Reported in the Sheffield evening newspaper the Star, in November 1958, was a spectral incident at Shirebrook colliery. John McGroary, an Irishman working there, saw a ghost and passed out from the shock. ‘All I will say now is that I saw a vision and a light,’ said Mr McGroary later. ‘The vision went past me. It looked like Wilfred Hales.’ Another miner, Keith Plant, also reported seeing the apparition and recognizing it as Wilfred Hales, who had collapsed and died in January 1955 aged only thirty.
There was so much talk of this event among the 2,000 men working at the colliery that the management complained that output was severely reduced. It would not be surprising if work had been disrupted: according to traditional miners’ beliefs, apparitions in mines generally presaged a disaster, and the ghosts of dead miners frequently returned to deliver warnings to their workmates.