Most Haunted At Crewe Lyceum Theatre - Series 19, Episode 1 Review
Yvette Fielding is back on Really for the 19th series of the long-running paranormal investigation show, Most Haunted. The team's first investigation of the series is in Crewe at the historic Lyceum Theatre. The location is said to be haunted by six resident ghosts and is even built on a graveyard, so it looks like a night of stage fright is on the cards.
Crewe is a big railway town with a large station and transport hub. A lot of the construction of the railway was carried out by Irish workers who were brought over to England. A Roman Catholic chapel was built for the workmen, but after the work was completed they headed elsewhere and the chapel was unused.
So, it was demolished in 1852 to make way for Crewe's first theatre, the creation of an actor from Manchester, Henry Taylor. This building didn't last long, in 1885 it was replaced by a new 1,500 seat theatre built by Taylor and Alfred Darbyshire.
Again, the theatre only lasted around 30 years before being completely destroyed by a fire in 1910, it was believed the blaze was started by a cigarette that had been dropped in one of the dressing rooms but no one know who did it or how it happened.
The theatre as it stands today was constructed in 1911 by a friend of Taylor's, Edward Compton, a famous actor of the time. Despite all its incarnations, the old foundations of the chapel can be seen in the theatre's basement, as well as an original well under the stage, which has to be constantly pumped out to stop flooding.
In its time, the theatre has played host to some huge stars, including Charlie Chaplin, who appeared in 'Sherlock Holmes', and Stan Laurel who stared in 'Sleeping Beauty'.
Is Crewe Lyceum Theatre Haunted?
As the show's skeptic, Glen Hunt points out, "every theatre has a story," and the Lyceum in Crewe is no different. Staff, actors and customers have reported seeing the ghost of a stage hand, as well as the spirit of a lady in white. She has been seen all over the building for at least 50 years, often wandering the stage and most recently in the circle. The woman is believed to be the ghost of a ballerina who tragically killed herself in one of the dressing rooms. Her ghost is often said to be accompanied by the smell of lavender.
Elsewhere in the building, a hooded figure has been seen in the cellar areas, some think he could be connected to the original chapel. Meanwhile backstage, there are said to be three spirits. One is a playful ghost called Charlie, who is said to hide props on the stage. There's also a more sinister energy that lurks in this area, some say this menacing entity could have been responsible for the 1910 fire. The third ghost is a that of a lost child who's seen wearing period costume and is attracted to other children.
The paranormal activity at the Lyceum was said to have been so bad that in 1969 an exorcist was called in. Clearly this didn't work, as the hauntings continue to this day.
Glen said he's excited about the investigation but says that because of the nature of the venue and the number of stories, they have to put some of these tales aside and focus on the evidence. Demonologist, Fred Batt was also excited to find out what might happen at the Lyceum, and he has high hopes.
Fred says the fact there's an old well under the stage could mean there is a great chance of spotting a spook. He explained that the presence of running water might enhance any paranormal activity. He says that water is associated with witchcraft, "it makes spells 100 times stronger and does very powerful things."
Yvette is also hopeful, she says the building is similar to London's Theatre Royal on Drury Lane, where she saw her first ever apparition while filming a previous show. She said, "I think theatres and prisons are the strongest places for paranormal activity because you've got all that emotion."
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With the lights out, the vigil started on the stage. The team had already heard knocks and bangs in this area while filming cutaway shots earlier in the day. The shows assistant producer Louise Jones also heard a sound coming from the top box above the stage. So, treading the boards seemed like a good way to start.
Again the gang heard sounds coming from the box above the stage, they tried calling out for spirits and asked them to interact. This seemed to prompt more disembodied sounds from the circle, as well as the sound of faint tapping.
Then it was time to split up. While Karl Beattie was down in the "eerie" cellar where he encountered slamming doors, Yvette remained on the stage with Glen, Eamonn Van-Harris, and camera men Gregg Smith and Darren Hutchinson.
The five of them sat around a table on the stage and tried to encourage the spirits to interact with them. They too experienced what sounded like slamming doors and what can only be described as a whimper. At one point there was panic as the gang heard a bulb smashing. They jump out of their seats and went to investigate where the sound had come from. They eventually found the broken bulb on the floor to the side of stage, but no one could work out where the bulb had come from.
Fred Calls On Evil Forces
Meanwhile Fred was having fun upstairs on his own. He was in the dressing room where the dancer was said to have killed herself. He was attempting to contact dark forces. Armed with a candle and his book of dark incantations, the demonologist chanted "in nomine Dei nostri Satanas Luciferi excelsi."
Fred's target was his skeptical rival, Glen. He called out, "come forward, come forward and show yourself to the people on the stage. I want something to happen to Glen, especially Glen. To everybody but just especially Glen."
"Get on the stage and show them what you're made of," he demanded and he continued to make these demands to the spirit world for the duration of the episode.
Later Karl was alone in a small dressing room, he described the room, "it feels oppressive, it feels dark, it feels... I almost want to cry."
Not long after entering the room, Karl noticed the coat hangers on a rail moving, although rationally he suspected that "me coming in here could have done that."
Soon after it got very cold and Karl started hearing noises, everything from the apparent sound of someone breathing, to the door to the room behind him moving, then scratching on the door.
Then things started to get odd, Karl repeatedly heard items being thrown around the room. He heard the items land in the dark on the floor and hard surfaces, but despite a thorough search, Karl couldn't find any evidence of any objects that had been thrown or fallen.
Just before he left the room, something whizzed past Karl's face from above. Karl thought it came from the ceiling. The small object was visible on camera but only for one frame. Again nothing was found on the floor and there was no explanation for the object caught on camera.
Just as Karl finally left the room, he heard what was clearly a smashing sound, like the sound of a bulb breaking in the floor. But again, there was no sign of any broken glass on the dressing room floor.
During the show the team had an laptop recording audio in the hope that they'd be able to catch some ghostly sounds, and they did capture a really creepy voice. When listening back to the recording there is a noise which sounded like a child's voice. Eamonn shocked says, "there's one thing for certain, that's not any of us."
With Fred spending the whole night in a room alone, willing demons to show themselves to the team, it's no surprise that what sounded like a demonic voice was caught on the recording. The voice could be heard just after the lightbulb smashed near the stage and sounded like it was saying, "it's what you want."
Skeptical Glen points out that the sound could have just be the chairs scraping on the floor as the team jumped up to investigate the sound of the bulb smashing.
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