Most Haunted At Ashwell Prison - 2018 Halloween Special Review
Yvette Fielding and the Most Haunted team embark on a special, uncut edition of Most Haunted at a prison in Rutland, where witnesses have reported seeing dark shadowy figures, hearing unexplained noises and seeing doors slam.
The episode marks the start of the 23rd series of the long-running ghost hunting show and is the first of ten episodes to air in the build up to Halloween 2018.
The two-hour long paranormal investigation of the abandoned building is produced in the same style as one of the live shows, meaning it is unedited and uncut. The investigation will conclude in a second episode shot at the location, which will air tomorrow night.
On a very cold and snowy night in the East Midlands, Yvette welcomes us to the former prison, before telling us a little about its history. HMP Ashwell opened in 1955 and was constructed on the site of a WWII army base. It was originally an open prison, but converted to a category C prison in 1987, housing all male inmates.
In 2009 a major riot broke out in the prison, which involved around 400 prisoners. Fires and damage caused by the incident made around 75% of the prison uninhabitable. With the cost of repairs to great, the prison closed in 2011 and has been empty ever since.
Is HMP Ashwell Haunted?
Ashwell has been home to many criminals, and like other penal establishments it has witness plenty of negative emotions, violence and deaths. The prison is said to be plagued by strange sounds, shadows are seen moving across derelict rooms, footsteps are said to follow the unsuspecting and a dark figure lurks in corners.
Visitors and previous paranormal investigators who have ventured in to this foreboding place have reported encountering the spirits of former inmates as well as US servicemen from the 82nd Airbourne Division.
There has been numerous reports of dark shadowy figures throughout the prison buildings and in its grounds, and visitors say they've felt like they're being pushed out of cell doors.
Meet The Team
Yvette was joined by the same team from the last series. First off the shows executive producer and Yvette's husband, Karl Beattie. Before the investigation got underway, Karl said, "I'm very eager to get going to be honest. It's a weird place and it's so cold, I cannot explain how bitterly cold it is."
Yvette then moves on to Stuart Torevell, the show's long-serving camera man, who had already had an odd experience in the prison earlier in the day. While preparing for the shoot, Stuart heard a door slam and caught it moving on camera. He ran to investigate, only to find the area was completely empty. Seconds later the sound of something falling or being thrown could be heard, Stuart couldn't identify the source of the sound.
Speaking to the camera, he said, "there's only me around here now, that's three things that happened in the space of one minute," presumably the first thing he didn't catch on camera and is the reason he started filming. He told Yvette, "I'm very nervous about tonight, but I'm very excited to actually start ghost hunting."
Then we catch up with Fred Batt, Most Haunted's resident demonologist. Who says the building, unlike some of the prisons they team have investigated in the past, doesn't have such a grim history. He said "no one was hanged here, but people died here." He also says that the land the prison is built on has a history of witchcraft and demons, "you've got loads of things going on on the land."
Yvette then moved on to the show's skeptic, Glen Hunt. He points out that as a category C prison, the nature of the crimes committed by those who were incarcerated here are much tamer than in the other prisons they've investigated, which have been category A prisons. He added, "I'm not too scared or worried about anything negative being here."
Also joining the team on the investigation is the show's location manager Jenny Bryant, and Louise Jones AKA Lou, the show's producer. They were stationed in the crew's base room, their job throughout the investigation will be to monitor four static cameras placed at paranormal hotspots throughout the building.
With the lights out, Yvette split her team into groups and gave them instructions on which part of the prison complex they'd be investigating, reminding them that "communication is key. Please keep in touch with each other, it's very important, because there's a lot of uneven floors, doors that don't shut and so on."
After wishing the gang good luck, they head out into the prison, leaving Jenny and Lou in the base room. But no sooner had they left, a huge bang was heard just outside of the room. Gregg Smith, one of the show's camera men, came back to investigate. He said, "we heard that, it sounded like something being thrown."
