Shropshire Star

A spooky tale of ghosts that haunted the Crooked House pub, terrifying those that stayed there

Half-an-hour before the church bells rang out Christmas Day, a woman staying at the Crooked House – that lost, much lamented slice of architectural eccentricity – was startled by the metallic shrill of spurs on oak floorboards.

Ghosts used to haunt the Crooked House at Himley

She pulled bedsheets over her open mouth, her heart-beat raced and her eyes widened as the bedroom door slowly creaked open.

In the dim light, the startled guest could make out a figure, in full Royalist uniform, of an English Civil War trooper.

She was, according to a December, 1930, Express and Star report “fearfully startled”, a phrase that has slipped from the journalistic lexicon. Individuals are now shocked or stunned. They are no longer fearfully startled as in: “Wolverhampton store boss fearfully startled by ram-raid.”

We reported: “Advancing to the foot of her bed, he leaned over it and, looking steadfastly at her, open and closed his mouth in quick succession as if desirous to speak, but for some peculiar reason was unable to utter a sound.

“Convinced by this time that her visitor was a denizen of the other world and no ill-mannered practical joker, the lady became paralysed with fear.

“At last the ghost abandoned its efforts and, moving towards the fireplace, with an infinitely sad expression in its eyes, pointed emphatically at the hearthstone and vanished.

“When she screamed and switched on the bedside lamp all that remained was the disappearing sound of spurs.”

The woman had endured a chilling close encounter with a ghoul that, according to the Express and Star article, was a regular Christmas Eve visitor to the wonky Himley watering hole.

The Crooked House, when it was known as The Glynne Arms

I’m not sure why. The building was erected as a farmhouse in 1765 – long after the Civil War battles – and didn’t become a pub until around 1830.

Yet, in the 1930s, the Cavalier appeared regularly on December 24 and attempted to converse with sozzled regulars.

Tis the season of spirits, a time of ghost stories – and the Crooked House was a favoured haunt for phantoms of the optics. It pulled nearly as many poltergeists as pints.

Now it has gone – razed by fire in August, demolished without permission two days later, where will the spirits who wandered its slanted rooms wander this Sunday?

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