My very first overnight ghost hunt! I arrived at the site very excited and a little nervous, not least because I didn’t know anyone else there. I soon felt at ease with North West Spirit Seekers and was chatting with a couple of other first-time ghost hunters over a cup of hot coffee in the base room. We were all very impressed with the beauty of the Tudor building and couldn’t wait to explore.
Our investigation began in the kitchen. This is laid out in the medieval style, as it would have been back in the day. There is a huge fireplace with large pots and cauldrons, a tiled floor, and an enormous scrubbed table in the centre. Looking around you could almost smell the smoke from the fire and see the kitchen maids and cooks rolling pastry and carving meat to serve to the Lords and Ladies. Our group sensed movement in the inner chamber leading from the large room and we noticed that the herb rack hanging from the ceiling was swinging even though there was no breeze. Once we sat in a circle on the floor the rack became still as though someone was waiting for us to say something… The Medium could see a man and two children in the room with us but they seemed reluctant to communicate.
We then moved into the Tudor Room. Here we used glass divination and spoke to a man who claimed to be Sir John Radcliffe, his daughter Elizabeth and a maid named Jane. Sir John told us he died in battle at Crecy, his children died of illness when they were nine (Elizabeth) and eleven (his son). He told us that his wife committed suicide while consumed with grief and depression. The maid, Jane, knew the children as she was a carer during their lives and she appeared to be a kind, friendly woman. Sir John would only answer our questions when we addressed him correctly which we found quite amusing! Elizabeth seemed quite playful and jolly. Two members of our group had sensations of their hair being pulled and movement around them, which was very interesting. We also sensed a terrier running around us, possibly a former playmate for the children. Generally the atmosphere was happy and welcoming, a nice family home environment.
Next was the Great Hall where there was a boy hiding behind the suit of armour near the large fireplace. He was afraid of a man in the house. He made contact with us via the glass but only for five minutes and he was very weak because of his fear. There was a spotlight on one wall, which flashed on and off, but we couldn’t get any information from the boy. He soon disappeared.
Our next room was the Star Chamber, which is a beautiful medieval bedroom with an original four-poster bed in the middle. It was named because of the lead stars set into the ceiling, which are very impressive to look at. We all sat on the floor, and suddenly we started giggling uncontrollably, almost like group hysteria! It wasn’t something I have experienced before but was quite funny! Then the atmosphere changed and became oppressive. We sensed an intimidating presence. The Medium told us it was a man near one of the doors and he was purposefully upsetting the women because we weren’t supposed to be in there. We found ourselves moving closer together so we were almost sitting on each other before our nerves failed and we all scarpered!
We retreated upstairs into the Main Chamber. I liked the atmosphere here even less and everyone else agreed with me. Two people in our group felt physically sick and the Medium heard a man telling us to ‘f**k off’. He was a very grumpy man who did not like intruders in his house. A few braver people in our group attempted table tipping but I didn’t want to take part, as I was afraid of what would happen. I really did not feel comfortable in this part of the house.
I decided to return to the Star Chamber but positioned myself away from the door where we had sensed the nasty man before. I had my jacket zipped close around my neck and kept my back to the wall but I was determined to stick it out to the end! The Medium sensed a Lady Margaret trying to show herself in the darkened room and throughout the next hour we saw tiny twinkling lights around the room, shadows as it grew lighter and darker (even though the heavy curtains were drawn completely across the window) and we felt fluctuations in the temperature. At one point we sensed a hooded figure in front of us and I saw someone stood by the fireplace, possibly a man but all I could see was a silhouette. The terrier and the children from earlier came in and out at intervals and lightened the mood.
I left Ordsall Hall with a promise to myself that I would return one day (still waiting!) and the knowledge that ghost hunting is what I was born to do. It really is a beautiful and active building and I am really happy that its history still lives on even after so many centuries have passed.
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*Ordsall Hall image courtesy of BBC News Manchester