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Ilkeston Own Amityville - Article 1982

The article was written well before the Inner Ring Road was built, Also its been reported another family did stay in the house, but experienced nothing, though this time they had children and they do claim a few unexplained things did happen. Gallows Paranormal group will be following this as it’s now said that a few spooking sightings have been recorded along the Duel Carriageway, almost in same place. Also new housing has been built, and spirits do move. WATCH THIS SPACE

Hawthorn House - Derby Street

Nearly a century ago (1890's), so local legend has it, a man named Hugh Crane had a house built at 1 Derby Street, Ilkeston. It was a detached house which stood on the hill just a few hundred yards from the town centre. He called it Hill House and moved in with his young wife. Little is known of Mr. Crane, but the legacy he left Ilkeston will be spoken of for many, many years.

It is' believed that tragedy first struck when his wife was killed in a coaching accident outside the front door of the house. He re-married, but his second wife, we're told, was killed when she fell down the stairs.

Crane married again. But it is said that his third wife out lived him only to die at the hands of a knifeman inside the house. Since then the locals have lived in fear of the house which was renamed, Hawthorne House.

Forty years ago (1940's) fivemen and a woman went inside to try to cure the deathly air. The woman died during the attempt.

As the current relief road for the town was planned, the house was purchased by Derbyshire County Council with The intention to demolish it when the road is finally built, but had been letting it to tenants.   

The latest man to rent it is Mr. Owen Davies, 35, a technician and ex-Royal Marine. But he swears that after recent events he will never set foot in. Since moving in a year before, he says he has experienced things that would send weaker man insane At His girlfriend, Elaine Short, says something inside that house nearly killed her. She too will never tread its floors again.

They hadn't been there long when lights began to go on and off of their own accord. Then Owen awoke one night to hear a thumping sound downstairs. Thinking it was the damper on the open fire he went to investigate. At first he saw nothing a miss But then he looked at the back door of the house. The recess of the Yale lock had been torn off. The door also had a pad lock, but this was untouched. If the noise had been someone trying to break in then the padlock would have given way.  But it hadn't Owen had to reason that that the damage had been caused by someone - or something - trying to break out.

From that day things rose to a horrifying crescendo that to neither he nor Elaine would ever forget. Once, Owen found handles from internal doors strewn across the floor.

At a Christmas party fruit-bowl filled with nuts suddenly rose unaided from the sideboard and blew itself to pieces, scattering the nuts everywhere.  Soon after this incident Elaine saw the ghost of a Victorian woman on the stairs Later she saw the same ghost behind one of the glass doors in the kitchen.

 "She was small-waist wearing what looked like a crinoline dress and a pointed hat," she said. It was the night after that second sighting that Elaine's terror began in earnest. She was in the downstairs bathroom washing her hair. All of a sudden coldness came on to the back of my neck," she said, "and all of a sudden it pushed my head under water  I managed to get my hands or it either side of the sink  and force  myself  up,  but  this mighty push came down again. Then it went warm I knew she had gone." Elaine walked into front room where she found trail of tobacco along the shelve and cigarettes had  been snapped in half and scattered around the floor. " Then, the most chilling thing of all.  She heard a woman giggling and ornamental birdcage in the room began swaying.  In the pantry a packet cornflakes had been scattered on the floor.  The next day Owen found light switched on and his clothes removed from pegs and piled in a heap on the floor.

This was the signal that .needed help. Owen contact the Vicar of Ilkeston, Canon Arthur Robertson. Elaine was reluctant return to the house but she went back . . . and as Mr. Robertson was saying Prayer of exorcism she felt the ghost enter the room. "I grabbed hold of the Canon's arm," she said, "and had a violent shaking bout. As though she was trying to part my back and get in me."

 Elaine has never been back since. But Owen did go back. He had gone to bed on August when he was awoken by a sound of screaming downstairs, he said. "It sounded as though woman was having pain inflicted on her." He went downstairs and as  the screaming continued, as trays and a letter rack were "wriggling about" on a shelve and a transistor radio was missing from  a table. With screaming still ringing in his ears, he opened the pantry door and it suddenly stopped When he closed the door the secreaming started and when he went to the from room he saw something he will never forget: “an potted plant and a vase of artificial plants were moving through midair and swapping places on top of a storage heater Panicking he bolted for the door.

They key was missing. He raced to the back door, but found that bunch of keys missing too, he tried the only window that would open but that was tightly shut. On the point of throwing a chair through the window in a last desperate bid to escape he remembered the advice of Rev Robertson and said a prayer, but the screaming continued until 6 am “I sat up all night with cotton wool in my ears,” he said Owen is convinced that the source of the disturbance is the ground floor pantry or the cellar under it. Whatever the secret of Hawthorne House is, the people of Ilkeston are aware that danger lurks there. Old people talk of it as a place to be avoided and Owen Davies has joined their ranks: "I want nothing more to do with it," he said.  

 As the council refuses to speak to the Evening Post and Mr. Robertson won't comment on the ghostly activities it remains for us to wonder what that terrifying secret of I Derby Street, Ilkeston, is. I doubt if we will ever know.  But as the bulldozers set about the property in years to come and the demolition men take apart the home of the man who built Hawthorne House they may bring to an end the horrifying nightmare Which seems to have engulfed Crane, his three wives, a woman 40 years ago ... and, almost, Owen Davies and his girlfriend, Elaine?