Author MARK RILEY takes a look back at Most Haunted Live Dick Turpin Special
Episode Theme: Dick Turpin
Locations: Spaniards Inn, Hampstead Heath, London; Epping Forest, Essex and York Dungeons, Knavesmire, York
Episode Number: 6 (Three Parts)
Originally broadcast: 29, 30 and 31 December 200
Background: The team investigated three locations over three nights to find the ghost of Britain’s most famous highwayman, Dick Turpin.
The first night was spent at Spaniard’s Inn in Hampstead Heath, Night Two at Epping Forest and the final night was at York’s Knavesmire, Turpin’s hanging place.
Turpin had moved to Yorkshire taking the alias name of John Palmer to avoid the authorities.
People believed him to be a horse trader at first, as he would often go away for days at a time and return with three or four horses each time which he would sell or exchange.
He also partook in hunting with some of the gentlemen from the area, it was during the shoots one of the men became suspicious of Palmer, and he had committed some crime of illegally shooting a bird that he was arrested.
Soon it was discovered Palmer was a thief and placed in the house of correction in Beverley, before being transferred to York castle.
He was tried and convicted of foal stealing, Palmer whose real identity had not been discovered had been sentenced to hanging, wrote to his brother in law for help.
He refused to pay the stamp fees and so the letter was left, until an old teacher of Turpin’s recognised the handwriting and informed a justice who paid the fee and opened the letter.
It was only at this point Palmer’s secret was out, the judge made his way to York were Turpin was identified.
On April 19th 1739. Turpin was hung at Tyburn. It has become known as the Knavesmire which is on York Race Course. His body had to be buried several times due to people constantly digging it up.
Eventually it was buried in St. George’s Church in quicklime to prevent this happening anymore.
Many people have claimed to have seen Turpin’s Ghost appear on the Knavesmire late at night. To this day a gravestone marks his burial place in the church graveyard.
Review: I have never been a fan of the show personally and so had never seen this episode until I watched it online.
I thought I would do a review on this particular episode as I have written about Turpin in my own book ‘Yorkshire Superstitions and Folk Tales’.
I am going to focus the review on the third night at York, which starts off with sending the sceptic Matthew Smith onto the Knavesmire alone, with Derek Acorah saying he believes Matthew will experience a phenomena that will be produced for him alone.
He agrees and goes outside in the snow.
Whilst he is walking alone outside passing by the winning post, he suddenly declares “there is someone out there with a lantern” several times.
Who he calls too asking “are you Ghosts by any chance”.
He calls them over and asks them who they are, they are Steve and Ruth, he asks them have they ever seen Ghosts or Dick Turpin on the Knavesmire, but sadly they have not, he asks why they are out in the cold and they replied because it was their anniversary.
We are then taken outside at Tyburn with Derek, Yvette and Phil who are stood beneath umbrellas to protect them from the snowy conditions, as Derek informs us they have been joined by a man who is present at his shoulders, he tells Yvette he has been asking the man who are you, but I still do not hear a voice, although the man is impressing himself upon Derek.
He then tells us this man was not a good person and a person who was erm, then he is suddenly possessed and calls out “Eugene, Eugene, Eugene Arran, they strung me here, forget Turpin, they dropped me from here, they dropped me from here, there are some more repetitive sentences before help arrives to support Derek and as one of the helpers removes his umbrella, Derek throws his arms in the air with fists clenched as if he has just won the world cup.
Suddenly we are back in the studio with the historians as they confirm the name Derek has given us.
Then we go back to see Derek and Yvette to see if he is okay and funnily even out of possession Derek finds himself repeating his sentences as does all the ghosts who possess him.
As a fellow Scouser I have noticed watching a few episodes over the weekend to see how Derek performs that all Ghosts seem to talk in a Scouse accent which is good news for me when I go to heaven, but bad news for everyone else from around the country.
Then we are taken outside to watch a séance with five sensitives chosen from the audience randomly! one of which has claimed several times since to have been chosen for the experience by Derek prior to the show.
And who I have worked alongside personally, and been very disappointed with his psychic skills as he only seemed to pick up on things several seconds later then everyone else including non sensitives. But that is another story. And uses an alias that is the name of one Jesus’ own disciples which he chose after he was told by Derek a year earlier he was being watched over by Jesus.
Suddenly in the séance we see Phil and one the sensitives are experiencing something strange in the form of hands vibrating and rising upwards.
And how people attended the hangings as if was the norm’ which back in that time period it was the norm as people would travel for miles to go and watch a hanging.
Simon Peters, one the mediums, then gets the name Jewitt who was hanged. Then we get a possession from Marion that was not as worthy of a performance as Derek himself, (maybe it was an audition as his replacement, but with no names shouted out or any strange facial expressions would have definitely gone against her).
My overall opinion was that a séance that included five mediums should have come up with something more exciting than obvious information a five year old could have come up with.
And back in the studio asking the mediums of their experiences during the séance we are told how the emanations and residual feelings of a person looking down at a crowd and three beams. Hmm could that be a scaffold by any chance.
Would it not have been nicer if between five of them they could have come up with something more convincing?
I take back all the things I have said about Derek as it is now obvious no one else can pull off a performance like him, a real showman.
MARK RILEY is an investigator with Abbey Ghost Hunters, based in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, but they travel across the UK. You can find out more about them on their webpage www.abbeyghosthunters.co.uk, Twitter and Facebook.
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