The occasional appearance of a gentleman wearing a grey suit, with no helmet or lamp and seemingly not connected with the colliery at all, startled several miners working underground at Grimethorpe in Barnsley. Rumours of the inexplicable figure soon spread throughout the workforce, who nicknamed him 'Charlie'. Although at first thought to be a hoax, the sightings continued until certain colliers refused to visit the seam where he had been seen alone. No clue to his identity was ever forthcoming, and Charlie remained a mystery... or perhaps a hoax planned by one of the workforce!
A more specific, but unconnected sighting, from 1978, is reported by a former Grimethorpe miner, Jim (whose full name has been withheld on request.) As an engineer, Jim often worked alone on haulage engines in an isolated area of the pit. On one particular night shift, he was joined by a man he didn't recognise, whom he assumed had been drafted in from another colliery.
The stranger introduced himself as 'Joe', they chatted together, and worked for a while until a message came over the tannoy for Jim to stop the haulage and leave the site. When the deputy informed him that the belt needed shunting, Jim replied that Joe, who was still on site, could operate it without the need for him to return. The deputy had no record of anybody else in that area of the pit, and pointed out that, if a man had entered or left, his only route would have been to pass them directly, which nobody had. Two deputies and three staff immediately went to the haulage area, and found it empty. However, a shovel and a half-cleared pile of coal were in place where Jim had last seen Joe working. Jim had spent enough time with the mystery miner to give a good description, and he had also been told his full name (also withheld here on request). On reporting this to control, it was confirmed that nobody of this name was underground. However, from the description given by Jim, the mystery miner was identified shortly afterwards by a colleague who had worked with him over thirty years before ... until his death in the 1940's.
Interestingly enough, in this case, rather than disbelieving Jim's story, pit officials asked him to keep quiet about it, so that men did not refuse to work in this area of the pit. The immediate family of the ghostly miner soon heard of the sighting, and approached Jim themselves. He gave them the same description of "Joe" and they, too, confirmed that Jim had indeed seemingly talked to a relative of theirs, the ghost of a man he had never met! Barnsley | Barnsley | Chesterfield | Doncaster | Floughton | Glasshoughton | Nottinghamshire | Thornhill | West Yorkshire |
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