Most Haunted Live! Halloween 2003: Beaulieu Abbey
The grounds of the Beaulieu estate in Hampshire were packed full 1,400 fans of Most Haunted, dotted around three different locations within the estate. They'd travelled from all over the country to witness the Yvette Fielding and the Most Haunted Live team investigate the unsolved mysteries of Beaulieu Abbey and Beaulieu Palace.
The live broadcast started with Yvette telling us that we're in for a fantastic night, as the team invite us to join them on their fifth live investigation. The paranormal activity seemed to have already started, Yvette said that nine minutes before the show a motion detector that was placed next to a trigger object on one of the live webcams detected movement, even though no crew were in that area.
As always, David Bull was anchoring the show from a part of the estate known as the domus, an area which is said to be haunted by the spirits of wandering monks. Across the rest of the location, which is made up of the abbey, a motor museum and the palace house, paranormal activity includes sightings of a grey lady, unexplained noises, the sound of chanting monks, lights that turn themselves on and off, and the strange smell of incense burning.
David says that he's hoping on this Halloween night that the team can solve the mystery of several multiple murders, which are said to have occurred on the site. There's also a whole series of experiments that will be running throughout the show which will allow the public to get involved and become paranormal sleuths themselves and try to solve the crimes.
David was joined in the hub by Matthew Smith, parapsychologist and the the show's historian Richard Felix, who was very excited about the location for their second live Halloween investigation. He said it has "800 years of history, tons of energy" and reminded David that the hundreds of believers who'd come to make up the audience were also feeding in their positive energy.
Before the investigation got underway, David introduced us to "one man who we couldn't do this show without," the clairvoyant and clairaudient, Derek Acorah. The show's spiritualist medium arrived to screams and applause for the 500 audience members sat in the cold outside the abbey. Derek was driven in to the site in a vintage car by Lord Montagu, who currently lives in the palace house and described it as being "very haunted".
Derek told David, "we've got activity very strongly here. There's residual energy, how far it goes back, I don't know, but I feel we're in for a very strong, if not the best spiritual night of investigation."
Is The Beaulieu Estate Haunted?
Priests, dignitaries and staff have been experiencing paranormal activity at Beaulieu for over 100 years, including monastic chants, burning incense or creepy footsteps.
Nestled within the Hampshire countryside in the heart of the New Forest, sit a historical attraction laced with motors, mystery and murder.
Nearly 800 years ago in 1204 King John's nightmarish vision of being brutally by beaten by a menacing order of monks brought about one of England's most beautiful, and now, most haunted country estates.
To this day, the spirits of the original pioneers still remain present in this historic masterpiece.
What is now the parish church used to be the monk's refectory. It's said that one former priest use to commune with monks, having heard their boots walking through the church. He even used to conduct services for the deceased monks when the church was closed to the public.
The first allegedly haunted location the Yvette and Derek went to investigate, with the help of parapsychologist Phil Whyman, was the abbey, which is now in ruins. It was destroyed by Henry VIII during the dissolution of the monastery in 1538.
It is here where the mystery coffin was discovering a following a routine excavation and inside were the bones of a man bearing a wound not dissimilar to a bullet hole in his head.
On hearing the news, the great Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who had investigate Beaulieu on many occasions, made his way to the abbey accompanied by a medium. During a séance, a crowned ghost rose from the grave, but the name of this spirit has been lost in history.
Derek picked up on this spirit straight away, mentioning that he felt that the man had been buried in a coffin nearby and that he wore a crown. Derek confirmed that there was wound to the man's head but said it was the result of a blow to the head, not a bullet. Richard Felix confirmed this would have been the case as the the death occurred before guns were commonly used.
Derek also came up with a name for this spirit, but rather than naming the spirit, Derek wrote the name down and it was sealed in an envelope, the idea being that viewers could also try to come up with the name. Derek's and the most popular viewers' suggestions will be revealed later in the show.
Derek might have been able to hear spirit voices in the dark, but all I could hear was radio chatter between the show's crew over walkie-talkie, "...and queue Yvette!"
Once the great gatehouse leading to the abbey, the Palace House was extended in 1871 to provide additional accommodation for the Scott family, but some of the ghosts of Beaulieu's past still appear here from time to time.
Elizabeth Varley, Lord Montagu's half-sister and a keen paranormal enthusiast, lead many of the investigations at house and claims to have heard Gregorian chants coming from outside her bedroom window. It was Elizabeth who discovered the chilling story of a lone maid who was been murdered in cold blood on the stairs, and as in all good legends, the butler did it.
Could this explain the unsettling sensations of being push on the stairs, or is this the mystery grey lady making her presence known? With Derek on hand, Yvette attempted to find out.
Derek came straight to the stairs and immediately said, "a life was taken here." Moments later Derek said it was two deaths, one was a female, who Derek identified as a maid. He also picked up on a male who was murdered.
Derek also picked up on a third spirit, the energy of a regal lady who he felt was the lady of the house, a countess. Derek was able to get a name for this spirit, it was once again written down and sealed in an envelope to be compared to viewers feelings about her name later.
However, moments earlier some text had scrolled across the bottom of the screen saying "the Grey Lady is generally thought to be Isabella, Countess of Beaulieu, who died in 1786," so it wasn't really too hard for the audience to guess.
