Sure, there’s plenty of things that are scary in Birmingham: being stopped by a tourist looking for directions, the rent prices in the city centre… The list goes on… But if you’re looking for a real fright this Halloween, you’ll want to cast your net a little wider to some of our regions older buildings – all of which hammer home the stereotype of old buildings being haunted places. If scaring yourself half to death this Halloween is on the agenda, check out our guide to the most haunted places in Birmingham. And trust us when we say, we’ll be sitting out for these ones, for obvious reasons.
1. Smethwick Baths
These baths in Sandwell were once used as a music venue for big-name bands such as the Beatles and Rolling Stones but also have a spooky history. The baths have a series of underground tunnels and cellars which were once used as air raid shelters during World War II.
The tunnels have a creepy and disorienting feel and are said to be haunted. One of the rooms which was used as a morgue is now claimed to host the spirit of a man with long hair and a beard. Staff members have also found unexplainable stacks of stones built into pyramids on the floors throughout the tunnels.
2. Alexandra Theatre
Built in 1901, the Alexandra Theatre is bound to come with a ghost story or two and therefore makes this list of haunted places. More than five ghosts are said to haunt the Alexandra Theatre, including former manager Leon Salberg, who took over the venue in 1911 and was found dead in his office in 1937.
Other spirits include the former master of the wardrobe department, a military man in a top hat, a former stage manger who can be heard jangling keys, and a Grey Lady. In addition, power from electrical devices in the theatre is often inexplicably drained, while knocking and tapping noises are often heard, as well as doors mysteriously opening and closing.
3. Cannock Chase
A classic spooky setting is a forest and this one outside of Birmingham is no different. After last being spotted over 30 years ago, the black-eyed child of Cannock Chase was claimed to have made a return with a vengeance back in 2018. Descriptions of the spooky girl, who has coal-black holes for eye sockets, are almost identical to those from the early 1980s. Multiple sightings describe a young girl crying, but when those who see her catch up to the eerie figure, she turns around to show her black eyes and runs away. Sightings have sparked international interest, with some paranormal experts taking part in a ghost hunt across the Chase.
4. Warwick Castle
Sir Fulke Greville was granted the 1,000-year-old castle in 1604 by King James I. However, he was later stabbed by one of his most trustworthy servants. Guilty of what he had done, the servant slit his own throat and can reportedly still be heard moaning for help throughout the halls of Warwick Castle.
Another famous ghost is a large black dog with red eyes and a foaming mouth. Supposedly it is the essence of a curse placed on the castle by servant Moll Bloxham, who was tortured and killed after being caught stealing. For more spooky castles near Birmingham head here…
5. New Street Station
It’s scary enough trying to weave through people at Birmingham New Street so as not to miss your train but this station is a pretty haunted place too. When building the station in 1848, a Jewish cemetery was dug up in the process. If you’ve seen the films Poltergeist and The Amityville Horror you will know that building on burial grounds disturbs the spirits of the dead. Creepy or what? There have also been several suicides on Platform Four, which is said to be one of the station’s most haunted places.
Many passengers have reported a strange unseen presence and the two spooky spirits we’re aware of are Walter Hartles – a retired engine driver who shot himself with a revolver after separating from his wife – and a gentleman called Claude, who is seen wearing Victorian clothing and is said to have died after poisoning himself. Plus, it gets spookier than that as there have also been some tales of supernatural activity linked to a fatal train crash at New Street Station in 1921. Two passenger trains collided at 4.25pm on November 26, on the London & North Western Railway, with three people killed and 24 injured.
6. Birmingham Council House
The spirit of the late former mayor Joseph Chamberlain, who died in July 1914, has reportedly been seen in the grounds of the council house. Employees claim to have seen his ghost, dressed in his usual velvet coat, monocle and red tie, sitting at the Mayor’s desk. Sightings are often accompanied by the smell of fresh-cut flowers, which Chamberlain always kept in his office. A shadowy monk has also been reported at the council house, perhaps linked to the monastery that is said to have been sited there centuries earlier. Let’s hope these spirits don’t gate-crash any celebrations held here.
7. Birmingham Town Hall
Can anywhere in the country boast of a more distinguished ghost than Charles Dickens himself? The famed author gave his first reading of A Christmas Carol at Birmingham Town Hall on Boxing Day 1853. And it’s said a Victorian man, thought to be Dickens himself, can still be seen sitting in the empty hall, in the gallery or strolling along the corridors. The figure was once approached by a member of staff only to vanish before their eyes.
The other resident spooks are a pair of stonemasons who died on January 26, 1833, during the construction of the building. John Heap and William Badger had been working on the external carved pillars when a huge block of masonry fell and crushed them. They were buried at Birmingham Cathedral and staff working at night in the Town Hall claim to have heard the two men still chiselling away at the pillars. Lights have also gone on and off and strange shadows have been seen.
8. Aston Hall
This 17th-century building is one of Birmingham’s oldest buildings, therefore it is one of the haunted places that is bound to have a tale or two in those old walls. The creepy and creaking corridors are enough to spook most people out. Aston Hall has been named one of the most haunted buildings in Birmingham and is inhabited by a spirit named the White Lady.
She is believed to have been born Mary Ashford and was locked in her room in the Hall by her father when she tried to elope with her lover, rather than marry the suitor he had chosen. Sounds like a spooky version of Downton Abbey. Mary went mad and died after 16 years of imprisonment. Her spirit is now said to be seen as a shimmering figure, gliding around the upper floors. Other spirits are said to include an elderly housekeeper and a servant boy who hanged himself in the attic. We’re not shivering, you are.
9. Warstone Lane Cemetery
We could never forget a great cemetery such as this one on Warstone Lane as part of our list of haunted places. The two tiers of catacombs in this cemetery were sealed off in 1846 but there is still plenty of spiritual activity throughout the graveyard, as many of the bodies in the cemetery have been dug up and reburied throughout the years. A woman dressed in 1930s attire has been seen walking through walls and parked cars in recent years, before quickly disappearing. Another cemetery visitor claimed to have seen a young man dressed in army gear near the catacombs, and when the witness looked again, the man was gone.
10. Dudley Castle
Built in 1071, Dudley Castle is believed to be the most haunted castle in England, with its most famous ghost being the Grey Lady. The spook is said to be the spirit of Dorothy Beaumont, who lived at the castle during the English Civil War. After her infant daughter died, she was struck with grief and later died herself. Her final wishes were to be buried next to her daughter. The Grey Lady is now said to aimlessly wander the halls of the castle grounds. A Birmingham couple even claimed in 2017 to have caught an image of the Grey Lady on camera.
11. The Three Tuns pub
Three Tuns in Sutton Coldfield is said to be the home of the spirit of a drummer boy from the Civil War. Between 1955 and 1978 the ghost had been seen 19 times. That’s quite a few times! The Royalist drummer boy was supposedly captured and beaten by Parliamentarian troops who then left his body in the Three Tuns cellar. He has been described as a teenage boy with long black hair, wearing a blue velvet suit and black patent shoes with buckles. So if you do make a visit to this pub and feel an unusual presence, we can’t be held accountable for you running and leaving your pint or downing it super fast. This is your warning. Visit at your own risk.