Libraries, Research 4 Comments »

Seems like ages ago that I last wrote on this blog.  Things have been very hectic, and as such I have not had the time to get in.  Hopefully, with a few new changes, things will start to plateau and I will be able to drop in now and then. 

On Saturday August 9th 2015 I headed out to Scalby, the final resting place of Edwin Brough, whose bloodhounds were secured in London to be tested with a view to employing them in the hunt for “Jack the Ripper.” 

This is my adventure!

I woke up early Saturday morning and headed out to get the newspapers, having a quick spot of breakfast on my return, then heading out to the train station.  Very few buses were on the road at that time so I popped into the taxi office near my house and secured a taxi to the train station. 

On arriving at the train station I purchased train tickets for Scarborough, and headed to the platform.  Unfortunately, an incoming train had hit a deer, and because of this the crowds had started building up.  I struck up a conversation with a security guard and we eventually caught the train, sitting together and having a laugh about the work we had done in the past. 

Eventually we got to Scarborough, and I made my way to the Scarborough Library in search of their local studies room, aptly named “The Scarborough Room.”  I had pre-arranged what I wanted to look at and was handed a stack of material on Scalby Manor and Edwin Brough, which I quickly viewed and secured copies for my files. 

Most people will have left at that point, but I decided to look through the Scarborough newspapers of 1888.  It made sense to me that they should mention Edwin Brough and his hunt for “Jack the Ripper,” with him being a former Justice of the Peace in the town.  I was not disappointed.  I found a stack of articles that discussed him, the bloodhounds, and “Jack the Ripper.” 

I then broadened my search and found a series of articles about the paranormal side of Scalby Manor, including ghost sightings from the 1950’s through to the last decade. 

I also found an interesting document signed by Edwin Brough, and a document showing the pedigree of the family. 

Everyone at Scarborough Library were very helpful, and their knowledge of the material I was looking for was fantastic. 

I left Scarborough Library in search of the right bus to Scalby.  Earlier in the week I had contacted East Yorkshire Motor Services ( @EYBuses) and they were really helpful in getting me the right bus, sending me time tables and maps.  This really helped and within no time I had not only found the correct bus stop but was on the bus heading out to Scalby.  The village of Scalby is much larger than I expected and the bus driver stopped at the edge of the village and asked where I needed to be, when I told him that I was going to St. Laurences Church, he dropped me opposite. 

The village of Scalby is lovely, a really beautiful place and so peaceful.  I immediately found the church and was thankful that I had previously arranged with the church wardens a map and directions to the grave of Edwin Brough.  As I walked through the churchyard, amongst the old headstones, I struggled to find the grave.  Eventually two churchwardens crossed the churchyard and came to help.  Together we still failed to find the grave, so I called Rev. Ferneley, whose number I had taken with me just in case.  The Rev. quickly arrived as he lived in the Vicarage next door.  Together we looked but still struggled to find it.  Eventually we came across an overgrown ivy bush and jokingly I remarked “I have a feeling what we are looking for is under that bush.”  He walked over, pulled away the ivy, and sure enough, we found the grave of Edwin Brough. 

Interestingly, Brough was married with his wife and sister in law, who also acted as a servant at Scalby Manor before her death. 

We cleared some of the bushes and ivy away then sat and chatted about the grave.  I could have pulled all the ivy off and taken photos, I could have cleared the grave, but out of respect, and to keep the grave protected from the elements, I decided to keep it covered.  The Rev. was pleased with the decision, and we shook hands and he departed whilst I took photos. 

Eventually I left the churchyard.  A wedding was due to take place and as the guests arrived I am sure they would not want to see a sweaty Ripperologist knee deep in ivy digging around the graves. 

I headed off from the village of Scalby to Scalby Manor, a 25 minute walk covering 1.4 miles along Station Road onto Field Lane, then onto Burniston Road.  The sun was high in the sky and it was hot, but luckily I had packed bottles of water for the walk, and as such it was a pleasant walk. 

Eventually I arrived at Scalby Manor a little after 1 o’clock.  I was warmly met by a gentleman who took my order, of fish and chips and a pint of coke, and I made my way to a table, picking up my hot food and ice cold drink.  As I ate my lunch I pulled out all the research I had amassed and began reading it.  At that point one of the bar staff walked by and said “Hello,” she saw the papers on my table, and we began chatting about the manor.  She called over a more senior member of staff and the three of us began chatting about Edwin Brough, Scalby Manor, the Bloodhounds, “Jack the Ripper” and the paranormal past of the building.  The two girls then invited me to take a look around, so we headed through the bar into the rear courtyard.  It was here where Edwin Brough kept his beloved bloodhounds and as always it is a pleasure to see. 

I had visited the location a year previous to this, just after they had cleared it all, and was accompanied by my wife, Susan, and my good friends Kathy and Dave.  They stayed in the car, and I went in alone that time, having only a second to see the kennels.  This time I had much longer and the three of us stood out in the sunshine talking about the kennels.  I was pleased to see that one of them was in use by a friendly dog that belonged to the residents staying upstairs. I took lots of photos, said my thanks, and left to head back to Scalby. 

This time I cut across the Camping and Caravanning Club grounds, cutting off a wedge of Burniston Road and Field Lane corner, then headed back along Station Road to Scalby.  I had time to pop into the rest rooms and grab a drink before the bus arrived to take me back to Scarborough.

Arriving in Scarborough I had a few hours spare, so I decided to hit the seafront with my camera.  After walking up and down the seafront I decided to head back to the station and make my journey home. 

