The Thackray Old Asylum is a medical museum in Leeds contained by the Leeds Union Workhouse building that was built during 1858 – 1861. It housed 784 inmates or workers. Conditions at that time were harsh, workers would labour extremely long hours, doing repetitive chores and were treated badly by their supervisors. An outbreak of Typhus killed over 100 people within the workhouse and so St. James Hospital was built; a large hospital that enveloped the building and brought with it an aura of madness. The local people who didn’t work at the workhouse didn’t like going to the hospital as they felt it belonged to the workers and the hospital also had mentally ill people staying there. The workhouse started being use for medical care rather than for work and training and over the years there have been reports of the supernatural happening at that location.
The building itself features a pitch black theatre room and authentic Victorian streets, one of which feature the skeleton of Mary Bateman – the Yorkshire witch who was executed in the 19th Century. Current staff and visitors have heard inexplicable noises such as children laughing where there are no children to be seen. There has been quite heavy poltergeist activity where coins have been thrown from empty areas of the rooms and responsive tapping to medium encouragement. Ghostly figures and shadows have been seen walking the halls and a strong smell of urine has come and gone on regular occasions. Even in daylight there have been sudden temperature drops, people being grabbed or touched and intense feelings of dread and depression whilst in the building. One of the most popular ghosts is that of a woman dressed in 18th Century clothing who has been seen waving at staff and visitors.