Towards the end of the vigil in the palace house, Yvette and the team heard footsteps coming from above them, despite the fact there is no crew upstairs at all. Yvette end this part of the investigation by saying, "there's definitely something in this room, definitely." Phil agreed, "the was definitely footsteps."
The Parish Church
Yvette and co then headed over to the church to explore its ghostly goings on. Once a refectory, the church on the estate has served the Beaulieu parish since the middle of the 16th century, but the monks seem to have never let go, as one priest discovered.
Reverend Robert Fraser Powells claimed to know each of the spirit monks by name, he would hold candle light mass got his ghostly friends, locking the doors so as not to disturb their prayers.
Initially Yvette reported that the church felt quite and nowhere near as active as their last location in the house.
Derek picked up on the energy of the vicar and his ghostly congregation. Historian Richard Felix even confirmed that the priest once held a Christmas mass for the dead monks in the church.
Other than that, the church seemed to be a fairly quiet location, and they soon moved on to their next spot.
Back In The Palace House
Due to the earlier activity in the house, Yvette, Derek and Phil headed back to see if they could uncover any more paranormal activity.
This time they headed upstairs, in what Yvette described as "this is one hell of a spooky house." On her way upstairs Yvette became excited when she felt a strange cold spot on the stairs, but Phil quickly pointed out that this was just because they were passing an open window.
Once upstairs in the darkness, Derek encountered a spirit that he named as Edward Beaumont. After feeling a sudden rush of warmth and the unexplained smell of a candle that had been blown out.
Yvette, Derek and Phil then conducted a séance with one of the staff from the property to make up the numbers. The séance didn't last long as Derek soon entered a possessed-like state as he channeled the energy of Edward.
The séance ended with Yvette panicking and handing back to David in the hub, where Matthew was a little skeptical of what he'd just seen. He said, "it's difficult to say whether he really is taking on his personality. How would you differentiate that from him just playing out the role as though he was?"
But Richard was convinced, arguing "why would he bother to do that? I have been in séances with Derek and to be quite honest with you, there have been times when I have been terrified when he has done it."
However, Richard did say that he couldn't find any reference to an Edward Beaumont in the history of the location, but Richard simply said "but so what?" Because after all, it could just be that his connection with the property wasn't documented.
David later said to Matthew, "let me ask you a straight question. Do you believe in your opinion Derek is pretending?" Matthew, who often sits on the fence, said "in my opinion, I think he would have been pretending there, because I think that's much more likely than him taking on the spirit of a dead person."
Yvette then moved on to her final location, with Derek and Phil in tow. The domus is where the crew has a live webcam set up during the show, there was also a trigger object placed in front of the camera. The idea being that a spirit might move or manipulate the enticing object, but although no movement had been seen, a motion detector placed next to the object had triggered six times during the show.
So, it was time to see if Derek could work out what was going on in this part of the estate. The building was originally a dormitory for abbey lay brother, the domus is now primarily for swanky celebration and function, but not all the guests have been invited.
Brother John's creaking footsteps, lights involuntarily switching on and off, and Brother Auguste's monastic chants are just some of the reported paranormal activity in this part of the estate.
One of Beaulieu's most famous tales revolves around the domus. Apparently the location is the site of a murder, the victim was mutilated and buried just outside the walls of the estate.
Derek was able to provide some answers, he picked up on the spirit of Brother John and said he was to blame for setting off the motion detector. He also blamed him for the footsteps that were heard here.
The medium also explained that he though Brother John had his hands cut off and was beheaded.
Richard confirmed that the information that Derek had given was correct and that Arthur Conan Doyle also made contact with this spirit when he investigated the house. He also said the spirit had no hands or head.
Later Derek responded to Matthew's claim by saying, "throughout my years, my mother, my father, my grandmother, they knew two things about me. One, I could never be an actor because I could never remember anything. Two, I can never remember scripts. My worst subject in my schooling was history."
Towards the end of the show the crew gathered together to reveal of what names Derek had written. The first name he'd come up with in the abbey. Most of the viewers calling into the show had come up with the name Thomas, but it was revealed that Derek believed the spirit to be called Brother David.
The second name the Derek wrote down in the palace house was Countess Isabella Beaumont. Richard confirmed that the countess was called Isabella, but the surname should be Beaulieu, not Beaumont.
Matthew had also hidden an object somewhere at the location and invited viewers to take part in a psychic experiment to work out what the object is. The team in the hub received around 500 guesses, but only one pair of caller, Dave and Mandy from Plymouth, guessed correctly that it was a plastic toy aeroplane.
After the big reveal Yvette had a chat with some of the audience members, many of which say they'd seen a white figure bent over or crouching at one point during the broadcast. When the clip was replayed, it looks like it was nothing more than a member of the crew caught on camera.
The team then summed up the night. Derek was pleased with the activity tonight. He said, "these lovely spirit people at this beautiful abbey tried very hard to come through."
Yvette had the final word, "I thought it was a great night, I absolutely heard those footsteps and that's it for me. I think there's something odd going on and I'd love to go back to that house."
The live show prompted a huge reaction from viewers with 1,500 phone calls, 26,000 text messages and 15,000 posts on the official website.
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