The Black Monk House, Scene of One of the 21st Century’s Most Harrowing Poltergeists

posted: 10/19/16
by: Sasha Brown-Worsham
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Discovery Communications

Number 30 East Drive in East Yorkshire, England looks like a typical family home with a brick exterior and typical features. But the outside doesn't do it justice. Back in the late 1960's and early 1970's, long before Amityville and the movie Poltergeist, the home was the site of one of the most violent hauntings in all of Europe. The Black Monk of Pontefract (also referred to as The Pontefract Poltergeist) drove one family to the brink of insanity.

The haunting of The Black Monk of Pontefract began soon after the Pritchard family moved into their new home. They, along with their 12-year-old daughter Diane went on vacation and left their 15-year-old son home with Mrs. Pritchard's mother. The mother reported feeling cold gusts of wind in the house that belied the warm late-summer weather outside. Then the son noticed a white powder in the air, followed by the appearance of a series of puddles of water all over the floor. They called a plumber who could not explain it. That night, a heavy chest of drawers began swaying. They fled the house and slept at a neighbor's home.

When the parents returned home, nothing happened and for two years, the house remained still. But then it started again and this time so much worse. The daughter was thrown from her bed, and, in one horrifying instance, was dragged up the stairs by an unseen figure that left marks all over her neck. Things literally went bump in the night and objects fell around the house. It was almost like torture for this poor family.

And then came the vision.

The figure first appeared to Joe and Jean Pritchard in their beds. They described what they saw as a black-cloaked, monk-like figure, hovering over their bed, but it soon dissipated. Others in the house started to see it, too, describing him the same way (though no one saw a face). And then it stopped again.

Paranormal investigator Tom Cunniff researched the Pritchard home, suspecting that the apparition stemmed from a monastery that stood in town from 1090-1539, and whose gallows were just across the hill from the Pritchard home. Cunniff said that a Cluniac from the time of Henry VIII was hanged for the rape and murder of a young girl, which could explain why the spirit seemed particularly fixated on the Pritchard's young daughter.

Colin Wilson also investigated the Black Monk of Pontefract and he suggested that the marital discord between the Pritchard's may have made their household susceptible to the poltergeist. Plus, the area was said to be particularly strong in terms of spiritual activity.

A 2012, movie called When the Lights Went Out looks into the haunting and all the subsequent activity. The whole thing remains one of the scariest unexplained hauntings in British -- and European -- history.

More recently, Nick Groff and Katrina Weidman of Paranormal Lockdown spent an unprecedented 100 hours locked in the home. Their investigation will be televised on TLC during a two-hour Halloween special. Will their brave experiment unearth the source of this poltergeist once and for all?

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