All in all it was a lovely day, I met and chatted with lots of lovely people and got a ton of research as well as two books, one on the Yorkshire Ripper and one on Jack the Ripper. 

Thank you to the staff at East Yorkshire Motor Services, Scarborough Library and Local Studies, Scalby Manor, and the church wardens and Rev. Ferneley at St Laurences Church, Scalby, for all their help and advice over the weekend. 


Archives, Books, E-Books, Events, Hull Press, Libraries, Movies, National Press, Podcast, Research, Ripper Fiction, Ripper Non-Fiction, TV/Documentaries, bloggs 1 Comment »

Well it has been one hell of a year.  I seem to have not written much on the blog at all this year, but believe me it is for a very good reason.  I have been so busy not just with “Jack the Ripper” but other projects that I rarely get to sit and update my blog.  So here, in one post, is all the weird and wonderful news since my last posting.  Forgive me if I go over the same ground again, but the projects are so exciting and it is fantastic to be a part of them all.




This week I had the pleasure of lecturing for a massive marketing company in London at Mindshare’s Huddle event.


Massive thank you to Chris Bourke, for not only booking me, but making me feel very welcome at the event.  The lecture which was for Qriously Ltd, looked at “Jack the Ripper” and the media both past and present and was a very popular lecture.  Everyone made me feel very welcome and I had a lovely time in London meeting everyone.




This year has seen the release of ten of my books, they are all available to download via Amazon, and two are currently available on paperback.  Simply search for “Mike Covell” on the Amazon pages around the world and you will find the products. 

At the moment sales are really impressive and I cannot thank the Creativia gang for taking me on board and looking after me and my titles.  They are such a small tight nit group and they have worked wonders for me.




As you can imagine I am limited in what I can say about the movies at present, I know I am a tease, but I can only recommend that you visit the Thunderball Films website for updates on the projects that I am involved in.  It is a very exciting time, and I look forward to working on some amazing projects as an historical director and executive producer that are heading our way.




I can confirm that there is a television show on the way looking at the “Jack the Ripper” case and other similar cases to ascertain fact from fiction, myth from reality.  Whilst I am very limited over what I can and cannot say, I can say that it is a very interesting and exciting project tackled in a way that has never been tackled before in Ripperology.  The title for the show is “Jack the Ripper: Reality and Myth.”




Many people will remember that earlier this year I set up AMAZING HULL TOURS.  Since that time I had carried out numerous tours, lectures, and research for numerous people.  The tours are going really well and recently were featured in the Hull Daily Mail after a number of people caught anomalous objects on camera.  I take a back seat and allow people to take photos on the tour and if they capture anything on film I do not sway their opinion.  That said, this last few weeks has seen a number of people capture unexplained activity on their cameras.




Earlier this year I met with my good mate John and we recorded a show on Jack the Ripper – The Hull Connection.  Since then John and I have recorded more shows that look at the history of Hull.  Show two featured a virtual walk around Hull’s Old Town, visiting some of the allegedly haunted pubs and talking about their history. 
Show three featured a similar virtual tour around some of the pubs a little further afield.

To listen to the shows simply visit:




Earlier this year I teamed up with local businessman John Hemmingway to create a brand new visitor attraction in Hull.  The idea is to showcase 700 years of the darker side of Hull’s strange history, from witchcraft to the hanging of pirates, ghost sightings, local legends and true crime.  The project is moving at a great pace and I look forward to releasing news about this very soon.  One area we hope to showcase is “Jack the Ripper” The Hull Connection.




I am very pleased to announce that due to the popularity of the URBAN LEGENDS podcasts that next year for the second season we have even bigger plans.  Watch out for John and I around Hull filming in locations associated with true crime, Jack the Ripper, and the paranormal. 

I am pleased to be the historian at the fascinating project housed within Annison’s Stables, on Witham, above and behind the 24 hour pharmacy.  A lot of attention has been paid to this building and its magnificent history and in the future you will see some amazing tours, lectures, and the occasional paranormal investigation at the property.  You will also see lectures on Mary Jane Langley being given at the property where Mr. William Mortimer Edmonds had his photography shop!

The “Chocolate Factory” on Wincolmlee, a lovely 19th century tallow mill will also see some magnificent projects taking place there.  These will be run in conjunction with local businessman John Hemmingway, who I spoke about in regards to the DARK MUSEUM above.


2015 will see a wide range of new lectures and new tours, taking in aspects of Hull’s history long since forgotten.  Among the new lectures will be a new Amy Johnson lecture, a new William Papper lecture, and a new lecture on Hull’s infamous Silver Hatchet Gang of the early 19th century.


New Books!!!  Next year will see the release of a series of new books that will explore the darker side of Hull’s history.  The series is all but finished and they will be submitted just after Christmas for a steady release through the year.  It will mean a year of no “Jack the Ripper” releases from me, but I am saving the new “Jack the Ripper” projects for 2016.




The AMAZING HULL TOURS lectures have had a very busy year and bookings are coming well into 2015 with a lecture booked for December next year!  All bookings for both tours and lectures can be made through AMAZING HULL TOURS at the following;


Or via emailing us at



Research, Ripper, and Reader Printers.

