Ghosts without Parole

Gloucester prisonMaking ourselves unpopular, debunking the paranormal and failing to find ghosts. Calamityville Horror are back!

After a long, long LONG hiatus, we were finally back together for a ghost at Gloucester Prison. Neen’s mum Elaine booked it. It’s been over a year since we’ve investigated together so we were excited but also apprehensive as we’re not keen on public events. Usually because stuff is faked or there’s one guest there that really rattles our coconuts. And we went with this company to Newsham Park. You can read our thoughts on them here. Neen and Elaine assured us that on the past two events with this company, everyone was lovely and the team had different members. You’d think that now we’re a lot more socialised, our tolerance for people would have grown. In fact, it’s shrunk. And we now crave solitude.Gloucester prison

Gloucester Prison was a category B men’s prison that was built in 1792, designed by William Blackburn. It was rebuilt in 1840 by Thomas Fuljames, who created the flanking brick wings. In 1971, a new young offenders prison was built there, as was C Wing. A new gate, block and visits centre was added in 1987. In 2003 it was listed as one of the 20 most overcrowded prisons in Britain. The next day, prisoners staged a 3 ½ hour siege by locking themselves in a cell. Really? Climb on the roof like other protesting prisoners. They want you in the cell. In 2007 it was criticised for overcrowding, poor dining provisions and cramped cells. A month later, the ground floor flooded and 100 prisoners were moved to other jails. The following month, it was criticised for its woeful training and education facilities. It finally closed in 2013.

Gloucester prisonThere are over 100 unmarked graves in the grounds, not all of them prisoners. Some executed prisoners were claimed by relatives, but murderers weren’t allowed to be buried in consecrated ground. Before 1792, executions took place in the nearby village of Over (where we helped to build a Halloween attraction), and prisoners were taken there in carts, sitting in their own coffins. Oh that is cold. Why not make them dig their own graves too? Between 1792-1932, 123 prisoners were executed there. After 1792, hangings were carried out using a New Drop style gallows which was erected on the roof of the prison gatehouse in 1826. In the years 1792-1864, 102 prisoners were hanged in public – 94 men and 8 women. There were no executions between William Davis on 20th April 1839 and John Butt in July 1864. The last public execution took place on 27th August 1864 when 55 year old Lewis Gough was executed for murdering Mary Curtis.

The first private hanging took place on a raised scaffold in the prison yard on 8th January 1874 when 20 year old Frederick Jones was executed by William Calcraft (a hangman famed for bungling hangings, resulting in him swinging on the condemneds’ legs) on a raised scaffold in the prison yard. Jones killed his girlfriend, Emily Gardener. On 12th January 1874, the hangman, Robert Anderson, asked for a pit to be dug under the gallows for the triple hanging of Edward Butt, Mary Ann Barry and Edwin Bailey. Butt had killed his girlfriend. Mary and Edwin had poisoned Edwin’s illegitimate baby girl, who they considered a nuisance. Mary was the last woman to suffer the short drop hanging and struggled for three minutes.

A new gallows was built on the end wall of A Wing in 1912. It had double doors that separated it from the condemned cell. 6 people were hanged here, including Herbert Armstrong in 1922. The last hanging was in 1939, but the execution chamber wasn’t demolished until 1966, after the abolition of the death penalty. Herbert was the only solicitor in the UK to be hanged for murder. In May 1919, his wife, Kitty’s health weakened, but her doctor, Thomas Hincks diagnosed her with brachial neuritis. She recovered but in August 1920, her health deteriorated again. Hincks said she showed signs of a mental collapse and admitted her to Barnwood, a private asylum. She improved and was discharged on 22nd January 1921. She became ill and died exactly a month later. All the servants closed the curtains as a sign of respect. Armstrong opened them as soon as he came home.Gloucester prison

On 26th October 1921, Armstrong invited a rival solicitor, Oswald Martin over for tea. They were on opposing sides of a property dispute. As Armstrong handed Martin a scone, he said “excuse fingers.” Later that night, Martin became violently ill. A few weeks before, chocolates had been sent to his home. His sister in law ate some and became violently ill. Martin’s father in law, John Davies, had sold Armstrong arsenic for killing dandelion. Hincks noticed Martin’s symptoms were similar to Kitty’s and warned Martin not to accept gifts from Armstrong. Martin’s urine contained arsenic, yet Armstrong kept inviting him around for tea. Martin found it hard to make up excuses not to go. “Sorry, but I don’t want to be poisoned” would’ve alerted Armstrong that he knew. Kitty was exhumed and they found large amounts of arsenic in her body. Some people believe he was framed, as the prosecution witnesses were his rival and his rival’s father in law. He was found guilty and hanged by John Ellis on 31st May 1922. His last words were “I am innocent of the crimes for which I have been condemned to die.”

Cell 25 in A Wing, landing 3 is haunted by Jenny Godfrey. Furniture in that cell gets moved and pots, pans and books were thrown around the cell. In 1969, the occupant, Robert Gore, made a Ouija board out of scraps of paper and an upturned glass. The glass moved by itself, spelling Jenny’s name. A few days later, a disembodied hand appeared and pointed at Gore. Some say she was held in the cells of the nearby Abbey and now appears in the jail to mock the prisoners. Others say she was killed by an inmate and returns to search for him. Then another story says she was murdered by a drunk man in the 15th C and points to the spot where she died. She spelled out several events that were about to happen. Some prisoners scoffed, but some of them came true. Staff hear knocking and cells doors slamming. In C Wing, shadowy figures have been seen and a sceptical guard was locked in a cell that has no lock on the door.

We set out and parked outside the gates. A man came to tell us that the gates would open at half eight. At 8:50, they finally opened. Our time was spent with all of us moaning about how much we needed to pee. It’s all not all glamour and fun on Calamityville. As soon as the gates were open, we parked up and rushed in to pee. The other guests were more…polite about their need for bladder relievement so they had to queue. Sorry, but it’s a case of speak now or forever hold your pee.

There were about 50 guests and 10 team members. People. Urgh . Just what we don’t want on a ghost hunt. We did a group tour of the prison first. We were told prisoners had scratched their names into the wall of the debtors’ prison, including Fred West. We doubted this. Fred West couldn’t write his name and signed his legal documents with an X. Trust us. Serial killers would be our Mastermind speciality. It’s also said he was held on remand here, but he was held on remand in Birmingham, where he killed himself.

Gloucester prisonThe debtors’ prison was unexciting with empty rooms downstairs. Upstairs there were sort of beds. We were called back but we’d only just got upstairs so ignored the call and kept exploring. As we were prowling the top floor, Cat suddenly found it difficult to breathe. It felt like she was having a panic attack. We started suffering panic attacks twenty years ago so know how they feel and how to control them. But we haven’t had one for a while. We’ve since been told that there is a suicide watch cell upstairs. This feeling continued as we headed into the main wing and worsened when she entered the first cell in B Wing. In this cell, Neen could taste mould. There was mould all over the walls and the smell was quite strong. Lynx gave her a chocolate coin to take the taste away.

