Lancashire? Tell us your spooky stories.
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Me and my year group from st.josephs in Heyword went to waddow hall for 3 days. On the last night my friends jorge,callum and jack were in a different room to me and they said there was a ghost in the corner of their curtains.

I have been to waddow hall recently and the was weird precences around the well where she died.

Am sorry, i live next to Pendle Hill and nothing "scary" happens. It is mainly myths and i think Most Haunted ruined the perception of Pendle Witches. Am going to Waddow Hall tomorrow on a School Trip, let's hope Peg won't scare me *rolls eyes*

i was in peg o nell's room in year 6 and i was in there for 4 days and there were cracks on the wall. we kept hearing noises from the window. this room is called liverpool south

i recently stayed in waddow hall, i Was on a leadership course :)and due to broWnies Staying in the venue we headed upto bed relatively early. my friend peter was staying alone in a room due to an odd number of people. he was drifting off to sleep when the draws opened. he closed them and began to get Scared. they opened again and shook. with thiS peter ran out of hiS room terrified and the girls beloW said they saw a ghoSt aswell. the next day i aSked an instructor if Waddow Hall iS haunted. she said a ghost noW called pego supposedly haunts the old building. room 14 iS one of the main oneS. get ghost busting!

i was stayin at waddow hall in yr 6 n i saw peg o nell!!!! i was stayin in da most haunted room in da place called lincolnshire south. it was night time n i needed da loo n i saw a hooded figure outside n itwas comin closer. i closed mi eyes n wen i opened um itwas gone !!!! scaary!!!

nogbad the bad
I stayed in Clitheroe and we did a night walk past Waddow hall at midnight. We didn't feel or see anything usual. It's just an old building with a hyped up reputation by those fakes of most haunted and the same goes for that farm in pendle.

I Was in st bernards btw

We went there in year 6. We stayed in the room Manchester. In the short time we spent in tht room we had a party for my friends birthday and we sat in the dark and read that story in a folder. The nxt day the window was locked, the hair dryer came on by its self and pictures came off the walls. It was SO CREEPY.

I am in the guides and we went to Waddow hall for a camp holiday we stayed in the main building. The people who i was sharing a dorm with decided to go and have a look around the house. We went down some stairs and they took us to this kind of prayer room which had a bible in and a cross. We looked in the room but it was well scary. Later on we decided to go back to the room so when we went back the cross had moved onto the table and the bible had been moved outside of the room. No one had been in that room at wddow so it was very scary

we went there and i seen it

I stayed at waddow hall for 3 days first two day were good but on the last day we found out about peg o nell and got well scared but all round it was sick.

i stayed at waddow hall this weekend and heard of the is said that the ghost drowns someone every 7 years, and the last person to die was in 2007, which was a year ago...and if you look back in to who has died at waddow hall, someone dies every 7 years.However Peg 'O' Nell is a friendly ghost and only haunts the river on the day she died, also she helps us look for things that we have lost, like when we went i lost my keys and looked everywhere, and a day later they were found on a chair in one of the bedrooms, even though we looked there a billion times.

pegg o nell
all you better watch it

i was staying at Waddow Hall with all my class, and we went to see pegonells well. We were all freaked out already, but then we looked at the well and there was a women there dressed in black stood by it. When we looked back on our way back to the hall, she was gone. Weird!!!!!

i was staying at waddow hall with my freinds and we were looking in the waddow hall book and were in the stables and it said peg o nell haunted the stables!! spooky.

i used to go to guides and stayed here at waddow hall the was always a girl in the st.helens room saying that she could here snoring and bangs and shouts under the floor boards everyone thought she was being stupid i even saw cuboards opening and closing on there own and i actually saw the statue and couldnt sleep after that thankfully it was the last night

i go to this club at trinity youth club when i got there i was eating my tea with my friend i just fell to the ground and hit my head i didnt feel any thing though and everyone said i went with a great bang and i felt drained of all my energy

i in my house at redcar i was talking to my mum as i was packing to go to waddow hall with guides, anyway i was in her room and they have got this old fasiond green phone (it doesnt work any more) but it started ringing for about 2 seckonds and then the phone fell of its stand.but the strange thing is i was talkin about the ghost of Peg o'nell at the time.

well i was just in ma school toilets and in the grid above me i heard breathing and i saw eyes in the grid above i was so scared i ran off!!

it was at waddow hall we where camping at one of the halls and one morning i looked out of the window onto the river .I took a video as it looked so nice. Then as i started filming and in front of a tree there was a lite orb.

