A common misconception when we are a teen or even in the essence of adulthood is that our parents never experienced the same rebellious stages. That there could be no possible chance they have experienced life in such a way you did. Of course, as the years roll by and family gatherings unfold more and more stories from the senior members of the family, you begin to understand that everyone has their share of tales to tell.
Not all stories were meant to be told.
Georgia reached out about a horrific tale that took place in 1978 when her mother was just 16. Georgia pressed her mother, Sue for the details of the night after hearing Sue’s younger sister talking about the incident. A night that should have been filled with tomfoolery and young love turned sinister very quickly.
After starting college in the September Sue found a group of new friends, very different to those she had met in high school. They were adventurous and keen to make their own fun during the drab winter months. Sue had grown close to one friend, Lyn. Straight away they became inseparable often diverting away from the main group of friends to meet up with others outside of college. Mid October 1978 saw Sue and Lyn on their way to meet Lyn’s new boyfriend, Rob. He was joined by his two friends; Simon and Craig. Craig was slightly older than the sixteen-year-olds and asserted control over the small group. Now, from what Sue told Georgia, she was in no means dressed for their plans that evening. They had intended on visiting travelling funfair; so, Sue had aptly dressed in a just above the knee skirt and a long-sleeved raglan coat. It was only as they walked past the fair they found themselves outside an old graveyard in Walton, Liverpool.
“Why are we here? The fair is back there?”
“Craig found a way to get to that old chapel.”
“You know I can’t break in there!”
“Sue, we know your granddad does the beat around here but we’re not going to get caught. Just going to have a bit of fun. Calm down and lighten up!”
Worry set into Sue’s stomach as they waited until the last of the carnival goers had passed by before climbing over the wall. It became obvious that this had been the plan all along. Sue and Lyn were the last two to find out the plan. Clearing the wall, they headed to the second set of gates. Relief washed across Sue’s face when she saw the bundles of heavy chains keeping the gates fixed in place. However, Craig knew they would need to break the chains open and came prepared. Five minutes had past when the final chain crashed to the ground. Fearing that someone may have heard the quintet dashed through the cemetery, passing the graves as they came to a derelict chapel near the back. The chapel itself was nothing more than wood and slabs of cold concrete slightly askew and weather beaten. It’s unknown why the chapel was left for thirty years to rot away in the rain and cold.
Many people had spoken about hearing strange noises from the disused chapel. Perhaps that why the groundskeeper ensured no one could get in. Craig visited the chapel a few nights before the incident to check where they could enter the chapel without being seen. A back door seemed like the perfect entrance as it was isolated away but had the least security. When it was in use this entrance would have been where the workers left after treating bodies and readying them for burial. Carefully sneaking around the back, Craig cracked the lock open. The chapel was open once more.
“Who is going first then?” Craig began to laugh sinisterly.
Arguing who was going down there was only one way to settle this fairly. A coin flip decided that Sue and Lyn would be the first to venture down. Down into the bowels of the unknown.
Simon and Rob stood at the top of the staircase with a torch, watching as the girls twisted and turned down the spiralling steps. Spark from a match gave enough light for them to see around the cold room. In front of her Sue could see a stone table where coffins would be left before burial or cremation. Cracks in the stone proved that the place hadn’t been used for a long time. To the left, small rusted plaques engraved with names of those cremated at the site, most had no family to visit them anymore. They looked like small doors, almost holding in the hundreds of souls. Souls that glared upon them. One stood out to Sue, Julia Procter 1894 – 1917, written underneath, ‘A wonderful daughter and sister. May you rest peacefully with Bernie’. Looking around at the other small plaques she could not find a ‘Bernie’ anywhere. As an icy chill scratched down her spine the match burnt out.
Quick to ignite another match Sue turned to the right. Facing them, a wooden door that led to another room. With a reassuring nod to each other, they walked forward. All of this to prove that they could do it and not run scared. The girls turned towards the door. Determined to show the boys there was nothing to fear inside the old chapel except the cold, musty smell of decaying wood and concrete. The closer they got the realisation that the handle turned slowly started to set in. There was someone behind that door, but how? The locks on the chapel were older than all of them. They needed to get out. Slowly, Sue and Lyn backed themselves against the wall next to the staircase, until the door began to shake violently.
Watching from the staircase, Simon and Rob scrambled back upstairs dived out of the chapel leaving Sue and Lyn inside. Standing outside, a sinister look swept Craig’s face.
‘Let’s leave them in a little longer,’ he laughed.
All three boys held the door while their friends banged on the door. The banging stopped. Inside, Sue could hear a faint noise drifting up the spiralling stairs. That’s when the screeching started.
Emerging from the shaking door they had just ran from, a woman’s cry could be heard. Terrified that whatever was on the other side of that door would soon appear, they began banging louder. The cry clawed closer. Cold air sprayed across their backs. The entire room was completely freezing. A breath whispered past their ears.
Their hands stopped, frozen on the door as the whisper grumbled into a shout. They continued trying to push the door with heavy arms, but the door stood still. Another whispered breath etched past their ears. Just as Sue and Lyn thought they would face what was behind them, the door opened. They had to look back, it was almost instinctive, nothing could be seen. No face, no body just the emptiness of an empty chapel. One final scream cascaded out as the door slammed shut from the disused chapel. This pushed the teens to their toes, heading back towards the gate.
They managed to escape without spirit or groundskeeper following them. Walking back along the canal home, not one of the five mentioned what happened. Sue recalled she feared if it was spoken about that it would enable the spirit to follow them home. It was an experience they all wished to keep hidden and quiet inside the safety of a locked chapel.
Many years later Sue went back to the graveyard to visit a friend’s grave. Looking around she saw the clearing where the chapel once stood. Speaking with the groundskeeper, Sue learnt that the chapel had burnt down. No one knew the reason why. No arson or foul play was detected. It seemed to have gone up in flames all by itself.
Some believe it was because many of the prisoners hung at Walton Gaol were still alive when they came to the chapel. Some believe that they were buried and burnt alive. People are unsure what haunts that chapel. Was it an inmate? Maybe their victim? Perhaps the screeching disembodied cries are something you want to research yourself.
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