One of Britain’s most notorious hangmen is back with a vengeance and could be haunting his former shop in Lowerplace. John Ellis was Rochdale’s last public executioner and after a well-documented lifetime of dispatching others, he brought his own days to a gruesome end when he committed suicide in 1932.Now more than 75 years after his death, there’s been some ghostly goings-on at the April Cotton florists in Oldham Road, his former barber shop. The new owner Susan Cotton and her partner George Rushbury only opened the shop in June, but after a series of spooky sightings, they’re wondering if his ghostis haunting the building.Mr Rushbury said: "A few things have happened which have been a bit eerie and it all started when I was decorating the shop. "I felt a hand on my shoulder so I turned to see who it was, but then I realised I was the only person in the shop.
It wasn’t a weak hand, it was a very firm push and it was quite unnerving.
thinking about what had happened and then a similar thing happened
shortly afterwards. It sounds comical but I had my back side pinched as
"I jumped up to see if anyone else was here but again I was the only person in the shop.
"Maybe John Ellis was a
hangman who liked pretty flowers – I don’t know but it was very eerie,
that’s the best way to describeit!"
Mr Ellis was appointed a
public executioner in 1901. Among the infamous characters dispatched by
him were Dr Hawley Harvey Crippen, brides-in-the-bath murderer George
Smith and Roger Casement, who was involved in the Irish Easter Rising.
The couple were unaware of
the shop’s history and in a strange coincidence, just before they
discovered its past, they watched a film about the life of Albert
Pierrepoint, another hangman who worked in the Manchester area.
Ms Cotton added: "I took the shop on without knowing about Mr Ellis. I had no idea about his life and it’s fascinating.
"People still come from
across the country to see the shop and I had to put the number back on
the door so people would stop asking if it’s 413 Oldham Road.
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