With his cloak, paisley cravat and silver-topped cane, Stephen Mercer cuts a striking figure. He is someone who should be difficult to lose sight of, even amidst the exuberant bustle of the town centre on a Saturday night. This is a reassuring thought as we assemble, a little apprehensively, outside the VisitBlackpool Tourist Information Centre, to take part in Stephen’s tour of some of central Blackpool’s most haunted locations.
Stephen is clearly enthusiastic about his subject (he’s also written a book entitled “Haunted Blackpool”) and is happy to answer questions about the various hauntings on the tour. He’s decided against wearing his top hat tonight, he explains, due to the blustery winds. Certainly, this summer has brought us some unpredictable weather and autumn seems unlikely to prove any more clement. There again, if you do find yourself out on a dark and stormy night (again!), what could be more congenial to the chilly temperatures than a ghost story or two?
There’s good news for those fans of the supernatural who find a long hike can be a taxing experience: central Blackpool is thought to be very haunted indeed. That means that the ghost walk takes in a lot of sites with just a gentle stroll around the block from the Tower to the Grand Theatre, on to St John’s Church and then the Town Hall before heading back over the road to North Pier. Indeed, a great many tales of ghostly occurrences are packed into the ninety minute tour, something which simply would not have been possible had we entered and explored the locations. However, inspired by the stories, you may well find that you want to take a day to do some investigating at your leisure.
The stories range from the tragic and ultimately horrifying one of “Charlie”, who is said to haunt the Grand Theatre, to the poignant and sometimes humorous play of the “fountain children”. Taken as a whole, they cast some of Blackpool’s best known and most beloved locations in a new and eerie light. Whether you are convinced that ghosts walk among us, you entertain the possibility of a reality in which any division between present and past is more blurred than it may seem, or you firmly believe the whole idea is utter nonsense, this spectral tour offers some fascinating glimpses into Blackpool’s rich history.
Meanwhile, if, like some visitors to the Blackpool Tower Circus, you’re curious to know why a mysterious third clown—sometimes seen performing alongside Mooky and Mr Boo—is not listed in the billing, or if the question of why a mummified cat was bricked up behind the fireplace of a famous Blackpool pub gets your imagination working overtime, the ghost walk reveals the chilling answers to those (and various other) mysteries.
Tickets are £6 (or £3.50 if you’re under 16). You can book online at www.blackpoolghostwalks.co.uk or at the VisitBlackpool Tourist Information Centre, or simply buy one from your guide on the night.
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