Archives, Libraries, Research No Comments »

Research Latest

This week I had a free block of time so I headed on out to the Hull History Centre to conduct some research.  It seems like ages since I last visited, and had in that time gathered together a list of items I wanted to view.  These were mainly newspaper reports in the Hull Press covering various “Jack the Ripper” suspects such as Frederick Bailey Deeming, James Maybrick, Charles Le Grand, James Thomas Sadler, and a number of local “Ripper Scares.”  As my many “Jack the Ripper” writing projects draw to a close I was chasing up a few loose ends to provide alternative views on some of the topics covered in some of the Hull based newspapers on the London based crimes. 

After a couple of hours I came away with some new newspaper reports on the Hull Ripper Scare of 1900, when 5 women were stabbed.  I also came away with reports on a Doncaster Ripper Scare, and articles, featuring contemporary sketches, on Frederick Bailey Deeming, James Thomas Sadler, James Maybrick, and Charles Le Grand.

The Hull History Centre gets “Touch Screen Technology.”

I have, for many years now, used the various Newspaper Readers and Printers at the Hull History Centre, so I was surprised and excited to learn that the old machines are to be replaced with state of the art machines.  As part of the £7.7m History Centre Project, these new machines will be easier to load, easier to use, have touch screen technology, have clearer imaging, and as such the copies will be clearer.  A central printing hub will also form part of the set up, and the Hull History Centre will be the first facility to utilise these models.

As a result of instillation and set up, the Hull History Centre will be closed over Thursday July 4th and Friday July 5th.  This is a small price to pay for such an amazing step forward in Hull’s arsenal of local history research and I for one look forward to the new machines. 

Future Projects

At the minute I am busy working on new projects for the end of the year and 2014.  These will be revealed in time but include new lectures, events, tours, and media collaborations. 

New Research on Mary Jane Langley

Archives, Libraries, Research 1 Comment »

It is one of the perils of historical research that sooner or later you will meet a dead end in inquiries.  As many readers of the blog will know I have for some time been researching the still unsolved murder of Mary Jane Langley, who was found brutally murdered on Preston Long-lane, now known as Neat Marsh-road. 

Over the years I have amassed over a thousand newspaper articles from 1891 – 2012 on the case, from local, national, and even international sources.  The newspaper articles give a clear idea of the events of the period, and for many years I had hoped to trace the elusive files from the murder inquiry.  The problem was, the case involved both Hull and Borough Police forces, the murder took place on Hull and Borough Boundaries, and the Hull and Borough Magistrates carried out inquests and hearings in Hull and Preston. 

These issues mean that tracing the file would be a problem from the start as neither the Hull nor Borough Police forces exist per se.  They are today amalgamated into one larger force, Humberside Police, and as such a lot of the older files were sent for safe keeping and/or destroyed. 

I had hoped that the files were held at the Hull History Centre, the East Riding Archives, or the National Archives, but searches at all three establishments failed to find any evidence that despite a series of Humberside/Hull/Borough files being available, none of the files featured the Mary Jane Langley file. 

The other problem encountered was the fact that the case was never solved there was no murder trial as the charges laid against John Rennard, aka Jack Renny, were dropped and he was acquitted.  At the time of the trial, murder cases were usually held at the York Assizes, but with no murder trial there was no paper trail. 

Imagine my surprise when a re-read of A. A. Clarke’s Killers at Large (Arton Books, 1997) stated that unsolved murder cases are kept in Humberside Police’s headquarters and “protected by a heavy wire mesh and padlocked against the curious.” 

With this snippet of information I made more inquiries, this time with Humberside Police.  After a series of telephone calls to various departments, I was asked to put my query in writing. 

Yesterday the reply arrived and sadly despite having a series of files that date back to 1909, there is nothing for the year 1891 and therefore nothing held on the still unsolved murder of Mary Jane Langley. 

I must, however, thank Humberside Police for the help, assistance, and speedy reply in help solving this unique cold case from Hull and East Yorkshire’s past.

This past week

Archives, Deeming, Events, Hull Press, Libraries, Opinion, Press Reports, Research, Stephenson Family No Comments »

The past week


In the past week I had the opportunity to peruse some old Hull newspapers that covered the years 1889 to 1940.  Among the newspapers were several articles pertaining to Jack the Ripper and the Whitechapel Murders.  I was able to collect copies of articles on the likes of Sir Charles Warren, Sir Melville Macnaghten, and several other police officials, who were in service during the “Autumn of Terror.” 

I was also able to obtain copies of newspaper reports on several suspects, from Frederick Bailey Deeming, James and Florence Maybrick, Charles LeGrand, Francis Tumblety, and several other suspects that are rarely discussed despite their candidacy being much stronger than the likes of some who have been mentioned in the past!

I was also able to collect material, including newspaper reports, and material gleaned from primary sources on the likes of Annie Millwood, Ada Wilson, Emma Elizabeth Smith, Martha Tabram, Mary Ann Nichols, Annie Chapman, Susan Ward, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes, The Whitehall Mystery, Mary Jane Kelly, Annie Farmer, Rose Mylett, Elizabeth Jackson, Alice McKenzie, the Pinchin Street Torso, and Frances Coles, as well as several other victims who were killed in the vicinity in the months after the initial “Jack the Ripper” scare! 


This Saturday I had the pleasure of lecturing at the Western Library, on Boulevard, off Hessle-road in West Hull.  The library is opposite the former home of one Frederick Richard Chapman, and close to the site of one of the Hull Dispensary’s that he worked at, and the former church where he was a church warden.  The library itself is an historical gem, built in 1895 and being the first in Hull to be erected using public funding.  The library closed in 2011 and reopened only recently after a £800,000 regeneration project and I must say it is a lovely bright place with many of the historical features kept for future generations to admire.  Among the improvements were the erection of extra meeting rooms, a lift, extra shelving, solar roof panels, and a new IT facility.  The original Victorian counter is still present, and many of the walls have been restored. 

