Help! My House Is Haunted: Uncle Tom's Cabin - Series 2, Episode 5 Review
Barri Ghai, Chris Fleming, and Jayne Harris, head to Somerset to investigate reports of paranormal activity at Uncle Tom's Cabin, the oldest pub in the town of Wincanton.
The quaint rural pub is said to have had a few notable regulars in its time, including the celebrated author Terry Pratchett, and is now run by landlady, Melanie Marchie.
Mel thinks the spirits of the pub are responsible for frequent unexplained technical problems, objects moving of their own accord, and the disembodied sound of a child giggling. A photo of a ghostly girl has even been captured at the top of the stairs.
The ghostly goings on also occur next door, in the adjoining property which is Melanie's house. Including icy cold blasts and the ominous feeling that you are being watched.
Melanie called the Help! My House Is Haunted team for assistance, she said "I want the oppressive ones to leave, you're scaring me and my staff." However, she is happy for the mischievous spirits remain as they are now part of Uncle Tom's.
The team's psychic medium, Chris, always insists on being kept in the dark about the location, but before they even arrived at the property Chris became aware of something that he thought might be significant. He said, "I'm getting the strong image in my head of a little girl. She's reaching out or aware we're coming". He also mentioned the possibility of a connection to soldiers and guns.
Chris' Walk Around
As always the team split up and go about their specialist roles alone in order to find out more about the property and its paranormal history. Chris begins a sweep of the building alone in the hope he might be able to uncover who is haunting it, but before he even ventured into the building he picked up on the spirit of a little girl at the side of the building - the same girl he picked up on on the way to the location.
As he stands outside the pub, Chris starts to become aware of the energy of the soldiers he'd picked up on earlier. He said, "I'm seeing them march, four or five of them marching as if they're on a patrol". He thinks this points towards a historic battle that took place in the town.
Once inside the pub, Chris is drawn upstairs to the pool room where he once again was aware of the residual energy of the soldiers marching, but Chris was unable to pinpoint in which era this battle occurred. In another upstairs room, Chris says that "a strong presence makes itself known". He suddenly seems overwhelmed by its energy in a small office room. Moments later in one of the bedrooms, Chris was overwhelmed by oppressive emotions - which he says is the result of a spirit communicating with him.
Uncle Tom's Haunted History
Out in the pub garden, Barri met up with Vicky and Sophie, who work at the bar, both of whom have been affected by the haunting at Uncle Tom's Cabin. They seemed to agree that the mischievous pranks and the laughter heard would suggest that it is a child spirit that haunts the building.
Barri questions them further and the bar staff tell him that they've experienced activity ranging from glasses mysteriously smashing, through to orbs, and the sensation of being touched or feeling someone breathing on the back of their neck. They also say that the lights in the building have a habit of turning themselves on, especially in the pool room.
The two staff members say that recently the haunting has escalated and become more threatening. They've witnessed doors slamming and an oppressive pressure that they describe as being a terrifying "evil atmosphere".
Barri then meets Georgina, who has had "direct and terrifying contact" with something in the pub. Georgina tells Barri how she was at the bar with her dad when she felt a burning on her right side, and lifted her shirt up to find three scratches.
Meanwhile Jayne had gone to meet Chris Forrester, the curators of the local museum to try to get to the bottom of why people might be being affected here and find out about the military history of the small market town. He tells Jayne that in 1689 a battle took place surprisingly close to where the pub now stands.
23 men were killed in the conflict and it's believed that the bodies were buried somewhere around the site of the battle. According to the historian there was also a tragedy in the pub itself. He said, "we do know from local legend there was a fire and a family was probably killed here. We don't really know."
With their own individual investigations completed, the team re-group to share what they'd learnt and to put together a plan of action for their nighttime investigation. They also invite Mel, the landlady, to help with a spirit trigger session. They are hoping Mel's presence might prompt the spirits to communicate.
Barri is using a digital audio recorder to try to capture spirit voices in the form of EVPs. Chris introduces the group to the spirits, but when the audio is played back a voice appears to whisper the name "Mel" just after Chris said it aloud.
They then turn their attention to some copper pots that hang above the fireplace, one of which started moving during Chris' initial walk around. Jayne then grabbed a TriField meter and held it near the pots. She found that the one that moved gave off a much greater static charge than the others hanging alongside it - a refreshing and interesting use of an electromagnetic detector.
Before the team got stuck into their investigation, there was a scary moment for Jayne when she found she had been locked inside the ladies toilets. Speaking through the bathroom door, a freaked out Jayne said "there's literally a bolt, there's no weird lock. The bolt is like someone is holding it." She added, "it's as if someone is in here with me holding it."
