Newsham Park Hospital & Orphanage
15th August 2014
Dusk 'Til Dawn Events
I knew how much I loved ghosthunting from the moment I stepped into my first one back in October 2012. I loved the rush of adrenalin every possible paranormal phenomenon gave to the system. The excitement and enthusiasm that every single person shares on an investigation is infectious and I had caught the bug. Due to work commitments and just not allocating the time to do more, I only fitted in a couple of hunts in the following twelve months but all that was soon to change.
I first saw adverts for ghost hunts at Newsham Park Hospital and Orphanage in Liverpool back in June 2013 and was eager to get my name down for a hunt but most groups were booked up six to eight months in advance. Due to the supposed level of activity there, everyone wanted to get involved. This made me even more intrigued by the place. After some background research it seemed that the building (which was built in the 1880's) was first opened as an orphanage for 400 orphans who were then evacuated in 1948 and reopened in 1954 as a hospital. The history and potential activity there is enough to excite any investigator and novel ghost hunter alike. It was derelict for more than twenty years and only opened its doors again recently to set the scene for a zombie series and last April for ghost hunts. With five storeys, dormitories, psychiatric wards, treatment rooms, a laundry room and even a mortuary; this place really is the ultimate location to hunt ghosts.
It wasn't until the beginning of this year that I saw that the team of investigators I did the hunt with at Coalhouse Fort in 2012 (Dusk ‘Til Dawn Events) were booked in for several hunts at Newsham Park; so I got myself booked in for a hunt in time for my Mum's birthday in August. My Mum loves anything to do with horror and paranormal too so I knew that even if there was no paranormal activity there, we would sure have some fun. It was the day before that I knew that the investigation was going to be accompanied by Stuart Torevell, from Most Haunted which returned to our screens last month.
When we arrived at the venue a little earlier than the given time of 9pm, there were a few members of the team waiting outside (anticipating the arrival of the key master to let them into the grounds no doubt). The fact that there was going to be a lock-down made it even more enticing. It gave my Mum and I time to take some photos and get familiar with the building and its surroundings. All of the windows at the front of the very grand, Victorian building, had been boarded up - probably to prevent squatters from gaining entry which they had been known to do in the past.
After taking a few tourist-style pictures around the outside of the property, we headed through the gates and into the car park inside the grounds; and what tremendous grounds they are. From the courtyard, you see the vastness of the property. We followed a couple of other wannabe ghost hunters and climbed a steep flight of stairs to the entrance of the property. We were guided into the grand hall which hidden amongst the damp walls, cobwebs and peeling paint, were paintings and photos of what looked like those who had once resided there. Waiting for everyone to arrive, my Mum and I got a bit flash-happy and were clicking around the empty room. It wasn't until the introductions begun that my Mum tapped me urgently on the arm, 'Steph,' she said, 'look at this.' Seeing the excitement in her eye, I took the camera off of Mum and looked at the photograph.
I don't like to put things into people's heads, but I could, personally, see what looked like a face. I would also like to add that there were no electrical lamps in the room, the only lights were those used by the investigation teams who had a few small lights on their table which was in the middle of the room. The door in this photo was on the left-hand side, and it was in darkness so I also have no idea why it looks as though there was a flash-light of sorts on it. Anyway, it made a very spooky start to the evening.
The team gave a brief run through of what would happen throughout the evening, some safety tips and then passed over to Stuart. What a great guy, he introduced himself, expressed that he isn't a medium (although I'm sure a few people still expected him to be) and told us about the time that not only convinced him of his paranormal beliefs but also had the Most Haunted team delay filming for weeks. I went over and introduced myself to Stuart and gave him a copy of my own true ghost story, The House on Poultney Road which he promised to read and review (watch this space).
I'd also like to add, what I liked about the Dusk ‘Til Dawn team, is that they didn't hang about for ages like some paranormal groups do, they knew the purpose of everyone's visit was to get on with a ghost hunt, and that's exactly what they were there for too.
Throughout the night we made our way through the laundry room, children's rooms and patient's wards, the kitchen, halls, spiral staircases and more but I remember the first place we visited as a full group with mediums, including Sue Treanor was the children's corridor. Everyone felt the activity there. It's an odd sensation, feeling like you are being watched from every angle, and it's hard to breath even though you are in an open space. Strangely, I would have expected to be freezing cold but I came over feeling extremely hot and had to take my jumper off and wear only a thin tshirt I had underneath whilst everyone else complained of being cold. Anyone who knows me, knows that I am rarely warm, even during the summer months! I don't claim to be psychic or a medium, I am just very sensitive when it comes to a supernatural presence. Of all the locations and places I have visited in my life so far, Newsham Park has to be the most active. It takes a lot to frighten me and I am always the first in line to see or experience something untoward but I wasn't expecting anything quite so terrifying to happen at the hunt.
