What is the Black Monk of Pontefract, why is it considered the most violent haunting in Britain and why was it in the news?
A team of paranormal investigators captured this eerie pic of a ghostly arm holding what looks like a rosary Credit: Mercury Press
DECADES before the Enfield haunting crept into the nightmares of adults and children across the country, a family was terrorised by Europe’s most violent haunting. Number 30 East Drive, on the Chequerfields Estate, East Yorkshire, became home to the infamous Black Monk of Pontefract. We reveal all… What is the Black Monk of Pontefract? Jean and Joe Pritchard moved into the unassuming house with their son Phillip, 15, and daughter Diane, 12, in 1966. But the same year, the family became disturbed by paranormal activity happening in their home. 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. Joe and Jean were the first in the family to come face to face with the spirit, a terrifying cloaked shadow floating over their bed. The spirit almost appeared to be dressed in a monk’s robes, and the description stuck. The entity would soon be witnessed by the entire Pritchard family, as well as a handful of paranormal investigators. What else happened? The police, a local MP and the vicar were all there to witness the extraordinary happenings that continued to plague the household. Despite numerous exorcisms and ghost hunters attending the property, nothing could make the ghost leave. Paranormal investigator Tom Cuniff spent many years researching the strange case, and discovered that the town’s gallows had been situated directly across the street. Pinpointing it further to the Black Monk, a Clunaic monk who was hung for the rape and murder of a young girl. The murdered girl would have been a similar age to Diane, who was the focus of the spirits attentions. Cuniff believed that the entity haunting the family was the Black Monk himself. The haunting at 30 East Drive was the subject of the 2012 horror movie When The Lights Went Out and was investigated for the Halloween special of Most Haunted Live in 2015. The house remains open for bookings – though Ouija boards and exorcisms are banned on the property. Why is it back in the news? The story has captured the attention of the press again as an apparent photo of the Monk was captured last year. A ghost hunter claimed to have snapped the clearest photo yet of the infamous phantom.