Most Haunted At Oakwell Hall - Series 17, Episode 8 Review
On a cold, snowy night Yvette and the team head to Batley in West Yorkshire to investigate a former family home, which had a legendary ghost story to tell home with connections to Charlotte Brontë.
This beautiful home, which once dominated the local landscape, was originally built in 1583 by the then affluent John Batt. After supporting the Royalists in the Civil War, the Batt family had to pay a fine of £365 to the Parliamentarians. This was a great deal of money at this time and lead to the family's demise and forced them to sell the home, which later became a boarding school.
It was during this time the Charlotte Brontë visited the house and was so inspired that she used it as Fieldhouse in her novel, 'Shirley'.
Today the hall is a beautifully kept time capsule and open to the public as a museum.
Is Oakwell Hall Haunted?
Walking into the house today, is like stepping back in time to the 1600s, so maybe that's why the hall is said to house so many spirits, from poltergeists to dark shadows, full apparitions to disembodied voices and an atmosphere that defies belief.
The show's demonologist Fred Batt said, "I've been really looking forward to the location tonight, because I've got a family connection here, the person who built this place has the same name as me and the first owner has the same name as me, and I'm hoping there'll be some activity and they'll come forward and say hello."
Oakwell Hall's most famous ghost story is that of the ghost of Captain William Batt. One a cold, windy December night in 1684, the household were surprised to see William return from London so early. He looked pale and refused to speak as he walked through the main hall, up the stairs, and into his bedroom. When the family followed, they found that he'd completely disappeared, leaving nothing but a bloody footprint.
A few days later, a messenger arrived at the house with some bad news, William Batt had been killed in a duel in London, the very same night he'd been seen in the house.
Ever since, the Painted Chamber, the bedroom where he vanished and the footstep was seen, is said to be the most haunted room in the house, where dark shadows, knocking noises, poltergeist activity, and the smell of tobacco have been witnessed.
The show's resident skeptic, Glen Hunt said, "this is probably a story that's been handed down over generations, so it's probably be changed over time." But he admits, "it's fascinating, but whether it's true of not remains to be seen."
Fred also said he's interested in the darker side of the paranormal that might be lurking in the hall, "this place should have a devil dog here, they were called 'shuck dogs' in their day and they have luminescence emanating from their mouths."
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With the lights out, the team started their investigation. Fred and Glenn went to the Painted Chamber with sound guy Darren Hutchinson and cameraman Gregg Smith. Straight away Darren felt bangs underneath him and later felt something brush past his ear. He said it felt "as if someone was behind me or in front of me, blowing past my ear."
However, most of the activity in the first part of the show occurred from Yvette who was in one of the bedrooms with Karl Beattie and Stuart Torevell.
Yvette started by calling out to the spirits, "hello, William Batt? Robert Batt? Any member of the Batt family, can you hear me? Make a noise." They heard several knocks, which seemed to be in response. Karl pointed out, "it's funny isn't it, it's starting to turn a bit dark."
Yvette asked the spirits to copy her and whistled out loud, the team heard a whistle mimicking her.
Later, armed with a temperature gun, Karl measured a change in the temperature of the wood panelled walls in the room. They dropped dramatically form 8.6 to 5.1°C in a matter of minutes.
Yvette then threw a ball across the room and asked the spirits to throw it back, she also moved some of the shows which were part of the display in the house into the middle of the room and asked the spirits to move them. But this experiment didn't yield any results.
Karl heard a sound which he described as sounding like fabric moving, moments later they found a hat on the floor which could have explained the noise.
Eamonn's EVP Experiment
The team re-grouped and met up with Eamonn Vann-Harris, who throughout the investigation had been attempting to capture the sound of spirit voices using his EVP machine. Eamonn was excited to tell the team that he had heard the name "Robert Batt" come through and was even able to confirm this.
He played the team the audio, a three-syllable sound could be heard which Eamonn said was "Robert Batt", but it was just garbled noise and could have been anything, it sounds like "Cheryl Cole" too if you listen expecting it to say that.
But Eamonn is heard in the recording confirming the name, he asks "is that William?" and a a garbled noise is heard, which he takes as a no. He then asks, "is that Robert?" and a noise which sounds like a "yes" is heard.
Scrying In The Loos
The team the headed back into the darkness to resume their investigation. Yvette was joined by Glen and Stuart in the ladies' loo where she tried scrying, a technique where you gaze at yourself in the mirror in the hopes of catching a glimpse of a ghost.
Yvette didn't last long before saying, "OK, I'm freaking my self out. You know why? All I'm seeing is big black eyes." tried for a few seconds longer, "I can't do it, I hate it."
So Glen took over. Yvette told Glen, "you look incredibly sad like you're going to burst into tears." Stuart, who was manning the camera confirmed that he could see Glen welling up on the night vision camera, as if he were about to cry.
The Servants' Quarters
Meanwhile, Karl, Fred, Darren and Gregg were in the servants' quarters, a room that double as a pantry as it was the coldest in the house. Karl said, "I know it's cold in here anyway, but it feels unnaturally cold like there's a cold within a cold."
Tapping sounds started almost straight away and Darren began to call out to the spirits and seemed to make contact with Robert Batt, which was confirmed with two taps for "yes".
Fred asked aloud, "how many of you are here, Robert?" In response they heard constant banging, at least 20 raps. Then there was a loud crash as Darren jumped and hit his ankle. It turns out he'd be caught off guard by what felt like something punching his leg.
After this shock, Darren and Gregg went to join Yvette for a séance, leaving Karl and Stuart in the servant's quarters alone. The pair introduced themselves and heard an odd scratching sound, which Stuart said sounded like mice.
They then heard the sound of a door latch from outside the room and went to investigate in the main bedroom but found nothing and headed back into the servants' room, where they found a dried thistle, which was hanging from the rafters, swinging.
Ouija Board Session
Downstairs, Yvette, Glen, Fred and Darren tried to contact the Batt family with a Ouija board, with Gregg manning the camera.
Yvette called out, "can you tell us your first name, please?" and the board spelt out the name "William". She then asked, "what's your surname, please?" And the planchette slid across the board spelling out the name "Batt."
It was a good demonstration of a Ouija board but would have been much more impressive if none of the team already new the name Robert Batt in advance.
Locked Off Cameras
Throughout the investigation, the team had locked off camera in several part of the house. One in the Painted Chamber, the study, the upper balcony and the main bedroom. Yvette said that they always do this, but don't show them unless they capture something of interest, and this week they did.
We see a replay of the footage where a spinning wheel in the Painted Chamber starts spinning on its own. Another camera in the main bedroom caught a cardboard cutout of a Victorian child moving. What makes the footage even more interesting is that both bits of activity happened at exactly the same time, and at the same moment that the ouija board downstairs spelt out the word "duel," which of course is how William Batt died.
Yvette described the footage as some one of the show's best, "this event stand's alone as one of the best pieces of evidence captured to date."
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