A spooktacular evening at the Galleries of Justice
The Galleries of Justice was voted the most haunted building in the UK by Paranormal group Fright Nights, and it’s clear to see why. This historic, beautiful building was the heart of the justice system in times gone past- with some of the most cruel sentencing and ruthless judges in Britain.
The stories you will hear on one of the fantastic performance-led Terror Tours will make you see why the Galleries of Justice has been the centre of gruesome stories and morbid curiosity for centuries. This tour in particular allows you to access areas not normally open to the public.
I’d been to the Galleries of Justice before, during the day, with the lights on, and that had been moderately creepy enough. My previous ventures to this magnificent building had left me entirely unprepared for what was to come.
There were around 20 of us altogether, who gathered to brave the tour. Our guide welcomed us on the ‘Galleries of Justice heritage tour’. We played along, not really knowing what to expect next.
After being told a little about the history of the Galleries of Justice, such as the gory story of the iron body restraint that hangs up menacingly in the entrance hall, we were taken into the courtrooms and took seats where the jury would have sat if this were a historic trial.
Sitting in the courtroom, the tour guide talked us through each of the different stands and what kind of crimes (and punishments) were handed out, some more gruesome than others, and sometimes the prisoner wasn’t even guilty of the crime! It made me thankful that there are better investigatory measures today, than whether the judge was in a good mood or not.
We were then led down into the gaol, deep down into the dungeon where those poor, unfortunate souls would wait to receive their sentence, or be executed, in horrific conditions.
I’ve always had an odd curiosity about caves and ancient architecture, but learning about the ‘Condemned Cell’ and seeing how absolutely pitch black it was inside, even I hesitated to enter. The feeling inside the cell was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. As soon as I entered, I felt really disorientated and had to get out.
We walked through another doorway, where it got colder. I was shivering; it gave me a good idea of how the prisoners must have battled with the freezing conditions just to stay alive.
There were occasions when we wandered on our own – an extremely scary experience. Behind closed cell doors came the occasional bang or rattle, thud and groan of prisoners who never left. I, for one didn’t hold back with my own screams of shock or terror.
No doubt, the scariest moment for me was when we entered deep into the historic heart of the place – the deep underground fortress of caves where the most gruesome and evil acts took place, some say even the occult was practiced here. We were left cold and in the pitch black, till the fear took over and nervous laughter became anxious mumblings. After a few minutes of exploring possibly the creepiest place on earth, we left.
Before we left however, a few odd things happened to me. Firstly, there was no light, so when I saw a glowing orb hover by my knees for a few moments, I was rather surprised, and when something brushed over the top of my hair, I ran out squeaking, followed by the rest of the tour.
We entered into the courtyard where the prisoners would have had their daily exercise, but also where they would have been hung. It was deliciously morbid and seeing where the steps up to the noose had been worn down by countless prisoners condemned to death really sent shivers down my spine.
It was an amazing experience, and the atmosphere was fantastic. It was fun and really interactive, although absolutely terrifying in places, and well worth a visit.
I do recommend you take some kind of light source if you’re like me and scared of absolute darkness.
This Halloween, look no further than the Galleries of Justice Terror Tours. It’s all you need for a night of spectacularly spooky fun
Due to popular demand, the Terror Tour on Wednesday 31 October has sold out. However, you will have another chance to get spooked on the 30th November.
The Galleries of Justice Ghost Tour is available on the 7th November.