The stone bridge which gives the picturesque town of Hebden Bridge its name had been built to allow pack horses to cross the river without having to hazard the ford. This would have been unpleasantly damp at best and downright dangerous when the winter melt-water was in full flow. The bridge has ever after stood firm, conveying wayfarer and pack animal alike.
Once, Hebden Bridge sat on an important trade route conveying wool from the surrounding farms to the mills in Salford and Rochdale. There was a battle here in 1643 and the bridge had seen its share of gory deaths. It was no surprise that it was said to be haunted.
I was a member of a group of investigators known as the Sceptics, priding ourselves on debunking reports of ghosts, crop circles and UFOs. We planned an overnight vigil at the bridge equipped with cameras, sound recorders and torches.
We arrived on a misty November evening, indistinguishable in the near-darkness, muffled up in anoraks and woolly hats against the chill, with gloves and heavy boots to keep our extremities warm.
I got the strangest feeling, almost of dread, as we got closer; a sinking sensation in the stomach making me feel listless and utterly miserable, wallowing in contemplation of my own mortality.
It was a strange night, full of half-heard whispers and curious shadows. Sometimes there was a sense of movement, something caught in the corner of the eye, but before anyone could turn around or focus a camera, whatever it was had gone. We took many pictures, but all showed only mist and stonework, and the occasional dark form of one of the team silhouetted against the masonry.