Oldnall Road: Haunted Highway
Haunted roads have always been a part of British supernatural folklore, with the Midlands of England being no exception. A minor stretch of road runs between the Black Country towns of Stourbridge and Halesowen known as the Oldnall Road, and for decades now it has garnered a reputation as a haunted highway.
Since the 1950s a field bordering the road had always been regarded as haunted, by the ghost of a man who apparently drowned in a well on the farm there. Occasionally he had been spotted loitering at the entrance to the field but it wasn't until the 1970s that the paranormal presences really began to appear in droves. Stories involving the classic “man walking home from the pub” are usually regarded with a sceptical snigger but the Oldnall Road is still often walked late at night by patrons of the Why Not Inn and the Hare and Hounds, both at opposite ends of the one kilometer long track. One such fellow told how a ”mysterious figure” was approaching him on the path from the opposite direction, and as the paranormal pedestrian got closer the man noticed that he either had a conical head or was wearing a cone-shaped hat, together with a curious tight-fitting costume...then the figure simply vanished.
As the 2000s began the strange sightings flared up again, with a small boy standing in the middle of the road being the most commonly encountered spectre. One one occasion he was clad only in a pair of shorts and appeared to be concentrating earnestly on some game in the road, when the shocked car driver pulled over he had vanished. Other times the boy is fully clothed and running. People have also seen an adult man simply standing by one of the fields, sporting full Victorian handlebar moustache and pocket watch, who again vanishes on closer inspection. A lady in full Victorian dress has also been seen by the field boundaries, hat and all.
The tracks and side-roads that branch off from Oldnall Road have had their share of spectral activity too, with another Victorian gentleman seen jogging across a road and a lady standing by the side. This area is an accident blackspot and I encountered a burnt-out wreck just off the man road myself when I investigated. Did any of these motorists swerve to avoid a ghost? I've heard that lots of them did, but how do you pitch that idea to your insurance company? Some roads and their surroundings just seem to have an energy about them that is impossible to explain, and similar things have happened in Worcestershire along a country road near Bredon Hill, which I described in my book.
Has anyone else encountered anything strange along our roads, or even along the Oldnall Road itself? I'd love to read your comments if you have!
If you like these posts you might like my book The Mystery Of Mercia, available at this link -
Oldnall Road with the Clent Hills in the distance
Oldnall Road facing eastward towards Halesowen
I spotted two wrecks like this in the fields and tracks off Oldnall Road