On Friday, January the 26th, 2007, the W.M. Ghost Club hosted a large-scale investigation of the Galleries Of Justice in Nottingham. The event was expertly organised and co-ordinated by W.M.G.C. member Kevin Wallace.
To anyone interested in the more popular, allegedly haunted sites, the Galleries Of Justice will need no introduction. Serving as the focal point of Nottinghams 'penal concerns' since the 14th Century, the building has become somewhat famous as a place of potential paranormal significance over the past decade. During it's heyday, the property had the unenviable distinction of being one of the few places where someone could actually be 'arrested, held, sentenced and executed', all in the same small space! In more recent times, the building has featured in an episode of Living T.V.'s 'Most Haunted' and frequently draws considerable numbers of paranormal enthusiasts.... both through private investigations and the more commercial, 'ghost hunting' ventures.
Our own investigation of the site involved some 23 people in total and focussed on 6 different sections of the building which have previously been associated with alleged paranormal activity. Each region - court rooms, cells, pits, caves, laundry and transportation / courtyard area - was visited by four different teams, rotating around the building, during the course of the night.
While the overnight event passed reasonably quietly, a number of potentially interesting incidents were experienced by different members of the four teams. A brief summary of the group reports - edited by Kev Wallace - follows:
Galleries of Justice Investigation - Summary of findings:
Team Three 10.30pm to 11.10pm:
10.48pm - In the bedroom area of the laundry, Amanda is sitting on the bench in front of the window and reports seeing a hand in front of her. At first she thought it was Andy who was sitting to her right, but his hands were in his lap and he says he hadn’t moved them.
Amanda also feels that someone is sitting the left of her on the bench in the corner. (no one there).
In the main room of the laundry Dawn and Ellen report smelling old fashioned tobacco smoke.
11.00pm - In the bedroom, Dawn says she can smell a laundry smell.
11.02pm - Amanda is sitting back in the same place where she saw the hand when there is the loud click of a torch button followed by Amanda’s torch coming on which was resting on her lap. To actually turn the torch on requires some force and Amanda confirms she did not turn it on. . Her hands were by her sides and Ellen confirmed this.
11.07pm - Were all now in the bedroom and we here a thud from outside the room itself.
We do some calling out to the room and there were 3 thud noises coming from the bed which no one was sitting on.
Dawn reports seeing alight appear by the bench in the corner and disappear quickly.
Team Two 11.30pm-12.10am:
Video camera set up in the main room facing the entrance doorway. "Rattling ball" trigger object placed on the floor in the middle of the room. Claire, Diane and Donna spread within all three rooms within eye sight of each other. Steve situated in corner of the main area, directly behind the camera.
Nothing of apparent paranormal interest to report. However Claire at various times throughout her time in the centre room stated she could smell "Urine" and again, at odd intervals, too numerous to record the time, noticed light affect on the outside stairs, "like someone with a torch" viewable through a window directly in front of her. On investigation Steve also witnessed this but dismissed as possible car head lights reflected somehow from the road or simply from the activities of another team.
On examination of the video camera evidence, strangely after set up the camera does not record anything, although the record button was pressed at the time?
Team One 12.30am to 1.10am:
Group members were mainly situated in the ‘Bedroom’ section of this area throughout the vigil. Len Jackson took up a position – seated - just outside the doorway to the bedroom. Casual conversation was held throughout. Helen ran a (hand-held) video recording for the bulk of the session.
At one point during the vigil, Julia – seated in the corner of the bedroom area – reported that one of her legs had suddenly gone quite cold.
Team Four 3.40am to 4.20am:
The room where the bed is felt an uneasy room. Fiona and Nick reported feeling a presence but nothing was seen or heard.
Cell Block Area
Team Two 10.20pm-11.00pm:
Video camera set up at far end of corridor, facing down towards the centre of the building. No trigger objects used. Due to the size of area to cover, Claire, Tom, Donna and Diane all rotated, taking alternate turns in all available cells during the vigil. Steve patrolled the corridor.
Due to Steve's cough getting worse, Steve decided to vacate the area away from all other groups. Choosing to stand at the top of the outside stairs looking down on to the exercise yard.
At precisely 11.00pm Steve noticed that the light from the corridor facing the entrance to the Transportation, from the left of viewing, was momentarily "blocked out" as if someone walked across the corridor. Steve did not pursue this in the belief this effect was caused by a member of another team. And not wanting to disrupt another Teams vigil. On eventually checking and reporting findings with other Team Leaders, now apparent, no one from any of the teams was in the vicinity at that time and the person would have to have been walking from wall to wall, rather than down the corridor to cause this affect. (It has since come to light another team member may have caused this while exploring a noise heard form the chapel area).
