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The Hangman’s Stones

A ghostly story in the old Christmas tradition - but this one is absolutely true. These unremarkable stepping stones traverse the Sher brook on Cannock Chase - an area already infamous for its alleged paranormal phenomena.

When nobody is around this place has a distinctly sad and sombre atmosphere, and people have claimed they have heard disembodied voices muttering as well as the sobbing of an adult man. Why? Did something happen here? It did, but not here.

The stepping stones were installed in 1954 by the Friends of Cannock Chase, using materials salvaged from a demolished building. That building was the old gatehouse at Stafford Prison, where for around seventy years until 1864 - public executions were carried out, gaining it the name "The Hangman's Gate". The scaffold was set up on the roof of the gatehouse and crowds would gather in front to witness the hangings, with both the hangman and the condemned men making their way up the "Hangman's Steps".

The stepping stones were the coping stones that surrounded the execution area on the roof - and the Hangman's Steps themselves! If there is any truth to the "Stone Tape Theory", that stones can retain memories of the past, then surely this is a place where those memories might be replayed. During the summer months groups of youths sometimes tie a rope on a tree branch to swing screaming across the water - if only they knew!

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