Yvette, Karl and Stuart had made their way to the pitch black G Wing for their first vigil of the night. Almost straight away they heard strange disembodied knocks. Yvette used this in an attempt to communicate, asking the spirits how many of them there were, she heard seven knocks in response to her questions. She then asked "do you all mean us harm?" She said the response was "no," but she hadn't actually told them to use one knock for "yes" and two for "no", so I'm not really sure how this worked. Two knocks could have meant that two of them want to cause them harm.
Yvette confirmed through this method that four of the spirits meant them harm that they were all male and that they had a connection with the land dating back to a time before the prison was built.
Later, while wandering through the dark corridors of G Block, Karl thought he could hear footsteps in the distance and ran off to investigate, with Yvette and Stu trying to keep up. They were getting a little frustrated and Stu sounding a little worried said, "this place is like a maze." They eventually caught up with Karl, who hadn't been able to find the source of the footsteps.
Yvette then tried whistling, asking the spirits to copy her. Straight after Yvette whistled, Karl said he had heard something reply, "I don't know if it's a bird or an animal, but I heard something." They continued to walk around the maze of corridors and rooms, which looks more like an office block than a prison. Suddenly Yvette panicked after hearing an unexplained noise behind her. Yvette aggressively called out, "is there somebody here with us now?" But she didn't get a response.
They then heard footsteps again, but this time they said it sounded like it was moving towards and past them. Yvette placed a K-II EMF meter on the floor in the hopes that a spirit might trigger the lights on the device if it walked past again. They heard a few more strange sounds, but the lights on the device didn't flash.
Yvette suddenly got the feeling that there was "something evil" there with them, Stuart agreed and whispered, "we're being watched." They then heard a man's voice in the distance, they ran to investigate not sure where the voice was coming from. Stuart said, "that was so clear then. You're right, that was a male's voice." This was followed by the loud sound of a slamming door. Karl ran off down the corridor after hearing a noise, at the end of the corridor he heard "a proper male voice saying 'go'."
Stuart then came up with an idea. He'd said, "if this was an all male prison, you'd think they'd be pretty excited that we've got a female with us," before being interrupted by a loud bang coming from somewhere along the corridor. Once things had calmed down Stuart continued, "entice him Yvette. Ask him out on a date. Get things going, you're a female, he's a male." A surprised Yvette snapped back, "why don't you ask him out on a date, Stuart?" She suggested that there might have been gay inmates in the prison. Karl agreed, "to be fair, Stuart, you do have a very big gay following."
Yvette then called out, "do you fancy Stuart?" There was no response from the spirits, but Stuart said, "I'll take one for the team if you show yourself to us, and that's a promise." After hearing some more footsteps, the three of them headed back to the base room, but on their way back Karl said he'd seen a fully solid figure stood through one of the doorways in the corridor. Perhaps it was the excitement of this that resulted in them getting completely lost on their way to the base room.
Meanwhile, Fred and Gregg had gone to investigate F Wing. Fred picked up a chain and called out, "if I throw this chain, see if you can throw it back to me." He threw the chain which landed loudly further along the dark corridor. The duo thought it sounded like there was another noise after the chain had hit the floor.
As they walked away, Gregg said he was keeping Fred behind him in case the chain did get thrown. While it might not have got thrown, a little later they did hear a clinking sound coming from the darkness that sounded like the chain moving. They then heard what sounded like footsteps near them.
Fred then started his legendary incantations, which are designed to drum up spiritual activity, specifically demonic entities. He chanted, "in nomine patris et filii et spiritus sancti. Come forward, any lost souls that are here. Come forward and see us."
Moments later Fred saw a light or shadow at the bottom of the stairs leading down to the lower level of the wing. Jenny and Lou also saw something on one of the static cameras at that same moment. Lou said she had also seen what looked like a black mist on another of the cameras at the very moment Fred started his incantations.
While all this was going on, Glen was on E Wing with the show's sound guy Darren Hutchinson, who heard what he thought sounded like a butterfly's wings beating somewhere around him. They then heard what Glen thought sounded like someone clearing their throat, or "a little grumble" as Darren described it.
Glen then said, "copy me" and whistled a couple of times to see if any spirits that might be present might copy him. He then asked the spirits to copy him as he knocked on a near by cabinet, but there seemed to be little response. A little while later they heard what Darren described as a "really defined noise" that went "bummmm".
