28th January 2005
Iam Hall dates from 1826 and was built under instructions from Jessie Watts-Russell to the same architect who also built Alton Towers, James Trubshaw. The Hall as it stands today is what is left of what was once a much larger building. Saved from a demolition company but sadly after half of the place had been leveled to the ground the Hall still is a magnificent building to visit and is set in beautiful gardens in the heart of the Peak District.
This investigation was the first one ever to be held at the site and was arranged between Paranormal Tours and the YHA. With reports of a grey lady being seen wandering the grounds, an intruder into one of the rooms, reported activity in the main hall and rooms where staff feared to tread who wouldn’t want to investigate this magnificent place and I am glad to say we got the chance.
The investigation begun with some dowsing in the grounds. James who was our medium for the evening had connected with an energy out in the courtyard and I thought it would be interesting to get the teams who had no prior knowledge of what the energy was or indeed where it was to investigate it. One at a time we walked the courtyard with dowsing rods and pendulums from one end to the other. What was interesting was we all stopped in what was near enough the same place. There were some exceptions but the majority stopped at what would be about half way down the main courtyard just in front of what would have been the library.
Happy that we had located a potential location in the courtyard we began to dowse and ask some questions. This is where things started to go a bit awry as we were connecting with a male, a female, a child and it turns out when we asked we had four spirits with us in the courtyard. Common themes however with the different teams were great sadness associated with a female who walks the grounds. Our grey lady perhaps?
The Main Hall
After a bit of food we began the first vigil of the evening. Our team was to go to the Main Hall which would have been in its hey day where visitors would have entered the building. This entrance is now walled up due to the partial demolition of the property I could only imagine but there are pictures showing this in the museum, which we noticed the following day. There has been reported activity here and there is a feeling of not being alone and footsteps being heard.
After spending 5 minutes getting used to the sounds of the room and doing some base line tests for temperature, humidity and EMF the team settled down and we turned the lights off. We sat in the dark for a while and then we seemed to be visited by a lady from the spirit world. One of the team was physically unable to move their legs at this point. I checked that she was okay and comfortable otherwise and she was so we went with it. I got the impression of horses and could see hounds mentally. It looked to me like a hunt or something similar and putting two and two together I felt like there was a horse riding accident involved here. Not sure if that’s how she passed over but could explain the paralysis of the legs the team was experiencing.
We went further into the hall and towards the back of the house for the 2 nd half of the vigil and I connected with a male energy with an association with a Rhino. I believed that he might have been referred to as this or he felt he was some incarnation of a Rhino with a strong and bully personality. The symbol I was shown was a grey Rhino front on which to me would be quite aggressive and territorial. There were cold spots in this room and Sam caught some orbs traveling through the group and across the tables. Later on in the evening James connected with an aggressive male spirit in here and he seemed to be quite overbearing.
As I looked down into the hall an outline of a figure caught my eye. I didn’t mention it at first as I didn’t want 7 torches washing it out and I wanted to go with it and see what developed. The figure stood by the window, which would be the 2 nd one in on the left, as you would have entered the hall in the old days. I got the feeling of Victorian and female and she was wearing white. I finally mentioned to the group and was relieved when a number of them could also see something by the window as well. At this point we did shine the torches down there and the image vanished but we could all see the curtains moving still. The windows and doors were all shut and though you cant discount other drafts it was interesting that they were moving where this figure had seemed to be standing.
The next vigil we went down to the cellar, which consisted of four separate areas, a kitchen, a dining room, a laundry room and a staff area that was locked off. Personally we didn’t connect with anything down here and it was just dark and quiet. However later vigils resulted in lots of screaming from the other teams so I’m not discounting this area as inactive but they just were not interested in us enough to come out and play.
Manifold and Dovetail
Named after two areas of the Peak District these two rooms were over in one corner of the grounds and though not detached from the main building there was only one way in and out through a very old, loud creaky solid wood door. The reason I mention the door as there was no way of opening it without being heard it almost sent judders through the buildings immediate structure. After this door was another inner door which was sticky with paint and lead to a small hall with a toilet on the immediate left with washroom utilities next to it. The Manifold room was directly in front of us and the door to Dovetail was on our left as we entered the room.
The story relayed to us was that a group of children were staying in this room, Manifold, one night and were awoken by somebody screaming and shouting in the grounds. They got out of bed to see a figure running towards the window that then began to bang loudly on the glass. It is then said that though the small window was not large enough the figure began to climb in through the window causing the children to run at speed across the courtyard. The children had to be put up in another section of the hall, as there was no way they were going back into that room.
The Manifold room was cold as we entered it but this is to be expected this time of year. The heating was not on as no guests were staying here at this time of year. The first thing everyone was drawn to was the window and it was decided that it was too creepy to leave the curtains open, imagine the tapping of the vampire from “Lost Boys” was one comment so we pulled the curtains closed. This was not enough however and it was decided I should sit in front of the window just to be on the safe side. Brave bunch we all were… So we sat there and though I was aware of a presence I could only feel an intense cold on my left as I looked into the room. To my left was a hanging space for clothes but it smelt of freshly dug earth, which was a bit strange.
With very little happening apart from scare mongering amongst the team of tales of things that lived under the bed that grabbed your legs, I don’t recall this story but they claim it was also told about this room earlier in the evening and I believe them as they all had their feet off the floor as I looked round the room. We decided to venture into Dovetail at this point and see if we would have any more luck in there.
