Most Haunted Live! At Dudley Castle 🎃
In 1992 the BBC gave viewers nightmares with their fictional drama, 'Ghost Watch', which saw a team of paranormal experts investigate a house live on television on the night of Halloween. Ten years later, Yvette Fielding and her team of paranormal researchers have made live television ghost hunts a reality. This Halloween night, they embark on their first ever paranormal investigation to be broadcast live from a haunted castle in the West Midlands, where ghosts are said to roam in abundance.
As always, Yvette will be leading the vigils around the castle and its grounds, but pulling things together on an outdoor stage in front of 500 Most Haunted fans is David Bull. The presenter gives us a quick tour of the stage, or Hub as it is known. There are several phone operators sat at desk chatting away to callers and a bank of computers where members of the crew are sifting through emails form viewers. David also let's us know that there are webcams at four of the castle's paranormal hotspots, which viewers can watch live on the Living TV website. There are situated in the shop, museum, kitchen and undercroft.
David then moves over to another area in the Hub, where two of the Most Haunted crew are sat waiting for him on a sofa. David first talks to the show's resident historian, Richard Felix, who says "this is something special. I don't think we could be in a better place, the atmosphere is right, the building's right. It's stone, there's water beneath the building, this is a place of terror, of torment. Pain, murder, execution, you name it. It's got all the ingredients that are right."
Psychologist. Dr. Matthew Smith, agrees with Richard but is a little more skeptical, "I do believe that people do have these experiences, and I think as Richard was saying, if anyone's going to have an experience in any place, then it's going to be here tonight. Whether or not they really are paranormal, or whether there's some other explanation, hopefully tonight we'll get a little closer to finding that out."
Matthew then explains how the public are going to help with the investigation by choosing one of seven locations for the team to investigate. To give viewers a chance to register their votes, Yvette talks us throw the haunted history of Dudley Castle in a pre-recorded segment.
Is Dudley Castle Haunted?
Dudley Castle stands over the town on a limestone hill. The castle, now a ruin dates, back to 1071 and was a Royalist stronghold that suffered badly in 1646. A labyrinth of coal mines and canals run beneath the castle, that brought many deaths and injuries to miners during the industrial revolution. The castle grounds are now a zoo, but they are also said to be haunted.
The castle is said to be home to many spirits including the Grey Lady who is believed to be the ghost of Dorothy Beaumont, who once lived in the castle and died here following complications after giving birth to her daughter. Her ghost is most often reported in the castle's keep in the form of unexplained sounds and icy blasts of air, which are often accompanied by a strange blue mist.
The most haunted part of the castle is the chapel undercroft, where you'll find a stone coffin which is said to have once held the body of one of the castle's most infamous residents, John D Somery. His ghost has been spotted as disembodied legs beside the coffin. Others have reported feeling him tug at their clothing as they walk through this part of the castle.
Yvette sums up the location, "Dudley castle seems to have all the expectation for a haunted location, but will it live up to its reputation on this night, Halloween."
It was then time for the team to begin their investigation, Yvette gathered with some familiar faces in the undercroft. These included, Karl Beattie, Stuart Torevell, Rick Fielding and parapsychologist David Scanlan, who will play an important part in the vigils. He's there to test, validate and document claims.
Before getting started, Yvette asked the lights to be dim. She said, "it has been proven on Most Haunted that ghosts don't like the lights." Now in darkness and visible via night vision camera, Yvette started calling out to the spirits. It was a slow start, but in an awkward attempt to liven things up, Yvette reluctantly climbed into the stone coffin. As she did, she said, "I've never ever been in a coffin before."
Luckily, Yvette didn't have to stay in the coffin for long, as a few minutes later the show's spiritualist medium, Derek Acorah arrived and joined Yvette in the undercroft. Straight away Derek felt the presence of miners who had died below the castle and picked up on the spirit of a woman named Lady Jane.
The Castle Steps
The team then changed location and based on the public's vote, were sent to the steps leading up to the castle. It's at this location that people have reported seeing the ghost of the grey lady, as well as on the battlements. Derek picked up on the spirit of someone called Richard Sutton, who tells Derek the story of his wife Margaret, who was thrown from the battlements to her death by a group of youths.
Back in the Hub, Richard verified that the names Derek mentioned are indeed correct, but Derek's not finished. Next he picked up on the spirit of Dorothy Beaumont, the grey lady. Derek says "she oversees the whole of the castle, she wants to be seen."