We went into the chapel to do a séance and had to imagine the white light going through us. Neen kept changing her light to red. Cat’s kept going out. Lynx couldn’t concentrate because the right side of her face was hurting. Not from anything paranormal, just sinusitis. Then we had to picture ourselves wearing a cloak. We gave ourselves fancy cloaks. When we were told to picture tree roots from our feet grounding us, the temptation to call out “I am Groot” was overwhelming. But we are professionals. Neen thought she saw a small man in the doorway watching us.Gloucester prison

We were split into five groups of ten and our group went to C wing. This was built in the 1970s so visually, was the least interesting part of the prison. We did some calling out in the corridor. Elaine stood in the doorway of cell 13 with us three opposite her. At one point, we all saw a light hovering by her knee. As though someone switched a torch on and directed a ball of light toward her. But no-one had a torch on. Neen switched hers on to try and recreate it but it didn’t. Lynx, Neen and one of the organisers then heard whispering.

The organiser set up a Ouija board so us four and another woman used it. The planchette moved slightly. Were we finally about to have a board actually work for us and let us communicate with a spirit without someone faking it?

Were we bollocks.

Gloucester prisonIt became clear that the woman was moving it. Each time it moved, ours, Neen’s and Elaine’s fingers would come off it or hover just above the planchette. The woman’s fingers remained on it. When they did lift off, it stopped. Cat and Neen tested their suspicions by holding down the planchette. When Cat did it, the woman’s finger strained as she tried to pull it towards herself. When Neen did it, the plachette stopped but the woman’s finger kept moving. Busted. We have no time or tolerance for fakers and refused to participate in a Ouija board after that.

We moved on to an engineering workshop. The team leader put the SB11 spirit box on. Yes. That device that scans through radio stations and only seems to speak when it can get a signal. When Cat had it, it only played music. Cat “are you trying to rap your answer? It’s communicating through the top 40!” The woman who faked the Ouija board was convinced there was a spirit called David around. Next we tried a human pendulum. Cat volunteered Lynx to be the pendulum so we would know it wasn’t faked. Nothing happened. So then Fake It volunteered. Guess what? She was being pushed and pulled like a swinging door. We rolled our eyes so hard they were like the spinning pictures in a fruit machine.Gloucester prison

We had a break then so ranted to the camera about this woman’s fakery. See? We said there would be one person who irritated us. We were right. And we were stuck with her until free time at 2 a.m. The night suddenly seemed like a ten year stretch.

We went into the laundry rooms next and the leader switched on the Banshee Box. We’d not heard of one of these but man this was fun. Apparently, it has words in its database that are broken, so spirits have to put the words back together to speak. Not sure how spirits would know how to do this. We hope that if we become ghosts, we don’t have to do this. We can just about master our MP3 Players. It spat our broken words in a voice that Lynx said sounded suspiciously like the Mysterons. Luckily Lynx was in a burgundy skirt and Cat was wearing a red tartan coat so Captains Scarlet were on hand to fight them. It rambled gibberish in its creepy voice while Fake Away mentioned she sensed someone called David. Cat “half the prison population were probably called Dave.” The leader laughed and said that’s probably true as everyone knows a Dave. Cat “It’s like there was always one called William. I know about five Daves.” We’re related to two. David wasn’t mentioned again. The woman thought it said “zozo”. This thing wasn’t speaking English. It certainly wasn’t spitting out fictional demon names.

Gloucester prisonThere was an interesting response on the rem pod though. It started buzzing and at one point lit up and when the leader asked it to switch out the blue light, switched out. But it wasn’t responsive to other commands and just kept buzzing to itself like an angry mechanical bee.

We were then taken to the kitchens. The two guys in there kept saying how active it had been, how four people got affected, fleeing the kitchen retching and the fifth one had to be removed. Uh huh. Their activity was about to die because the ghost busters (aka Calamityville Horror) showed up. Sure enough, not much happened. There were some light responses on the K2 to people’s questions but the guys kept saying there were people there but they were too scared to come into the circle. Prisoners too scared to enter a circle of women? Three of whom are midget sized? The team kept talking about how active it was with all the other groups. No doubt they would be saying that about our group too. One guy said he could smell sulphur. Fake Off said “don’t say that. First we had Zozo, now sulphur.” Sulphur smells are associated with demonic entities. And landfill sites. The guy asked the significance of the sulphur, but Fake and Bake just said “don’t say that.” Lynx told him it meant demons. The guy asked who was Zozo. Lynx “he’s the latest paranormal craze.” Cat “Think Zak Bagans started it.” The woman said “actually it started with Zeppelin.” But when she tried to explain who Zozo was, she couldn’t and shut up. Yes. Pipe down with your fakery and your demonic bullshit.Gloucester prison

We could hear water dripping but the team said there were no working taps. When we returned to the kitchens alone at the end of the night, we could still hear the dripping. Lynx and Neen went to investigate and found…a leaking tap! Thought they said there were no working taps. This was an easy one to debunk but they didn’t seem interested in that.

We moved to A wing with the medium. Apparently the other teams had doors slamming. And guess what our team got? Bugger all. The other members of our group were now commenting on how our group were getting nothing. We kept quiet about this always happening to us. We’d made ourselves unpopular enough. The medium said there were about five spirits around us and kept going on about a dark negative energy in B wing. We asked if we could go there instead. In the end, she sent Cat there with one of the team. Nothing. Not a door slam, no footsteps, no voices, no evil energy. All we could hear was one of the other groups being incredibly noisy. Way to ruin our vigils!

At 2 a.m we headed back to the break room then at 2:25, set off alone. We went to B wing first. So did a lot of other people. We couldn’t do any vigils due to the noise. So we did a cool silhouette photo against a giant window and selfie on a bunk bed. Then we moved to the kitchens where Lynx and Neen debunked the dripping water. We headed back to C wing to see if the light would return but it didn’t. So we headed to A Wing, where Jenny is supposed to haunt A3 25. You can’t get up to A3 and none of the doors have numbers on. We did a vigil in the corridor and eventually, the other guests started to leave so the prison quietened down. Neen and Elaine retired to the break room at 3:35 so it was just us two left. By now, the other guests had left. We had the entire prison block to ourselves. Finally. But it didn’t feel creepy. Without everyone else there, it was quiet. It was incredibly windy and the building next door had plastic sheeting which made a lot of noise. We suspect the wind was responsible for a lot of noise activity heard through the night. And there were broken windows, which would explain banging noises that sounded like they were coming from upstairs. Or maybe it was Zozo the famous demon running amok and slamming doors because terrorising guests in Gloucester was the best use of his time that night. We may never know.Gloucester prison


30 East Drive

When the chance to investigate ‘Europe’s Most Haunted House’ comes up, who is going to say no?

30 East DriveThis is the first time we’ve ghost hunted since 2016, mostly due to lack of time, money, and places not emailing us back. We’ve missed it. And what a way to return by spending the entire night in a famous location. 30 East Drive in Pontefract is known as the ‘poltergeist house’. It’s even listed as that on Google Maps. In recent years, it’s come to the attention of ghost hunters and lots of groups investigate there. In Most Haunted, they had marbles and knives thrown at them and Karl was famously dragged up the stairs by a poltergeist, but the white rope attached to his belt points to a less paranormal explanation. Mind you, Most Haunted could make a rabbit hutch look like a terrifyingly scary location.

