While researching a family from Kirkstall I came across an interesting character.
During the 1890s a Medium from Biggleswade Mr J F Hunt claimed he had been visited by the ghost of Shakespeare who told him there were unread manuscripts buried at Kirkstall Abbey. He also claimed there was treasure at other Abbeys across England and that Shakespeare had given him hundreds of pages of new songs and plays.
So convinced, Mr Hunt made an application to the Corporation of Leeds to dig for the treasure at Kirkstall Abbey himself and was even prepared to bear the costs of excavation! His request was denied.
Hunt told an Evening Post Journalist that he'd been snubbed by the newspaper Editor and champion of mediumship - Mr Stead - who had previously claimed he was in contact with a spirit called 'Julia' who provided information about Lord Tennyson. Mr Stead died on the Titanic (shame none of the spirits warned him about that, eh?).
Hunt wrote in his letter to the Journalist: "If you drop a line to the notorious or celebrated Mr Stead, you will find that I have supplied him with every interesting circumstance in the private life of Shakespeare, from infancy to his death. There are over one hundred episodes, none of which were known before Shakespeare himself gave them to me. There are over a thousand pages of manuscript. In these are also 200 new songs and glees! I scarcely know any author, except perhaps Burns, who has ever written 200 songs and glees. Of myself it would have been impossible to have written them."
Mr Hunt sent much correspondence to Abbeys across England and having gained only expulsion from Kirkstall, he went to live in relative obscurity until his death 5 years later.
Kirkstall remains a hot-spot for mediums.