The Underground Canal
After a commercial break we return to the West Midlands where we find Yvette on a boat underground. She's travelling along the underground canal in the direction of a small subterranean island, where she's going to be left for a lone vigil. It's a great location, but it's clearly not live and was recorded earlier. There's no way they could get a live television picture from a moving boat underground.
This is later confirmed when Yvette steps off the boat and takes a seat on a small chair, she has two static cameras pointing at her and she's using a small consumer camcorder with night vision to film herself. There was no cable connected to the camera and no other way for the image to be transmitted back to the broadcast truck. Also, despite the fact she was supposed to be alone in this location, there were several cutaways shot by cameramen. If it was too technically challenging to send Yvette here as part of the live show, why not just be honest about it and say "we filmed this earlier."
Anyway, pre-recorded or not, it was an entertaining few minutes. Yvette started getting quite scared when she heard noises around her. Were they paranormal? Well, some might have been, but pretty soon Yvette realised that at least some of the noises were being made by rats, and from there it just got worse, "god, there's a bloody bat in here as well!"
Moments later Yvette looked into the camera and said, "I've had enough, I can't, I can't, I can't," then all of a sudden she jumped up when she heard and sound and ran towards the water's edge and shouted for the boat to come and collect her.
The next location the public sent the team to was the old castle kitchen, which is now in ruins. This location has already proven to be a little scary. While filming here earlier in the day, camera man, Craig Harman, reported feeling sick and David Scanlan's EMF meter was mysteriously drained of power. Yvette had brought Craig back to the area with her, where once again he felt sick, as did Rick.
When Derek joined Yvette, she too reported feeling sick. Derek picked up on the essence of a hooded man, who he said was from a near by priory. He eventually identified this spirit as a monk called Hal.
The Gift Shop
With midnight fast approaching, the team once again changed location, this time to the gift shop which is connected to the undercroft. It's in this area of the castle where poltergeist activity has been experienced, objects move on their own, things are thrown on the floor, a dark figure has been seen walking through the shop and cold spots appear from no where.
Just before they got started, David reported something odd, once again David's EMF meter was drained of power, despite the fact he'd just put new batteries in it.
Derek didn't waste any time in seeking out the spirit of the gift show, he became aware of the spirit of a lady. He told Yvette, "she's even shorter than yourself in height" - which might be considered a little bit rude. Derek said that the woman was called Alice and that she was responsible for knocking things over in the shop and described her as were sackcloth shoes and what appeared to be a fancy dress costume. Derek said she kept saying she has won something.
Back in the Hub, Richard confirmed that a few years ago the castle held a fancy dress competition and a woman wearing sackcloth was selected as the winner, only when the judges came to award her the prize, she had vanished. During this vigil Yvette was sure she saw someone behind one of the displays in the shop, but upon inspection there was no one there.
Back In The Undercroft
The public had voted that the undercroft was the most haunted part of the castle, so just after midnight the team were sent back there. This time, Derek was able to identify the spirit who haunts the undercroft, the man who the coffin was made for, John D Somery.
As they discussed this, David Bull interrupted them to tell them that a viewer had emailed in saying they could see a girl in the middle of the room. To start with Derek couldn't see her, but a few seconds later while wandering around he picked up on her energy, he said she's "vortexed" in using ley lines. Apparently, as a result of her presence a cold spot had formed in the middle of the room.
Not long after, the investigation came to an end. During the broadcast the crew has received thousands of phone calls and emails. Apparently 3,000 callers spotted orbs. One orb was very visible on screen as one point during the broadcasting, David Bull was very excited by this but skeptical Matthew brought him back down to Earth by telling him it was probably a moth or a fly.
David was also very impressed by Derek's performance during the show, as was Richard who was able to verify a lot of Derek's findings. David said to Derek, "you're either a very special man or you're a great actor." The medium said, "I've been thrilled, purely because of the pure energy these spirit individuals have displayed to come through to us."
Probably the best piece of evidence caught on camera during the investigation appeared on the webcam that was placed in the kitchen. Viewers alerted the team to a shadow, which is seen passing by a doorway. It looks very much like a human passing by but apparently the whole area was cordoned off and secure. If this is true, then it's hard to explain what was caught on camera.
The first Most Haunted Live was a great success, it was slick, a good watch and felt so much more engaging that the regular series. Essentially all this was was a regular show dragged out over two and a half hours with a live audience, but it worked.
For reviews of all of the new episodes, plus highlights and evidence from the shows, and to find out when Most Haunted is on next, visit the Most Haunted episode guide.
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