Does 30 East Drive deserve its spooky reputation?30 East Drive

In August 1966, the Pritchard family – Jean, Joe, 15 year old Philip and 12 year old Diane – moved into the house. Not long after, Philip and his grandmother saw chalk dust fall from below head height. They summoned Philip’s aunt, Mrs Kelly, to come see it. She went to the kitchen to fetch cleaning stuff when she slipped in a pool of water that had mysteriously appeared. As she tried mopping it up, more water appeared.

30 East DriveOver the years there were several strange incidents: green foam coming from taps and the toilet even after the water was switched off; the tea dispenser being activated and spilling tea over the worktops (clearly a British spirit); lights turning on and off; plants leaping out of their pots and landing on the stairs; cupboards shaking; photos being slashed; and numerous objects levitating or being thrown, including a solid oak sideboard.

30 East DriveIn 1968, the press dubbed the poltergeist Mr Nobody. The Pritchards called him Fred. During exorcisms, walls seeped holy water (not sure how they knew it was holy. Did it recite the Lord’s Prayer?), people had their faces slapped or were pushed down stairs and when christian songs were sung, Fred’s hands appeared to conduct them, wearing women’s fur gloves. We find that detail a little odd. Why women’s gloves? Did they make his hands look more shapely? He also poured a jug of milk over a sceptical aunt’s head. Diane was the focus of the haunting, so many of the scrapes and bruises happened to her. At night, he’d rip off her bedclothes, pull her hair and slap her face. As she neared the end of adolescence, Diane’s hair stood on end and she was dragged up the stairs, with visible finger marks on her throat.

30 East DriveWe’re not sure when the family left, but there doesn’t seem to be any reports of poltergeist activity after Diane’s teenage years. And nothing in the following years until 2012, when a film was made. Neighbours said the house wasn’t haunted. One even said “my house is more haunted than that one.” Clearly, we picked the wrong house to visit. We should have split up and gone to visit the neighbours instead. We might have had a more active evening, sitting with them, watching soaps. Until one of us ends up at the local murderer’s house.

30 East DriveIn 2012, a film, When the Lights Went Out, based on the Black Monk of Pontefract was released. It’s directed by Jean’s nephew, Pat Holden. The producer, Bill Bungay, bought the house and still owns it. He had a photo taken on his iphone of him and the film’s two starlets. His phone died, even though it had 75% battery and the photo wasn’t in his library. Weeks later, it reappeared. We don’t class this as paranormal – this happens with Cat’s phone on several occasions. It’s very annoying. Bill’s photo is blurry. Again, not paranormal. Whenever Cat gives her phone to someone else to take a photo, it’s always blurry because they don’t wait for it to focus. During the filming of a documentary, the kettle would switch on and off, the thermostat would go missing and the researcher was pinned to the bed in Diane’s room. The producer’s keys went missing and nobody could find them until someone opened the hoover they’d brought to dress the place. The keys were inside. We suspect this was probably a prank.

30 East DriveOn Valentine’s Day 2016, Bill was washing up and had the urge to turn around. A domino levitated from the dining room table and launched at him, narrowly missing him. After that, others objects were launched at him, each time, narrowly missing. These were a marble thrown from the ceiling that chipped the varnish off the piano board, two screws thrown from the ceiling, and a red ball.

30 East DriveAnother time he closed the side gate, blocking it with a concrete block. People ran out through the kitchen door, saying the keys had gone missing. He turned around to see the gate was open, the block pushed aside.

30 East DriveThe legend attached to the house is that it’s haunted by the Black Monk. He allegedly raped and strangled several girls in the 16th C, cutting out their tongues so they couldn’t scream. That is a plot taken from Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus where Lavinia is raped and has her tongue cut out and her hands cut off so she can’t identify her attackers. The monk was apparently hanged on gallows on the top of the hill and his body thrown into a well, which the house was supposedly built on. A neighbouring house was having damp work done and a stone well was discovered under the buttress. No mention of any bones though. We’ve researched executions many times and not once does it ever mention people’s bodies being tossed down wells like January’s Christmas trees. Pontefract Friary once stood where the hospital now is, 0.7 miles from the house. It housed the Blackfriar monks, who wore black. But there is no evidence to support the theory that he haunts the house.

30 East DriveThere is no mention of a monk during the time the Pritchards lived there. They witnessed the hauntings. They never said it was a monk. Think people have come to this conclusion based on shadow photographs taken by visitors. Though one looks suspiciously like a finger. We did a Google search for old maps and information on a gallows being in the area and could find nothing. We couldn’t even find the hill on Google Street View. The immediate area is flat. That’s not to say a hill doesn’t exist, but if it does, it’s not as close as paranormal sites claim it is.

We drove the 215 mile trip to 30 East Drive full of expectation – that this was overhyped and we’d spend our evening sitting in a council house, bored. Well slap a crystal ball in front of us and call us Mystic Meg because our prediction came true. We arrived at 7:30 p.m. an hour and a half after our fellow investigators – Jack, Laura and James from The Spirit Diaries and Helena, Alex and Liz from Boleyn Paranormal, along with guest, horror writer Ian Sputnik. In our defence, our mum wasn’t home and we couldn’t leave until the iguana had had his bath.

30 East DriveWe set up and started investigating in one of the bedrooms. After we’d finished riding the rocking pony that is. We’d brought a plasma ball with us, as we’d seen it used in Cross Hands Cinema and it seems like a cool idea, if it works. After 45 minutes of nothing happening, we went into Diane’s room. Whilst we’re young looking for our age, the poltergeist clearly wasn’t fooled into thinking we were teenage girls and left us alone. There was no knocks, no taps, no creepy breaths, not even a Barbie doll was flung with malevolent force. We went downstairs for some Red Bull and vegan chocolate coins then headed into the living room with Ian.

Cat rifled through the record collection, dismayed at the taste in music. The she noticed her trousers were covered in what appeared to be talcum powder. Someone had coated The Carpenter’s record sleeve in talc. Presumably for use as a trigger object and hadn’t bothered to clean it. For shame, previous investigators. Luckily her trousers were PVC so wiped clean.

30 East Drive

this started the album cover photos

Cat and Laura went into the coal cupboard and amused the ghost by reading out a joke on a Penguin wrapper. The only peculiar thing that happened was the motion sensor light going off in the living room. We all ignored it, thinking Jack had set it off. Minutes later, Jack was moving and the light wasn’t going off. It wasn’t him. We kept testing by having different people wave their arms but no one triggered it. Helena suggested the phone in front of it might have set it off, so Lynx texted it, to see if the vibration from the notification set it off. It didn’t.

We returned upstairs to the master bedroom, hoping things picked up, as it was now 1 a.m. As the ghost refused to show, we set the camera on a tripod and took a photo of the five of us lounging in the room, bored. Cat commented that it looked like an album cover and suddenly, the night improved. We spent the next half an hour going into every room and posing for album covers. The photos got more random with every room. It’s hard to be creative with minimal props but we made it work.

