Ghost Hunter Laura Sian Dixon takes us on a journey of her TOP 10 HAUNTED LOCATIONS.
10. DRAKELOW TUNNELS
I’ll start off with Drakelow Tunnels in Worcestershire, which I went to last June. I’ve chosen to include this place in my top 10 not because of the activity we experienced (which was pretty much non-existent apart from a few odd noises), but because of the place itself. Built as a shadow factory in the Second World War and intended as a nuclear bunker in the threat of a nuclear attack in the Cold War, Drakelow Tunnels is a very eerie place. It has all the right ingredients for a horror film; miles of pitch black tunnels that all look the same, leaving you confused as to where you are, small empty rooms with the glass windows smashed in, and medical records still left in offices. It reminded me of the Slenderman game! Although our night lacked activity, (reports include cold spots, a strange mist, and the sound of 1940’s music) I would still recommend it. But make sure you don’t go off on your own, or you may find yourself lost and cowering in a dark corner!
9: BODMIN JAIL Last summer myself and the Camalityville Horror girls (YouTube/RavensRetreat) had the chance to have 18th century Bodmin Jail to ourselves for the night, just the 5 of us, and we even got to sleep there! It’s the derelict naval wing, built in the mid 1800’s to accommodate extra prisoners who wouldn’t fit in the already over populated jail, which we found the most eventful. It’s said to be haunted by an aggressive prison guard. We’ve caught an EVP in the naval wing of a man saying “be careful” just before we were about split up into separate cells. Soon after, a member of our group ran out of her cell saying she’d seen a dark figure in the corner. Could this have been the same person who told us to “be careful?”
8: SAVOY THEATRE, MONMOUTH The Savoy Theatre in Monmouth is the oldest working theatre in Wales, built in the mid 1800’s. In October 2014 I joined South Bristol Paranormal on an investigation. We didn’t get much investigation time at this place, but it’s a place I wouldn’t mind going back to, to experience more! Whilst sat in the stalls overlooking the stage, we played 1940’s music to try and encourage some activity. It wasn’t long before something heavy got thrown from the stage into our direction, but after looking around on the floor and between the seats, we found nothing. I also took this strange picture…. There was no light coming from the stage, and no torch light shining onto it, so I have no idea of what this strange blue light could be…
7: HELLFIRE CAVES High Wycombe’s Hellfire Caves have an interesting history, home to the antics of the notorious 18th century Hellfire Club and their extravagant parties and satanic rituals. On an investigation here in November I often felt like I was being watched whilst walking through these caves. It’s an eerily quiet place, but this makes it somewhat relaxing. In the banqueting hall where the parties took place, our group re-enacted one of the club’s rituals by walking round in a circle anti-clockwise and chanting their motto “do what thou wilt”. It was at this point that a member of our group said he saw a man watching us from the other side of the room.
6: ST BRIAVELS CASTLE
St Briavels Castle near Tintern is a great location for ghost hunters as not only is it a medieval castle, but it’s also a youth hostel! The castle rooms are all equipped with bunk beds. You can even stay in the prison room, which has several hundredyear-old graffiti still remaining on the walls, and the oubliette room, where prisoners would have been thrown down a hole and left to die. Not everyone can say they’ve slept in a castle! My only regret from our night spent here in the summer of 2014 is the fact that I chose not to sleep in one of the most active rooms, such as the oubliette room, where guests have had their bed covers ripped off them. If I ever return, I may take up this challenge!
5: KELVEDON HATCH NUCLEAR BUNKER Built to accommodate up to 600 people in the event of a Cold War nuclear attack, Kelvedon Hatch underground nuclear bunker in Essex has a somewhat eerie atmosphere; with creepy mannequins, bunk beds in dormitories, and long dark tunnels. Although the building is only about 60 years old, spirits are said to haunt from occupied soil before the bunker was built. A group of about 10 of us spent the night here in July 2014. We did a successful planchette experiment, communicating with two children from the farm house who lived on the land before the bunker was built. We also heard knocking noises coming from the walls, and whilst stood in a circle joining hands at the bottom of a staircase, our arms began to lift up on their own accord. We slept for a few hours in the bunk beds in the male dormitory before leaving in the morning. Again, a unique experience!
4: WOODCHESTER MANSION The gothic and majestic Victorian Woodchester Mansion near the Cotswolds, is an extremely popular hotspot for paranormal investigators. The spirits include soldiers who died in an accident in the nearby lake during World War Two, a woman heard singing in the kitchen, the spirit of a stone mason in the chapel, and a negative entity in the cellars. The fascination of this horror film style mansion lies in the mystery behind it. Workers left behind tools, unfinished rooms and doors leading to nowhere; what you see of the mansion now is what it would have looked like when abandoned in the 1870’s. It was here where I tried mirror scrying for the first time. This involves staring into a mirror where you can often see your face change into a different shape, with different facial features emerging. (This is supposed to be a spirit showing themselves to you). This definitely worked for me, at one point my face completely changed into what looked like an old woman, which made me jump back in shock!
3: LLANCAIACH FAWR MANOR I don’t blame you if you can’t pronounce this, I’m Welsh and I struggle! This Tudor manor house was home to the Pritchard family during the Civil War. As well as members of the Pritchard family spirits also include servants, children, and even cats! Ghostly cat’s tails have been caught on CCTV running through a hallway, and on this same hallway I’ve heard cats meowing. Although the house hosts evening ghost tours, privately hiring the manor is unfortunately not possible. But, on just a few afternoon visits I’ve experienced quite a lot, including footsteps and knocking noises, and at one point seeing a white light hovering in a doorway. When I followed the light into the next room it disappeared. Mediums often talk about buildings being alive with ‘energy’, Llancaiach Fawr is one of these places. I’m not psychic, but I do believe that when you walk around this house you get a sense that past residents are still here.
2: MONMOUTH SHIRE HALL
The Shire Hall in Monmouth (just down the road from the Savoy Theatre) is one of the most paranormally active places I’ve ever been to. It played host to the famous Chartist trials in the 1830’s. My friends Jack, Sarah and myself carried out an investigation in 2013, and experienced a lot of activity. Down in the cells, where the Chartist prisoners were kept before being transported, we heard heavy footsteps coming from above us, we’ve also heard disembodied voices, and once left a gate shut only to return a few minutes later to find it open. I think this place is massively underrated, so I would highly recommend it! Down in the cells we heard footsteps coming from the courtroom above us.
1: THE SKIRRID INN The Skirrid Inn in Abergavenny is the oldest inn in Wales, built in 1110. It’s also reported to be not only one of the most haunted places in Wales, but in the whole of the UK. The inn is famous for playing host to 180 hangings of criminals over the years. A rope remains on the staircase where these hangings took place. I’ve chosen this location as my favourite, firstly, because this was my first overnight investigation, in November 2010, at the age of just 15. But most importantly, I think this place is genuinely haunted! There are 3 bedrooms, and Room 1 is said to be the most active. During our overnight stay we turned the lights off and sat on the floor to do a séance; when we turned the lights on, we realised that two cupboard doors had been opened while we were sat down. What most impressed us that night is this picture taken from a member of the group. Look at the right hand side, it looks like a hooded figure stood in the doorway…. - 180 criminals have been here.