Britain's most haunted road? The spooky stretch where a real mystery killer struck
It is, to commuters, a fairly nondescript stretch of A-road, an asphalt lane running through countryside that has never inspired artists to reach for their easels.
Constable would’ve certainly given the strip a wide berth.
Yet this mere five mile segment of the A513, running from Milford Common, on the outskirts of Stafford, to Wolseley Bridge, on the fringes of Cannock Chase, is the country’s most significant highway on any supernatural sat nav. It is the route of all evil on the route planners of psychics.
This small link of the A513 is - X Files magazines and websites agree – Britain’s most haunted road. And the countryside bordering it has been christened the UK’s “Paranormal Pyramid” following a string of ghostly sightings.
Travel along the bland tarmac ribbon and a bump in the night may be more phantom than mere flat tyre, a poltergeist rather than pothole, say believers.
The catalogue of paranormal activity includes a pedalling poltergeist, beautiful female spectre that only roams on Wednesdays, ghost in “Puritan” garb and more flying saucers than you can shake a shaky camera at.
And the A513’s undead travellers have spread their power to the surrounding acres, with Seven Springs, woodland that is a mere stone’s throw from Wolseley Bridge, a particular hotspot.
According to folklore, spirits have strolled with unsuspecting hikers at the beauty spot for hundreds of years. Some visitors have even glimpsed the “Spectre of Seven Springs”, a beautiful, veiled woman who glides gracefully between the trees.
After she made herself known to a number of startled nearby residents, local paper the Stafford Advertiser despatched a reporter to hunt the lady down – on the night of Christmas Eve, 1949.
This spawns two questions that are very much of this world: what kind of a hard-bitten editor sends one of his staff on a Christmas Eve midnight ghost hunt?
Did any young journalist, with more ambition than sense, volunteer for such a vigil?
Unsurprisingly, the young man failed to clinch an interview with the phantom. In his shoes, I would’ve hit the pub, drank myself dizzy and dragged an imaginary account of the search – apparently on a very cold night – through the fog of my hangover a few days later.
The lad did, however, paint a very compelling picture for readers: “Seven Springs is a well-known Cannock Chase beauty spot where many Staffordians will have happily picnicked and walked their dogs…by day.
“Come the night, the scene is changed. There is no warmth in the air; eerie shadows are thrown by the gaunt-limbed trees. Just the atmosphere for a ghost, in fact. A vicious, headless ghost, perhaps, with rattling chains and blood-curdling groans.