The lecture was arranged by The Friends of Hull Library, who asked that I go along and discuss Hull’s Ghostly Myths and Legends.  It was a lovely atmosphere, and I came away with more bookings for future lectures.  I was also pleased that not only was the room packed, but that the crowd had so many stories and questions in the Q+A session I held afterwards. 

All in all it was a great day, and I hope to return to the library very soon.

Heritage Open Days Hull

As I mentioned in an earlier post, this weekend saw the Heritage Open Days across the UK, and closer to home in Hull.  On Saturday I had the pleasure of visiting Hull’s Neptune Inn, a location that was built in the 1700’s but by the 1800’s had been closed and was sold to the Hull Customs.  It was here, in 1863, that Robert D’Onston Stephenson began working as a clerk of the first class to the Hull Customs.  The property is owned by the Trinity House Corporation, who Robert D’Onston Stephenson’s father worked for in his role as Receiver of Corporation Dues and Receiver of Bouyage.  Two roles that were jointly operated by the Trinity House Corporation, the Hull Customs, the Hull Dock Corporation and the Hull Corporation.  It was also through the same roles and employers that Lewis Carroll’s maternal grandfather worked, albeit in the 1700’s.

The massive awe inspiring building retains many of the original features after it was renovated some years ago and stands opposite the bank that was used by Frederick Bailey Deeming prior to him defrauding Messrs Reynoldson’s!  Deeming arrived in Hull in November 1889 and opened up an account at the bank, and traded with them until he closed his account and wrote three cheques for jewellery at Mr. Reynoldson’s jewellery store, where the current Schue branch is on Hull’s Whitefriargate. 

The bank stands on the corner of Whitefriargate and Parliament-street, another location that appears in Hull’s Ripperological history.  Several people were removed to Parliament-street police station between 1888 and 1900 for “Ripper like conduct” and it acted until the central police station during the period. 

Also on Parliament-street stood what was known as Messrs Tenny and Dawber, a solicitors firm that Joseph Dawber was running.  Joseph was Robert D’Onston Stephenson’s cousin, and would later be locked up in Hull Gaol for fraud.  Curiously, the 1891 Census shows that at the same time he was in prison, Frederick Bailey Deeming, under the alias of Harry Lawson, was also an inmate!  Small world!

Leaving Neptune Inn I paid a visit to the Holy Trinity Church, where William Wilberforce was christened.  It was also here that Robert D’Onston Stephenson’s father was also christened!  The church is always a pleasure to walk about, and features the tombs and remembrance plaques of hundreds of former Hull notables including former Mayors, Alderman, and Merchants.  The tower was open, but with my dodgy ticker and the heat I didn’t risk the climb. 

After Holy Trinity Church I visited the Pacific Exchange, which was advertised as being open 10:00 – 15:00 but at 14:00 was already closed.  Regardless I walked along to Hull’s only National Trust property, Maister’s House.  The house has a magnificent staircase and upper balcony, but it was undergoing structural integrity checks, so scaffold bars and boards blocked much of what was previously on show.  Hopefully they will discover the problem and save this unique location.

From Maister’s House I had a quick look around Hull’s Museum Quarter, where a collection of vintage cars were on display.  Leaving the museums I headed for the Georgian Houses but discovered that the tours needed booking despite the official guide stating that no booking was required.  When I enquired about the time I was told the next available tour would be in a hour and half, so I left for other locations. 

Blaydes House was next on the agenda, a beautiful 18th Century property built and owned by the Blaydes family.  It was the Blaydes family who built a ship named “The Bertha,” which would be later renamed “The Bounty” which was known for its infamous mutiny.    

Leaving Blaydes House my next stop was St Mary’s Church, known to many as St Mary the Virgin.  The church dates from the 14th Century, and is packed with historical features that make it a place to visit over and over again.  Once again, for health reasons, I decided against the tower climb. 

Taking in other locations, such as Ye Olde White Hart, White Hart, Sailmakers, and George Hotel, I finished the day at Hull’s Bob Carver’s fish and chips shop.  A piece of Hull’s history in itself.        


Archives, Events, Hull Press, Libraries, Research No Comments »

It has been another busy month of writing and researching and it seems like I have not wrote on my blog for ages, for this I apologise, but when you see what has been achieved in the last few weeks and months I think you will understand the reason for my absence.

Mary Ann “Polly” Nichols

First of all let us remember the significance of today’s date, the 31st of August 2012, 124 years to the date that Mary Ann Nichols was found murdered at the gated stables on Buck’s Row, now Durward Street. 

I am aware of activities on both Facebook and Twitter to mark the anniversary and remember, what many have now termed, the beginning of the “Autumn of Terror,” including Tweets marking the events as they happened by several Tweeters. 

Current Research

In the past few months my research has been mainly pertaining to the stories that appeared in the Hull press covering Jack the Ripper.  This has included cataloguing hundreds of reports into chronological order by publisher, and transcribing them. 

More recently I was at the Hull History Centre seeking out press reports on the murders of Ada Wilson, Annie Millwood, Emma Elizabeth Smith, and Martha Tabram, to fill in a few gaps.  Whilst it can be argued that there is no evidence that they were victims of Jack the Ripper, the contemporary press featured these victims and I therefore decided to feature them in my research.  Luckily I came away with several reports on the victims, each of which has been transcribed and added to Jack the Ripper – Newspapers From Hell, From Hull. 