Me and a couple of mates were walking near Edisford River at about 10.35PM and we heard the ound of frantic digging in a field. We also heard the most vile coughing and choking noise. Then we saw a bright flash and a huge black figure gliding towards us with anger. Peggy??

it shouldnt be that scary. iv had that happened to me when i went there, what if she needed help with something, some ppl can actually be attacked by ghosts, maybe it was her way of getting attenetion.

Joe from our lady's catholic high school
We went into the hall and it was very scary.

Weve just got back from waddow hall on are school residentail when my mate told me he just felt drained of his energy and just fell on his bed. Peg O'nell?

i was passing through waddow hall yesterday and i became really ill and felt sudden pressure over me which fully drained me, could this have been peg o'nell?

st. matthew's girls
waddow hall was well good!

jessica from st. matthews
when we went to waddow hall it woz fun but it was scary when we heard the peg o'nell story because we cept hearing banging on our doors at night it was so scary but the worst bit was when we saw the well that sh fell down IT WAS SOOOO SCARY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

paige n jess
we went to waddow.on the first night when were changing for evening all the doors kept opening by them selfs.then the signs that you have on the doors kept shaking and being knocked off.then our mates heard someone crying in manchester room(which was mine) and they walked in and no one was there.then we kept all the lights on and after tea i went to the room and the lights were flickering we were so scared ...!is pegg hauntin us?.....

i am really scared about waddow halls ghost! on the 3rd day of staying there my head teacher told us the story of peg o' nell. i was so scared in my room that night that i couldnt sleep! that night i had nightmares that she wanted to get me n got me! i was so scared!!!!!i stayed in liverpool south and we had our own little corridor! we heard people walking down it in the middle of the night and every1 was a sleep! IT WAS SO SCARY!!!!!

Laura R
In February 2007 i went with my guide group to stay at Waddow Hall and we all had a joke about O'Nell and started calling her Wet Nelly because she was meant to have committed suicide in the river. One morning we woke up to find that all of the pictures had been turned upside down. The Guide leaders thought it was the guides and the guides thought it was the guide leaders. On closer inspection, we saw that the pictures had been completely turned upside down (not twisted as if someone had done it quickly)It was a shock because the pictures were that high that the tallest girl could only just reach it with the tip of her fingers! So who could it of been....???

diana and miaala
i went to waddow hall recantley and we dint experinanced much o

i was walking past waddow hall about 11pm i saw a very tall shape i knew it was peg'o nell so i ran home . i was very scared

yes, channing is correct, she was a drowned witch in the 17th century. Don't be frightened of her, unless she looks like shes about to attack, then inform the ghost busters immediatly!

waddow halls fun

its sed that if yu walk around the tomb of the WOODPLUMPTON Witch her hand d reach out and grab yu and drag yu down.apparently shes digging down to the ozzies.she was put in the stocks outside the church and killd by a rolling rock!

am going ther friday if iam not to scared

my grandads story
My grandad lived in a haunted house and had to move because of it. wot happened was he woke up in the middle of the night to find his drinked had been nocked over and the glass was hal;f way across the room and there were paper towels on the floor covering the wet. he just thought it was my grandma and so he left it. Then he woke up 3 hours later about 5.30 and there was a little boy stood at the end of his bed staring at him bouncing a ball! my grandad screamed and ran out of the room and fell asleep downstairs on the couch he woke up in the morning and told my grandma and they moved house because of it! he doesnt like telling anyone this story now because it was soo scary! xxxxx

Emma and Abi
We went to Waddow Hall for our year 6 trip and we were both in the Manchester room and we heard a noise like scraching on the roof and we were all really scared but then we went and told someone and we found out that we had squirels in our roof!! lol. But another boy who went with us was in his room with his mates and he opened the bathroom door and all the mirrors and stuff fell off the wall!! And... another boy saw a white man on a white horse going around the corridor!! OMG! he got his quilt and strted crying on our beds and we all know its not like boys to cry! dont let this put you off because its really fun!! thanks! the girlies n jason xxxx

I was there when the insident with laura happened i was crying my eyes out so i couldnt see her propper she turned the light off and told us everything will be ok so we went to sleep with the lights on. But on the first night me and my mate gemma were on the 3rd floor and i was trying to go to sleep when someone or something whispered in my ear i turned around and there was nothing there and thats why i went into lauras room.

most of my friends have experienced ghosts but i have not seen one and idont belive in what i dont see

Channing (again!)
ive been doing lots of reaserch and come up with htis so far (sorry if its incorrect - im merely guessing) peg o nell was accused of being a witch and got drowned in the river. now she is coming out at night - but how do we know shes doiong something bad? think about it - all our stories have been her coming towards us, perhaps shes a lonely ghost, and we all run away from her, terrified. man, we gotta be more considerate.

me and my friend Amanda were driving around in lancashire at night. we came across a river and started taking pictures to bring back to Alabama with us to show our mates but as we got out something half glided half flew towards us. we got a little freaked out so we went back to the car. we went again in daylight and there was nothing there... someone suggested going to Lancashire Hall too see what ghostly encounters we could find there, but after reading Jospeh Gages story and all the other things that happend to the same people as joseph gage, we decided we were merely tourists, not ghost hunters!