One bedroom had a poster of the poster of The Osmonds. Five of them, five of us. We recreated it but without the terrible hairstyles and fashion sense. We didn’t have enough people to recreate The Beatles’ St Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club poster. Those photos were the highlight of the whole night and it energised us into trying Diane’s room one more time. We played monks chanting and a christian hymn – Lord of the Dance – hoping for Fred’s gloved hands to join in. He didn’t. At 2:15 a.m. we called it quits and all slept in the master bedroom.

30 East Drive

recreating the Osmonds poster

See the theory with poltergeists is, they’re generally attached to one person – usually a teenage girl, so if that person isn’t there, neither is the poltergeist. Nobody lives in the house, so there’s nobody for it to attach itself to. In our opinion, it’s overhyped and overpriced. We’re glad we went because we can say it’s not as haunted as people claim it is. Supermarkets are more haunted than 30 East Drive – things randomly fly off the shelves when you’re nowhere near them and the self-scan checkouts think ghostly items are in the bagging area. Paying to sit in a council house in Yorkshire is not worth it. Most haunted house in Europe? The scariest thing about it was the carpets and wallpaper.30 East Drive

Auld Reekie

We did what we swore we’d do since last year: we went back to Edinburgh. Neen was travelling up by train from Durham, where she and her family were staying so we flew up to meet her, accompanied by her mum, Elaine. Yes, we had adult supervision. Got to Edinburgh about 6:30 p.m., arriving on match day. We time our trips so perfectly. Neen was stuck in Newcastle waiting for her train so we were posting travelling selfies to each other on Facebook to pass the time. Our Travelodge was lovely and they even let us stash our soya milk in the fridge. Now we wished we’d brought Red Bull with us to save our daily game of ‘find the newsagents’. (On Friday that nearly resulted in an epic meltdown on the Canongate). One of the Travelodge workers was a fellow vegan and also not bad on the eyes. Actually, the number of pleasant-looking gentlemen spotted during the trip was record-breaking. We did a different sort of sight seeing this week 😉

On our way to get something to eat, we passed the Museum of Childhood and saw a penguin race game our nan and grampy gave us when we were kids. It was one of our favourite games. We were so excited that as we rushed over, Cat’s IR light mysteriously fell off the bracket, breaking the battery cover. So after we had been served in Nando’s, Cat asked what is possibly the strangest request they’ve ever had: did they have any gaffer tape. At first the man looked bemused and possibly scared, perhaps wondering whether the innocent question would lead to someone being taped kidnap-style to a chair, but when she explained, he went off to find some, no longer fearful of being complicit in a crime. Fifteen minutes passed and we assumed he’d forgotten all about it. But then he returned and said he’d been hunting for it the whole time but couldn’t find any. That’s customer service for you!

Frankenstein's pubWe headed for our favourite pub – Frankenstein’s. We ventured here every day during our trip.  We reckon they have a higher than average rate of good looking bar staff 😀 The gothic themed pubs in Edinburgh are incredible. This is something Cardiff is seriously lacking. But then Cardiff doesn’t have Edinburgh’s gothic literature past. We made a barmaid buddy, Bec, from Melbourne who was really cool and even introduced us to the combination of chips in ice cream. And she must be the first person who doesn’t find the idea of chips in Slush Puppy disgusting. For that she has earned our everlasting respect and deserves a pay rise, especially since we got her into trouble by hogging her attention. Frankenstein’s, it’s staff like her who keep people like us coming back. We spent some time playing in an electric chair, pretending to be electrocuted and amusing the guy sitting at the table next to it. In our defence, it wasn’t there last year.

As we left Frankenstein’s, Lynx saw a newsagent’s across the road. While wondering if it sold sellotape, she didn’t look where she was going. SPLAT! Straight into a concrete bollard. She somehow managed not to face plant, but she did graze both knees. Weirdly, although she did it in front of everyone who was sitting outside the restaurant right by her, the only people in hysterics were our group. Unfortunately, nobody was filming at the time, so the most epic fall on Calamityville has gone unrecorded.

Mercat tours blair street vaultsThen we headed for our first tour – the Blair Street vaults with Mercat Tours. We’d visited Auld Reekie’s and City of the Dead’s vaults last year. The vaults were amazing. Really atmospheric. We wish we could’ve spent the night there alone but writing doesn’t pay enough! When we were in the ‘safe’ vault, we stood in the corner where the cobbler is heard. Cat started feeling dizzy but it may have been the wobbly board she was standing on. Pregnant women tend to get pushed in these vaults but sadly there were no pregnant women there for us to test this theory. Even if there was, people get scared when you use the term ‘ghost bait’. We moved into Mr Boots’s vault, so called because of the heavy boots he wears. We stood right at the back in the most active area. The K2 meter, which had been registering 0 all the way around, rose to 1.5 in this vault, then dropped to 1 before rising back to 1.5.

Mercat tours Blair Street vaultsThis is where the tour ended so we loitered while everyone else left so we could take photos and spend some time in the vaults alone. Lynx had gone on a bit ahead while Cat stayed back to photograph the creepy corridors. She heard a scraping sound, almost like sawing and thought it might have been her Dungeons keyring rubbing her bag, so she stood still. The noise was still there. By now, she was the only person in this part of the vaults. She caught up with Lynx then we were standing near a skeleton in the cage when we both heard footsteps, really loudly, like cowboy boots marching through the vaults. We turned around, thinking a member of staff was coming up behind us to throw us out.

Mercat tours, Blair Street vaultsThere was no one there.

Neen came down to look for us as the guide, Lia, wanted to lock up. When we got upstairs, we asked her if there was anyone else in the vaults. She said no. Apparently there was someone else in the shop upstairs, but not in the vaults. We wondered if maybe someone had gone down to blow out the candles or check to make sure everyone (us) had left. Nobody had passed us, but the vaults have a lot of chambers, so it’s possible someone came down when we were in the vaults towards the back. In hindsight we wish we’d gone back down to check, but we were already pushing our luck by staying behind. As far as Lia knew, we were alone down there, but we can’t be sure.

Was Mr Boots trying to force us out of the vaults?Mercat tours, Blair Street vaults

Power of Three

You know your ghost hunting trip to Stratford is going to be a disaster when your friend says she’s refusing to use her Sat Nav because she enjoys our meltdowns when we get lost. But we’d printed out directions and we were leaving 2 hours earlier then necessary. We were confident.

We were wrong.

We’re not entirely sure where we went wrong. We’d like to blame it on the road closure but we were already lost by that point. We could say travelling in the dark in an unexplored area of England played a part, but previous getting lost excursions have taken place in the day. In reality, we just suck. Then as Cat was driving through traffic lights, it was decided we should go right, not straight ahead. So she turned right. Realising too late that the right lane had a red light. But she was committed. And there was traffic. Cue action film stunt driving and small shrieks of terror and Mickey the Mini Cooper lived to drive another day. Until she nearly ran another red light when reading road signs. This is what happens when functioning on only one Red Bull all day. The world is safer with us caffeinated.

