Most Haunted Series 21 Review
In January, Yvette Fielding kicked off the 21st series of Most Haunted, and her and the rest of her team of fearless paranormal investigators had a lot to live up to. Last year they brought us two new series, including an epic Halloween special at Croxteth Hall, and some of the best episodes to date.
Series 21 started with a night behind bars at the truly terrifying Birmingham Steelhouse Lane Lock-Up, a former prison, built in 1892 that has housed some of the most infamous convicts in British criminal history, including members of the Peaky Blinders gang, and the mass murderer Fred West.
It was a good return for what was another strong series of Most Haunted and I thought it was a great venue for them to start the series in, there's just something about prisons that makes them incredibly creepy.
One of the highlights of the episode was the EVP experiment conducted by the show's resident skeptic, Glen Hunt. He sat in a cell on his own as he attempted to capture the sound of spirit voices on his laptop. He called out to the spirits and prompted them to copy him as he tapped on the wall.
Towards the end of the episode the team joined Glen to see if he was successful. As they started listening to his recording they heard what sounded like a distraught woman crying "no, no, no, no," it was actually pretty clear. The team were sure that the voice, which was clearly female, could not have been Yvette's.
The final piece of evidence in the show came from the locked off camera. The camera in question was one of the show's regular night vision cameras that was left on a table top. During the investigation the camera suddenly moved on its own while all the team members were accounted for elsewhere, the movement was accompanied by the sound of a female wailing.
"As soon as you walk in to this prison you pick up on the atmosphere, it really does have a negative feeling about it."
The gang's next stop was a grim workhouse in Llanfyllin, North Wales, where they tried to track down the spirit of a school master over two episodes.
In the first half of the investigation there was a bit of tension between demonologist Fred Batt and other members of the crew. He accused them of running away after two chairs were thrown on the stairs, which lead up to the infirmary where they were holding a vigil. Yvette and Glen also heard the eerie, disembodied sound of children playing.
The second part of the investigation ended with the whole team regrouping for a ouija board session. Yvette called out, "can you give us your first name please?" The planchette moved to spell out the name David, although pronounced in the Welsh way. They eventually obtained a surname too, Davies, and the date that the spirit died, 1929.
This apparently matched a name on Fred's list of former inmates at the workhouse. Text appeared on screen saying, "records show that a David Davies stayed at the Union Workhouse and died in 1929." It was nice to have information on screen, this is something which seems to have been missing from Most Haunted for the last few series.
The next stop of the series was Beaumanor Hall, a huge Victorian country house in Leicestershire, which Yvette has recently described as one of the most terrifying locations she's visited. The manor is so big that this investigation had been split in two parts. In the first half of the investigation, the team explored the house's huge two-level attic. It proved to be pretty scary for certain members of the team, Yvette had a fright on the upper floor when a framed painting smashed having fallen off of a shelf.
The team heard plenty of knocks and bangs and Karl Beattie achieved some interesting results using some electronic ghost hunting gadgets. He was upstairs alone where he laid three KII EMF meters out on the floor, the idea being that if a spirit walked along the corridor it would trigger the devices in sequence.
Karl's experiment seemed to work. As he watched the devices on the floor the furthest away started to flash first, followed by the middle one and then the one closest to him. After this the devices seemed very responsive to Karl has he called out, "if you're here make the lights flash" ...and they did. Karl then asked for the spirits to flash the lights twice and again they seemed to oblige. He followed this up with a request for them to flash the lights three times, again the experiment worked.
What was interesting is that the devices only reacted when Karl asked for them to, ruling out external interference. A very pleased Karl said, "remarkable, I've never been much of a fan of these things."
In the second part of the investigation at Beaumanor Hall, the team seek out paranormal activity in the building's cellars. This part of the building was at one time put to use as a top secret military intelligence listening station. So, Glen decided to conduct another unique experiment in this part of the building.
Yvette and Karl joined Glen for this experiment, which saw the team try to make contact with the spirits of the hall using morse code.
The session started as normal with the team stood around a small table, with their fingers placed on the surface. Then Yvette called out, "if you were here during the war, please come and tap out using morse code." Glen had brought along a mobile phone app which translates morse code into letters, the idea was if the team heard knocks they could copy them by tapping on the screen in the hope that this might allow the spirits to spell something out.
