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Ghost Hunting


Q: Come on? Ghost hunting? You’re having a laugh? I’m being Punk’d aren’t I? Am I being Punk’d? Where’s Ashton? Is he in here?
A: Please don’t go in there, it’s for staff only. No, we are being deadly seriously. With the emphasis on DEAD.
Q: I don’t get it?
A: Because unlike that little kid in that Bruce Willis film, you will see dead people! Or try to track them down at any rate.
Q: Where? My house? My Nan’s house?
A: No, probably not. We have selected some of the most paranormally active sites in the UK for you to try and locate the spooks within. There are spots in the north, in the Midlands in the south and Wales.
Q: What sort of gaffs are we talking about? Ghost trains?
A: That would be too easy? No, we have castles, manor houses and former jails for you to investigate. Places that are known to have odd noises, sights and smells dwelling within them.
Q: And will information about these venues be kept from me, like in Keith Lemon’s Through the Keyhole?
A: Nope, we want you to have all the historical information and important, salient facts about the location, to help with your ghost seeking activities. You’ll learn about the previous occupants and any diabolical goings on that took place there.
Q: So do you just shove me in there and dash off laughing?
A: Oh nope. Not only will there be a team of paranormal investigation experts armed with the latest equipment for spook detection, but there will also be a psychic onboard to try and have a chat to the people that you discover. There will be a variety of experiments and a grand séance undertaken during the night.
Q: The night? This happens at night?
A: Of course! Daytime ghosts are useless. Times alter from location to location, but usually this experience runs from 9pm to 4am and only takes place on Fridays and Saturdays. You should allow approximately 9 hours for your experience. The perfect time to nab those ghoulies.
Q: Will my allergy to phantoms be an issue here?
A: That sounds made up. You have to be over 18 and reasonably fit to take part (there might be some running away from odd noises). And you can’t be under the influence of drink or rugs. Sorry, drugs.

Fun Facts

  • 1. Evidence of ghost hunting can be found as far back as 50BC when the philosopher Athenoorus investigated a chain-rattling ghost in ancient Athens. So he was sort of like an ancient De-Greek Acorah?
  • 2. The first organisation pursuing ghost investigations was The Ghost Club, formed in London in 1862, which over the years has included among its members Charles Dickens, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Peter Cushing. Do Ghost Club members have to pay their dues or their Scooby-Doos?
  • 3. In the 1920s and 1930s, ghost hunting was dominated by Harry Price, who famously investigated Borley Rectory, a house in Essex, reportedly haunted by a poltergeist and a strolling nun. The words ‘strolling’ and ‘nun’ are so innocuous separately, but put them together with the word ‘ghostly’ and you have a whole heap of terror.
  • 4. While filming the Ghostbusters finale, many New York streets were closed down and traffic was disrupted. One person affected was sci-fi legend Isaac Asimov who visited the set to complain personally. Look Isaac, when there’s something strange in your neighbourhood, who are you going to call?
  • 5. EVP stands for ‘Electronic Voice Phenomena’ and refers to capturing paranormal sounds on a recording device. It was discovered by Fredrich Jurgenson in 1959 when he attempted to record birdsong but caught a spectral man’s voice. Was it saying something like ‘Yeah, I’m a ghost, I’m not in your shed stealing your lawnmower or anything like that’
  • 6. The Stanley Hotel in Colorado was the inspiration for the hotel in Stephen King’s The Shining. King stayed in Room 217 and heard ghost children outside. Or it might have been the central heating, which wouldn’t have been quite so scary.
  • 7. On Halloween 1992, the BBC screened Ghostwatch, a fake ghost hunting show that terrified viewers, many of whom thought the horrible action was taking place live. I get the same feeling when I watch Bargain Hunt.
  • 8. In the first century AD, Roman author Pliny the Younger recorded one of the first notable ghost stories in his letters. He reported that the spectre of an old man with a long beard and rattling chains was haunting his house. Old man? Beard? Chains? Maybe it was one of the Bee Gees?
  • 9. Beginning in the late 19th century, Benjamin Franklin's ghost was seen in Philadelphia, with some reports claiming his statue came to life and danced in the streets. Which was probably still preferable to the David Bowie/Mick Jagger version of Dancing in the Streets.
  • 10. More than 50 ghosts have been reported over the years on the HMS Queen Mary, a cruise ship built in 1936, including the spectre of Winston Churchill smoking a cigar. Or maybe it was just a way publicise the ship. A terrible, terrible way to publicise the ship.