Have a go at… ghost hunting at the old gaol
Are you a fan of all things frightening, or a firm believer in fact?
Armed with two fellow ghost hunters, I was given the chance to try one of the Galleries of Justice Museum’s monthly ghost tours – read on if you dare, to find out all about my adventures, afterhours.
Visitors to the Galleries of Justice Museum are treated daily to performance led day tours around the museum. For just one evening a month (the first Wednesday – book now for August) the brave are invited back for a tour of the gaol to discover the paranormal for themselves.
The atmosphere in the building adds to the eerie ambience, with cold chills and a deathly silence. You are greeted in the Shire Hall by a haunting figure; the tour guide who leads you through a duskily lit corridor to the court room.
If you’ve ever been in the court room at the Galleries during the day, you will know that it’s a magnificent, imposing room – let alone once the lights are out.
It’s amazing what new things you see (or think you may see) once the museum is plunged into darkness.
The group (no bigger than ten brave thrill seekers on this occasion) are asked to wander the galleries alone – making their way carefully through the gaol by flickering light. Tension is high as people shuffle closely one after the other, eyes wide – adjusting to the conditions and looking out for the slightest hint of paranormal activity.
The guide joins the group at certain intervals to regale the audience with a heady mix of tall tales, truth and terror – leaving you to make your own mind up as to what you may or may not see out of the corner of your eye.
Not one for people afraid of the dark – you are plunged into darkness more than once –whether being shut into a Georgian gaol cell, or deep beneath the galleries in one of the caves.
It was during my time in the Georgian cell where I began to feel most overwhelmed, convincing myself I felt something brush against my foot – the tour guide is full of similar examples of visitors who have had many a sensory experience whilst visiting.
The guide played a great part throughout the evening, slipping between performances (including a haunting re-enactment of past inmate Mary Ann Parr) and narrative (sharing stories both legend and true). The mood switched quickly from spine tingling nerves, to laughter, and somewhat relief as we were brought back out into the light for the end of the tour.
I won’t share examples of stories told down in the cells – I will leave that for you to find out for yourself, but it certainly gets your imagination fired up. And even if you don’t believe in all things spooky, the chance to see the museum when the public and staff leave for the night is fascinating – but be sure not to get left behind in one of the cells!
The tour provides an entertaining evening for both the firm believer and true sceptic. Shadowy figure or candlelight flicker – what will you see? Book your place quick as spaces are limited. If you prefer horror which is a little more gutsy and ‘in your face’, why not try one of the new Terror tours on the last Friday of each month, for a real scare?