The College Arms, Lower QuintonWe arrived at the meeting place with one hour to spare. Us being…early? Angels gasped, Santa fainted and somewhere in the world a dinosaur egg hatched. The meeting place was the College Inn car park. So we took the opportunity for a chip and vodka & lemonade break to set us up for a night of ghost hunting. Then Cat got lost on her way back from the toilets and alerted some dogs to her wanderings. We did our usual set piece about what we’d discovered through research for our first location, Meon Hill. Except despite reading the info in the car on the way down, Lynx completely forgot it and had to do the talk whilst reading from Neen’s phone. In 1945, a man named Charles Walton was found murdered on the hill, with his trouncing hoook embedded in his throat, his pitchfork in his stomach and a cross carved out from his chest. To this day the murder is unsolved and rumoured to be related to witchcraft. The bar staff overhead our spiel and one of them revealed her grandfather was actually interviewed at the time! We were gutted we didn’t have time to conduct a proper interview. We’d parked round the front of the pub ‘cos we couldn’t find the car park so we jumped in Mickey and drove. All ten feet of road before we reached the car park. And we were the last to arrive, despite having been there an hour. Ryan was at his work’s Christmas meal in Bridgend so we didn’t have a patsy to lay blame on. And people think Calamityville is a professional outfit! *disclaimer. No-one has ever said that Calamityville Horror is in any way, professional.*

Meon HillWe got back in our car to drive to Meon Hill in a convoy. Driving right past where we had been previously parked. We were last in the convoy, which included a transit van, a Land Rover, a Range Rover and Mickey. We had to park in a layby to get to Meon Hill and Mickey’s arse was sticking out in the road. Who brings a transit van ghost hunting? People really need smaller cars. Us and Neen were the only ones who thought to bring wellies for the trek and smugly trampled through the boggy pathway while the rest of the group did their best to avoid the mud. The two mediums from Dusk Til Dawn events were Sue, a witch, and Michael, her husband. Sue conducted a seance at the base of the hill. We were hoping to climb the hill to see the scene of the murder but this was as close as we would get.

old funeral parlour, EveshamThen it was on to the next location, an old funeral parlour that is now a tattoo parlour. Conducting a ghost vigil in a tattoo parlour was a first for the Calamityville team. Lynx sat next to a cheery looking skull wearing sunglasses. We would’ve invited him to join the team but he looked busy. A doll was used as a trigger object for a girl called Alice but Alice didn’t seem to want to play. Apparently interesting EVPs have been captured here so when we review our recordings of our DVRs, we’ll hopefully have caught something. Though judging by previous recordings, we probably won’t. The vigil was interrupted by phantom voices during the silence, but this wasn’t paranormal. In the dark, Cat accidentally PLAY on her DVR, not REC. Whoops. Then Lynx dropped her Canon camcorder. Remember what we said about being professional?

SpiritusFinally we headed to our final location, Spiritus, the shop owned by Sue and Michael. We were split into two groups, with the Calamityville team joining three other people – Mel, Tracy and Lyndon. Being the only man, Lyndon took Ryan’s place as the one getting picked on. In order to incite Colin the poltergeist, the group got creative. Never before has anyone behaved so inappropriately towards a poltergeist. Anyone walking in would’ve have thought they’d stumbled across a sex chat line. We’d like to state, we did not start this. But we did join in. When in Rome and all that jazz. As you know, we’re not fans or believers of table tipping. However there were interesting knocking responses on the table and Cat had her night vision camera trained on the scene the whole time. The knocking was not caused by anyone in the group and  during some of the times when the table was rocking, the camera showed Sue had removed her hands from it.

We then headed into the back room, which is apparently haunted by a doctor. As we held hands in the circle, Mel started to sway. She said she felt a magnetic force pulling her backwards. After a few minutes, Cat switched places with her. At first nothing happened. Then Cat felt it. A definite force making her sway backwards. It started gently then built up. It was bizarre. Lynx tried it and felt nothing. Then we did a ouija board. To his credit, Michael did not participate, which we were very impressed at. We always suspect that organisers who participate in ouija boards influence them. The planchette did move a bit and rotated but offered nothing intelligible other than H. Maybe it was a massive STEPS fan. Then we tried our hand at mirror scrying. Again, we’re not believers in this but it was pretty cool to try. Lynx went first, holding a red light under her face. Even though her eyes were closed, it looked like we could see open eyes. It was so strange, a really creepy effect that we attributed to her glittery eyeshadow. When Tracy tried it, she also closed her eyes and it looked like there were a different pair of eyes on her face, slightly higher up and looking in a different direction. Lyndon had a go and appeared to have the shadow of crab pincers on his forehead. We told him Colin had given him crabs after that amorous table tipping. When Cat tried it, it also looked like her eyes were open. Unusual effect but really cool. We moved to the cellar for a brief vigil involving a doctor’s bag but think he’d gone home for the night.

We left at one a.m. and again got diverted because of road closures. For the first time ever, we had printed out reverse directions. Except we didn’t use them because we wanted to avoid the Severn Bridge toll. And as what usually happens when we don’t sleep and are then awake all night, we become horribly sick. Got home at 3 a.m., but because of feeling so crappy we were still awake at 6. Bleurgh. The general consensus is we start staying somewhere overnight. We have a better idea.

A hearse.

With CALAMITYVILLE HORROR painted on the sides in white. Then we can just park up somewhere and sleep in the back. A ghost hunting team with their own camper hearse. You know this has to happen. Now if can we can just put some funds together…*dons balaclavas.* Be right back, we left our wallets in the bank… Calamityville Horror

The Ancient Ram Inn

The Ancient Ram InnLast night we stayed at what is the Mecca for ghost hunters – The Ancient Ram Inn. And we travelled there in style, in Calamityville Horror’s newest member’s camper van. Neen joined us on Calamityville’s Edinburgh adventure and has never left. And what was even better was her mum lent her a newer model of Sony Handycam with night vision. We spent two and a half series without night vision, and suddenly we have two cameras. We started off checking out St Mary’s church, which is apparently joined to the Ram via secret tunnels. We strutted in wearing our noisy cowboy boots, which echoed on the tiled floor. And found a group of children having choir practise. They all turned and stared. We explored the church trying to walk as quietly as possible but each footstep sounded like a gunshot. We left.

the Ancient Ram InnThe owner of the Ram, John, sadly has dementia so every time he saw us, he forgot who we were and why we there. Luckily, Neen’s uncle Rob has lived in Wootten-under-Edge for years and has even done several investigations at the Inn, so John remembered him. As we sat in the van, a loud THUD! hit the roof. We pulled the ladder down then Cat climbed onto the roof to check it out. There was nothing there. Then the motor for the camper step died. It has died before so this was just a coincidence.

We did a daylight walk through at 8 p.m. after visiting the pub. John told us not to come back sober 😀 But we did. The Ram is amazing. John’s a hoarder so the place was crammed with interesting objects and hasn’t been cleaned in probably over 30 years. The most dangerous thing in this place was the dust and the uneven stairs. It was built in 1145 on a 5000 year old pagan burial ground. In the bar area is an open grave where daggers and children’s bones were found.

The Ancient Ram Inn

the ancient grave in the bar

The University of Bristol has confirmed the age of the daggers, so it’s possible it was a ritualistic killing. As we passed through the curtains to the bar area, Cat’s head was swimming. It’s the same feeling you get when you put your arm into a fish tank full of water. Though we when we say that to people, they stare blankly at us. We can’t be the only ones who have done this. This feeling lasted until we left the Inn, but when we returned later, she didn’t have it. We attribute it to the dust, dim lighting and uneven floors.

