How often do you get the chance to go through the staff only door in a museum? Think about how often you get the chance to go past the velvet rope at a museum and hunt for ghosts? That’s right I got the chance to go into the off limit areas and try to communicate with those not of this world.
Valence house in Dagenham, a suburb of London, has a partial moat and dates back over 750 years to 1269 so sure has a history good or bad. The house once served as a court for the local community sentencing criminals sometimes to death. Eliza Luxmore died at the house in 1913 and her spirit can be regularly seen dressed in black wandering the grounds and house.
The varied group of amateur ghost hunters were led by the house guide for the night into the cold attic, the furthest corners of the house and everywhere in between.
Up in the rafters that once housed the house servants, a small group of the bravest of adventurers (including Scarlett herself) held a makeshift seance to contact the other side. The room turned cold and gasps filled the air as the glass planchette scratched its way across the table. Even though it never reached a single letter on the board, we still put this down to positive contact with the dead.
I was nominated to use dowsing rods in what turned out to be the oldest part of the house. Under the naive impression that these rods were just used by earthly types in tune with Mother Nature to find water in a forest I manned up and start asking questions into the darkness. I felt the blood drain from my face and go weak at the knees when the rods crossed over in response. Not just once or twice but every time. After some interrogation the entity I was speaking with was Anne who was a nanny centuries ago. The oddest thing about the rods moving was they never crossed the same way. Sometimes it was one rod moving, others a slow merge of the two, a few times the rods swung violently around and whipped my chest.
In the hope of capturing spirits on film we ventured into the attic once again. Poised with cameras we captured….. NOTHING! Well not nothing. Several “orbs” can be seen on the tape. TV ghost hunters seem to believe these are manifestations of ghostly energy. To me they appear to specs of dust reflecting light from the cameras but who am I to argue.
After a midnight break and a cup of tea we ventured back in to explore some more of the house. In one of the corner rooms Scarlet came over all funny. This wasn’t just being tired, she felt physically sick so much so it was clear she wanted to get out of that room before the guide finished the talk. The moment she stepped back out through the door normality returned. Once I had the chance to talk to her she said “the room went cold and she felt sad. Not sad, more distraught and despaired at being in that room”. A feeling that disappeared when we were back in the corridor.
After spending hours in this historic building through the night we may have contacted the dead through a seance, I may have communicated with Anne from centuries before, ghosts may have used all their energy to appear as orbs on our video and Scarlett may have picked up on unsettling energy in that room. What I do know for certain is that for my first ever ghost hunt I’m hooked and cannot wait until the next one.
But first I need to learn how to take pictures and shoot video in low light.
Ghosts tours at Valence House are run regularly, so check out their Facebook Page