FATE / MAY-JUNE 2009
In 1987 work began on a new section of road across the top of the Peak District in Yorkshire, England. The A616 passed through the town of Stocksbridge until road planners got to work on a new bypass to alleviate the traffic congestion. While the new road may have relieved the flow of traffic through the steel town, it would appear to have disturbed something that might have been best left alone. It all began one night when two security guards, patrolling the area where construction equipment was kept, saw something unusual: a group of children playing beneath an electricity pylon. As the guards got out of their vehicle and approached the pylon, they saw that the children were dressed in old-fashioned clothing and had their hands linked with each other in a circle. The youngsters appeared to be playing ring-around-the-rosy. As the guards approached them, the children suddenly vanished. The men were startled, to say the least. As Peter Owens, the security company manager, explained: “They were security men who had been in the industry a long time. They knew the job; they had worked night shifts for a number of years and were not the type of people you would expect to be scared.” The men were to witness an even more disturbing event later in their shift. Monk on Bridge In the early hours of the morning, the guards pulled their vehicle into an area of the bypass that would later become known as Pearoyd Bridge. As their Range Rover came to a halt, one of them spotted a hooded figure on a section of the bridge just in front of them. The guard got out of the vehicle to take a closer look while his colleague drove onto the bridge. As the headlights fixed onto the figure, the beams shone right through it. The guards watched aghast as the apparition disappeared into thin air. The men made a hasty retreat to their cabin on the construction site and called their employer. Owens came to the site immediately and described what he saw when he entered the cabin that night: “They [the security guards] were physically shaking and their complexion was very white and pallid. One of the guards was actually crying.” The men described what had happened that night, and later in the morning they went straight to the local police station.
The officer on duty that day, Police Constable Dick Ellis, knew them. Ellis said: “It was obvious they had seen or heard something.They were both spooked and basically I said to them that it was not a police matter and there was nothing I could do about it. Perhaps jokingly I said to them that maybe they needed the church more than they needed the police.” The security guards took Ellis at his word and headed for Stocksbridge church. There they sought refuge and refused to leave. Thirty minutes later the police were contacted and Ellis was ordered by his superiors to go to the church and get the men out. Ellis was also told to investigate what the men had seen that night and get to the bottom of the matter.
After dealing with the security guards at the church, Ellis and his colleague Special Constable John Beet headed to the bypass themselves to investigate. They arrived at the site in the evening and sat in their car. They turned off the engine, the lights, and the police radio, and waited to see what would occur. Ellis recounted: “We sat looking at the bridge and after awhile I was convinced I could see something moving about on the bridge. Not wanting to spook myself or John I kind of looked at John.” Beet asked Ellis what was up and Ellis told Beet that he thought he had seen something on the bridge, which was still under construction. Beet then told Ellis that he should go and have a closer look. Ellis got out of the police car and headed for the ladder perched in front of it. Ellis continued he bridge and there were a lot of things scattered around on top of the bridge.”