FROM a little girl's murder to a tragic rail disaster, a podcast is sharing historical, gruesome and true crime stories of yesteryear from across East Lancashire.

The Days of Horror Podcast is run by married couple Chris and Vickie Dunn.

Chris, who lives in Helmshore, said: “Being furloughed during the first lockdown, I had plenty of time to look into the history of my local area, and the amount of stories I uncovered seemed too good an opportunity to turn down in terms of researching them further and putting them on a website for other people to discover.”

Chris is on furlough from working as part of a small team at the warehouse of a packing company and Vickie, 45, from her job as a logistics co-ordinator, both in Hapton.

Lancashire Telegraph:

Chris and Vickie Dunn

Then podcast features stories from Accrington, Blackburn, Bashall Eaves, Burnley, Haslingden, Helmshore, Rawtenstall, Whitworth, as well as West Yorkshire and Greater Manchester.

Episodes range from around 10 to 20 minutes long and feature real-life events that took place between the 1800s up to the present day, although the majority are Victorian based.

Besides the gruesome details of crimes, Days of Horror provides plenty of local history, and each podcast comes with a story which you can read alongside it, as well as photographs of where the events took place.

Chris, 49, said: “For each story we cover, we visit the scenes where the events happened. By visiting these places we can, even today, get a feel for what it must have been like to live in those times and it helps our writing process. Obviously, lockdown makes this more difficult at the moment.

“We occasionally get the odd look of bemusement when taking photographs, but when we explain what we are doing, people are generally interested, if not a little spooked when we mention, perhaps, a murder took place in the area they live in!”

The most recent episode, released on Sunday, is called ‘Oakenhead Wood Tragedy (1853)’, and is set in Haslingden.

Oakenhead Wood Tragedy PIC: Peter Fisher

Oakenhead Wood Tragedy PIC: Peter Fisher

The podcast tells the mysterious story of Elizabeth Cunliffe who tried to commit suicide shortly after murdering her 10-month-old daughter Alice Hannah – a story Chris says “has been long forgotten, filed away in the newspapers from that time.”

Another episode describes the murder of seven-year-old Emily Holland from Blackburn in 1876, a barbaric case that made headlines worldwide and has its 145th anniversary this year.

The Illustrated Police News 1876, featured in the Emily Holland podcast. Picture courtesy of

The Illustrated Police News 1876, featured in the Emily Holland podcast. Picture courtesy of

It was the first to be solved with the use of bloodhounds as, upon searching the house of suspect William Fish, a hound began barking at the chimney breast, where police then found Emily’s remains.

Chris believes the most interesting story is that of the Helmshore Rail Disaster in September 1860. There were 11 lives lost and 77 people injured.

Helmshore Rail Station in 1905 PIC: John Alsop and Disused Stations

Helmshore Rail Station in 1905 PIC: John Alsop and Disused Stations

He said: “I guess it’s because this happened just a few minutes’ walk from where I live and I remember playing on the old railway line as a child, but the story is as fascinating as it is sad.

“Many people lost their lives with hundreds more injured, but it brought about a change in mentality when it came to safety as the inquest made it clear that those guilty of culpable neglect could be charged with criminal offences, so stricter safety measures were put in place soon after.”

Chris added: “When I tell people what I do, they first assume that it’s just a morbid thing to write about, but you have to remember - these were real people who had their lives taken away from them through no fault of their own and they should have their stories told.

“We have many, many stories to tell and one by one we will remember those that once lived and breathed in our towns and villages.”

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