WriterBy Steve Higgins
Great Fulford Ghost Hunt
Following in the footsteps of Barri Ghai and the 'Help! My House Is Haunted' team I went in search of ghosts at a country estate in Devon with a dark history, from a battlefield in the grounds to the spirit of a tormented child.
The event was organised by Haunted Happenings and saw 20 members of the public spend the night at Great Fulford, the noble home of the Fulford family in Dunsford near Exeter.
We were welcomed to a rundown wing of the large 50-roomed manor house by our hosts from the evening, the lovely and entertaining Jill and Terry. They were joined by Iain and Nina.
Is Great Fulford Haunted?
The Tudor mansion has been the residence of the Fulford family since the reign of King Richard I, making them Devon's oldest recorded family still in their original seat. The house and land was gifted to the family as a gesture of gratitude for the their sacrifice during the English Civil War.
With notable members of the family being killed at the Siege of Exeter during the war in 1643, and so many years as a place of birth, life and death, it's no surprise the grand building boasts so many ghosts stories. The family hear unexplained noises, witness doors banging and have even seen apparitions and ghostly figures. The family's dog also seems to frequently react to things that no one else can see.
Our night of paranormal investigation began with the usual introduction and health and safety talk, which, despite being a legal necessity, Jill and Terry made quite amusing and got it out of the way quickly and before long we'd began our tour of the house. The first thing I noticed was how good the group was at this particular event. All the guests were very positive, lively and from the offset seemed willing to get involved.
We didn't have access to the whole house as it is still the residence of the Fulford family, but we could get into seven rooms, including a room which was used as the base room, the drawing room, a grand wooden staircase, a grand wooden panelled hall, the wine cellar, the kitchen and a large ball room upstairs.
Throughout the tour of the house, Jill took a few minutes in each room to call out to any spirits that might be present, encouraging them to give us a sign they were with us. This was a nice way to get a feel for the room and to let guests decide which areas might be the most active and where to concentrate during vigils and experiments later in the night.
While we were in the kitchen area we experienced our first odd happening in the form of flashing light on a ghost hunting gadget called a K-II meter. This device detects changes in the ambient electromagnetic field, this can be caused by mobile phones and electrical devices. However, since there were no electronics nearby and everyone's phones were in flight mode, it makes it harder to explain why the device triggered.
After this we moved upstairs into the ball room, where it's fair to say that Jill did a really impressive job of leading a group vigil with the help of the other team members. Jill is excellent at calling out to the spirits, confident, bubbly, funny and very good at getting guests to join in with the activities.
While the guests joined hands in a big circle in the middle of the large wooden floor, Jill called out from within the circle. There was one very interesting moment when what sounded exactly like someone's foot stamping on the floor could be heard from the middle of the circle. We all thought it was one of the team, but bizarrely they one-by-one confirmed it wasn't them, making the source of the stomp an intriguing mystery.
Later in the evening we were split in to smaller groups and Terry took half of us in to the wooden panelled hall where he'd set up some Ouija boards for us to use. With five people gathered around each of the boards, we placed our fingers lightly on the planchette and started to encourage any of the house's spirits to interact with us.
The boards sprung to life pretty quickly, as Terry moved between the two groups giving encouragement and guidance, and showing a genuine interest in the results we were getting. During the session several names, dates and ages were spelt out on the board. At times the planchette was whizzing from letter to letter.
Another highlight of the evening was Jill and Iain's session in the ball room which gave guests the chance to try table tipping for themselves. The idea of this is that participants lightly place their fingers on the edge of the table and ask any spirits present to rock, move and even spin the table.
Sadly, I never get on very well with table tipping. Although our table rocked a little we didn't get any real movement despite our efforts and some encouragement from the hosts. However, the other group of guests literally had their table dancing around the ball room, sliding across the wooden floor from one end of the room to the other. It was really quite an impressive demonstration of table tipping.
Although Great Fulford isn't one of the best known haunted locations in the UK, it was a really interesting and seemingly active location and, thanks to our hosts, was perhaps one of the best public ghost hunting events I've attended.
I'd like to say a big thanks to Jill, Terry, Iain and Nina for guiding us throughout the night and the rest of the guests, who made the night fun by being great sports and getting involved.
You can book your own ghost hunt at Great Fulford with Haunted Happenings, find out more here.
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