After our uneventful walk through, we returned to the camper for food. John retired to bed, locked us out then forgot who we were. After Rob got him to open the door, we then left it on latch, otherwise we would have spent the night in the car park. Not exactly a glamorous haunted location. We returned inside at 10 p.m. There was no bulb in the light above the open grave so after we found a bulb lying around, Ryan climbed over a grate that blocked the area off and screwed the bulb in then we headed upstairs.

We set up base camp in the Bishop’s Room, which is reportedly the most haunted room in the Inn, with 5 ghosts plaguing it, including monks and a Cavalier. Yet we felt really comfortable here. It was our favourite room and the one where we felt most at home.

During a vigil in the Witch’s Room – so called because people have seen an old witch and her cat in there – we found a Ouija board on the table. Us and Ryan sat around it and asked questions but as usual, nothing came through, reinforcing our belief that Ouija boards are purely gimmicks. We moved up to the attic. The stairs are so bowed we could only go up one at a time.

The attic is rumoured to be haunted by William Crewe, a highwayman who hid there every time he returned to Wootten-under-Edge. On one occasion he received 300 lashes. Another time it was 200. He clearly doesn’t learn. He apparently robbed and killed an old woman and was executed in Gloucester in 1786. After we had been up there a while, the K2 meter started bleeping and the needle climbed to red. It bleeped faster so we did an EVP session. The K2 went silent so we played back the DVR.

We all heard a voice.

The Ancient Ram Inn

The Bishop’s Room

We replayed it. Rob thinks it said “I’ll kill her.” We need to put it on the laptop for proper analysis, but when we returned to the attic later in the night, the K2 was silent. Rob left at 12:45 a.m. so we all headed downstairs. The bulb above the grave was missing. It was on a barrel nearby so Ryan screwed it back in. The light switch was still in the on position. The bulb blew, shorting the electrics in the house. We found the fuse box and tripped the switch, which turned everything back on. We’re great at shorting electrics in Casa Raven. We suspect the bulb removing culprit was John, but he would have had to climb over the fire grate, and we have no idea why he would remove the bulb, rather than switch the light off, as the other light was left on. But we couldn’t ask him about it – he wouldn’t remember doing it even if he had. We stayed in the bar and did a vigil in the dark then we decided to split up for lone vigils. Neen and Ryan both wussed out so we headed upstairs with Neen’s night vision camera and Lynx’s Canon. Lynx stayed in the Witch’s Room with the Canon while Cat sat  in the Bishop’s Room with the Sony. The most frightening part wasn’t being alone in the dark in the two most haunted rooms but the drunks walking past our windows. The Inn is set lower than the road so the upper floors are level with the pavement, which is very unnerving. Evil ghost witches, murderous Highwaymen, Incubi and poltergeists while we’re sitting alone in the dark? Easy. Drunks passing outside our windows? Terrifying.

The Ancient Ram Inn

The Witch’s Room

Lynx heard footsteps clumping up and down the landing. She assumed it was Cat and called out to her. When she got no response, she went to the Bishop’s Room. And couldn’t open the door. The footsteps weren’t Cat – she was locked in. When Lynx finally opened the Bishop’s Room, Cat asked her if she’d been to the toilet, which was opposite the Bishop’s Room. Cat heard a door squeaking open. The only time Lynx left the Witch’s Room was to check where Cat was. We’ll have to play back the cameras to see what caused these noises. Downstairs in the bar, Neen and Ryan kept hearing footsteps walking around and assumed it was us pacing the rooms. It wasn’t.

We headed downstairs and regrouped. We set the JVC camcorder up as a static camera pointed at the light bulb to see if it was John who removed the bulb then headed to the barn. When the barn was partly excavated to build a new wall, posts found in the foundations were dated – they were 3000 years old. We returned upstairs and stayed in the Bishop’s Room for a while, eating cake and drinking Red Bull before asking questions using a crystal. Ryan didn’t get much response from the crystal. It behaved a bit better with Neen. As we were lounging in the Bishop’s Room in complete darkness, we decided to break out Ryan’s iOvilus, which is always good for a laugh. After sprouting a load of gibberish, at 1:26 a.m, three words came through in quick succession.

‘Demon. Hour. Run.’

The stairs in the Ram are way too dangerous to run down. It would have to better than that to scare us. Then something started flapping by Cat and Neen, landing on them then vanishing. The night vision  identified it as a butterfly. Knowing the butterfly would die if we left it, we captured it, put it in our empty food tub and went to every window to try and release it. None of the windows open. To get out of the Ram we’d have to pass John’s room, so we opened the tub slightly to give the butterfly enough air until we left.

So…all that happened in the demon hour was…the butterfly. We now suspect the butterfly to be the cause of all the paranormal and poltergeist activity. At 3 a.m., after an impromptu zumba session in the Witch’s Room (in keeping with our zumba moves in Edinburgh’s witches’ circle), we were all knackered and nothing else had happened for a long time, so we packed up and headed out to the camper. The bulb was still in above the grave. We released the butterfly and it flew off into the night. We fully expect all paranormal reports to now stop 😀 Then we can quote a line from The Simpsons. “It was the butterfly!”

We went to bed in the camper about 4 a.m. and weren’t attacked. We got up at 9 a.m., only to realise there was not an accessible toilet nearby and John was still asleep. There was only one way to save our kidneys – with a plastic cup. We then took more photos of the outside then returned home.

So our first solo overnight investigation started with what is considered the most haunted house in England and ended with peeing into a cup.

That’s how Calamityville rolls.

Calamityville Horror

Ghost Writing

Haunted Magazine We are pleased to announce that our very first non-fiction article has been published by Haunted Digital Magazine! Check it out here it’s about Woodchester Mansion, which we visited for the seventh episode of season 1 of Calamityville Horror.  There are tales of a headless horseman, a floating coffin and American soldiers haunting the property. Sadly we didn’t have Johnny Depp helping us to track down this elusive horseman. One day…

We’ve never considered non-fiction as an avenue for our writing. Mostly because we’re not experts in anything (except getting lost and drinking Red Bull). We’ve attempted a couple of articles before that sucked worse than a perforated vacuum cleaner. They were so bad, we didn’t even submit them to the anthologies we’d written them for. They are languishing on the hard drive, never to be opened again. So when Haunted Digital Magazine approached Calamityville Horror and asked us to write four articles based on family hauntings, we panicked. Then we had a great idea – we’d write them as though we were writing a blog post. Our blog is non-fiction and we hope funny, so we figured if we pretended we were writing a blog post, it might turn out ok.

You’ll have to read it for yourself to see if it worked. (Page 116)

To say we were surprised to be offered the articles is an understatement. We thought the only requests we’d get through Calamityville Horror, was to cancel the show, or appear in court over the constant piss-taking of Most Haunted and friend of the show, Derek Acorah *Disclaimer* Derek Acorah has never even heard of the show, let alone befriended it.

So, for the next three issues (crossing talons it goes that well) we’ll bring you articles on family hauntings. Surprisingly, these are quite hard to come by, so we have expanded it into properties that have so many ghosts, they could be classed as a family. In the next issue, due out end of February, we return to the place where this show first began – Ruthin Gaol.