The team didn't experience any tapping to start with but felt the table vibrating, Glen described it as "oscillating." So, they gave up on trying to receive taps and instead generated a message in morse code using the app. Glen typed in the word "hello" and the app repeatedly played the beeps which correlated to the letters of the word. It sounded quite eerie as it echoed through the dark stone corridors.
They then started hearing some tapping, so Glen mimicked them on his phone's screen with the same rhythm. It wasn't too accurate but it did seem to spell out a phrase, "it's me." Glen then tried asking the spirit its name using a phrase in morse code, they got back the response in morse code taps, "Eric Topple," who was apparently in the building in 1943.
The morse code was an interesting experiment that worked very well for this location which has a history of wartime communications. It didn't really get the team any more information than a ouija board would have, but was creepy and different.
One place the team had to go to this series was Dudley Castle. It's recently been named the most haunted castle in the UK. So, who better to test that claim than Yvette and her team? Especially as it was the location of the first ever 'Most Haunted Live!' for Halloween in 2002.
The castle is said to be home to many spirits including the Grey Lady who is believed to be the ghost of a former resident who died there following complications after giving birth to her daughter. However, 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 Somery.
Towards the end of the episode, Karl was in the undercroft with Stuart Torevell, where they witnessed several almighty crashes, and a metal pot which was seemingly thrown around the chamber. They then experienced a clinking and rattling sound like a chain moving. There was a big heavy chain on the table which neither of them were near, that could have been the source of the sound.
The episode ended with Karl calling out to the spirits. After he'd said "if you're here, make another sound and I'll leave," there were three strikes of a bell. Stumbling around in the dark they managed to find the bell at the other side of the room, but how it rang remains a mystery.
The series ended with a two-part investigation of the Moat House, a grade II historic public house in Staffordshire, situated in what were once the grounds of Tamworth Castle.
The action in the first half of the investigation started even before the lights were turned out. While filming in the restaurant, a chair fell over with a crash and almost hit the show's producer Louise Jones as she walked past. The team unanimously agreed that Lou wasn't the cause. They stood the chair back up and moments later it fell again, this time there was no one near it at all, not even passing.
Later on the upper floor the team heard a crash and spun around to find that a dinner plate had been seemingly thrown behind the camera men. With the lights out the investigation began, but Yvette's dog Watson refused to stay on this floor.
The team experienced knocks, bangs and footsteps in this area and, towards the end of the episode, another plate was thrown, which coincided with an EVP recording. The eerie voice which was captured on a laptop sounded like it was saying "get out."
Karl tackled the embattled tower alone, where he repeatedly heard giggles, wheezy laughter, and other unexplained sounds.
In the second half of the investigation, things began to escalate. More plates were thrown, as well as a couple of wine glasses. One of which hit Karl on the head.
The highlight of the series had to be the two-hour, "as live" special filmed at the very creepy Codnor Castle Cottage in Derbyshire. The show was produced in the same style as one of the live shows, meaning it was unedited and uncut.
The cottage stands on the grounds of the medieval Codnor Castle, which is now in ruins after its land was divided and the castle dismantled in 1643. The stone was used to build tenanted farmhouses, one of which was the cottage at Codnor.
During the investigation, the team heard plenty of knocks and bangs, saw a strange grey mist in the attic, and experienced handfuls of old coins being thrown, having appeared from seemingly nowhere.
At the start of the episode, Yvette had placed a creepy looking doll in the attic of the now derelict isolated cottage. She said the doll had been sent to them and was supposedly cursed, it was then left throughout the night with a locked off camera placed in front of it. This is a common technique for paranormal researchers who use objects like dolls as "trigger objects," their hope is that if any spirits interacted with the doll and it moved, it would be caught on camera. But what the team did catch on camera was far more dramatic than they could have ever imagined.
Towards the end of the show, Fred was calling out to the spirits of Codnor Castle, using his skills as a demonologist, "Lucifer lord of the underworld, come forth. Come forward and see us." He was suddenly interrupted from his demonic incantations by the flicker of flame in a room at the other end of the attic.