Jayne T
OMG! I had the exact same experience as Joseph and Sophie. How freaky!!

me and my friend had the same thing that happened to Joseph Gage

Ghost Busters, Clitheroe
I doubt this is Peg O' Nell, but this is totally true. Just down the River Ribble on the bridge to West Bradford there is some kind of rapids in the water. Alot of people I know who use to hang out in West Bradford and walk back to Clitheroe in the early 80's have seen the ghost of a woman with a child in her arms walking down the river. Alot of people have seen it. Some very close friends and I know for a fact that they were not lying....I know them too well. If people went looking for it (me included) you would never find it..but if you forgot all about it and just so happened to look over the side of the bridge at night there was a good chance this apparition would appear. The really spooky bit for me on a personal note was about 2 years ago I was in Clitheroe library checking out the history of the area around there in this old book. In no way was I looking for ghosts and anything daft like that. The book had a newspaper account of a very sad story about a woman who had tried to cross the river in flood with her baby and drowned!! As far as I can remember the bridge wasn't built then...or the old wooden one had been washed way in the flood. It was also a very sad report because the woman who had tried to cross the Ribble had, had some very bad dealings with her husband.

Joseph Gage
me and my mate were in a hall. The hall was lined with cupboards full of books. Suddenly the big heavy doors of the hall slammed shut, a chill went through the room. We ran to the door and tried to open it but it wouldnt budge! We were terrified! We sat with our backs against the stage. On the floor were about 10 ghostly shadows gliding towards us, but we were the only ones in the room. The cupboard doors flew open and more shadows joined, knocking out all the books at us. The books fell open at a page titled 'Ghosts Of Lancashire Hall' we were so frightened we are never going there again!

The story of Peg o'Nell forms the basis of the song "The Demon of the Well" written by Ken Nicol on the latest Steeleye Span CD "Bloody Men". Saw this performed live twice - brilliant.....

me and my mates were sleeping over at our school and we were going to the toilet and we heard this person crying so we looked under the door and there was a girl in victorian clothes and we opened the door to take a closer look and there was nothing there but we still heard crying so we checked under evry door and the same thing happened she would be there one minute and gone the next!! we could'nt sleep the whole night knowing that somebody was always there!!

When me and some mates were walking home from a party and decided to take a short cut through a graveyard, i started to hear singing. I looked and saw three children singing 'ring'o ring'o roses' and then after about three seconds they dissapeared!When we got to my house i told my friend what happened and she explained to me that was a song children used to sing in the black death (plauge)! SCARY!!

when me and some mates went to waddow one night we found the well and as we were taking pictures of the well there was no fog or mist but when we looked at the picture there was a mist around the well also we could see someone over the river in the woods moving so we soon left

Amanda Harrison
I worked at Waddow Hall for 12 months during 1991. I have to admit I had heard many a story from the staff there but didn't believe any of what they were saying. My job was as a house junior along with 3 Danish girls. We use to clean the rooms once the Guiders had left after training. On many occasion, being young as we were, we did play tricks on each other hiding in cupboards and behind doors etc. But one day seems to stick in mind for a reason. We were working on the top floor by the St Helens room after hiding from one of the others girls. We heard some rather strange noises coming from the room. We presumed that it was one of the others hiding and trying to scare us but when we looked there was no one around. Spooky! It was only after watching Most Haunted last halloween when they filmed live from Waddow Hall that I remembered what we had heard. I definately believe the stories of Waddow being haunted and would warn others not to mock at what they hear as you never know who is behind you.

mary ann richer
My grandfather's family saw a ghost in the entry to a church at night when there was no electric lights and four persons swear it is true.

This one is of peg o,nell. this year i had been to waddow for the first time with school, and when i came face to face with her statue, me and the rest of the class were terrified to the bone, and we couldn't go in our rooms without our friends, it was haunted. the first sighting was when we came back from activities, and all the rooms were upside down. sweet wrappers on floors, running taps, evan stolen undies! But we heard moaning on the top floor, and this girl of our own age kept on coming down the corridor. in one room, there was a strong human presence, and windows were opening in cheshire room, and nothing was in the same place in the forest room, though at first we thought it was a staff member or other of our students, but it was all happening when we were alseep, on activities, or having meals. Evan though it was only a few weeks ago, we all know Peg was with us, and it is the year she takes her victim!!

