The Lore of Liverpool

Hello everyone, welcome to Lukelore. A quick deep dive into a folklore topic, where I share some of the stories from around the world that have piqued my interest. I wanted to turn the lens of Lukelore on to where I live this episode, and dig deep into the local myths and legends of Liverpool in the UK. I think it was horror writer James Herbert who said Britain was a tiny island with too much history packed into it and even the smallest village can be absolutely overflowing with strange tales, haunted buildings, and the occasional prowling monster. Our cities are far from an exception to this! One pretty big haunted building I actually live right near, in both size and reputation, is Newsham Park Hospital. Not so long ago I was even closer, and lived just on the edge of said Newsham Park. The old abandoned hospital is an absolute giant of a complex, full four wings multiple stories tall surrounding a courtyard plus extra outbuildings all around it. It sure as hell LOOKS haunted, austere and partially succumbing to decay, it sits on one edge of Newsham Park glaring down at passing families who take its existence for granted from familiarity. Children pass it by daily like it’s invisible, but you plonk a tourist down in front of it for the first time and they are awestruck. It’s more than just big and creepy, it FEELS imposing.

I used to walk past it on the way home when I was working night shifts. I would show off some pictures to Ian and Brenann of the buulding, including the time bits of a pigeon were strewn around outside one entrance. I mean, that was probably just an overenthusiastic dog or fox, but it damn well looked like the pigeon had exploded and sometime between midnight and 1am with the abandoned hospital looming over the remains can leave you somewhat unnerved.

You don’t need to take my word for this. You can go in there if you want, the owners of the grounds let some events run there. Some of which being ghost hunts…

There are more than a few ghost photographs surround Newsham Park if you go digging, but there’s a now pretty famous photo of one from these haunted tours you can go on. They like to get a group shot of everyone together, except there was something strange in one of these group photos. Mixed right in the middle, sandwiched by four tourgoers on all sides, is the blurry and downright wrong looking face of a women who everyone involved swears was NOT a part of that group. Not even hiding away in the background like these photos normally go, smiling right in the middle of the group!

Anyone who knows the people of Liverpool likely won’t be surprised to find we have bold and socialable ghosts down this way.

I have been in Newsham Park Hospital myself, scouting it out for a movie location way back when. Didn’t see anything supernatural, but it was one hell of a building to take a tour through It was a small group of me and three others with a single live in caretaker taking us around the place, and it really is impressive in there! We didn’t have the budget to film in it sadly, as the whole place oozes production value for a horror movie. Abandoned wards, surprisingly well preserved areas including such recent relics as a Marathon Bar vending machine, flat out derelict wings falling apart, even a creepy clocktower we shoved a make up girl into to check if there was anything scary up there (ruining her pants in the process, sorry!). The full works, and some really special stuff besides.

I was scouting with a camcorder, following the group about as someone else took photographs to give us a feel for the place.

So what I do, because of course I do, is spot an underground tunnel that I just have to investigate. It was creepy, and therefore cool! People who know old hospitals already know what underground tunnels lead to here…

It’s not for anything so pleasant as a boiler room or simple storage. Old tunnels in old hospitals were for moving the corpses out of sight, to their on the grounds morgue…

So. There’s me, following along at the back of the group to catch them in the frame of the recording for reference, spotting the damn creepiest part of the entire giant location out of the corner of my eyes and heading right at it without a second thought like a kitten charging after balled up paper.

If real life was a horror movie, I would have been the first death of the main cast. I get some footage of it, but then don’t actually go down the tunnel on my own in a rare show of sensible self preservation finally kicking in. I pop back up the stairs I just went down to get the rest of the group.

Who hadn’t noticed me wander off on my own, and had gone ahead without me.

There’s still the tape of this somewhere. It’s apparently hilarious as I go from “Hey, this is cool” to “H-hello… Hello?” and having to spend a couple of minutes playing Creepy Haunted Hospital Hide and Seek in the Dark to catch up. I’m not proud, I’ll share it if it ever finally resurfaces, but I have no idea for when or even if that could happen. There’s loads of random, often weird and irrational, oddities just waiting to be blundered into across the city. This may seem weird to someone from, say, the United States where cities are much more planned but British cities, especially the old ones, more grew at random. So you can go down streets across Britain that are otherwise residential or commercial and there will just be a random church and tiny graveyard. They’re everywhere, they’re typically old and the urban sprawl just enveloped them. Some cities have completely surrounded these plots of land and you’ve got to go down tight alleyways to reach some quaint old world place of worship now entirely closed off by four walls. Liverpool doesn’t quite do that for the most part, as cities go Liverpool isn’t very dense and is for lack of a better word is pretty “flat”.