Now with Barri on-hand too, Chris called out to the spirits and asked them to open the door and seconds later the door swung open to reveal a shocked Jayne who said she hadn't slid the lock open. Whether it was because she was pleased to be free or because she was freaked out, Jayne ran off.
The others caught her up and questioned her about her experience. Barri asked, "did you open the door?" Jayne replied, "no, I was stood back from the door and the bolt went and the door opened."
As the light fades outside, Mel left, and static cameras are rigged around the property. The team are then locked down inside the pub for a 12 hour investigation throughout the night.
The team start their investigation in the pub's cellar, an area that Chris didn't visit as part of his walkthrough, but a place where he feels a negative energy might be lurking. Using his audio recorder, Chris called out "who are what is down here?" When he played the recording back a very clear voice said "get out of here". It's probably the best EVP I've ever heard and understandably shocked the team.
Chris said he had a pretty good idea what this presence was, he called out "are there any imps in this building?" When he played back his recording, a voice seemed to be saying "imps".
Throughout all of this, Jayne was using a ghost hunting tool called an SLS camera, a device that can map and record anomalies that appear outside of the visible spectrum. If it detects an anomaly it displays it on its screen in the form of a green stickman - and one such figure appeared stood between Chris and Barri. It then shot up to the ceiling and vanished.
Barri and Jayne then move on to the stairs, the part of the building where a photograph of a phantom little girl was captured. Barri is using a highly-sensitive night vision camera to try to capture anything around the area where Jayne has placed a REM-Pod on the stairs. This gadget lights up and beeps if it detects a change in a static electricity field that it radiates from an antenna on top.
As soon as Barri started calling out to the spirit, who's been given the nickname Emily, the REM-Pod started beeping - seemingly in response to the ghost hunters' questions. The device went crazy when Jayne placed a doll on the stairs for Emily to play with.
Meanwhile, Chris was in the pool room where he was calling out to the spirits and experienced something he felt was dark and malevolent. While sat on a window ledge, Chris jumped as he felt something touch him. He said after, "something just grabbed my arm, my left arm. It startled me."
Chris and Jayne then venture outside to and at the side of the building try to find out more about the soldiers that Chris had picked up on there earlier. Once again Jayne was using the SLS camera and after hearing one of the crew say he felt something behind him, Jayne pointed the camera in his direction. The camera detected what looked like something behind him climbing up and over the wall.
Back inside, the team embark on their final vigil in the bedroom Chris had felt an oppressive emotional drain in earlier. Chris calls out and asks the spirits what they want, "do you want to be put to rest? Find peace?" The audio recorder captured a voice seemingly in response that sounded like it was saying "heaven".
Jayne pulled out an Ovilus III, which contains a bank of phonetics, the sounds that make up words. It monitors various atmospheric metrics, such as electromagnetic field strength. It's said that spirits can effect these atmospheric conditions in order to form words and form intelligent responses.
The device spewed out some intelligent and potentially relevant responses including "girl", "travel" and "light". Chris took these responses as a cue to help move the trapped spirits on. The REM-Pod also seemed to signal that this was the right course of action.
Chris walked around the property conducting a cleansing and blessing ritual designed to clear the pub of all negative entities. Jayne also performed a cleansing ritual using burning sage. They hope that between them this cleansing will help the trapped soul of Emily pass on.
From the moment with the bathroom door, the numerous responses on ghost hunting gadgets, and the clear EVPs, this has to be the strongest episode in series two so far.
What's makes the show so good to watch in general is its very strong narrative and ability to tell a story. In most ghost hunting shows you're given an introduction to a property and then a psychic walks around and picks up on all those same things... that's great and very impressive, but as a viewer it's not new information, we heard it earlier in the show.
However in 'Help! My House Is Haunted' we see Jayne and Barri uncover the haunted history of the location while Chris simultaneously picks up on it psychically. This format removes repeating information as each member of the team adds in their own nuggets of information. It allows the episode to organically build the story of the property in a more structured, varied and engaging way.
'Help! My House Is Haunted' continues next week on Really as part of the channel's #Freakend event, bringing viewers two nights of paranormal entertainment every Thursday and Friday.
You can watch in the United Kingdom and Ireland as part of the Discovery family of channels. You can watch Really on Freeview (17), Sky (142), Virgin Media (129) and Freesat (160), plus YouView, BT TV and TalkTalk TV. Or watch previous episodes on demand on dplay.
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