On Friday night, my friend and I went to Abbey House Museum in Leeds on a Most Haunted Experience. We booked it months ago on the promise of being able to rake around in the dark listening for taps and knocks alongside Karl Beatty and Yvette Fielding. We found out not long ago though (after we had paid in full of course) that Yvette would be replaced by Stuart Torvell. Not quite the same, a lot less hair for a start, but there you go.
We knew it would be amusing and entertaining. Perhaps not as much as 30 East Drive because we wouldn’t have the pre-show laughs of The Chequerfields pub and its patrons with their stories. It couldn’t be anything but funny with us two TBH, making our own amusement as usual.
It started before so much as light even went out, when the crew came outside where we were having a pre-ghost hunt snack. They were shouting out names to check everyone off on their list. We joined in, asking for I.P freely, Amanda Huggenkiss, Seymore Butts etc and finding ourselves hilarious.
One of the crew said something about a back passage as we were taking a picture of this sign on the door and thus the puerile level of immaturity was set for the evening.
After bemoaning the decline of the use of the word knob in English signage – one doesn’t see it written down often enough – it was finally time to make a start. Or so we thought. Already 45 minutes in and we’d done nothing but eat club biscuits, the crew finally showed us an overly dramatic Health & Safety video with creepy girl from ‘The Ring’ style graphics & scary music. Then they brought out Karl & Stuart (Karl taller in real life than you’d think and also swearier). It was then time….for more snacks and tea. While the superfans monopolised the ‘Pros’.
Eventually, we all trooped downstairs to the Victorian Street area where we were shown all the tech we could use. We were shown where the locked-off cameras were and which ones would be live streaming on FB and YouTube. Then the lights went out and off we went in our groups. Our group went into the pub area (sadly no longer working) and fired up one of the many ouija boards.
Now I am what could best be described as a hopeful believer. I don’t see any reason why there can’t be such a thing as ghosts, but I need to ensure all scientific possibilities have been exhausted as a reason for anything unexplained. I have experienced things that cannot be explained by science or common sense in the past but I am going to need more proof.
What I don’t want is to spend half an hour of my life I’m never getting back, as part of a farcical display of fraudulence from a lady who was clearly in full charge of the planchette and claiming that she was in communication with her partner’s dead dog.
Because apparently in the afterlife, animals know how to read and spell.
We abandoned our group fairly sharply after this and tagged on the end of another, but not before a comedy scare moment when my friend shone her torch into one of the shop areas and cacked herself when she saw a man! Once we had finished pissing ourselves with the giggles, having realised it was just the other group – we went to join them. This could be much more interesting as this group was led by Stuart from Most Haunted. It wasn’t!
In his own words, he said a whole lot of what they do is, “standing about in the dark waiting for Fuck All”.
He’s not wrong. So, you need to amuse yourself.
Namely by texting your mates a heads up to get online and going to find the livestream cameras.
I’m not sure Stuart and Karl and the other crew members knew what to make of us two. In fact I am pretty sure they were hiding from us. While others were jumping at every moth, tap, stomach gurgle and phantom dead dog, we were wandering off alone and laughing about whether or not the CCTV in the gift shop would still be on. Thought it best not to test it out. Nobody wants a disciplinary at work for being seen livestreamed on FB pocketing souvenir pencils and rubbers from the gift shop*.
On one of our reccies we discovered some unattended giant character heads. I’m only sorry I couldn’t see where I was going or we could have done a little dance in front of the livestream cameras.
You don’t see Zak Bagans and Aaron Goodwin doing this shit!
After a few hours uneventful wanderings and sitting about in the dark watching bits of tech occasionally light up. We did another ouija session in an upstairs room where there was no communication whatsoever until our friend from earlier joined in and lo and behold, the fucking dog came back through from the other side.
Fuck off you charlatan before I stick that planchette up your arse!
We once again opted to bomb this group off and went downstairs alone to the allegedly haunted giant shoe (don’t ask). Not a dicky bird in there. The only thing unusual was my sudden inability to whistle when calling out to ask any ghosties to copy me. I suddenly turned into King Julian from Madagascar. “Phhfffffffftttttttttt”. Probably deformation of the palate from eating too many club biscuits while we waited for this shizzle to start!
Had another wander off on our own into the one room my friend said she didn’t get a good feeling in. We had hoped for the level of poltergeist activity that the actual Most Haunted Team witnessed whilst filimg for the TV show.
Funnily enough, the little people that had seemingly sailed through the air with gay abandon in the company of Karl and Co, were uncharacteristically still and silent.
Make of that what you will.
Our time was almost over but not before we had a chance to cross over the road to Kirkstall Abbey. A fabulous monastic ruin and even more impressive at night time.
Dare you get inside one of the stone coffins they said?
Sure? Why not. But I’ll check it for fox piss before I lay down.
We listened to some owls calling to one another for a while and then went back over the road. A mini photo op with the ‘Pro’s after a ‘casting couch’ joke from Karl and what is clearly a cheeky feel up from Stuart (now we know why he left Yvette behind). Then it was time to go.
I have had scarier shits than this ghost hunting night if I’m honest. But I did have a right laugh with my best ghost busting buddy. Our warped sense of humour and fun is perfectly suited to stumbling about in the dark taking the piss in the hope that one day (night) we will actually find some proof of existence after death.
Bolling Hall at the end of the month and Armley Mills in October – both venues pretty creepy in the day time to be fair so I’m sure there will be laughs aplenty there (though probably no more giant heads).
*Obvs we wouldn’t dream of such a thing, we were merely saying it was very trusting of the museum to let a bunch of whackjobs wander about unsupervised after hours.