01-11-2003 @ 1:00am
The Mostly Haunted team investigate Wycoller Hall...
Wycoller is a small hamlet outside Colne in Lancashire. It can trace its roots beyond 1000BC when it was an agricultural settlement. In the centre of Wycoller is Wycoller Hall, built by the Hartley family at the end of the 16th Century. Squire Henry Owen Cunliffe later extended it in the 18th Century as an attempt to attract a wealthy wife. Cunliffe borrowed money against Wycoller Hall to fund the extensions and was also a keen gambler. He died childless and owing many debts in 1818.
Today the Hall stands ruined, many of the stones having been plundered for neighbouring buildings and nearby dwellings. By day it has a pleasant air to it. By night, it changes its character.
As would be expected, there are legends of ghosts surrounding Wycoller Hall. One such ghost is that of a black woman who appears near to the ford at Wycoller. The legend has it that one of the Cunliffes (who it is we donít know), visited Jamaica and married a West Indian woman. On the return voyage Cunliffe began to regret his hasty marriage and had his bride thrown overboard, causing her to drown. It is this woman who now suggested to appear, on occasion, at Wycoller.
Other rumoured ghosts include a phantom carriage, which is supposed to pull up outside the hall, and the ghost of a horseman who rides into the hall and murders his wife. However, this latter ghost can be discounted, as there is little historic evidence to substantiate the claim of a murder taking place.
Just after 1am on Saturday 1st November 2003, Ian, Richard, and Claire visited Wycoller Hall in search of the ghosts that haunt that place.
It was a cold night, but not uncomfortably cold. The sky was clear and the drizzle had stopped long before. The air was dry but the ground was damp. There was little ambient light at this time when Ian, Richard and Claire visited the hall. They began by walking along the North Eastern wall of the Hall until they reached the Great Hall with its large fireplace. This is one of the locations that was extended by Henry Owen Cunliffe. Inside the fireplace is a bench seat made of stone and they all sat on this seat and took photographs of the hall. Richard was using a digital camera and Ian was using a 35mm camera. It was at this location that the photography showed some anomalies. Richard noticed a bright light on his digital photograph and took a second photograph of the same location to see if the anomaly could be replicated. On the second photograph, the light is not present.
Fig 1 is the first picture Richard took with the light anomaly seen in the distance. Fig 2 is a zoomed in version of the light anomaly, the beer can is visible in the bottom left of the image. Fig 3 is the second photo Richard took without the light anomaly present.
Ian took photographs of the same location but none of the pictures he took in the Great Hall developed. When the digital photograph was examined at the scene Ian made his way to the point where the light anomaly had appeared. This was a ruined part of the wall. On the wall was an empty beer can and some lichen. As the beer can could be seen in the digital photograph and was some distance from the light anomaly, this was discounted as the cause. Also, the lichen was in the wrong position for the light anomaly to be a result of flash reflection.
Richard also took a digital photograph of the keyhole shaped niche to the side of the fireplace. In the doorway to the right another light anomaly appeared. This may have been a dust or moisture particle, but it was conspicuous by there being no further particles present (Fig 4 and 5.)
The investigation continued into the older part of the hall. As Ian approached a low stone doorway he paused to film the edges with a video camera he had with him (the camera was equipped with a night scope and was used to record the investigation). He then entered an old room at the corner of the house and was joined by Richard and Claire. Whilst in the room all three began to feel uncomfortable. As they moved about the room definite cold spots were felt. Richard stated that his neck felt cold and he pointed his digital camera over his right shoulder and took a picture (Fig 6.)
Ian took a photograph with the 35mm camera at the same time. Claire was stood at the left side of Richard. As the camera flashes lit up Claire saw the figure of a stocky man, approximately 5ft 6" tall with long hair and a straight nose stood behind Richard. She chose not to mention this at that point so as not to prejudice the investigation. On the video recording of the investigation the look of anxiety is clear to see on Claireís face. As it happened, neither the digital image nor 35mm film captured anything. Ian and Richard continued to photograph the room. On checking the digital photographs an unexplained white mist is seen (Fig 7) in one picture but not in the next picture taken instantly afterwards (Fig 8.)
Indeed, both pictures overlap briefly. On one of Ianís conventional photographs, taken at the same time, a white mist is also seen close to the doorway in which the three of them entered (Fig 9.) Please note the circle object in the doorway has been analysed and was decided to be a dirt fragment on the camera lens.
Fig 10. shows a video capture of when Fig 6 was taken. Fig 11. shows a video capture of when Fig 7 was taken, the mist caught on film? Fig 12. shows a video capture of when Fig 8 was taken.
The investigation ended shortly afterwards and once all were at the pack horse bridge about to leave the scene, Claire chose that moment to mention the figure that she had seen. Upon arrival back at base, Claire drew a quick sketch of the figure she saw.
From research that Ian carried out shortly afterwards, it is suspected that the figure that Claire saw may be Squire Henry Owen Cunliffe. However, this cannot be proved.