Ghost in the Spire

Square Church Spire

The Victorian Square Church, opened in 1857, was largely destroyed by fire in 1971 and finally demolished in 1976. Except, that is, for its 235-foot spire (at the time of construction the second tallest in Yorkshire), which still stands behind the Piece Hall as one of Halifax's most recognizable landmarks.

In March 2005 restoration work on the spire was halted when it was suspected that rare birds, possibly kestrels were nesting there. An 18-year-old apprentice, Anthony Finnigan, claims to have attempted to take a photo of the birds, but when the picture was viewed he was shocked to see it appeared to show a ghostly figure hovering in the darkness.

Could it be the spirit of a bloodthirsty long dead vicar of Halifax, or did the silly season started early this year?

Ghost in the spire...

The “ghost” in the photo is blurred, and it's not even apparent if it's male or female. It's certainly got long hair and appears to be wearing purple robes, and has one arm slightly lifted. According to the Evening Courier, the workers are now too afraid to go into the spire alone.

Now, an 18-year-old apprentice armed with a digital camera, who could possibly suspect a hoax?

Unfortunately, (or suspiciously) the original picture was deleted, the apprentice obviously having thought that proof of life after death wasn't worth keeping. However, the plot thickens.

A ghost-hunting medium from Ovenden, Linda Francis, claims she knows who the ghost could be: John Favour, vicar of Halifax from 1593 to 1663.

There's a bust of Favour in Halifax Parish Church at the back of the gift shop area, his hand resting ominously on a human skull. Favour founded Heath Grammar School, wrote a book called Antiquitie Triumphing over Noveltie and spent his free time torturing and executing Jesuit priests.

If the ghostly figure in the photo is indeed John Favour, he's obviously shaved his beard off in the afterlife.

John Favour plaque in Halifax Parish Church

Information from Paul Weatherhead

Author of 'Weird Calderdale'

Pub: Tom Bell Publishing