The Phantom Lawman


The Blackpool Pleasure Beach fun fair would not seem to be the sort of place you would expect to find a ghost. Nevertheless, Jim Allen a painter and decorator from Chorley in Lancashire recently told me a strange tale - and had evidence to support his story.

He had gone to Blackpool on a day trip with his girl friend and two of their friends. They had been on a couple of the big roller-coaster rides for which the Pleasure Beach is famous. They then headed for the ‘Gold-Mine’, another spectacular ride which takes passengers in four-seater cars into a simulated gold-mine.

When they emerged at the end of their ride, they decided to take photographs of themselves behind the bars of an artificial jail. The Pleasure Beach has many such locations around the park where visitors can take their own pictures in a variety of specially created ‘sets’. – It makes for a fun picture and also promotes the holiday park at the same time.

Standing adjacent to the jailhouse was the sheriff. An authentically dressed cowboy lawman with all the trappings of Dodge City’s Wyatt Earp! Jim asked the sheriff to stand beside them while they took the photographs. He was happy to oblige.

They took the photographs, each in turn standing beside the westerner, and then two groups, each featuring the lawman. Finally one of the sheriff standing by himself in front of his jail – seven pictures in all. When the roll of film was developed however, the sheriff was nowhere to be seen on any of the photographs!

All four of the day-trippers swear that he was there when the photographs were being taken, but his image was absent from the finished prints. Jim telephoned the Pleasure Beach to ask about the western lawman and was told that no such character was employed by them, nor did they know of anyone else who had seen him!

Jim has shown me the photographs. They are exactly as he describes them. Four pictures of each individual, two pictures of each couple - with a space where the sheriff stood! And the final photograph of the sheriff by himself, in front of the jail - all that the picture shows is the front of the jail! You may think me strange, but I believe him!

Copyright Leslie Melville 2002

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