A cutaway to the camera fixed on the doll showed it suddenly burst into flames without any obvious source of ignition and no sign of anyone around. Stuart at first tried to blow the doll out like a birthday candle, before knocking it off of its plinth and stamping it out, "how the hell did that happen?" he asked.
Yvette eventually arrived on scene, and with the doll safely extinguished, the team then discussed what should be done with it. Karl said, "I think we take it out to the bloody field," Fred added that it needed "to be buried about three foot down."
However, the doll avoided being thrown into a shallow grave and was given to Gary Williams, a retired fire fighter from the Cheshire Fire & Rescue Service. He said, "after examining the doll, I found no ignition source, or any accelerant used." He described the cause of the fire as "unknown."
This explosive moment wasn't the end of the team's time at Codnor castle farm, the investigation concluded in a regular episode the following week.
While the second half wasn't quite as exciting as the first, it still gave us plenty to think about. Early in the show a chair appeared balanced precariously on top of an open door. Stuart described the incident as being like "something out of a 1970s horror film."
The episode ended with another fire, but this time it wasn't an inanimate doll, it was Karl who caught alight. While he and Stuart were investigating the smaller, adjoining cottage, the room suddenly lit up and flickered, and the duo started panicking. It transpired that the flash of light was coming from Karl, the arm of his jacket had spontaneously burst into flames.
Although the incident wasn't caught on camera, it was clear to see what had happened. As Stuart spun around with the camera, Karl was taking his jacket off and stamping it out.
Stuart pulled out his walkie talkie and called the others over to the cottage, the first thing they noticed was the smell of smoke. Karl then showed Yvette the singed hair on his arm as he left the cottage.
Stuart said after, "we walked in here, and then the room just lit up and I turned round and Karl is literally on fire. And we quickly just got the coat off him. The coat was on fire, I think it was his sleeve."
This was too much for Yvette, she said "I'm actually officially pulling the team out. Never had I ever had a piece of clothing go on fire like that before."
Another of the series' highlights has to be Darren Hutchinson's relationship with Fred. It's been obvious for a while that Darren hates being paired up with Fred, but this series Darren was pushed to his limit, to the point where he actually ran away from Fred.
It happened in Beaumanor Hall, Fred was in the cellar with a very reluctant Darren, who was already complaining, "is there any chance we could just check out the ghosts that are already down here, rather than trying to bring some horrendous things?"
As Fred started chanting his incantations, "I summon you to come forward," Darren walked off saying "I'm not doing this anymore," but begrudgingly he stuck around.
Fred then shouted "behind you," causing Darren to panic. Apparently Fred had seen a red shadow behind the nervous sound recordist. After this, Fred really started pushing his luck, calling out "touch Darren, kick him, push him, he doesn't believe in you." I'm surprised Darren had stayed alone in the dark with Fred for so long. Especially as Fred was clearly on the wind up. Darren said, "I'm going to do one more minute of this, Fred. I just hate it."
Fred began to chant again, Darren had had enough, "right stop it now, stop it, stop it, stop it!" He said he'd felt something behind him. Darren walked off, presumably trying to find his way out, while Fred could be heard "still going off" in the distance.
Fred then shouted "Darren where are you?" and hilariously Darren ran off leaving Fred calling out for him alone in the darkness. Darren now hiding from Fred said, "this is like some sort of dark comedy now." Fred briefly found Darren, but he made a run for it again in an attempt to get out of the cellar. He eventually found his way above ground and into the carpark, and with relief in his voice said, "I'm done for the night."
I thought camera man, Gregg Smith was also a bit of a star this series. He seems to have been more involved and calling out to the spirits more. This is something he's really good at. Of all the team, Gregg speaks the most clearly, confidently, calmly, and is the most respectful.
All in all, it was another enjoyable ten episodes from Yvette and the team, it was packed full of action, the odd bit of comedy, and a fair amount of bickering between Yvette and Karl. The only thing this series was a little light on was Yvette's ghost hunting pooch, Watson.
The next series has already been shot, the question is, when will it air? Last year Most Haunted aired for ten weeks from April and again over Halloween. So it's pretty likely there'll be another series of Most Haunted in October this year, but as this series aired so early in the year, it potentially leaves room for another series over the summer, but as yet, nothing has been announced.
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