CALLING all lovers of wraiths, phantoms, banshees and spooks – Newcastle’s secret library, the Lit & Phil, is launching a ghoulish festival of Summer Hauntings, running from June 21 to July 5.
Believed to host more ghosts than any other building in the city, the 19th century neoclassical library tucked away on Westgate Road is a fitting place for celebration of the supernatural. It is said that there are at least 16 spectres haunting all three of its impressively-scaled floors, each with a link to the library’s colourful past.
Summer Hauntings is a two-week festival offering a smorgasbord of the spectral and mysterious – from classic and modern storytelling of the weird and wonderful, to eerie ghost tours, spooky twilight readings and uncanny folk-tale telling, to a gothic afternoon tea and lectures on “uninvited guests” and ghouls from literature.
Tickets can also be bought to join GhostNorthEast overnight on June 22 and 29 as they conduct investigations into the paranormal.
The festival opens on the summer solstice, Friday, June 21 (Midsummer’s Eve) – a traditionally active time for the spirit world, with Midsummer Phantoms at the Phil, readings of three new supernatural stories from Sean O’Brien, Gail-Nina Anderson and Jacob Polley.
Further highlights include a reading by internationally celebrated crime writer Ann Cleeves of her own ghost story, Stranded on June 25, an all-family session with renowned master storyteller Chris Bostock Uncanny Canny Tales on June 29, and Unquiet Graves, Poppy Holden’s rendition of spooky ballads on July 1.
On July 3 Dr Gail-Nina Anderson transports us to a stormy night at the Villa Diodati as she explores the extraordinary origins of Polidori’s The Vampyre.
The festival concludes on Friday, July 5 with a welcome return from Robert Lloyd-Parry, telling tales of Beasts and Superbeasts from Saki. Haunted Lit & Phil tours will run on various days and times throughout the festival, offering visitors a chance to explore the wonders of the exquisite library as well as its ghostly residents.
Not for the faint-hearted, the festival is nonetheless open to all, with tickets starting from £3.
To book, call 0191 232 0192 or see www.litandphil.org.uk for more information.
The Summer Hauntings festival is a sister festival and seasonal extension to mid-winter’s Phantoms @ The Phil which launched back in November 2004.