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 Inside Out - South of England: Monday October 11, 2004


Ghost busters arrive at Athelhampton House
The Delays appear in ghost-bustin camper

How do you know if an old house is haunted? You may see the odd shadow, hear a bang or two, but how do you know for sure? We join the Southampton rock band, 'Delays', on a ghost-bustin trail.

Chart-topping "Delays" is a rocking quartet with lead singer Greg, Rowly on drums, Colin on bass and Aaron on keyboards.

They are heading for Athelhampton House just outside Dorchester, and are arriving in style - Scooby-style in their own ghostmobile!

Just like the cartoon ghost-hunters in Mystery Inc., the guys in Delays are all faced with a mystery - how to prove a house is haunted?

Ghosthunting since the 19th Century

With the help of the experienced investigators in the Ghost Club society, a club that's been hunting ghosts since the 19th Century, Delays will spend a night in the ancient house, studying and investigating the goings-on in the house.

With Trevor from the Ghost Club Society in charge, a number of objects will be placed in the house.

But first let's get the inside ghostly information from the owner of the 15th Century Athelhampton House, Patrick Cook.

Patrick Cook
Patrick Cook has ghostly secrets in the house

"There are two duelists," he says, "and they're supposed to fight in the hall, a rather noisy sort of battle that goes on without ever coming to conclusion.

"There's also supposed to be a grey lady who wanders through the bedrooms in the east wing of the house.

"But the most famous and the most unusual ghost at Athelhampton House in the monkey."

Aaron, from the band, is starting to get second thoughts. "Earlier on I was thinking 'this is going to be a laugh' but now I'm quite scared."

Trevor is quick to clarify things, "We don't treat it as a laugh. We treat it as a pure investigation.

"What we hope to do at some future date is to be able to pull up contact with the spirit world whenever we need it."

Proving a ghostly presence

After stocking up for the night with some barbecued Scooby snacks, as all ghost hunters and mystery-solvers need, it's time to lay out ghost bait, or "control objects" as they are really called.

Trevor sets the bait
Trevor is up to monkey business with the apple

For the two 17th Century dueling spirits, a cross is placed within a neat penciled outline on a piece of paper.

If the spirits "show", the idea is that they might move it and that's proof of spiritual presence.

To tempt the grey lady to prove herself, a slate and piece of chalk is left on the right hand side on a dressing table.

Maybe the prospect of a doodle on the slate will bring the grey lady out?

But what do you lay out to tempt the monkey ghost?

The most obvious object is a banana, but Trevor goes for the less obvious thing, an apple.

Who knows, the monkey might prefer the apple over a banana, only time will tell.

The monkey was left in the property when his owner sold the house, over 400 years ago, and some say they can still sense the monkey monkeying about in a secret staircase

After putting out the control objects, Delays do their own investigations in the grounds of Athelhampton.

But they are soon summoned to the east wing where something has happened with the grey lady's slate.

No pranks, please!

It has been moved from the right side to the left, and Trevor wants to get down to the bottom of this.

"I want a straight answer from everybody. Has anybody moved it?"

The room falls silent, and everyone looks at each other.

Trevor continues, "We are serious investigators we don't like pranks being played, so if this is not humanoid activity, then it's something of great importance."

The investigation team move into the room next door to do some more studies.

Delays band member
Everyone looks spookie with night vision cameras

The team is plunged in darkness and night-vision filming shows us what is happening.

Some of the more experienced ghost busters are starting to sense things.

Shades and shadows in the blackened room are sensed, and even Delays' lead singer Aaron gets chill down his spine.

"It's gone all cold, can you feel it?"

Inside Out's researcher Catherine shares Aaron's experience.
"I definitely felt very cold all around me."

Swing this way - swing that way

The spookiness continues in the cellar, where the spirit medium pendulum swinger Jenny finds the identity of the ghost that's active there.

Delays' campervan
The band make ready for a swift exit

Trevor asks, "Were you are craftsman?"

Jenny interprets the swings of the pendulum, and comes up the answer "Yes."

Trevor asks again "Did you like a drop of ale?"

The pendulum swings violently and Jenny smiles and says, "Yeah, I did!"

As morning draws closer, the control objects are checked throughout the house. Nothing else than the slate has been moved, and that's still disputed to be a prank.

The apple is left untouched, so maybe that's proof the monkey prefers bananas?

But is there anything to prove this house is haunted?

"There is a good possibility this house is haunted. There are a lot of things that happened tonight that need explanation and things occurred here that are beyond rational explanation," Trevor says.

He seems now to be planning the next ghost hunt.

See also ...

On the rest of Inside Out
East Ghost Hunt

On the rest of the web
Ghost Club Society
Fright Nights
Paranormal Dimensions

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