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Gothic Ghost Hunting At Ordsall Hall

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Words and Photographs by Lisa Burns
What better way to usher in the Halloween season than to attend a real, live (no pun intended) ghost hunt? On Wednesday, Ordsall Hall Museum in Salford became the place to do just that. As part of MMU’s Gothic Manchester Festival, the Tudor mansion became the site of a ghost hunt led by Ghost Tours UK
A mix of believers, sceptics and those with open minds gathered together to explore the paranormal side of Ordsall Hall – by night. Some had simply come to communicate with the spirit world, while others were more interested in the social psychology behind such events. MMU Research Fellow, Dr Xavier Aldana Reyes said of the event,

Ghost Tours UK founder Paul Prole

 

‘We are hosting this ghost hunt because we want to unveil the dark side of Manchester. We chose Ghost Tours UK because they offer a more informative side as well as the practical, sensational side that we see on TV. We want to get to the heart of why people are so fascinated with the paranormal’.
 
Ghost Tours UK is a not-for-profit organisation that has been running paranormal events throughout the UK for 15 years. They have raised over £100,000 for numerous charities including Age UK and Children in Need. Paul Prole, the team’s founder, explained that they try to keep the costs as low as possible for the people who participate in their events,
 
“I just want to do this for the research. Other ghost hunting teams charge extortionate amounts and make a lot of profit. That’s not what we’re about”.

This sincerity was reflected in the rest of the team, who were very warm and likeable. They began the night by instructing guests on how to conduct a ghost hunt. This included information on using ghost-finding equipment and various methods of communicating with the dead. Guests were presented with ‘evidence’ of the spirit world that the team had gathered on previous investigations. Despite this, team members were quick to reassure that their mission is not to convert – only to present possibilities. Adam Young, the team’s photographer, and resident sceptic, proposed that everyone must ‘keep an open mind. Use reason and logic. We’re not here to determine anything for you – make your own mind up’.

The ‘haunted’ Star Chamber

During the second half of the night, guests were divided evenly into two teams. These were led by the experienced investigators in a series of attempts to communicate with the spirits of Ordsall Hall. The Tudor Hall is notoriously haunted by a mysterious White Lady and the voices of small children are often heard in the Star Chamber.
 

While terror seized some of the group when reaching out to Ordsall’s ghosts, the harder to convince were more likely to be impressed by Rob Fortune – the medium. Throughout the night, he addressed members of the group at random to pass on messages to them from their deceased loved ones. The disconcerting part of this was his attention to detail, and what seemed to be a startling level of accuracy in his messages. Those addressed were visibly shaken by words he relayed ‘on behalf’ of the deceased.

 

The night was certainly a success – a chilling exploration of the afterlife with a great bunch of people. Preconceptions were challenged and there was no short supply of food for thought as to what it is about the supernatural that fascinates people. In that respect, this Gothic Manchester Festival event hit the mark dead on (pun intended). 

For more information on the ‘Gothic Manchester Festival’ – and the newly opened Manchester Centre for Gothic Studies at MMU, please visit the website. Ghost Tours UK can be found on Twitter @GhostToursUK
Lisa Burns studies History and English at MMU. When she’s not got her nose in a book, she loves having adventures in the great outdoors! Follow her on Twitter @LittleRobin09

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