I am feeling the urge to hunt ghosts again, and so here is the report I wrote after my Halloween ghost hunt at Carnfield Hall in Alfreton, Derbyshire, back in 2011. I attended the event with my younger sister Emily.
Carnfield Hall is a beautiful privately owned home in Derbyshire, UK, dating back to the 1500s. We were told that there has been a dwelling on that site since the 1000s, so you can imagine our excitement at what a ghost hunt here might reveal. During the evening we were told a little about the building’s history by its current owner, Heidi. She told us that the house was derelict during the 1960s and 1970s, and was then bought and renovated by a man called James. He also rediscovered many of the original artifacts from the site, and reinstated them into their home. Heidi and her partner moved into the Hall earlier this year (2011), where they are now continuing the renovation project.
Mysteria Paranormal Events, run by John and Sue, hosted our event. John is a medium and energy worker, and we did some interesting experiments and séances throughout the night. During the walk round we all started to feel spirit energies. In the attic rooms, several people in our group, including myself, sensed young children playing. A few people also saw an adult hanging from one of the roof beams. One person mentioned a connection with apples or an orchard. Later in the evening, on a return vigil, I actually smelt apples while in that very room, and I had not noticed it earlier.
In a lady’s bedroom we found an interest with the floorboards. Our guest medium Ian Lawman connected with a young boy, who kept disappearing through the floor, but we could not establish a reason or explanation for this. One suggestion was that the spirit was telling us that some of the floorboards were not original, or that they were in the wrong place. There was a beautifully ornate fireplace in this room, and I saw a lady writing letters to someone she was very fond of. I also smelt cigarette smoke, and so did a few people in our group.
In another bedroom, one currently occupied by the owner, Spirit told me that there should have been a carpet on the floor. There is currently a rug in the centre of the room, and the polished wooden floorboards. Ian told us that this room had been cleansed to remove previous negative energies. Apparently this was true. Ian also said that there was still some activity in here, but that it was far less intimidating than it had been. We sensed that the Drawing Room was a very busy place for spirit activity, and indeed we had an interesting time there later in the evening.
Our first vigil was with John in the attic. We used a conducting rope to build energy and assist Spirit to communicate. It is a copper fibre rope with clear quartz crystals arranged at regularly spaced intervals. I was fascinated with this piece of kit, and I felt that it was very powerful and a useful tool for a larger group.
Using ourselves as human pendulums we spoke to a man named Adrian. I saw him as quite an arrogant man, and he gave me an image of him kicking a small lapdog as it ran past. He did not hurt the dog, but this was simply a demonstration of his attitude and behaviour when he was alive. Adrian identified himself as a stable worker during the 1800s. He was a man who turned nasty after consuming alcohol. He died after getting into a drunken brawl and being stabbed with a knife. Adrian said that one of the women in our group resembled his mother. Using two people as conductors, he reached out to touch her face. Then he left, satisfied with his communication.
My sister Emily saw a small boy in the attic room while we were conducting the séance. She said that he was jumping up and down trying to reach out for people’s hands, but he couldn’t quite reach. A few people were also given the surname Matthews as something significant. Ian sensed a woman with schizophrenia in what we think was once an attic storeroom. I saw a young woman who would often be imprisoned in this room as punishment. Ian believed it was one of her schizophrenic personalities connecting with me. She simply gave me an image of her slumped on the floor, and occasionally gazing out of the window. She was a tall, slim woman with long black hair, and I think she was aged around 25.
An interesting experience in the attic rooms was dizziness. As soon as I set foot in there on our walk round, I felt dizzy and my legs were wobbly. It was as though I had just stepped off the Waltzers in a fairground and was struggling to regain my balance. The floors were uneven in these rooms, but I have never experienced any sensations quite so strong in an old building. At one point I had to steady myself against the wall, and a few times I started to feel my head spin. Several other people in the group also reported similar experiences.
On our second vigil Ian split our group up so we could work in separate rooms. Emily and I were taken to a bedroom where there was apparently a hidden priest hole that no-one had ever discovered. We didn’t find it. As we entered this bedroom, Ian asked us how we felt. We actually felt quite comfortable, even happy in here. Ian was surprised because most people report feeling uneasy and frightened. The rumour is that there is a negative energy in there. We didn’t encounter it. We did connect with a teenage girl, however. I felt that she was a mischievous spirit, and she would make noises and touch the bedcovers simply to make people jump. My camera fascinated her, and I ended up taking quite a few photos in that room at her request. I did find orbs on several of these photos, but no physical manifestation. Emily and I did hear a lot of tapping noises, but we think it was the tree branches hitting the windows.
After that we all moved into another room for a séance. This was a bedroom where I felt uneasy at first entrance. It felt masculine to me, and I was intimidated. Emily saw a man having a heart attack and dying on the rug. He even showed her the position in which he lay. I saw a man who was overweight and quite red in the face. He wasn’t an unpleasant man, but there was something about him that made me uneasy. During the séance one woman suddenly started crying, although she didn’t know why. Shortly after, Emily also felt a strong urge to cry.
In this room Ian connected with a black servant named Victor. He was a gardener and I sensed that he only came into the house to repair or remove furniture. I saw that he died peacefully in his sleep, and lived a happy life there. He lived at the house before the windows had shutters. I saw Victor as a tall, wiry figure, with hair that was changing colour but not going grey. He had an angular face, and was always smiling.
Our vigil in the Drawing Room was very active. We heard movement behind the bedroom doors, and several people in our group were pushed or pulled at different times. Ian saw two men discussing architectural plans for a single storey timber framed building, or possibly an extension to the house. One man was military, and was a man of rank, although Ian couldn’t say exactly what. Emily and a few other women saw a young woman with a baby. I saw her as suffering with postnatal depression. She was desperately trying to hand the baby over to Emily and the women stood next to her, because this young woman could not take care of it herself.
I saw a man and a woman making love on the rug before the fire, which was something I haven’t come across before! The woman was a Lady, and the man was her visitor. A servant saw them. The scene kept replaying over and over, every time I looked at the rug, sort of like a video recording. It was very strange.
Our séance in the Dining Room was also very interesting. Several people were made to cough and splutter, and had itchy faces. Ian said this was a memory of the smallpox that had ravaged the area some centuries ago. Heidi and a few other people sat beside her saw a large, dark object sitting on the table in front of them. It never moved, but it unnerved them. As soon as we turned the lights on, or shone a torch in the vicinity, it disappeared. Once the room was in darkness, it was there again for the whole duration of our vigil.
The tension in this room grew, and some people saw flashing lights on the walls behind where Ian was sitting. We heard several tapping noises on the wood panelling but could not be certain if it was spirit energy. I felt that something was building up strength from the energy in this room in order to make a huge noise and frighten us all. In fact, I prepared to hear a loud bang. Fortunately we decided to move out and continue our investigations elsewhere.
In the Library we used a Franks box to try and communicate. This is a device through which spirits can communicate using radio waves and white noise. We heard a voice saying ‘hello’ and ‘hi’ but the energy was weak, and we soon gave up and continued to another room.
All in all, this was one active and exciting place to be. I absolutely loved the building because of its energy and history. It was amazing to discover that it had been there, and yet it is hidden away from public knowledge. Apparently, the previous owner had offered to donate it to English Heritage, but they were unable to accept because they didn’t think it could pay its way. I only hope that its current owners can continue with the restoration work, and I would certainly consider visiting it again. I also enjoyed working with Ian Lawman, and I highly recommend Mysteria Paranormal Events. They were brilliant organizers, and I really felt that we were well cared for, and that we were encouraged to participate rather than just observe in the activity