AMY VAN DE CASTEELE takes a look back at Most Haunted: Annesley Hall
Episode Title: Annesley Hall
Location: Annesley, Nottinghamshire
Series: 5 Episode Number: 64
Originally broadcast: 2004-2005
Review: From the first minutes of the Annesley Hall episode viewers are left with a feeling of anticipation and delicious dread, as Yvette describes how the building has endured murder, suicide, fire and even the ravages of the Bubonic plague in its 800+ years of history.
As Richard Felix says, it is an ideal ghost hunter’s paradise and he thinks something will definitely happen during the night’s investigations.
Some of the apparitions said to haunt the building are the ghost of a ‘White Lady’, a violent poltergeist and an unseen force which lingers in Byron’s former bedroom. The ghost of a young female suicide has also been seen and strange noises have been heard in the cellar.
As Ciaran O’ Keeffe describes how the ‘fear factor’ can be higher in a derelict building, you can’t help but wonder how the famously jumpy Yvette will handle a night here; especially as O’ Keeffe goes on to describe how people have been “attacked” by a paranormal force.
Derek Acorah is brought in and they begin their tour of the house in the dining room, where Acorah describes how he immediately felt a spiritual “blockage”, as if the apparitions were hoarding their energy for a later demonstration. He then picked up on a gentleman called William and a lady named Isabel/Isabella, “absolutely bereft”, because William killed her child. Unfortunately there is no historical evidence of these people, or such a murder, during the year which Acorah states, leading me to contemplate the validity of such findings.
In the entrance hallway Derek senses a malicious male figure with a strong presence and a short temper who he feels will try to “unease” the crew later.
In the stairwell he encounters the residual memory of a young boy who goes up and down the stairs…a boy whose bones were supposedly ‘moved’. Text comes up to show that a young pregnant woman was buried under a stairwell in the 17th century, but the connection between the two is dubious in my opinion, especially as Derek describes the boy’s death at the age of around 8.
The team then bring in guest psychic David Wells to cover the same area Derek did. In the dining room he instantly encounters a long-haired female spirit covered in blood. He then heads to the hall’s Blue Room and finds a greedy apparition called Edmund/Edward who declares that he “built this place from nothing”.
Seconds later he gets the spirit of the blood-soaked woman again and ‘finds’ that she was brutally murdered by her husband for being unfaithful. Her name was Elizabeth.
To try and find out more the team conduct a séance in the East Bedroom. Yvette calls for Elizabeth to come forward and David Wells feels ‘Elizabeth’ come through very powerfully. He asks her to knock on the table to confirm her presence and she does, more than once. The spirit of ‘William’ then overwhelms Derek in a melodramatic way which I find myself hoping is authentic.
Derek then begins to speak with Elizabeth’s ‘voice’, saying “Take William away”, before she leaves the medium’s body. Once again I find myself stricken by scepticism… it just seems a little too ‘horror-movie’ and not quite truthful.
In part three of the episode the team hears something walking and scraping upstairs as they continue the séance, in an area of the hall rendered inaccessible by fire. Yvette then tries to contact William and when she calls him a ‘coward’ Derek suddenly flies into a trance and starts speaking with William’s voice. His face contorts and he speaks in harsh tones, which is disturbing to watch. Eventually William is persuaded to leave Derek’s body and the team continue their investigation.
In the basement cellar, Karl explores alone and hears a number of eerie noises which make him jump and curse (rather amusingly). He unearths a pit in the cellar and smells an awful stench and sees movement in the pit. He calls to whatever presence may be there and hears a footstep. He also feels a strong presence which makes him very uncomfortable; he asks it if it was his wishful thinking but then hears footsteps and decides it is decidedly not his wishful thinking! Truthfully I begin to feel rather frightened for him so I am glad when he re-joins Stewart and heads to the Great Hall.
In the final part of the episode some of the team (Karl, Richard and Alex) head to the Slaughterhouse. They ask the female suicide to make contact and the room becomes freezing cold and something touches Karl’s hand. He also spots a bright orb floating up between the other two team members, a common sign of paranormal activity, and they hear the sound of footsteps.
As Karl ascends some wooden stairs in the Clock Tower they ask the ghost woman to make the massive clock stop…. The clock duly stops! And then re-starts again. This subtle moment of the episode is nonetheless rather poignant, made more so when they ask her to stop the clock again – it stops once more, and then starts up again when they ask her to make it start. The team ask her to tap on something to confirm her presence and some metallic clanging starts up near Karl, terrifying him so much he climbs back down to the others.
This essentially concludes the episode, and the team depart leaving very satisfied with the night’s events. For me it wasn’t the most striking episode, except for all of the segments with Karl, who seemed to be a real focus of paranormal activity during his visit to the Hall.
AMY VAN DE CASTEELE is a freelance writer, devoted single mother and amateur “folklorist” of sorts who loves collecting tales of myth, legend and the supernatural from across the globe. She has spent most of her life overseas, in southern Africa, Thailand, Dubai and China and has gained all sorts of insights into these very rich cultures. Her most recent “supernatural” areas of interest are the Sidhe and Nordic folklore.
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