No photos please!

If we ever reported on a Calamityville Horror episode that didn’t go horribly wrong, the universe might curl up and die. We screw up so you can live. Friday night we conducted an emergency investigation at our sister’s house. When we left, the K2 started going crazy in their kitchen. It hasn’t responded there since. Ryan was supposed to join us but he fell asleep so was late arriving at our house. We went alone. And nothing went wrong. He’s clearly the catalyst for disaster.

On Saturday we headed out to film episode 8. We made shortbread dinosaurs, which if we’re honest, our excitement levels about the trip & the biscuits were equal. We’d been talking to someone from Powis Castle on Twitter and they were thrilled we were going, except that person wasn’t working on Saturday. Saturday was cold and we set off for the two and half hour trip. Remarkably, we didn’t get lost. Angels fell to their knees and wept in surprise. As soon as we spied the castle, our excitement levels went into overdrive. It towered above the peasants like a stone vision of beauty. We nearly cried at the £12 entry fee though. That included the castle, museum and gardens but we’ve never paid that much for a location. Choking back our tears, we headed inside.

Only to discover you weren’t allowed to photograph anything. Or film anything. Or touch anything. Or wear high heels. Or have your phone switched on. Or wear bags. Dust causes damage as well, apparently. So no dropping skin. Surprised there wasn’t a ‘don’t breathe on anything’ sign. Every single object had signs telling you not to touch. Apparently Lord Powis owns the copyright to every object. Now it’s been a few years since we studied Law but we’re pretty sure you can’t copyright belongings. They reckoned bags would knock objects over. But since every room was roped off, barring you from entering, the danger of knocking something over was minimal. Actually, impossible. And apparently phones interfered with the alarm system. Think this is something Mythbusters would like to test out. Oh and there was an obscene amount of National Trust volunteers standing in every corridor and room in stony silence making sure the peasants behaved themselves. They reckoned one visitor season causes as much damage as 25 years of family life. Here’s a suggestion – don’t open the castle up and take an extortionate amount of money from people to go and admire how wealthy you are if your objects are photosensitive. In fact, why not dig a big hole and bury the castle to protect it from the environment. No wait, soil probably causes damage.

Rant over. It is absolutely beautiful and worth a visit. Just not worth £12. We suggest you pay for the castle then stand at the windows and stare down at the gardens. So episode 8 was in serious jeopardy. Once again we phoned our mum for an emergency back up location. Now she did warn us to always have a Plan B but in our defence, we didn’t read anything about the strict rules of the castle before going. She found us Shrewsbury castle, which was 20 mins away and haunted by Jack, who’s a cross between Blue Beard and Ted Bundy. Time was running short. Then the road we wanted was closed so by the time we reached Shrewsbury, the castle was closed. Thoroughly pissed off, we came home.

So on Sunday we set out to Castell Coch, which is about 10 minutes from us. It’s haunted by Dame Griffiths, whose son fell into a bottomless pit of water and was never found, and a treasure seeking Knight. We took Radar, one of our Renault 4s. He attracted more attention than the castle did! Castell Coch is a proper fairytale castle, high up on jagged cliffs known as Devil’s Drop. It’s a popular suicide site. That kinda ruins the fairytale image, but then this isn’t a Disney film. The scariest thing we encountered was the tuna and pasta salad Ryan insisted on bringing. Puke in a Pot we call it. The K2 was silent throughout but we had fun arguing over who was having Lady Bute’s bedroom when we seize the castle (us) and pretending to be spies as we sneaked around the roof holding imaginary guns and stalking visitors. Yes this did happen. We have video evidence. We then investigated the grounds to find this bottomless pool of water. Didn’t find it. We did however find a rope swing someone had made and had so much fun on it, then when some kids showed up, we made them wait their turn.

Watch the episode here –

Going Ape

Saturday’s ghost hunting expedition was a bit different. For a start, we were looking for the ghost of a murderous ape. Yes, you read that right. Before you ask, no it wasn’t a day trip to  a spectral wildlife park where mischievous monkey ghosts would steal our windscreen wipers and vandalise our car. We visited Carew Castle, which is reputedly haunted by Sir Roland Rees and his pet ape, Satan. We had another guest with us, the lovely Lizzie Rose, who was on top Lara Croft mode, scaling the castle walls and barriers like a pro to sit on top of the castle’s sickeningly high walls. Unfortunately, our deep rooted fear of heights stopped us climbing up after her 😦

In true Calamityville Horror, we got lost. Several times. The first few times was when we went to pick Lizzie up from Swansea uni. We’d never been there before and ended up taking the wrong road and heading in the opposite direction. Ryan’s Sat Nav on his phone saved us, much to our annoyance. We’ll never hear the end of this now. But every time he mentions his phone’s superiority, we’ll remind him his Sat Nav crashes when there’s no phone service. That’ll stop his gums flapping. Then on route to Carew, we took the wrong road at a roundabout, heading left instead of straight ahead. But we’re glad we did, because we ended up going through Laughne, Pendine and Amroth, where we stopped to harass a pirate statue. Turns out, Lizzie is an expert navigator and not only saw us through Swansea safely, but through West Wales too. She’s definitely coming again.

Carew Castle has many ghosts. A Celtic Warrior, Princess Nest and the aforementioned man and ape. Nest was kidnapped twice in her life and had 21 children by 6 fathers, so it’s probable she single handedly populated West Wales. We stood at the bottom on the toilet shaft where her husband and children escaped into the sewers while she was kidnapped by her cousin, Owain. It took her husband, Gerald, 6 years to get her back and another few years to kill Owain. He obviously wasn’t much of an action hero. Bruce Willis never takes that long.

Back to the ape. Some people reported seeing the ghost ape running along the top of the castle walls, like a hairy free runner. We hoped to be able to buy a monkey mask in the gift shop, wait for Ryan to go off doing his artistic shots then leap out, making crazed monkey noises and tackle him while he falls screaming into the dirt. Sadly the gift shop didn’t sell monkey masks. 😦 Sir Roland Rees travelled often and one time returned with a Barbury Ape, Satan. He wasn’t a nice man. In fact, he was a total jerk and would host dinner parties just so he could ridicule and laugh at his guests. Bit like the 1600’s version of Big Brother. The ape would mimic him and also laugh at the guests. Roland’s son was having a relationship with a Flemish tradesman’s daughter and Roland wasn’t happy about this. The tradesman called at the castle to confront Roland and Roland, who was drunk, unchained Satan and set him on the man. The man escaped but put a curse on Sir Roland, saying the ape would kill him. A servant found the injured man and took him back to the servants’ quarters to look after him until the storm passed. Later that night, the staff heard screams. They went to investigate and found Sir Roland dead, with his throat torn out and Satan dead beside him, with not a mark on him. Portraits lay in the middle of the floor, burning. Some reports say the ape was actually the one on fire. According to a nice caretaker we spoke to, there are written records of Sir Roland and his ape. So when there’s a storm, some people claim to have heard the ape’s maniacal laughter echoing through the castle ruins. 