The Jack the Ripper Beverley Scares

In recent weeks I have also been exploring the “Beverley Jack the Ripper Scares” that took place in Beverley just after 1888 and as such have made several visits to the area to take photos and visit the locations involved.  Beverley is a small market town approx 10 miles from Hull.  It has previously been associated with such Jack the Ripper Suspects as Frederick Bailey Deeming and Lewis Carroll, but my recent research suggests two other events that transpired in the town that provoked the local and national press into claiming that Jack the Ripper was in the town on two separate occasions. 

The newspaper articles have been uncovered, and transcribed and will be featured in an appendix in Jack the Ripper – Newspapers From Hell, From Hull, there has been, however, calls for me to release this chapter as a separate book for the target audience of Beverley, with the possibility of a series of lectures and walks in the town.  At the minute I am undecided, but who knows.

Current projects with page and word counts:

It has been a busy time of writing in the past few months, and my Kindle has taken a back seat to my laptop to get as much work done as possible.  I even took it camping, but heavy rains prevented me from taking it out and working!  The following is a list of projects that I am currently working on, several of which are finished.

Jack the Ripper – Newspapers From Hell, From Hull. 

A look at the articles published regarding the Whitechapel Murders in the Hull press during the “Autumn of Terror.”  Articles featured also include the 1873 Thames Torso Murders, The Gateshead Murder, The Grimsby Jack the Ripper Scare, The Beverley Jack the Ripper Scares, with previously unpublished material on Frederick Bailey Deeming, Thomas Sadler, Florence Maybrick, The Baccarat Scandal, Robert D’Onston Stephenson and many more people associated with the case.  Also featured are reports from 1889 – 2012 that were featured in the Hull press on the case.  Appendices include material on the Hull Police, Hull Press, and an A – Z of people involved in the case.

Fully Referenced, Source List, Bibliography.

217 Pages, 177,069 words

Jack the Ripper – From Hell, From Hull? Vol I

A look at Robert D’Onston Stephenson, his birth, life, and time spent in Hull, with chapters covering his time at the Hull Customs, his family, his time spent in Brighton, London, and his writing career.  Features a wealth of unpublished material including letters and information gleaned from primary sources.

Fully Referenced, Source List, Bibliography.

351 Pages, 265,919 words

Jack the Ripper – From Hell, From Hull? Vol II

A look at Frederick Bailey Deeming’s links to Hull with never before published material from Hull, London, and Australia, including trial files, correspondence, and press reports.  Popular theories are explored, discussed, and in many cases debunked.

Fully Referenced, Source List, Bibliography.

216 Pages, 179,094 words

Jack the Ripper – From Hell, From Hull? Vol III

A look at 8 other suspects previously named as Jack the Ripper with links to Hull, from the doctor that worked her, to the writer whose family held positions of importance in the City.  Each suspect chapter is filled with previously unseen material, press reports, and primary sources gleaned from archives across the UK.

Fully Referenced, Source List, Bibliography.

68 Pages, 51,268 words

The Preston Murder of Mary Jane Langley

An in depth look at the life and death of Mary Jane Langley, killed between Hull and Preston, and whose death remains unsolved to this day.  Crammed with previously unseen material, including press reports from 1891 – 2012 on the case.  Also included is an A – Z of people involved, filled with primary sources, census returns, BMD information, and material gleaned from Humberside Police.  Appendices include a look at the history of Hull prison, and material on another murder on the same lane 100 years later.

Fully Referenced, Source List, Bibliography.

167 Pages, 132,541 words

Mike Covell’s Haunted Hull

A look at some of the allegedly haunted locations within the Hull boundary, from haunted pubs, to clubs, education centres, shops, theatres, and many more locations.  Each location has a full history gleaned from trade directories, the census, BMD information, newspapers, and firsthand accounts.  Popular myths are explored, discussed, and their origins traced.

Fully Referenced, Source List, Bibliography.

211 Pages, 135,315 words

Mike Covell’s Paranormal Hull

A look at the odder side of Hull’s history, from strange mirages, to appearances of Jesus, superstitions, folklore, falls from the sky, satanic rituals, fortune tellers who get it wrong, and a Hull ships search for Noah’s Ark!  The book uses primary sources, newspapers, and interviews with eyewitnesses to present an open ended presentation of the weird and wonderful in Hull.

Fully Referenced, Source List, Bibliography.

122 Pages, 93,667 words

Mike Covell’s Paranormal Hull – Paranormal Press

A collection of stories in the Hull press covering all manner of ghostly stories and tales of terror in Hull.  Over 30 newspapers were consulted to bring together a large collection of stories dating from 1800 to 2012.  Each story is linked to primary sources on the people, places, and events that are featured.

Fully Referenced, Source List, Bibliography.

86 Pages, 64,048 words


A look at Hull’s history of weird and unusual creatures, from mermaids, to “Little Doug,” beached whales, sea serpents, big cat sightings, and escaped monkeys!  The book is packed with eyewitness accounts, newspaper stories from 1800 to 2012, maps, and rare photographs of these cryptozoological wonders.

Fully Referenced, Source List, Bibliography.

71 Pages, 55,295 words 


A massive collection of UFO reports, eyewitness accounts, press reports, official documentation, and cases across Hull from as early as 1800 to 2012.  Read about the massive moon like structure that hovered over Hull, the Airship Scares in the early 1900’s, the National Archives Files on Hull’s sightings, and the mystery of the “Hull Hum.”  Featuring photographs, maps, and eyewitness accounts.