They continued to explore the floor and Glen suddenly rushed across the room after seeing a small light come on and vanish again, but he couldn't work out what had caused it.
F Wing - Lower Level
After regrouping, Yvette sent Gregg and Glen off to E Wing, but their vigil proved to be a little quiet. The others spread out across F Wing. Yvette took her group to the upper floor, while Karl and Stuart remained on the lower floor. Almost straight away they started hearing what they thought sounded like footsteps coming from all around them.
Karl then thought he heard Yvette call him on his walkie-talkie, but when he radioed through to check, Yvette said "no, I did not call." Karl, sounding confused said, "this just went off and it was your voice saying 'Karl'". A few moments later they heard a loud bang coming from nearby, it sounded like something hitting a wooden surface, but it wasn't clear what caused it.
Stuart then pulled out an EMF meter, which started flashing indicating a spike in the ambient electromagnetic field. Karl called out in an attempt to communicate using the K-II. They then heard a loud bang from somewhere along the corridor and moments later they heard piece of something being thrown and scattering across the floor.
F Wing - Upper Level
One floor up in the same wing, Yvette was with Fred and Darren. They heard a very loud breathy sigh that was caught clearly on camera. It was none of the three present on the vigil and there was no one else around on this level of the cell block who could have made the sound.
Darren reported feeling uneasy and like his chest was tight. He said "it's genuinely unnerving me". He couldn't explain this sudden feeling of discomfort. At one point Yvette said she was worried that Darren was going to have a heart attack. Darren reassured her he was alright, "no, they can't give me a heart attack... can they?"
A little while later, Yvette grabbed the large chain that is used to lock one of the exterior doors and threw it along a corridor, hoping that any spirits present might throw it back. The chain didn't move, but they did hear tapping and a wheezy breath.
Fred then tried a few more of his incantation to stir up some paranormal activity. Fred called out, "come forward and meet us, touch one of us. Touch Darren." Darren seemed to be handling this pretty well. In the last series, Darren made it very clear that he didn't enjoy Fred's incantations. A few moments later they heard some very loud and clear tapping sounds.
We then got our first massive scream of the series from Yvette, when a loud creaking noise was heard. It turned out it was only Darren holding a door open, but Yvette shouted at Darren to stop it, "I'm going to s**t myself!"
The team regrouped and once again, Yvette sent them all off in different directions, this time on lone vigils. Yvette had nominated herself to go to the lower floor of G Wing on her own, this is said to be the most haunted part of the site. Gregg wasn't far away, he was holding his vigil on the upper floor of the same cell block.
Meanwhile, Glen had headed off to the isolation cell block to perform some EVP experiments, and Stuart and Fred had been sent to E Wing where Stu teased Fred about wearing Cuban heels, something Fred denied. Darren was on the upper floor of F Wing, while Karl was a floor below in the same wing.
Yvette instantly regretted her decision to go to G Wing alone. She said, "why did I say I was going to do this?" Adding, "this place is just so scary." She started hearing tapping, which turned out to be the sound of footsteps coming down the corridor towards her. She called out, "hello, can you make a noise please?" Immediately there was a strange sound from the darkness. Moments later Yvette said she'd seen a shadow walking across the hallway in front of her, unfortunately she had the camera aimed at her face at the time.
Karl wasn't having much fun on his vigil either, he was walking through a very dark corridor alone when he heard a noise coming from the other end, that was like something being thrown at him. This incident marked the end of the episode, but not the end of the investigation. I'm sure we'll get to find out what happened to the rest of the team on their lone vigils in the next episode when the drama continues.
The end of the episode was fairly uneventful, but the second half of the investigation, which airs tomorrow night as a regular one-hour-long show on Really, promises to deliver plenty more ghostly happenings from the former Rutland prison.
The new series of Most Haunted continues as part of Really's #13NightsOfFrights. Watch on Freeview (17), Sky (142), Virgin Media (129) and Freesat (160), or watch previous episodes of Most Haunted on demand on the UKTV Player.
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