11.06pm - Steve notes the up until now, peaceful, calm and relaxing atmosphere of the yard changed. To become, momentarily threatening as if being watched. This "feeling" lasted about 25 seconds then resumed its previous ambience.(Steve concedes this feeling may have come to mind in relation to the very recent experience.)
Nothing of possible paranormal nature happened during the rest of the vigil to all other members of the party.
On examination, after six minutes of recording, the camera picked up a distant female shriek/wail, but as a lot of sound was actually picked up from the surrounding streets, it is a possibility this occurrence isn’t of paranormal nature.
Team One 11.30pm to 12.10am:
Group moved around different sections of the Cells Area for the duration of the visit. Casual conversation held throughout. Helen ran a (hand-held) video recording for the bulk of the session.
During the vigil, Adam reports that, while he was standing in the corner of the Dark Cell, he detected something that sounded like ‘breathing’ on a couple of occasions from behind him.
While the vigil was in progress, a couple of the cell doors were moved by team members, resulting in quite loud, high pitched squeaking noises. In light of comments later made by Team Four – situated below us in the Transportation Area at the time – it has to be kept in mind that these noises may have tainted the other groups observations.
*Note* – Just prior to the beginning of Vigil Three, two video cameras (set facing each other) and a mannequin trigger object were placed inside the Dark Cell in the Cell Block area. This was decided ad hoc, as this section of the building was empty for the duration of this vigil period. Nothing picked up from the camera
Team Four 2.40am to 3.20am:
Nothing to report on this area.
Team Three 3.40am to 4.20am:
We split time covering the cells corridor, Dark Cell and the hanging cell.
4.10am - Dean reports seeing a light move in the hanging cell. He says that he feels like something else is there. Dawn and Ellen join him in there. Dawn and Dean both report seeing another light.
Transportation area and courtyard
Team Four 11.30pm to 12.10am:
Helen and Linzi reported a bad feeling in the corridor where the mirrors were.
Linzi thought she saw a shadow movement under doorway.
All members reported hearing at least twice what sounded like "cell doors" opening. The main door outside was checked and it did squeak but it was not the same sound as heard. (It was reported that another team had moved cell doors in the cell area directly above this area)
Team Three: 12.30am to 1.10am:
12.35am - We are all standing at the top of the stairs leading to the courtyard from the far cells corridor. We see a series of lights play over the top of the gallows (trapdoor area) and underneath it. It looks like someone shining a torch through the window from the pitts area (except there is no window there).
I dash down to the gallows but no one is in the corridor leading to the caves and the pitts are empty. (the group who are supposed to be in the pitts only appear at 12.40am after getting lost).
Team Two 1.40am-2.20am:
Video cameras set up in the inside corridor facing down towards the entrance, alarmed crucifix trigger object set up on the floor in direct view of the camera.
Diane did not participate in this particular investigation choosing to join the team in the courts area.
The team split up, alternately covering the Transportation area and the exercise yard. Steve notes, personally felt "very uneasy" entering this part of the building where has Claire felt perfectly fine. Nothing of Paranormal interest to report apart from Tom witnessing something akin to a cat or dog, moving very fast past the door at the entrance to the Transportation area.(Incidentally, the same area where Steve witnessed the "moving solidness" earlier in the evening.)The camera fortunately covered the area Tom reports to have seen the "shape." On video camera examination nothing is visible at that particular area at this time.
Team One 2.40am to 3.20am:
Group situated in Transportation Area – opposite the doors from the courtyard – for the bulk of the session. Nothing at all to report.
Pitts and Dark Cells
Team Four: 12.30 to 1.10am:
Helen reported feeling the presence of an elderly gaunt man who she felt had been there for many miserable years. She described him as not welcoming but not aggressive. She reported seeing the man’s face appear in the brickwork. Helen also reported feeling the presence of a Cavalier but could give no reason why. All members reported several temperature drops.
Conna reported seeing a small red dot near the floor but could not decide whether this was imagination or a proper sighting.
Team Three 1.40am to 2.20am:
Dean feels sick while sitting in the dark cell and has to move out.
Team Two 2.40am-3.20am:
Video camera set up in Caves during this time. Nothing to report of any interest in the Pitts area apart from Tom witnessing again, a cat or dog like shape move quickly within the deep pit. Tom does accept it may have been a trick of the light or perhaps a rat? Due to not realising the vigil had come to an end, the team moved back briefly into the Caves. Nothing happened of interest.
On video camera examination, throughout the time of recording, two distinct noises are heard in close proximity to the camera placed in the chapel ,facing the cave mouth/entrance. Both sounds of stones, one in particular sounded very forceful.
Team One 3.40am to 3.20am:
Group move around different sections of the Pits area for duration of vigil. (Dark Cells, cobblers room, etc). Nothing to report.
