Point an EMF detector in any direction in the UK and you’re bound to pick up a ghost or a haunted house, and it’s a good bet that the house at one time or another has billed itself as “The UK’s Most Haunted.” However, a few deserve a spot in the top ten and one of them is 30 East Drive in Pontefract, West Yorkshire, whose poltergeist activities provided inspiration for the movie “When the Lights Went Out.” It also inspired British pop singer Charlotte Hannah to record her latest music video there, and what happened during the filming may move 30 East Drive up a notch on the “Most Haunted” list.
"I started to research the house but once I realised its history - I stopped. I wanted to remain professional and go in and film the video without any influence. All myself and the team knew was that it is haunted by a few ghosts and a poltergeist, 'the Black Monk'."
Charlotte Hannah describes to HiggyPop the experience of recording the video for “Poison” – a "a dark, eerie pop song with story telling lyrics." She proposed the idea to the current owner, Bil Bungay, who readily agreed – she says he’s also a film producer. Hannah is a lifelong Yorkshire resident, so she admits she already knew most of the horrors of 30 East Drive. (Photos here.) The house is directly across the street from what was once the town gallows where, 500 years ago, a Clunaic monk was hung for the rape and murder of a young girl. The tragedy was eventually forgotten until 1966, when the Pritchard family moved in.
“Water pools formed, lights turned off and on again, furniture overturned, pictures were slashed, objects levitated or disappeared, foul smells travelled through the house and heavy breathing sounds were heard by the terrified family. The spooky goings-on were coupled with a mysterious black-robed figure, whose appearances became more and more frequent.”
The Daily Star lists more paranormal activities, and there were rumors the Pritchard’s daughter was dragged up the stairs by the neck by the apparition of the Black Monk or ‘Fred’, as they called it. No amount of ghost negotiations or exorcisms could pry the Black Monk out of the house, so the Pritchards left and it is now a tourist and paranormal attraction. Which brings us back to the making of “Poison.”
“I wasn't looking out for any hotspots in the house. When walking through the front door, we said 'hello' to any entities to make our peace. Saying that we were here to do a job, not disturb them."
That obviously didn’t help. While setting up their camera's in the kitchen, Charlotte and the crew heard footsteps above them, despite no one being upstairs. The crew experienced objects moving on their own, doors opening, unexplained banging sounds, mysterious battery drains, and some had the sensation of being touched. Charlotte said it never felt like being in a normal house and they found that the less attention they paid to the ghost, the more the strange things happened. How strange? Charlotte is obviously a good promoter – she promises to show behind-the-scenes footage on her YouTube page.
In the meantime, enjoy “Poison” (watch it here) and see if you can spot the Black Monk anywhere in the background. And, when the pandemic travel restrictions are over, plan a visit to 30 East Drive and look for him yourself.