30 EAST DRIVE, PONTEFRACT
11.30am and the heat from the August morning sun has no bearing on the temperature in the lounge of 30 East Drive, in fact it’s freezing cold. A breeze comes out of nowhere, rattling the windows and slamming the doors. From the house Sarah Scholes calls out to her 15-year-old grandson, who is reading in the garden, ‘is there a storm coming?’ Phillip looks up to the still and cloudless summer sky and replies ‘no’…
How wrong he was.
It’s 1966 and the week of the August Bank Holiday. Phillip’s parents, Joe and Jean Pritchard, and his 12-year-old sister, Diane, have gone on holiday. Not wishing to go with them, Phillip stays at home and his grandma, Sarah, comes to look after him. The Pritchard’s had recently moved into the semi-detached council house and had settled in well. They had a good network of extended family members living just a stones throw away; many of them were to bare witness to the events that follow.
As it approaches noon, Phillip walks into the house to make a drink for himself and a tea for his grandma. As he takes the cup into the lounge, he halts at the sight of his grandma. A fine chalk-like dust is falling from the ceiling onto her, but it’s not actually coming from the ceiling, it’s starting to fall from shoulder height and above it is nothing but air. Shocked by the situation and Phillip’s response, Sarah thinks her grandson is playing a prank, so scolds him for the dusty mess he’s making and walks into the kitchen to get a cloth to begin the clean up. As she enters the kitchen, she slips on the floor. Despite there being no leaks, spills, or rain for weeks, there’s numerous puddles on the lino floor – all perfectly formed with no splashes or drips around them. Sarah wipes them up and seconds later they re-appear. Thinking they are coming from under the floor, she lifts the lino from one corner of the kitchen but the floor underneath is bone dry.
Bang. Sarah and Phillip are still mopping up the endless puddles in kitchen when they hear the loud noise in the hall. They open the door and step through, then click, the light flicks on by itself. They look up the stairs and discover what had made the noise. A plant that was at the bottom of the stairs had been flung halfway up the staircase and the plant pot it resided in was now on the landing.
Crash. Something’s in the kitchen – they make their way back along the hall to discover the crockery cupboard is shaking. Phillip grabs it and it instantly stops. Thankfully, all becomes calm.
Sarah calls the Water Board to investigate the puddles of water. They arrive shortly after and the water is turned off at the stopcock, yet the puddles keep reoccurring. Marie Kelly, who is Sarah’s daughter (and Phillip’s aunt), lives just over the road and calls around to pay a visit. Upon seeing her mother, she knows that something isn’t right and when the events of the day are explained to her, she knows it isn’t a prank. Thankfully, all remains quiet and at 9.30pm, Marie leaves for home but before going, offers spare beds to her mother and nephew should they require them.
As things have been settled for a few hours, Phillip heads to bed. Shattered by the day’s events, Sarah follows shortly after but before retiring for the night, she stops by Phillip’s room to make sure he’s okay. As she walks in, Phillip is staring in horror at the freestanding wardrobe as it wobbles, sways and judders. ‘Get dressed’, says Sarah, ‘we’re leaving’.
With Sarah and Phillip settled into the spare rooms at Marie’s house, sleep comes to them quickly, however Marie and her husband, Vic, are restless.
Having not investigated 30 East Drive earlier that day, Vic decides to call the police and expresses his concern that there may have been an intruder in the house. Ten minutes later and Inspector Taylor arrives with two PC’s. The Police, together with Marie and Vic search number 30, only to find no sign of forced entry or another soul in sight. The Police leave and just as Marie and Vic are crossing the road to head home, now convinced that the occurrences from the afternoon are supernatural, Vic suggests that call and see Mr O’Donald, a neighbor who was renowned for his interest in the paranormal. Despite it now being midnight, they spot that Mr O’Donald’s light is still on, so knock on his door and explain the events of the day. Intrigued, Mr O’Donald asks to visit number 30 with Marie and Vic.
They go back to the house, which is now freezing cold, and look at the damage from earlier. They sit in the lounge in silence for over an hour, nothing happens. Mr O’Donald explains that rather than a ghost, it sounds like they have witnessed poltergeist activity, although poltergeists have a tendency to be more destructive, he explains ‘they apparently have a tendency to smash things and tear pictures’. Mr O’Donald yawns, it’s 1.45am. He bids goodnight to Marie and Vic, and they see him out. As the pair switch off the lights and are about to lock the door they hear a bang and smash of glass from the lounge. They dash to investigate, only to find a two framed oil paintings and a wedding photo that were hung on the wall are now on the floor. On the wedding photo there is a single sharp slash across the face of the bride and groom. Whatever is in the house with them has been listening. It has intelligence and it petrifies them. They lock up the house and run home.
The following afternoon, Sarah and Phillip return to number 30 and all is quiet – thankfully it remains that way until Saturday when Phillip’s parents, Joe and Joan, and sister, return from holiday. Sarah and Phillip explain the events that have occurred - Joe and Joan just couldn’t believe that these things had happened in their home. ‘What kind of noises did you hear?’ asks Joe, and as if in response, loud banging starts throughout the house, the temperature drops and with a wind whipping through the house, the windows begin to rattle and the doors slam. Then it all goes calm. And that was that. As it started, so did it end.
The Pritchard’s home returned to normal… well, for two years at least, and then the entity, which would later become known as the Black Monk of Pontefract, returned - this time with sinister malevolence.