In this episode the team investigated paranormal activity in Hastings on England’s south coast, a fishing town with a long and troubled past. The infamous Battle of Hastings was fought near here in 1066, heralding the last time Britain was invaded by a foreign power. Thousands died and it’s long been said their spirits still haunt the area. More recently, the notorious devil worshiper Aleister Crowley lived and practiced his satanic rituals here; at one time he was dubbed ‘The Wickedest Man in the World’.
Over the centuries there have been many sightings of ghosts in the town’s buildings and the narrow, winding roads behind the harbour.
We began our investigation at the True Crime Museum which is situated in the town’s caves. Before the museum was built the caves were the haunt of smugglers and thieves. Here is the exhibited skull of serial killer and rapist, Louis LeFevre, who after being caught was executed in 1916. Our psychic Ian Lawman attempted to make contact with the ghost of one of LeFevre’s victims, a woman named Lucinda. It was during this session that the power randomly switches on and off on one of the museums displays. We did double check with the curator that all exhibits were turned off and he confirmed with us that the display should not have been on and if it had we would have heard it straight away when we went into the location it shouldn't have switched on an hour into filming!
One of the stories we were told is of the Skull of Louis LeFevre whereby it is said to move of its own accord within the confines of the perspex case. During our time here we did set up a locked off camera taking a photo every 5 minutes to see if any movement could be captured over a long period of time. Unfortunately we didn't witness anything abnormal so the segment wasn't used in the show but here is the time lapse video for those that are interested.
The following day we were scheduled to be filming at the historic Hastings Castle. The crew dropped myself Ian and Paul off to do an initial scout of the location while they went to film Kays introduction scenes. It soon became apparent that the castle would not be a great location for the show as most of it is is ruin and the only shelter being a small set of dungeons, although we did manage to prank Ian by hiding from him in the dark down there. It was also apparent that the famous ghost story of the woman seen jumping to her death off the cliffs here was not a valid investigation as due to erosion the cliffs in the story were further out than they now currently are.
It was decided that our investigation would be moved to the large abandoned seafront hotel known as White Rocks' Palace court.
Palace Court was built as a hotel (later converted to luxury seafront apartments) by the Spiers and Ponds Group whose other properties included the Holborn Viaduct Hotel in London. Rising above a parade of shops, the western, lower, section of the hotel was built in 1885 by architect Arthur Wells on the site of a former brewery. The eastern, taller, section was added in 1885-6, presumably by the same architect, replacing the Seaside and Pier Hotel, which had been built as the Seaside Hotel in 1835. Documentary evidence relating to its history is limited, but Palace Hotel Company Hastings Ltd was registered with the Board of Trade in 1886. It was an ambitious project, advertising sea-view rooms, accessible by lift, dining rooms and a restaurant open to non-residents. It was later known as Palace Chambers and renamed Palace Court approximately fifteen years ago. It’s been closed for years but once was busy with visitors and staff.
After filming some camera pieces on the Seafront it was time to move inside the hotel and try and work out where was best to investigate in this huge building. We started filming in the vast cellar area and I do mean vast the show doesn't quite capture just how long these cellars go on for. They are typically dark and damp but also the smell of raw sewage was forever in our nostrils due to a cracked pipe running under our feet. This is the main reason you see Kay at times in this episode wearing a mask over his face as he didn't want to breath in any foreign bodies.
It was in these cellars that Ian was picking up on energy behind a locked off door and it needs clarifying that we asked the hotel owner if he could unlock the room for us. He told us that the whole building was due for renovation so if we wanted to open anything just kick the door down although as shown on the show this proved impossible!
After encountering countless rooms including the safe room where Kay and myself were locked in with the malfunctioning EchoVox we suggested trying to contact Aleister Crowley who was believed to have stayed here so we attempted a midnight séance using the tarot deck and Hexagram that had been designed by Crowley himself. I must admit we were quite proud of the circle we managed to come up with on the floor of one of the abandoned rooms.
In summary another two interesting investigations for us to ponder and we hope you enjoyed this episode Hastings was certainly a great place to investigate and we hope to return at some point in the future. Coming up on the next episode is Harwich another Seaside Town and more great activity we hope you will be watching with the lights off popcorn is optional ;)