The Black Monk of Pontefract: England's Most Violent Poltergeist
30 East Drive, Pontefract, England is now commonly known as the Black Monk House.

By Stephanie Almazan.

In the United States, the mere mention of the Amityville Horror House is bone-chilling.

Many consider England’s equivalent to be the Black Monk House, which delivers an equally sinister scare. According to local lore, the most violent poltergeist in Europe resides inside this unassuming hilltop home in Pontefract, West Yorkshire.

Documented paranormal activity began in 1966, when the Pritchard family moved in: parents Joe and Jean, their children Diane, age 12, and Phillip, age 15, and Jean’s mother Sarah. A tenant named Fred also lived in the house.

Then, one night, Joe and Jean got a hint of the spirit’s identity when a dark apparition wearing flowing monk robes appeared over their bed.

The entity first made its presence known to Sarah and Phillip, who were home alone while the rest of the family was on a summer holiday. To their surprise, chalk dust started raining down, seemingly out of nowhere, and pools of water collected on the floor. As Sarah tried to dry the pools, more appeared.

The activity soon intensified. Members of the Pritchard family witnessed lights flickering on and off, potted plants tumbling down the stairs, a foamy green substance oozing out of the faucet, and slashes ripping through pictures.

The Black Monk of Pontefract: England's Most Violent Poltergeist
[Image via 30eastdrive.com]

The local press got wind of the occurrence, reporting on it in 1968, and nicknaming the supposed force inside the home, “Mr. Nobody.” The public, meanwhile, smelled a hoax; many believed that the Pritchards were making it all up. Yet as the days wore on, the once-benign happenings at 30 East Drive grew ever more sinister. The poltergeist became aggressive, sometimes slapping faces and shoving members of the family. In one particularly violent instance, Diane was reportedly dragged up the stairs and choked.

The Pritchards eventually sought help from the Catholic Church. A priest performed an exorcism, which only seemed to anger the demon. Terrified, the family wondered who—or what—could be terrorizing the home.

Then, one night, Joe and Jean got a hint of the spirit’s identity when a dark apparition wearing flowing monk robes appeared over their bed.

At this point, paranormal investigators took interest. One, in particular, delved into the property’s tumultuous history to get answers about this “Black Monk.”

Investigator Tom Cuniff unearthed a troubled past. Civil wars were fought in Pontefract: King Richard II had been murdered at Pontefract Castle in 1400. The Pritchard house was located directly across from where the town’s gallows had stood, and between 1090 and 1539 there was a monastery in the immediate vicinity of the home.

The Black Monk of Pontefract: England's Most Violent Poltergeist
[Image via 30eastdrive.com]

Even more disturbing, Cuniff discovered that in the 16th century, there was a Cluniac monk who had been put to death in those gallows for murdering and raping a young girl. Perhaps it was the spirit of this sinister figure who had returned to terrorize the Pritchards.

From that point on, 30 East Drive became known as the Black Monk House.

After years of torment, the Pritchards finally moved out. News of the hauntings all but stopped. Then, in 2012, When the Lights Went Out  hit theaters. The film, which is based on the events at the Black Monk House, revived interest in the case. Paranormal investigators and visitors alike flocked to the Black Monk House, hoping to encounter the sinister force behind the alleged happenings.

Otherworldly activity is still being reported at the house. Paranormal researchers Nick Groff and Katrina Weidman recently spent a record 100 hours in the haunted locale for their series Paranormal Lockdown: The Black Monk House, airing on Halloween night on TLC, from 9-11PM. At New York Comic Con, they shared their experiences.

Just walking into the home gave the researchers a sense of dread, the investigators said. At one point during their stay, Weidman and Groff heard a bang on the staircase. When they went to investigate, they were alarmed to see a knife on the steps.

The Black Monk of Pontefract: England's Most Violent Poltergeist
[Image via 30eastdrive.com] Taken during a recent visit to 30 East Drive, is this the Black Monk, or another demonic entity?

Weidman complained of an awful sensation that felt like a weight upon her, as well as the feeling of being in quicksand. She also felt an intense fatigue, and the need to lie down and rest frequently. Nick Groff recalled an encounter in which a ball in the home moved on its own. He asked the poltergeist if it could move the ball, and it did. The spirit felt innocent to him at first. Then he realized that the Pritchard family had originally dismissed it as innocent as well—only to watch it grow violent.

Groff shared another disturbing discovery with the panel: Joe Pritchard died in the bathroom of the Black Monk House, apparently from choking on his own vomit. Could it have been the poltergeist—perhaps the very “Black Monk” that the Pritchards had seen that one night—at work?

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