In Dovetail we began to call out to the spirit that we had come to see them and asked very politely that maybe they could show us some sign that they were in the room with us. I always try to keep this as light and as friendly as possible. I have heard people sitting in a room calling out and to be honest they are either damn right rude demanding all manner of things or so boring no spirit or energy would want to spend 5 minutes in there. I explained why we were here and that we hoped to witness something if they were willing to help us out. Where I made my mistake was I asked that maybe they could scare the wits out of us, as this would make our evening.
It wasn’t long before we could see the light under the doorway dim as if someone was out in the hallway. Now recall what I said about the noise of the two doors to get in, no one had opened those doors all the time we were there. We all felt that even though the door was close somebody was standing in the doorway staring at us. It didn’t feel threatening but we could all feel them there.
Feeling that maybe the Manifold might now be the place to go now we ventured back in. To our amazement the curtains had been pulled open. If you can imagine the window was divided into three columns/ The middle column is hinged, very narrow and the only part that opens. The curtain was pulled apart enough to be obvious and also to frame this centre window exactly. We were all very excited by this, as we had left the curtains closed. So setting up a camera we closed them again and left the room and went back into Dovetail to wait.
Whilst we sat here we were aware of being watched from the doorway again to such an extent that the team decided that it was time to call it a night and turn the lights on. It was really uncomfortable in there this time and very intense, was somebody unhappy that we had closed the curtains? As I stood with my back to the door I noticed the team go quiet and stare at me before I realised it the door had opened behind me and slammed shut with such a force I instinctively turned and held it shut with both hands. With the team screaming behind me. Looking back it was all a bit daft as The Psychic pointed out to me later on, much to her amusement, did I really think a door would keep a spirit out of the room and she is quite right but its these fight or flight responses that we just do as a reaction. Act first think later.
It dawned on us to open the door as soon as we calmed down enough to see what could possibly have done it. Pulling the door open the hallway was empty. We clambered out of that part of the building so quickly grabbing equipment as we went. We did briefly reach into grab the camera from Manifold and the curtains were still closed. Maybe it was still in there playing with us but we were not going to hang around anymore to find out.
For the next vigil we sent Sam and her team to these rooms, as her evening was very quiet with very little happening. She reported to me later on that there were scratching noises coming from the hallway but little else happened in there for her team.
The Second Floor
Now as I went to use the amenities after the shock I heard another team screaming above me on the second floor and they all came running down the stairs looking very white and shaken. So I had to do the second floor next…
On the second floor we had the run of all the rooms. The previous team had a fright but didn’t want to tell us where to avoid autosuggestion. I later found out that they had connected with a large and rather frightening Matron type woman dressed in black in room 12 but I was not aware of this when we went up.
We headed down to room 17 as we felt this looked interesting, probably as it was at the end of the corridor and looked very dark and yet inviting. We did some dowsing and seemed to connect with a couple of energies but not a lot happened otherwise.
We did venture into room 12 at one point as it was elevated from the other rooms and we felt drawn to it but we didn’t stay long and did room 13 next to it after. Again no real activity in here. I do believe though that they come and go just as we do and just because something happened to one team it’s not guaranteed to happen again to another.
The evening finished with the remainders of the group splitting into two. One group did a vigil on the second floor and I joined the other who were attempting table tipping in the main hall.
I have seen this before and joined the circle around the table with the rest of the team and the medium. After a few minutes my right arm started going into a spasm very similar to that when you have a trapped nerve. I lifted it off the table and replaced it in a different position but it soon started shaking from side to side again very fast. Right from the shoulder down to the hand itself. This was very bizarre and was soon picked up by the rest of the team as the table was notably shaking. James asked the energy to take it off and remarkably my arm stopped shaking. Then he asked to start again and on cue it started straight back up again. We did this a couple of times and it was the strangest thing to witness. One of the other team had witnessed this happening to them earlier and though we tried to transfer it to someone else round the table it stuck with me.
With the table not moving apart from my arms outburst I stepped away and let Sam join the group whilst they tried using the glass to attempt to make contact. Outside the circle the room was a lot cooler and I could see the glass had condensation on it. It wasn’t long before the glass was zooming up and down the table. Supposedly we had made contact with a child of about 15 and a much older and stricter male. James felt there was someone else here also skulking in the shadows of the room but they chose not to come forward.
As I sat on the outskirts of the table Sarah and I could hear a pair of feet running around the table. A couple of times they ran up and down and around us but there was enough light from the torch to see there was nobody there. If you could imagine bare feet running on a wooden floor very fast as if a child was playing. At one point Sarah said she saw an orb travel down the centre of the table, which without the aid of a night vision camera again is quite special. The temperature was also dropping and I have seen table tipping and glass divination before on a few sites but this is the first time I actually have felt that we had made some form of contact using these methods.
After this we decided to call it a day about 7am so we wrapped the investigation up and bid the teams goodbye. It wasn’t until everyone had gone, including the staff, that we realised we were the only two left in the whole hall. We were shown earlier how to lock up after us but I didn’t realise at the time it would just be Sam and I sleeping there until 2pm.
We gathered our stuff together and made our way up to the bedrooms on the first floor. I suddenly felt very small in this large building and couldn’t wait to get into bed to hide under the sheet. As I lay there I listened to footsteps walking the corridors and I heard doors slamming but no voices. To get to sleep I convinced myself it must be cleaners though I was told nobody was due to come into 2pm.
I really enjoyed my time at Ilam Hall and it certainly has a lot of strong energies at the site. If given the chance I recommend you try and spend the night there sometime.
The full Paranormal Tours report can be found here