Terry & Margaret Goodwin
While staying at Waddow Hall in August of 1987, we had an experience which we believe was Peg O'Nell. While having breakfast one morning a couple of Guide Leaders mentione that there bedroom door had opened during the night. Our bedroom door, which was next to theirs also opened and as the doors had been lined due to fire regulations, they were very heavy and wouldn't have opened by themselves. The other Leaders were aware of Peg's existence but we weren't until told about her. On arriving back in Australia, we got some photo's developed and in one of them, an ghostly figure appears at one of the windows. When looking at the Hall from the river, it was the fifth window from the left on the third floor. Having read the following letters I'm convinced of her presence.

It was when i was 10 in my primary school everyone came running out the school toilets girls obviously. They said that the doors were slamming open and shut and they heard someone crying i didnt think it was true so me and my very not good friend natanya went in. YES it was true the doors slammed there was crying and there was like a cold wind moving around us. Seeing as none of the girls ever went into the toilets again they closed it up and changed it into a bit of a conference room and made new toilets that looked great compared to the old ones.

i know it sounds pathetic but ive seen the ghost of my old cat...

a week ago i was at trinaty and a gost pushed me over

the truth
Actually.. Peg-a-nell had a love affair with a man, her father and his friend, who had two daughters and wanted one of them to marry this man peg-a-nell loved, didnt like the fact that they loved each other. They took peg-a-nell from her bedroom, tied her hands and feet together and drowned her in the river near waddow hall.

A 13 year old
No...she didn't fall into the river she was drowned by a Llady (who owned Waddow Hall) and the Head Butler!

i went waddow hall couple of years back and i was out by the river ribble when i saw a very tall woman slowly moving in the mist i was terrified! i was getting visions of what happend to her and i found out she is young girl fell into the river when she was alive!

Lady Joker and Nutmeg
We were both walking past Clitheroe castle on a friday night. We were walking home to our flat where our best mate was waiting for us. We heard voices coming from the keep so we looked over the wall to where the voices were. We saw two figures, small and old-fashioned. Two children from the Victorian age, We thought it was just kids playing. But when we called to them that it was late, they looked at us and disappeared, laughing.

i was walking up eves hall lane near three rivers caravan park when i saw a figure of a man stood in the middle of the road i walked towards him and he dissapeared i was shocked

laura livsey
hi im laura i went to waddow hall last year n i was in liverpool south sleeping for a night wre all knew about peg nell and was realy scared there was a picture in our room of a lady who had died we put it in the garden room and the next morning it was gone! then,me n my mates were realy scared the second night and we were crying this lady came into our room,she had a victorian like dress on and had her hair up we said we r realy upsett everyone is talking about ghosts,she sed dont worry iv been working here 50 years an iv never seen a ghost n walked off-oh my god i herd that the day after we went the room st helens (sed to be pegnells room) the floor caved in and the people there had to leave i dont knnow if that is true but DONT GO THERE!!

i was sat down by Edisford river with a fiew of my frends, i admit that i had had a fiew beers. at first i could hear a sort of whisling noise behind me and the laghing of children, i then looked to the left of me and i saw the figure of a victorian looking woman with an umbrella in her hand. i was not aware of the ledgend of peggy at the time but when i returnd home i was told of her. i beleve she was looking after a number of young children as i saw and herd them to.

i know quite alot about the ghost at waddow peg o nell i went this weekend and had to stay on the top floor the scariest 1 with some of my friends. We were all really scared and ended up sleeping all in the same room .It was really scary we heard lots of noises. We were in peg o nells room the haunted room when me and my friend saw a white figure walk across the landing pass the room it was really scary we both jumped at the same time .It was really scary and i do believe that there is a ghost at waddow that haunts mainkl her room and the top floor !!!!!

Katie Phillips
i went to waddow with my friends and it was early hours of the morning when i was lying in my bed next to the door in forest when i saw a figure staring right at me i was really scared and didnt dare to tell any1 till the next morning just in case she did anything to me lol i really scared me!!!

charlotte jackson
and the loft go's bump every time i come in the girl bathroom it scars me i think theres a ghost in there!from charlotte age 9

charlotte jackson
in my school i think there is a ghost inthe loft i do not know?i go to vickers town school thank you.c.j

Mick Davies
Peg o’Nell’s ghost is said to haunt the banks of the river near Clitheroe. The legend says she was a servant at Waddow Hall in the 18th century - maybe earlier. Nobody is sure how she died, but the favourite theory is that she had a row with her employer - who sent her out to fetch water with the parting words: "… and I hope you break your neck". She was never seen again. Peg was said to demand a life every seven years - and if no animal drowned she’d take a human life. The custom of "Peg’s Night" started where an animal or bird was drowned to satisfy her ghost... Peg o’ Nell’s Well is on the river bank below Waddow Hall. It’s rectangular and shallow with a spring bubbling into it. At the side of the well is the stone statue of a woman in a flowing dress - but the statue is headless - which makes identification tricky.