Fully Referenced, Source List, Bibliography.

54 Pages, 39,750 words


Archives, Deeming, Hull Press, Libraries, Press Reports, Research, Stephenson Family No Comments »

New Finds:

Whilst I have been housebound I had the pleasure of seeking out new articles in the Hull Press via digitisation projects.  This has allowed me to search from the relative comfort of my home and has turned up some fascinating results.

Over the years my scope of work has covered 10 suspects with links to my home town of Kingston upon Hull, so with access to the Hull Daily Mail archives I decided to search for any articles pertaining to any of the 10 suspects, resulting in the finding of numerous articles on the likes of Frederick Bailey Deeming, and even some material from the 1920’s exploring Lewis Carroll’s connections to the city.  Among the articles were many reports on the Whitechapel Murders, many of which I have never seen before, and other similar atrocities and Ripper scares.  There was a fascinating article regarding Jack the Ripper and Black Magic, that appeared in the Hull press in the 1920’s, and some fascinating material on the likes of Betty May and Aleister Crowley.

New Photographic Finds:

In the last 6 years I have searched and searched for a photograph showing the birthplace of Hull born Robert D’Onston Stephenson.  Despite poring over hundreds of books, webpages, and photo archives I could not trace an image, then, within the space of a week, I uncovered not one, but two!!  The images show two different views of the Stephenson family home.  One from the street facing the property from a side and showing the neighbouring houses, the other shows the property from the front, but at a much later date!!  Needless to say I am very excited about these images.


This month marks my third year on social networking site Twitter.  It has seen me post almost 7,000 tweets, and I have a little over 900 followers.  The site has become a useful networking tool for likeminded Ripperologists, Historians, and True Crime followers.  Here is to another 3 years!!

Frederick Richard Chapman Files

Archives, Libraries, Research No Comments »

This morning I had the pleasure of visiting the Hull History Centre a location that is almost a second home to me and a place at which I never fail to find new material.  A couple of years back I had visited the Centre with a view to researching Frederick Richard Chapman, a suspect first posited by B. E. Reilly and one which had lived in Hull between 1874 and 1888.  In the past I had consulted several primary sources such as Trade Directories and Inquest Reports and came away with a couple of new significant finds.  Sadly since that visit the material was lost on a pendrive from hell! 

Rather than let the pendrive beat me I decided to take time out to research him again, keeping in mind the original sources consulted.  Sure enough among the Trade Directories of Hull were several new addresses not listed in the Census nor the UK Medical Registers.  I was also able to trace details on both the Hull and Sculcoates Dispensary, where he acted as the House Surgeon, and St Barnabas Church, where he acted as a church warden. 

In the past I recall consulting an Inquest report from the early 1880’s and that the report bore the signature of Frederick Richard Chapman so with this in mind I searched once again through the massive card index held at the Archives in the Hull History Centre.  After a short while I found the original file that I had read some years earlier but among the listings were other files that I had not seen before.  With this in mind I ordered the new files and found several other inquest reports featuring Frederick Richard Chapman as the medical witness.  The reports also bear Chapman’s signature and show what he was doing in Hull between 1881 and 1883.

I ordered copies of the files and will be reading them later this evening to ascertain more information.

Watch this space!

Year in Review 2011

Archives, Books, Deeming, E-Books, Events, Hull Press, Jack the Ripper Doc's, Libraries, National Press, Opinion, Podcast, Press Reports, Research, Stephenson Family, TV/Documentaries, Theories No Comments »

Every year around this time I always post a Year in Review, showing the books, magazines, articles, TV shows and research that other Ripperologists have done throughout the year, but this past year has seen so many changes and I have been so busy that I have not really kept up with the latest developments.  Plus a major hard-drive explosion and the loss of several files didn’t help.  Luckily much of the material was on pen-drives.  So this year I thought I would write a year in review based on my research, rather than other peoples work, to show what has been done locally and nationally.

In January I was cast head first into the world of Frederick Bailey Deeming when it was revealed that a skull had turned up in Australia and was possibly his.  The find caused mush debate and discussion and was covered in blogs, newspaper reports, and even made its way onto TV.  At the time I was fortunate enough to have quiet a large collection of newspaper articles that showed the passage of Deeming’s skull, from the hanging in 1892, it being buried, dug up, allegedly stolen and through various hands of ownership.  It has to be the most talked about skull in Australian history, second only to Ned Kelly, and I am pleased to say that the skull turned out to be that of Ned Kelly’s and not Deeming as previously thought.  The case did mean that several members of the Deeming family came forward, and I certainly got a lot of messages and emails from people wishing to know more.

February saw me visiting Hedon and Preston in search of material for a book and articles on the murder of Mary Jane Langley.  Mary Jane was murdered in 1891 and at the time Frederick Bailey Deeming had just been released from Hull Prison.  His name actually came to light in relation to the investigation in 1892 when Deeming’s links to Hull and Yorkshire were explored in both the Hull and Beverley press and so it would only be a matter of time that I explored the case.  What was weird about this, is that some of the descendents of Mary had actually previously been in touch and mentioned the case to me, and asked if I knew anything, so it was lovely to be able to send them material and news every time I researched Mary and her family and to be able to answer some of the question and queries they had regarding the case.

March saw a trip to Beverley’s East Riding Archives, where I secured newspaper cuttings on Frederick Bailey Deeming and his frauds in 1890/1891, and the Rainhill and Windsor Murders of 1891/1892.  I also visited several locations associated with Deeming, and Helen Matheson and her family and secured interviews and photos of some of the locations.

