CHRISTINE MILLER takes a look back at Most Haunted: Derby Gaol

Episode Title: Derby Gaol
Location: Derby, Derbyshire

Series: 1 Episode Number: 7
Originally broadcast: 2001-2002

Medium: Derek Acorah
Parapsychologist: Jason Karl, David Scanlen & Vicki Purewal

Derby is the self-proclaimed ghost city of England, and its Gaol, which dates back to 1756 is said to inhabit many a ghost.  Over 250 years of incarcerated unhappy inmates makes a lot of spirits….

Many a brutal execution took place in the prison, and many others died by other means such as illness and suicide.

With over 200 different hangings offences ranging from being seen in public with soot on one’s face, to setting fire to haystacks, execution throughout England at this time was commonplace, and Derby Gaol was no different.

Historian Richard Felix offers a fascinating tit bit of information – after a hanging took place, the rope would be cut up into small lengths and sold to the crowd, hence the saying ‘money for old rope’.

With Derby Gaol being designed to house 21 prisoners at any one time, imagine the torment of six times this number being crushed into cells designed to be just large enough for just one inmate.

Within one of the rooms, it has been reported that the image of a deceased person’s face has “superimposed” itself onto individuals. Ghostly figures are often seen in the corridor where the prisoner’s cells are located, as well as unusual noises such as clicking, dragging, and perhaps most unsettling of all, bolts are heard to be moved.  

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Prior to the investigation, Jason set up a cross as a trigger object, drew around it and locked the door to the room it was located. On his return, just prior to the walkaround, it appears that the cross has been moved by around half a centimetre. A camera was set up to record any movement of the cross, and sure enough, the cross and the paper underneath it moves as if it is being pulled by a force outside of the frame of the camera. Make of this what you will.

Derek wanted to go to the same cell and picks up a feeling of mixed emotions from here. He also feels the sensation of a noose around his neck. He picks up on the words “Alice wasn’t guilty”, and the name ‘David Lloyd George’. At his point, Yvette says she feels unwell and leaves the cell, while the others carry on. Almost immediately after, Yvette can be heard sobbing loudly from the corridor and looking deeply distressed and confused by her reaction. Speaking on a voice over of the events, Yvette says she has no idea why or indeed how she became so unwell, and within five minutes she felt completely fine. She said the experience of this is one that will bother her for years…

Moving on, Derek picks up on a man by the name of “Noel Bullock” (note the ‘u’, says Derek!) from the early 1700s who escaped the noose by entering into a plea bargain. This man, according to Derek, has been seen on the corridors of the Gaol and he is very smug with himself for dodging his intended fate.

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With the lights now turned out, the nervous crew wanted to go back to the cell which seemingly caused Yvette’s sickness earlier in the day. They begin to smell a strong smell of flowers from within this room and just as suddenly it fades.   

Two of the crew attempt some automatic writing (which unfortunately yields no results), and they capture a few orb-type lights on camera.  Yvette and the rest of the crew join the two and the flower smell again returns.

With this, the investigation is concluded. In the immortal words of Yvette, “Sleep tight”…

Tell us what you thought of Derby Gaol Most Haunted episode in the comments section below.

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