So you can come across one of these tiny graveyards along an unrelated footpath that has something impressively strange on the grounds. Head down Rodney Street, wandering away from the more central shops or just passing by the residences along the street, and one of these patches of the resting dead is there to be blundered into. Within these grounds is a rather eyecatching pyramid.

The pyramid contains the carefully arranged to be sat up in death corpse of one William MacKenzie.

MacKenzie was a gambling man, and really into games with cash on the line. And he was GOOD at them. So the story goes, he sold his soul to the devil for luck at cards. As long as he was up and playing his soul was his, and the devil would get it once he was dead and buried. So here along Rodney Street stands the above ground tomb of William MacKenzie, where his corpse sits upright in front of a table and and a winning hand of cards, the devil forever cheated his due. Given that he was hellbound yet went to his grave with a loophole ready, the ghost of William Mackenzie has been said to be seen wandering near his resting place some nights.

Supposedly that’s just hearsay, according the family, and the strange pyramid is nothing to pay any mind to. Yet there it stands for all to see, and what a story!

You should be able to hop onto Google Street View to check this out for yourself even if you can’t come over and explore in person. The graveyard stretches from 5-7 Rodney Street. Which seques nicely into something else you can see on Google Street View… Back when Street View was a novelty and people where playing with it Just Because, scoping out where they lived trying to find funny things caught by the Google cars, people looking up the Stuart Hotel certainly saw something interesting. A ghastly inhuman face glaring at the passing cameras out of a hotel window. The photo is certainly a creepy one. Whatever it is isn’t shy either, getting right up against the glass. The Stuart Hotel is one of 150 haunted pubs across Liverpool, I wasn’t exaggerating when I mentioned how weirdness dense the British Isles are in the intro. The Stuart Hotel is not really known for current hauntings though, as a priest was supposed to have resolved historical goings on back in the 1890s, and it was noises not apparitions.

Scratching noises in the basements that escalated so badly they even began to shake the building, mysterious bells tolling, and the more subtle yet weirdly creepier occurrence of something knocking back if you knocked on the walls. The priest who laid the weirdness to rest left a bible in the basement, perhaps a recent landlord moved it and, now reawakened, whatever the hell is in there got snapped by the passing Google van? We’ve got time for one more quick story from one of the city’s graveyards you can stumble upon, one of the bigger ones this time. It’s an interesting name we’ve heard before that drew me to this one. I’ve talked about Jenny Greenteeth, but this is a very different encounter. From my home county of Lancashire the hag creature Jenny Greenteeth is a child eating fairie monster I went into detail of on Episode 6 of Lukelore.

This is a very different Jenny Greenteeth that popped up in the Saint James Cemetary in 2018. What we have here is a ghost of a woman with green aspects that apparently the name cross pollinated over too, likely from childhood memories now lacking in context but remembered as something to fear. From what I could dig up it does appear to be a ghost of a witch who had that nickname, being again somewhat distinct from the similarly named hag creatures lurking among the weeds of ponds across Lancashire. Now, having seen the photo? This ghost can have any name it damn well wants. This is some Blair Witch crap caught sneaking around the cemetery with a sack over its shoulder. In broad damn daylight no less! This photo was from near an infamous Vampire Stake Grave at the grounds of St James Mount and Gardens, Liverpool having a weird amount of vampire related burials I may give its own focus in a future episode. That’s all for now on Liverpool though. I’m definitely coming back to this in some fashion, I’ve found mention of something like three separate vampire burials across the city which will definitely be in a future LukeLore either returning to the city for second full episode or else possibly a Strange Burials episode.

This was a somewhat different episode in that pretty much everything I’ve discussed has an article in the local newspaper The Liverpool Echo you can find online, so if you want further reading and to see the photos involved it should be really easy to Google up.

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