April saw the discovery of Frederick Bailey Deeming in the Hull Watch Committee Minutes.  These proved invaluable as it put a price on the manhunt for Deeming after his frauds in 1890 in Hull.  Many of the books and publications mention Deeming in relation to Hull in only a passing manner, many of which erroneously state that he was married in Hull, and stayed at the Station Hotel in Beverley.  The Hull Watch Committee Minutes are a great find as they finally reveal how much was spent on following Deeming to Southhampton and Monte Video, and then returning him to Hull.  With this information I was able to find shipping manifests that showed Deeming on board with Detective Grassby of the Hull Police as well as several other documents that were created at the time and show the events that transpired.

May was filled with another Deeming related file. The Hull Watch Committee Minutes books also helped me discover the massive Hull Trial File, which is packed with primary sources from his time in Hull, and features letters, telegrams, and eyewitness statements.  It also made me realize that as well as Deeming and his alias Lawson, I should be aware that sometimes the authorities get it wrong and can often misspell names!  It also saw an exciting visit to the Hull Prison Exhibition which was fascinating.

June saw some newspaper based research, tackling Frederick Bailey Deeming and Robert D’Onston Stephenson from a different angle and helping me uncover 40 new articles associated with them, their lives in Hull, and the people whose lives they affected.  It also saw me get my hands on another Frederick Bailey Deeming file, the Home Office Files.  These featured 43 pages filled with material on Deeming and his life and the legal wranglings that were going on over his arrest in Monte Video.  This year I visited Whitby with my wife and took in the Lewis Carroll and Bram Stoker/Dracula locations.  I also managed to obtain several books on the duo, including one that links Stoker to the murders!  Stoker, it is claimed, was inspired by the Ripper Murders and stated so in an Icelandic Edition of Dracula.

July saw some research trips to the East Riding Archives in Beverley where I uncovered material on Robert D’Onston Stephenson, Frederick Bailey Deeming, and the murder of Mary Jane Langley.  I was also back in the Hull History Centre and found yet another file on Deeming, this time it was in the Hull Watch Files and covered Thomas Reynoldson and his quest for justice against Deeming.  Also at the Hull History Centre I found several reports on Deeming in the Hull Watch Committee Minutes, and Hull Finances Committee Minutes.  At the Hull Reference Library I discovered information pertaining to the ships that Thomas Sadler had sailed on.  This month saw the discovery that Deeming had been discussed in the House of Commons, and that police officers were sent to Australia from Scotland Yard, and asked to help with the Rainhill Murders.  Despite these snippets being mentioned in the local and national press to date there have been no files that cast any light on who went and why.

August was the month of Mary Jane Langley, with my article appeared in Ripperologist Magazine, on my blog, and the case attracting attention in the local media.  It also gave me a chance to finally meet Mary Jane’s descendants in a rather touching moment at her graveside.  This month some some material on Annie Deary/Stephenson surface.  I had been researching the events leading up to and surrounding her death and not only traced the location, but several other primary sources from the period.  I also managed to secure a photo of the building in which she died.  David Knott had found Annie Stephenson’s death certificate some years ago, and from the information contained within I was able to search the logs that were written when Annie died.  They proved quiet interesting and showed what she was up to in the latter years of her life in Lincolnshire.  August was also the annual Heritage Open Days and I once again visited the Customs House in Hull, filming and taking photos of the visit.

September saw a visit to London for material on both Frederick Bailey Deeming and Robert D’Onston Stephenson.  I had the pleasure of visiting the British Library and searching numerous books, periodicals and correspondence and came away with pages and pages of new material.  These included material on Robert D’Onston Stephenson and Grant Richards, Robert D’Onston Stephenson and Theosophy, Robert D’Onston Stephenson and the Workhouse, Robert D’Onston Stephenson and Betty May’s Tiger Woman, Robert D’Onston Stephenson and Highgate Hill Infirmary, Robert D’Onston Stephenson and the Islington Board of Guardians,   It was a lovely trip and I also had time to visit the British Museum, Natural History Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum.  This month also saw some fascinating finds on Robert D’Onston Stephenson’s Religion that I posted on  Sadly the registers never had him down as a Black Magician!  Despite this numerous books have been released since that still claim he was a black magician!

October was devoted to researching some paranormal material that I had been working on for some time. I was able to secure interviews with key witnesses and appeared on West Hull Radio to discuss some of my research.

November began with an appearance on BBC Radio Humberside discussing the Central Library Lecture.  The interview went really well, and the lecture at the library was packed out.  I also met and spoke to a number of people that helped with my research, and got more bookings for 2012!

Sadly in early November I was back in hospital with my heart, investigations are ongoing, and hopefully next year the cardiologists will get to the bottom of it.

