Leeds Mercury (17/Apr/1862) - Local and General: Lockwood Scarr Ghost

This particular article was reproduced widely in other newspapers, including the London Evening Standard (18/Apr/1862).

The following is a transcription of a historic newspaper article and may contain occasional errors. If the article was published prior to 1 June 1957, then the text is likely in the Public Domain.


Lockwood Scarr Ghost.

In these stirring times of spirit-rapping and spiritualistic speculation, a spectral scene would be welcomed by some as a novelty not to be lightly esteemed ; but that the children, big and little, of Lockwood Scarr were to be scared by a peculiarly pale-visaged individual wandering about the hilly region for a period of three weeks without remedy, was a thing not to be expected ; yet such appears to have been the case, as developed during the hearing of a charge of assault brought by Matthew Shaw, barber, Lockwood, against Alfred Hanson, also a resident of Lockwood. It appeared that as Shaw was passing along the street, in the neighbourhood of the White Lion Inn, about ten o'clock on Saturday night last, having just emerged from some fields in the vicinity, Hanson said something to him. Complainant asked what it was, and in reply received a blow on the face, causing blood to flow freely from the nose, and gave him a kick that hurt the cap of one of his knees. It appeared that the defendant, who had got the name of "The Lockwood Scarr Ghost," had been wandering about the neighbourhood for some three weeks.

Policeman No. 249, stationed at Lockwood, had seen the defendant in his perambulations wearing a disguise, but he generally managed to avoid "No. 249" by walking on the other side of the way, or by holding up an umbrella when it did not rain.

William Eagle deposed to seeing complainant disguised on the night in question with a wig and moustache.

Caroline Brown, a little girl about twelve years of age, residing at Lockwood Scarr, described the complainant as she had seen him dressed on three occasions. Once in a long coat buttoned from the throat to the knees, and having on a big hairy cap ; another time wearing the long coat and billy-cock; and the third time having on the long coat and an old bonnet. On one of these occasions he seized the girl, about eight o'clock, and took hold of her can, and so frightened her that she could not go to sleep for a long time after she went to bed.

Eliza Goldthorpe, a married woman, residing in Salford, Lockwood, knew the complainant, who was recognised as the Lockwood Scarr Ghost. The previous Wednesday night fortnight he appeared to her in a long coat, hairy cap, and wig, and assaulted and frightened her by seizing hold of her suddenly and unawares.

Mr. John Brooke, presiding Magistrate, addressing the complainant, said "You are a very foolish old fellow : go about your business." This injunction was obeyed by the foolish old fellow charging Joshua Megson with assaulting him on the previous Friday night, viz., on the 11th inst. The complainant, it appeared, was prowling about the same neighbourhood, when the defendant met with him near St. Mary's well, where he had een secreting himself and frightening children by suddenly coming out of his hiding-place and seizing hold of some of them. The defendant, by way of rescuing the children and ascertaining who and of what nature the Lockwood Scarr Ghost was, went in "right and left like a demon," so saith the ghost, and gave him a black eye and a few kicks about the body.

Mrs. Arnold heard the screaming of some children, one of whom cried out "Mother," and upon the child's mother coming to the door she said — "See, there is the old villain again." Witness had seen the complainant going about in his peculiar dress before, and saw the defendant get hold of the "ghost" to see who he was, but did not observe any blow actually struck.

The defendant, however, admitted striking the complainant, and urged that under the circumstances of the case he only "served him right."

The Bench, in their magisterial capacity, however, judged otherwise, and fined Megson 2s. 6d. and expenses. Mr. Dransfield, who appeared for the defence, had the honour of the promise of a visitation from the complainant, who threatened to "mark him."