THERE probably aren’t many people who would choose to spend a summer’s evening tiptoeing around an abandoned mental asylum.
And there are likely fewer still who wouldn’t then run screaming for the hills upon spotting a noose hanging from an upstairs window.
But these are no ordinary people – they are the Spirit Walkers, Chester’s newest paranormal investigation team.
Back: Hannah Henshall, Tez Proctor. Front: Charlotte Webb and Beth Hopper.
The crew’s leader, Beth Hopper, told The Standard that even by their unflappable standards, Pool Parc asylum in Ruthin gave them the creeps when they visited on August 10.
The mum-of-three said they had seen a figure and heard a growling noise [heard at around 1.05 in the video above], and her EVP (electronic voice phenomena) device had picked up what sounded like screams.
“It sounded like torture to me, it was horrible,” said Beth, 32. “The place has been a prisoner of war camp and an asylum so a lot of things have gone on there.
The abandoned Pool Parc mental asylum in Ruthin.
“I’ve been there several times and have heard voices and footsteps. One girl said she felt a nurse was standing right in front of her in the dark.
“We’d also heard reports of an ex-patient there who thinks he’s a Roman soldier and who marches up and down the corridor and throws stones at people.
“I was glad to get out of there in the end! But then when we did we saw a noose hanging from a window that we hadn’t spotted with our torches before we went in. It wasn’t until I lightened the picture later that we saw what could be a figure in the window. It was pretty creepy!”
A mysterious noose and a figure in the window at Pool Parc asylum.
Beth set up the Spirit Walkers four months ago and hopes to turn it into a successful business.
She already has more than 800 members on the group’s Facebook page, many of whom watch the live feeds of the ghost hunts and help pore over footage for evidence of the paranormal.
The members of her established team – that she refers to as her “paranormal family” because they get on so well – each bring something different to the table.
Charlotte Webb is a medium who Beth says has been seeing spirits since she was 10 and is “probably more powerful than she realises”.
Then there’s Tez Proctor who is the tech guy that carries out background research on each of the haunted sites they visit.
‘Screams’ can be heard on the EVP device used at Pool Parc.
Next up is Hannah Henshall who at 20 is the “baby of the group” and is just starting out, followed by “Viking” Leigh Mac, landlord of the Saddle Inn in Chester who has reams of contacts in the city and was looking for an interesting hobby.
Finally, there is Sharon Tunstall who is the team’s photographer and camerawoman.
Beth said they had already ticked off a number of sites in the area including Chester’s Mecca Bingo hall, Delamere Forest and the amphitheatre with their next visit planned for Stanley Palace on Watergate Street in Chester.
“We certainly aren’t short of places in the city with ghost stories attached to them!” she said.
A ghostly figure in Delamere Forest?
And what of the cynics and sceptics who doubt the existence of ghosts?
“Some teams claim every piece of footage they get is paranormal but we’re not like that,” she said.
“We’re not trying to fool people but there are some things we’ve experienced that have been unexplainable. I’d always say to people that unless they come with us and experience it for themselves then they can’t tell me it’s not real.”
The team uses a host of gear from cameras and night vision equipment to more traditional ghost-hunting equipment like dowsing rods and Ouija boards.
They are also well-stocked on white sage, which is used to purge an area of any malevolent spirits at the end of a visit.
“It smells a bit like weed but we can assure people it’s not!” joked Beth. “We’re not that kind of group!”
* For more information on the Spirit Walkers check out their Facebook page www.facebook.com/groups/TheSpiritWalkers, email Spiritwalkers86@gmail.com or call 07944 865331. Search for @WalkersSpirit on Twitter.
The team can’t be sure what this misty shape is in Delamere Forest.