Dark, Foreboding and somewhat beautiful. St Joseph’s College once stood proud as one of the biggest seminaries in Britain. Now after 25 years of abandonment, the magnificent building and its grounds have transformed into something quite terrifying.
Despite its impressive and grand size, the eery seminary located in Walthew Park, next to Stoney Brow, Upholland is relatively unknown in the north-west and it seems as though its prestigious history has been well and truly forgotten.
St Joseph’s was opened in 1883 by Bishop Bernard O’Reily with the purpose of providing secondary education to boys aged 11-18 who were looking to pursue priesthood. It closed its doors 1991 amidst financial difficulties and claims of sexual abuse. Notable alumni of St Joseph’s include comedian, Johnny Vegas.
The now-infamous school was in the news recently after former priest, Father Michael Higginbottom, was found guilty of sex abuse against an ex-pupil. The 74 year old was jailed for 17 years earlier this year.
Nowadays, the only people who enter the abandoned buildings and grounds are so-called “urban explorers”. The illegal craze of urban exploring took off a few years ago, with people entering abandoned premises with the hope of taking creepy photography or possibly capturing some evidence of the paranormal.
A group of urban explorers who wish to remain anonymous did exactly that on a recent visit to the spooky seminary.
One of them recalled why they decided to go and how they entered through a broken cellar window:
“We don’t live far from there and had heard a few spooky stories about it so we thought it would be a laugh to have a look around ourselves.
“I was acting like a big man to the others but I was crapping myself really. It was so strange down there. There was such a weird collection of stuff. Loads of old books, wine bottles and even a pair of ice skates. It was so creepy.”
He went on to describe his paranormal experience:
“We went up some stairs and stood outside a hall but saw a few cameras there so we didn’t go in. I was joking around to try and cut the tension a bit and said, ‘there’s nothing in there anyway’. We didn’t here anything at the time but when I was reviewing my footage at home, the phone started going crazy with static after I say it. We also heard a dog barking on the video which we didn’t hear at the time.
“I was filming throughout the whole thing and the static only started when I said that and kept going until we went down to the next floor
“It gave me a chill when I heard it because we discovered that the college had its own graveyard when we were exploring the grounds”
Could the malfunction on the explorer’s phone be a spirit trying to connect with the group? With it’s dark and disturbing history, it may be possible that there are unfortunate souls still trapped inside St Joseph’s walls.
Because of repeated break-ins, the awesome and foreboding building and its grounds have been surrounded by a large fence and now has a permanent security guard on sight. Instead of getting yourself into trouble, explore St Josephs by watching this video by ‘The Urban Cowboys’
What do you think? Is St Joseph’s really haunted? Leave your comments bellow!