Ghost story back on the stage at Todmorden Hippodrome

The ghost story comes to the stage of the Hippodrome
The ghost story comes to the stage of the Hippodrome

The celebrated chiller the Haunting of Blaine Manor is back and is touring to Calderdale next month.

Written and directed by Joe O’Byrne, the Haunting of Blaine Manor is set in England in 1953.

Renowned American parapsychologist Doctor Roy Earle is famous for discrediting hauntings ane exposing fake mediums.

He is invited to attend a seance in what is said to be the most haunted building in England – Blaine Manor.

Even the locals will not set foot there as all who walk within those grounds will be cursed.

But his arrival at the manor has awoken something horrific within the walls.

As a raging storm closes off Blaine Manor from the outside world, Earle and the others find that what is waiting there is not nearly as horrific as what has entered with him.

O’Byrne has always wanted to write a haunted house story – and one in the spirit of arguably England’s most accomplished ghost story writer MR James.

“Not just a ghost story though, I wanted it to be a period piece, something that would fit the world of MR James, HP Lovecraft or Edgar Allen Poe,” he said.

“At the same time I wanted to tip the hat to the Hammer Horror classics that I watched in my youth.

“How many of those classic tapped into England’s history of haunted castles, demons and witchcraft?

“Blaine Manor has something of the Borley Rectory about it,” said O’Byrne.

Borley Rectory was a Victorian house that gained infamy as “the most haunted house in England” after being described as such by psychic researcher Harry Price.Built in 1862 to house the rector of the parish of Borley and his family, it was badly damaged by fire in 1939 and demolished in 1944.

The first paranormal events reportedly occurred in about 1863, since a few locals later remembered having heard unexplained footsteps within the house at about that time.

On 28 July 1900, four daughters of the rector, Henry Dawson Ellis Bull, saw what they thought was the ghost of a nun at twilight, about 40 yards from the house; they tried to talk to it, but it disappeared as they got closer.

“In tandem with this I also wanted to create something that was a throwback to the Hollywood Golden Age, where glamour mixed with danger like bourbon over rocks,a time where you would see the like of Peter Cushing, Vincent Price, Peter Lorre, Boris Karloff, Bette Davis, Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall and Virginia Mayo strutting their stuff, all class and dynamite patter,” said O’Byrne.

“I think they would all feel at home in Blaine Manor.

“The play delivers on all its promises. So come and join us for a night of terror you will never forget,” he said.

“My original sound designer left the production due to having nightmares around the script – that is a true story.”

O’Byrne is joined in the cast of Peter Slater, Jo Haydock, Phil Dennison, Andrew Yates and Ed Barry.

The play features an original chilling sound design and haunting title theme by Justin Wetherill.

The Haunting of Blaine Manor is at the Hippodrome, Todmorden of Saturday September 7.

Tickets: 01706 814875