Hell Fire

Our K2 meter arrived on Wednesday, along with our camera bag & in-car camcorder charger. So the trip to Hell Fire Caves was on! We were so excited we couldn’t keep still. Friday night was spent eating chip shop chips and watching Ghost Hunters, Ghost Hunters International and Most Haunted – the Hell Fire Caves episode. Saturday morning dawned bright and warm – not the type of weather you associate with ghost hunting. We set off at 9:05 for the two hour, twenty four minute journey to West Wycombe. We’d arranged to meet L K Jay there and were looking forwards to meeting her for the first time.

Surprisingly, we didn’t get lost. Apart from going to the wrong car park, but that’s an easy mistake to make and entirely Ryan’s fault. We met L K outside the car park and walked up to the caves together. The entrance is beautiful and not what you’d expect a cave entrance to look like. Especially one that hosted the infamous Hell Fire Club. We sat outside for a bit, chatting then decided to venture in.

The caves are amazing. They’re not too brightly lit, which lends an eerie atmosphere. Throughout the caves, there are cages which house mannequins. At one point, Ryan rounded the corner and spied a cage with child mannequins in it. He saw a shadow dart inside it. Creeped out, he edged towards the cage. And discovered Cat inside it with the mannequins. We couldn’t figure how the hell she had got in. Turned out, the gate was unlocked. All the gates were unlocked. Even the gate to the Inner Temple, which is situated 300 ft directly below St. Lawrence Church and was where most of the fun took place. There were mannequins seated around a table. So we joined them for a group photo.

Sadly, we didn’t see any ghosts. But we had lots of fun and highly recommend these caves to anyone. After the caves, we walked to the George and Dragon pub, in the ghost of the doomed barmaid, Sukie’s footsteps. The most terrible thing that happened was that the pub didn’t serve Smirnoff Ice or Red Bull. Luckily we’d bought plenty of supplies.

The caves were built in the 1750’s by Sir Francis Dashwood, who employed local men to keep them in employment. The caves were used by Dashwood and his friends, for their meetings, which would consist of drinking, feasting and wenching. We’d been looking forwards to participating in some wenching but unfortunately, the caves didn’t sell hotties in the gift shop. The Club members would often dress in white robes, with the leader wearing a red robe and they called themselves the Friars of Francis.

In the Most Haunted episode, they claim that Satanic rituals took place in the caves. We’ve found no evidence of this. However, they did hold mock PAGAN rituals. The last time we checked, Paganism is an entirely different religion, but who lets the truth get in the way of a good story?

The most famous ghost that reputedly haunts Hell Fire, is Sukie. She was a local girl who worked in the George and Dragon pub. She repeatedly spurned the advances of the local lads, because she wanted to marry a Lord. One day, a Lord came into the bar and flirted with Sukie. Three of the lads were so incensed, they set a trap for Sukie. They wrote a note, claiming to be from her Lord, asking her to meet him in the caves, in a white wedding dress. When she arrived, the lads scared her and taunted her. She ran into the caves, they threw stones at her, she fell and hit her head. The lads took her back to the pub, where she died a few days later. Visitors to the caves have reported seeing a woman in a wedding dress.

This is a great story. But we think that’s all it is. In the late eighteenth century, the local lads would’ve been farm workers, or labourers – they wouldn’t have been able to read or write. Even if one of them could write, would he have been able to write well enough to convince Sukie it was from her Lord? We don’t think so. Where would she have got a wedding dress at such short notice?

However, in the Hell Fire Club, they would smuggle prostitutes into the caves and they often liked indulging in role play. One of their favourites was of Ariadne, a quasi-virgin Greek bride. The prostitutes would often give themselves exotic names. Could a prostitute have died during one of these games? Is that who visitors have seen? If it is her, how did she die? And why does nobody know about it?

Watch the episode of C.A.T.S Calamityville Horror Hell Fire Caves with L K Jay here

C.A.T.S. Tales of Terror

Enough of boring you with Gunning Down Romance. We’ve started a new project. Our own ghost hunting show. Before you start thinking of Most Haunted, with high tec night vision camera equipment, an entire crew acting scared, a ‘psychic’ communicating with the spirits etc, this one’s different – we never see any ghosts, none of it’s faked, there’s no script, no crew. We don’t even research the places we’re visiting. We’re basically just clowns with a camera (and an EMF when it arrives). It’s not a proper show and should never be taken seriously. Come on, it’s us, we couldn’t do serious if we tried. So we’ve basically just got the footage we’ve filmed of any ghost hunting we’ve done and stuck it in Movie Maker with start and end credits. See? Not serious at all. We’ve called ourselves C.A.T.S. – Cardiff’s Answer to Supernatural, even though the third member of our team, Ryan, is from Brigend. But we hadn’t met him when we came up with the name, so it stays. The show is Tales of Terror. Even though nothing scary happens, but it’s cool, so we’re keeping it.

The first episode was shot in June 2010 when we visited Boys Village in East Aberthaw the blog for our visit is here: episode 2 will be our visit to Ruthin Gaol. Episode 3 would’ve been our visit to Denbigh Asylum, had we not been escorted off the grounds. That really bites because we’ve seen photos & footage of people who managed to sneak in there. We ranted and raved about that for hours. We need to be in there! We’ve written a novel set there and everyone else but us has got in. We got angrier and angrier with each photo/video footage. Probably should’ve shut the computer down. Our glowing rage was mistaken for the Aurora Borealis. Each photo we see just infuriates us more. So instead, episode 3 is our visit to Margam Castle. We did a ghost walk there on Tuesday night with Wales History and Hauntings (who we did the Llandaff ghost walk with) so wanted to visit the castle in the day to get good footage. We knew it was going to go horribly wrong when we arrived at Ryan’s ready for a day of ghost fun only for him to think we were spending the afternoon in the Harvester with his family. We stared blankly at him. He swore blind he’d told us. He did not. So we set off to Margam ready for ghostly fun with just the two of us (there’s nothing vegan in Harvester, not even the chips) only for him to phone saying he’d cancelled and was joining us. Except he couldn’t find the motorway. Most of our time in Margam was wasted trying to find our way up to the ruins on the mountain. Once again proving, we are in fact, idiots.

The ghost walk was amazing. Unfortunately we couldn’t film it but we highly recommend you do that one and the Llandaff one. The guide, Jim, is fantastic. The hours fly by and you don’t even notice the cold because you’re so enthralled in his stories. Plus you get to visit Margam in the dark without having to remortage your house to pay for it. if you want to book a walk. Sadly we didn’t see any ghosts, though we were nearly turned into some on the M4 when a horse van thought it would be fun to try to crush us between it, the crash barrier and another car. But we live to fight another day.

So…if you like creepy ghost hunting shows with properly trained presenters who’ve painstakingly researched the place they’re going to, screams aplenty and the whole thing taken incredibly seriously, do NOT watch our show. However, if you would like to see 2 freaks and a geek getting lost, insulting  and hitting each other, armed with a video camera that doesn’t seem to have night vision who forgot to do their research in the excitement of visiting the place, then by all means, tune in. As soon as our EMF arrives, we’re off to Hellfire Caves. Yes we will get lost. Yes we will fool around. And yes in true horror movie form, we will mock the legend and get butchered live on camera. As long as one of survives to upload it.