In the late 1970's, the Rotherham Advertiser ran a column for local people who had had supernatural experiences, inviting them to come forward and tell their tales. One elderly Rotherham resident, Mrs Nettleship, recounted an episode which concerned her family, and had taken place in a house on Clifton Lane, Rotherham, in the mid-1930's.
The Nettleships had two young children, baby Roy and four-year-old Audrey, and their circumstances meant that the whole family were forced share the same bedroom. A fortnight after moving into their new home, the little girl began to grow fretful when left in the bedroom alone, and insisted that a 'white lady who shook her hands and cried' was appearing as she lay in bed. Putting this down to the vivid imagination of a child, the Nettleships reassured Audrey that nobody could get into the bedroom, and assumed she had been dreaming.
Several months later, Mrs Nettleship discovered an old-fashioned doll in a cardboard box in the bedroom, which had previously lain hidden on a high shelf. As the family were poor, she decided to keep the find a secret and repair the doll as a Christmas present for Audrey. She returned the doll to its box and replaced it on the shelf. It was shortly after this discovery that, at around 9.30 pm one evening, the Nettleships were in the living room when they were startled to hear screaming coming from the bedroom. They ran in to find Audrey in a state of shock, such that her mother later described her as 'rigid with terror'. Mrs Nettleship noticed that Audrey's nightdress was torn, and took the little girl downstairs to comfort her.
Audrey described how the 'white lady' had tried to 'take her away7, and she had had to fight to pull away from her. Although the Nettleships could see for themselves that their daughter was in a terrible state, they dismissed the story as a vivid nightmare. However, as time progressed, Audrey became more and more subdued, stopped eating and eventually became ill.
Mrs Nettleship took her to the childrens' clinic, and the doctor informed her that somebody or something was obviously frightening the little girl very badly for her to be in such a state of terror. The Nettleships once again put this down to the 'nightmares' which they assumed Audrey had been having, since their baby son Roy (who slept in a cot next to her) had never once been disturbed in the night. Shortly afterwards, the family decided to move house, but before they left, Mrs Nettleship went to look for the old doll she had found some months previously in the bedroom. The box was exactly where it had always been, but the doll had vanished. Nobody else admitted to having even seen it, and in its position on the high shelf it would have been very difficult for Audrey herself to have removed it.
Although the happenings on Clifton Lane were never quite forgotten, the family continued with their new life in a different area of Rotherham and soon the memories faded into the past. Then, many years later, an article in the Rotiierham Advertiser caught Mrs Nettleship's eye. In a piece about local ghosts, The White Lady of Clifton Hall was mentioned. As she cast her mind back to the old house on Clifton Lane, where Audrey
had experienced such discomfort as a child, Mrs Nettleship was horrified to read that the self-same White Lady is said to appear wringing her hands in distress as she cries for her lost children... and began to believe for the first time that perhaps somebody - or something - could have indeed tried to take her small daughter away. A drowning at Downe Court | Beavor | Bexley | Bradford | Downe Court | England | England | England | Hall place | Hardwick Hall | Haworth | Ireland | Lancashire | Norfolk | Penistone | Pontefract Town Hall | Rotherham | Rotherham | Salford | Scotland | Sheffield | West End |
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