We moved from one of the dormitaries which Sue explained that she felt was also used by psychiatric patients, and into a large, empty room that looked as though it was where meetings or social gatherings where once held. The mediums began talking - telling us about a man they felt had followed us from room to room haunting the place and the possible ways that he might have passed. I was stood at the side of the room, my Mum to my right and behind her was a door. There was a man stood about a meter away from her but no one inbetween. The room was very dark but with some very small amount of light squeezing through the cracks of the wood at the glass, my eyes, as well as everyone elses, soon began to adjust. As the medium spoke, I turned to check on my Mum and make sure she was OK, (she was a little more nervous than I was and being a birthday present, I wanted to make sure she was enjoying it!) I jumped about a foot in the air when leaning over my Mum, I saw a very tall, gaunt-looking man. I didn't stare for too long as (to be honest) I was pretty terrified, but he was dressed in a black suit and his face looked (this is the only way i know how to describe it) as though it had a tight, cream stocking pulled over it, covering all of his features but stretching out the holes in which they should have been. I looked away as I launched myself into one of the Dusk til Dawn team, but when I looked back, the entity had gone. In the meantime, my Mum had almost had a heart attack as I yanked her arm, pulling her over to my new resting place. She kept trying to encourage me to tell the medium but I didn't really want to make a fuss and wanted to have some kind of evidence before I told anyone.
Stuart was great, he asked a lot of questions and often said the things that the rest of us were thinking. It surprised me how he never once grasped at straws. He looked for all the possible explanations before claiming anything to be supernatural which I liked. I've been on hunts before, when I have just known that there was nothing there, and mediums had spent their time trying to convince everyone there that there was a child or some other lost soul there seeking revenge or asking for help. This ghost hunt wasn't like that at all, it was much more real.
It was actually on our way down from the room where I had witnessed something or someone that was uninvited that I had my second, extremely surreal encounter. I always insist on going at the back of a group hunt, as I like to take my time, take a few photos and wander off if I don't get caught. But this time I was quite eager to get going and was excited about what else might happen. Everyone was moving quickly down the stone staircase, passing closed and opened doors which lead to other, remote parts of the building. Someone behind me had a torch on and skipping down the last couple of steps, I passed a small open door on my left side and out of the corner of my eye, I saw something. I turned quick and as clear as I could see any other living person, I saw a man sat in a wheel chair at the bottom of a small flight of stairs. I gasped, and for probably five seconds, I stood uninterrupted, staring at whatever it was that had chosen to show itself to me. Alongside me came my Mum and another woman who, quite rudely, I pushed out of the way as I reached for my phone to see if I could capture anything on camera. I snapped about thirty pictures in the dark, one after the other, not moving besides my finger on the button. Someone in the team called me so I turned and followed the rest of the group. Looking at the photos I took, I came across this.
I had my proof so I showed Sue who said that it was a great picture and to show Stuart. After a while longer we all went back into the hall and were told that we had just over an hour to go explore by ourselves with their 'ghost hunting' equipment. I grabbed myself some sensitive head phones and headed off with my Mum, Stuart and a couple of other members of the group. We returned to the laundry room and to the haunted corridor where we saw another group using an illuminated ball which they saw actually move and lift into the air. It was pretty incredible considering the medium had picked up on a small girl who haunted the corridor with her brother; perhaps they thought that we were there with them to play. I was desperate to come across the small wooden door that I witnessed seeing the man in the wheelchair not long before and then we reached the same staircase. 'Stuart!' I remember calling out excitedly, ‘come take a look at this’. Four of us went down the tiny stone steps and into the narrow corridor where I had seen him and we spent a while taking part in vigils, seeing if we could contact the same spirit. I put on my headphones and wandered the hallway, into creepy little cupboards and into the eaves whilst Stuart and the others called out in the exact place i had seen him. Unfortunately I didn't experience anything else however amongst all the excitement I didn't hear my Mum calling out to me who was having her own paranormal experience at the other end of the corridor, by the doorway.
A woman had called her up as she was stood at the back of the group. My Mum said that the woman looked terrified. 'Can you feel it?' she asked and before my Mum was able to reply, a gush of wind had come out of the corridor, brushed through both of their hairs and almost knocked my Mum over. I asked my Mum afterwards whether or not she was certain that it wasn't wind coming in from outside somehow or a draft of some sort but she said that she had walked with the woman, holding their hands at the window frames (there were only two there) and they were both sealed shut. Perhaps it was whoever I had seen, leaving that part of the building? I guess we'll never know.
Unfortunately, my Mum and I had to leave the investigation at 1am even though it continued until 4am but we had a long journey ahead of us. I have since spoken to Jess who told me that they had experienced a fair bit of activity after we left including table tipping and voices recorded on tape.
Check out their Facebook page to hear recordings from that night. DUSK 'TIL DAWN EVENTS
For all those of you interested in my other photos from the night...
Would I recommend Newsham Park to absolutely anyone interested in seeking evidence of the paranormal and those who simply love to be scared? Absolutely! The location is not only perfect for an investigation but is a stunning building that no doubt, will be renovated and transformed into a manor house of some description although I'm not sure I would have wanted to get married there. Not only do I recommend the place but the Dusk ‘Til Dawn team are a great group of investigators and really do give you a night you'll remember.