Team One 10.30pm to 11.10pm:
Most group members stayed situated around the centre of the room - except for Len, who was seated in rear stalls of room throughout vigil. Rob did briefly sit in main Judges seat for a while. Group remained talking casually (quietly) for duration of vigil. Helen ran a (hand-held) video recording for the bulk of the session.
Only comments made about this area was that it seemed most peaceful and (from Rob) held no sense of being haunted.
Team Four 1.40am to 2.20am:
Nick was sitting to the right of the Court and reported he thought he saw the small door leading into the seats move slightly. Nick also reported feeling his energy suddenly drain.
Nothing reported by any other member.
Team three 2.40am to 3.20am:
We split our time between the crown and civil court. Nothing at all to report. No noises, just silence.
Team Two 3.40am-4.20am:
No Video camera set up or trigger objects set up. All members of the team alternated between both courts and had nothing of any interest to report.
Team Two 10.40pm to 11.10pm:
All team members reported hearing "wailing" noises.
All team members, apart from Julie, were sitting in Chapel at this point.
Julie had wandered up small staircase. Julie reported hearing what sounded like "chains" clanking and that she had heard several "wailing" sounds. She said she had carried on outside into the yard to try to identify if the noise was coming from outside. Only general noise heard. On returning inside Julie heard a further "wailing" sound.
Linzi reported hearing "sighs" and something touching her hair. Julie reported the "sighs" could have been made by her as she did gasp when on her own having heard the "wailing".
Helen reported feeling the zip on her fleece move.
All team members, apart from Julie, reported hearing a "squeaky/whistle" type sound.
Most members reported a distinct smell periodically.
Shortly before the end of the vigil, all members being in the Chapel, Nick, Linzi and Julie all saw at the same time a "small figure" in the "off bounds" tunnel. The figure appeared to be "peeping" around the bend in the tunnel as though watching the team.
Nick reported seeing what looked like a "red fly" that moved towards the entrance.
All members reported constant changes in temperature.
All members reported movement of light in the "off bounds" tunnel.
Team Three 11.30pm to 12.10am:
11.36pm - Kevin and Dean hear a thud from outside the chapel door. No one was in the pitts at this time.
11.42pm - We all hear a noise in the connecting corridor from the chapel to the far cave.
11.48pm - Andy and Amanda report seeing a green light appear and move about 4 inches before disappearing. This was over on the far left hand wall if you were standing by the doorway. No one else was over there an all torches was off.
11.56pm - Over the next 15 minutes we must have heard at least 8 bricks landing on the floor.
12.01am - Both Kevin and Amanda report feeling a headache both on the left temple while sitting in front of the cross in the chapel area.
12.10am - The vigil finishes with the sound of another brick landing by Dean
Team Two 12.30am-1.10am:
No Video camera set up or trigger objects set up. During the time spent in all areas of the caves, everybody present remarked how "unsettling" this area felt in contrast to the previous sites covered.
12.45am - Donna reports the sound of rubble/stone being thrown.
1.07am - Light affect observed by various members of the team on the outside stairs but most likely the source coming from the team located in the Pitts area. This occurred a few times during the vigil. This does need to be verified with the team in question however.
1.10am - Donna heard the sound of a stone "thrown" in the area of the lectern in the chapel.
Steve reports momentarily witnessing a white floating rod shape, approx 5ft off the floor and 1ft long in size near the entrance to the caves "somewhat like an afterimage of something."
Team One 1.40am to 2.20am:
Throughout the vigil, team members were situated in the Chapel Helen ran a (hand-held) video recording for the bulk of the session. Casual conversation held for the duration of the session.
Some sounds – occasional voices, movement, etc – carried through from Team Three situated in the nearby Pits Area.
At one point during the vigil, Adam reported a sound akin to stones knocking together, just behind him.
We – on at least two or three occasions – heard the sound of stones dropping onto the wooden flooring of the room leading off form the chapel. Adam retrieved small pebbles and pieces of rock from the floor and experimented by dropping them onto the ground. This appeared to adequately reproduce the noises that we had been hearing.
While other teams had reported this effect during the night – and, apparently, featured in stories from other groups that had visited the site – it clearly appeared that there was nothing paranormal about the origins of these sounds…. such noises appear to be little more than debris ‘naturally’ falling from the ceilings of the chambers concerned onto the wooden floor.
It has to be said that the W.M.G.C. usually avoid the larger, more commercial / public investigations as much as possible, mainly due to practical reasons. However, our stay at the Galleries of Justice was an exceptionally enjoyable investigation, which went without even the slightest hitch. From what could be ascertained after the event, everyone who attended appeared to have enjoyed themselves immensely..... It really is a fantastic site which is open to the interested public on a regular basis. Well worth a visit if you're in that neck of the woods!! http://www.galleriesofjustice.org.uk/
Regards to all,
The W.M. Ghost Club