THE fabled ghost story of poltergeist activity emanating from two haunted statues known as the Hexham Heads has spooked the town since the early 1970s.

Reports from members of the public and doctors have suggested a werewolf-like creature of half man, half animal has visited homes where the statues of heads of a boy and girl have been kept.

A theory not known by many about the ghostly apparition appearing came through what was described as the Stone Tape theory, a thought that minerals could store sounds and images, and then replay them back like a video player.

This theory has been brought to the attention of the public through a new book, Britain’s Haunted Heritage, which delves into the folklore of the country’s best-known ghost stories and tries to make sense of the history of the tales.

As part of the book, author John West researched the Hexham Heads and found the Stone Tape theory was attributed to an inorganic chemist by the name of Dr Robins who said the stone heads contained large amounts of quartz and it could likely result in the character appearing.

While Dr Robins never witnessed the werewolf, as others had claimed before him, the chemist said he experienced other strange activity when he had the heads in his possession.

When he first put the items in his car, he claimed all the dashboard electrics mysteriously went dead.

Dr Robins began to believe that all the troubles associated with the stones came from the girl stature, and that he was very uncomfortable in her presence, almost as if her eyes would move to watch him.

Another example he gave was when he quickly returned home to find the house ‘almost electric with a stifling, breathless quality’.

The Stone Tape theory was just one of the many accounts given on the heads, discovered by brothers Colin (11) and Leslie Robson (nine) in their garden at 3 Rede Avenue, in Hexham, in the summer of 1971.

The objects, around 6cm in height, appeared to be made of a grey-greenish stone.

Legend has it that there was something sinister and unworldly about these about the two harmless statues, with the heads said to have moved to face the spot in which they were unearthed when placed indoors.

Paranormal activity soon followed, with glass smashing and a light glowing above where the statues were found in the early hours of the morning.

Their neighbours, the Dodds at 1 Rede Avenue, also reported terrifying experiences with 10-year-old Brian claiming something had touched him and pulled his hair when he was sleeping.

The mother had dismissed the claims only to state a half human, half sheep creature come towards her and touch her leg.

Following on from the experiences, the heads were taken to the Museum of Antiquities in Newcastle for further examination by an expert on ancient Celtic stone heads, Dr Anne Ross.

She claimed the heads were 1,800 years old and connected to a Romano-British shrine which may have stood in the area. But she experienced horrible things when she transferred the statues to her Southampton home.

Having already taken an instinctive dislike to the heads, she reported how one morning at 12am she saw a creature made up of half man, half wolf slipping out of her bedroom at 2am.

Horrified by the experience, she was calmed down when her husband found no traces of any disturbance and attributed it to a nightmare.

However, just days later, her teenage daughter reported she had seen the same character while alone in the house and finally removed the heads from her house. In fact, so traumatised by the ordeal, she had the building exorcised.

The heads were then passed on to Dr Robins, and were moved around for analysis by various sources over the years.

Nobody is quite certain of where the statues now reside after reports that they were twice buried but dug back up after paranormal activity occurred in those areas.

More details of the heads can be found in Britain’s Haunted Heritage, which is available locally from the Hexham branch of Waterstones.