Although it doesn’t have a very catchy name, Thackray Medical Museum is a building as rich in history as it is horror stories. Due to its days as a workhouse (subject to two major outbreaks of cholera) and its use as a military hospital during the First World War, the museum has been the site of an unsettling number of deaths. Many people therefore claim the museum to be a site of paranormal activity, with visitors often reporting ghost sightings. Most chillingly, there have been reports of inexplicable sounds of children’s laughter and footsteps pacing the corridors.
The Grade II listed building houses a ‘real-life’ Victorian street complete, somewhat unfortunately, with smells and sounds. Visitors are encouraged to help eight characters make choices to determine their survival amongst infested rats and poor sanitation. The museum also boasts an operating theatre, where videos explain to disturbed visitors the reality of surgery before anesthesia.
If you decide to visit the museum, make sure to see Mary Bateman. Mary once inscribed ‘CRIST [sic] IS COMING’ on eggs in acid, before reinserting them back inside her hens. Once they were laid for the second time, pandemonium ensued with people believing that doomsday had come. Mary committed many such hoaxes, resulting in her nickname ‘The Yorkshire Witch’ and her eventual execution in 1809. Her skeleton is displayed in the museum today.
Image: Daniel Wilson