Judith Briscall
I also remember Peg O'Nell's well from visiting Waddow with the Guides, but with the addition to the story that the 'curse of Peg' with its seven year cycle would come to an end when the stone head of the statue was found and returned to its place.

Marion McBride from Clitheroe
My knowledge of this is when I was a lot younger and used to go to Waddow Hall, Nr Clitheroe with the guides. Near the river there is a well, which I think is now covered over, called Peg-a-Nell's well. We were always told that every seven years she rose from this well and took a life. Unfortunately I don't know anymore info but maybe someone from Waddow Hall or around Clitheroe will.

Simon Entwistle
The staff used to get a cockerel and leave it in a cage in Peg’s old room… the last time the cockerel was found dead was in 1973, without a mark on its body.

Kathryn Smith
I used to work at Waddow Hall and have felt something (not sure what) on the top floor. Then I heard the tale of Peg O'Nell and was convinced what I was feeling was her. There was always one room I would never go into on my own and after seeing most haunted live at waddow hall I found out that the room I didnt like was hers. I found it all very spooky but would still love to go back to work there again.

I go to Waddow Hall every year and this year will be the seventh. We always go down to the river but we miss out going on the seventh year. Apparently she haunts one of the rooms in Waddow Hall. That room is the one where she used to sleep and that is the one where me and my parents stay - ahhhhh!

Lyn Cousins
My school which was called Page Moss Primary, went to Waddow Hall each year for a trip from school. I remember my head teacher Mr Hunter telling us the tale of peg onell, we were all really scared but loved the tales that were told. We didn't stay in the big house but in the dormitory next door which made this even more fun. I would love to go back and see everything again, I only wish in those days we took more pictures. I must have been about 10, where do all those years go? (I am now 39).

Ian Wilson
Searching the microfilms in Clitheroe library a few years ago, my friend and I came across an incident involving some accident or drowning on the River Ribble, near Brungerley bridge (this is the bridge that is allegedly cursed). Knowing of the curse, we checked other microfilms of the local news exactly 7 years before and 7 years after the edition of the Clitheroe Advertiser & Times containing the incident. To our amazement, exactly 7 years before, to the nearest edition of the newspaper (which comes out every Thursday) there was a story of an old horse and cart crashing on Brungerley Bridge!! Could this be the curse?? I cannot remember the year exactly (it was late 1800's or early 1900's), but the evidence will still be in Clitheroe Library.

I was haunted by Peg'o'nell. I tripped her up and she swore to get revenge

I was on a holiday at Waddow Hall with my friends and I am really terrified of ghosts. It was the first night of staying there for a weekend and I was just led in my bed watching the world go by, my friends were in the corner chatting. I was tired so I rolled over on my side facing the door and next to me was a dark white/grey figure, I was absolutely terrified it was only there for about a second though and it went. I did not see any details or her face or anything but it was enough! I rolled the other way, pulled the covers over me and went to sleep. I didn't tell any of my friends that night because I thought she might do something to me because there are rumours that she kills someone every 7 years and this was the 7th year! When I got up in the morning I told the people who work there and they said that I probably would have done because that is where people most report seeing her in the room I was staying in! I couldn't believe it. It sent shivers up my spine and I was terrified of staying there another night!

Danielle Houghton
We go a lot to Waddow and me and my friends really wanted to see Peg o nell so we asked if we could go and have a look round the Hall when no one else was inside. It was pitch black as all the lights had been turned off in the building when they locked up a few hours before hand. We walked over to the building noticing some lights were turned on on the top floor (Peg's floor). Lynda our leader works at Waddow and knew that the lights had definitely been turned off earlier. We walked into the Hall and Lynda went for a look around. People say they don't usually see Peg, they just hear her. We were all stood at the bottom of the main steps when we heard a loud cough from the top of the stairs we all heard it and got really scared and hid (lol). We then decided we would all be brave and went to the top floor as Lynda needed to turn the lights off, before we did that though we went to the second floor and the electric clock and battery clock next to it had both stopped at the same time - scary! We then went upstairs nearly wetting ourselves by then not staying long as we were really freaked out. We didn't stay long after that but are planning to go back soon.

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