Other projects:
This year has seen Jack the Blogger, in Ripperologist Magazine, go from strength to strength, sadly the computer outage has stopped me for a while, but the column will be back in 2012 bigger and better than ever.  I cannot thank the gang at Ripperologist enough for their ongoing support.
The year also saw some new lectures at both the Hull History Centre and the Hull Central Library, both of which were well filled with every seat taken and great fun.  I have more lectures booked into 2012 so it should prove to be another good year.  I do not charge for any of my lectures and my time is free.
This year also saw me meeting with a film production crew making a documentary on Frederick Bailey Deeming.  Hopefully the show will air soon so I can discuss the matter in detail.  All that I can say it that it was great fun and the team that I had the pleasure of working with were all a lovely bunch and it was nice to have them in Hull and show them the sights.
I have also been approached about other possible future projects but cannot divulge what they are!!!
The books
This year has seen a number of developments with the writing projects, and a number of fantastic names are on board to write the forewords of some of the titles.  The first quarter of the year was devoted to the writing and research on the Mary Jane Langley project, which was a by product of the work on Frederick Bailey Deeming.  The same occurred with the Deeming newspaper book, and the Dawber history book which was created when editing the Robert D’Onston Stephenson book.
The decision to split the paranormal book into three was made when it was discovered that at its present phase it was just too big, so it was split into three.  Earlier this year a lot of the material was lost when a computer outage took over 100 pages of work, luckily I still had the research so it is being typed up again.

Jack the Ripper - From Hell, From Hull? Vol I Robert D’Onston Stephenson 261,423 words over 362 pages

Jack the Ripper - From Hell, From Hull? Vol II Frederick Bailey Deeming 207,113 words over 259 pages

Jack the Ripper - From Hell, From Hull? Vol III 66,493 words over 101 pages

Jack the Ripper - From Hell, From Hull? - Newspapers From Hull 104,379 words over 133 pages

Frederick Bailey Deeming and the Murder of Mary Jane Langley 101,831 words over 136 pages

Frederick Bailey Deeming in the International Press 175,320 words over 200 pages

Mike Covell’s Haunted Hull 133,521 words over 217 pages

Mike Covell’s Haunted Hull - The Press Perspective 31,256 words over 43 pages

Mike Covell’s Haunted Hull - Paranormal Hull 108,087 words over 155 pages

Emily Dimmock Camden Town Murder Project 37,633 words over 35 pages

The History of the Dawber family in Hull 1700-2000 15,296 words over 31 pages

Untitled Fact vs Fiction Project 161,669 words over 165 pages

Thank you for a great year:
All the staff at Hull City Council’s Hull History Centre, including the Local Studies and Archives.  All the staff at Hull’s Central Library, Reference Library and Holderness road Library for putting up with me.  All the staff at Hull Museums and the staff at the East Riding Archives in Beverley. Rob Nicholson of Her Majesty’s Prison, Hull.  Adam Wood and Chris George at Ripperologist.  Howard and Nina Brown at  Ray from the Hedon Blog, All the staff at the Nags Head, Preston, the staff at the Hedon Museum, All the staff at the British Library, British Museum, Natural History Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum, for putting up with my emails and requests and for providing a brilliant service.  And a thank you to all my Facebook and Twitter friends that have supported me through what has been a tough year.  Here is to 2012!!


Archives, Books, Events, Libraries, Research 2 Comments »

Jack the Ripper: From Hell, From Hull? Vol I is coming along nicely.  I have spent many hours editing and moving chapters around so that the book has a chronological timeline running throughout.  I had some really amazing material come this week regarding Robert D’Onston Stephenson in Bridlington, so have been spending time reading the information and inserting it in the relavent places. 

Jack the Ripper: From Hell, From Hull? Vol II is almost finished. 

Jack the Ripper: From Hell, From Hull? Vol III is still being typed, I was sent some material on some of the suspects this week, I am just deciding on where to insert it, and whether or not it is pertinent to their life stories to be included.  One article is often mention but has never been published since it appeared in the 1970’s so that was of great interest.

Frederick Bailey Deeming and the Preston Murder of Mary Jane Langley is almost finished.  I found several reports on Deeming and the case that were published when Thomas Reynoldson passed away, and later when Harry Webster passed away.  I also found several retrospective looks at the case from the 1940’s and 1950’s which were of interest.  It is interesting to note that most people in Preston claim that only one murder has ever occured in their parish, I discovered this to be false, another female was found almost 80 years after Mary Jane Langley was discovered.  In almost the same spot!  A man was brought to trial and is currently serving a sentance for the murder. 

Jack the Ripper- Newspapers From Hull is on the back burner, the research has been done, but the newspaper reports are filed away awaiting typing up at a later date.

I recently made the decision, after some discussion with a publisher, and have decided to split “Mike Covell’s Haunted Hull” into three books.  The overall page count was over 1,000 so by splitting it into three I can feature more cases and still come in at around the 350 page mark for each book.  The first in the series will cover the “Haunted” side of things, the second will cover “The Paranormal in the Press” and the third will cover “The Paranormal in Hull“.  I have aquired every newspaper article ever published in the Hull Press from 1801 until 2011 that covers ghosts, hauntings, SHC, UFO’s, Aliens, Crop Circles, Wildcats, Airship Scares, and other weird phenomena such as A local church with the face of christ on the wall, and a Hull ship that went in search of Noah’s Ark!  All three are fully referenced with an extensive source list, bibliography, and illustrations throughout. 

This Saturday I have the pleasure of appearing on West Hull Radio talking about West Hull’s Ghosts and the darker side to West Hull’s history. 

On November 10th I have the pleasure of lecturing at Hull’s Central Library at the Food for Thought cafe with my Mike Covell’s Hull’s Ghostly Myths and Legends Lecture.  The lecture, first presented at the Ghost Club in London in 2010 has had a succesful run at Carnegie Heritage Centre and more recently at the Hull History Centre.  I have bookings for this lecture up until September 2012.

All lectures are free of charge, and bookings can be made via contacting me direct at

WP Theme & Icons by N.Design Studio
Entries RSS Comments RSS Login