Location case studies
Paranormal Location Report
by Ann Morris
LOCATION: HMP Shepton Mallet
DETAIL OF LOCATION: The Segregation Cell 2/The Cat Cell' or 'Martin's Cell'
This cell is situated along the segregation corridor that runs from The Centre towards B Wing. It is next to the gated cell (constant watch cell), and is notable in that there is prisoner graffiti on the left hand wall of a cat drawn in blue marker pen. It is opposite the 'cell-fie' photo board.
© Ann Morris
Aside from the cat drawn on the wall (which is why I affectionately call it The Cat Cell) this cell is pretty standard and vaguely bleak as you’d expect, although I find that it does though have a reasonably calm atmosphere, probably due to the positioning of the cell in relation to the quality of light coming in through the small window.
I tend to visit in the mornings between ten and midday, so it’s usually fairly light when I’m there, which of course plays a large part in the psychology of visitors whether they know it or not. Ambient lighting lifts the spirits! But then again it depends which spirits we’re discussing here…
The cell is quite clean and mould-free, which, if you see the decay occurring in some of the cells on the main wings, is quite an accomplishment. But then again it may also have had a re-paint or just a good clean, or likely has much to do with the positioning (again) of the cell within the building. It’s not on the long cold sides, but tucked snug in one of the cross ways bridging A and B wing. It’s a pale cream colour, not taking the drab depressing dentist’s blue/green of B Wing, nor the toothpaste blue of C or full-on depressing off-grey of A Wing. No, if you’re going to pick a colour for a cell to lift the mood as much as possible, I think cream is the winner.
In 2018 one of the first in a stream of four sightings of a black misty figure, was seen outside this cell. The person who reported this was ten year old Charlie with his father. The father was a sceptic and was hugely shocked by the experience of a ‘towering pointed black misty figure’ cruising along the segregation corridor. Charlie was over-the-moon, and his mother who belonged to my online group Lost Voices, got in touch with me to tell me of her son’s experience. He described it as being like a person-sized smoky black torpedo.
This was soon followed by two sightings by Sara Benham, a staff member at the time. Sara experienced a misty black figure that accompanied her up the metal stairs to D Wing (situated off the segregation corridor), and she noticed it by her left shoulder just on the turn of the stairs before they swing right to the D Wing landing. This was Sara’s first ‘paranormal’ experience, and said that before this, she was waiting for something to shock her, but until then, would take other peoples’ tales with a large pinch of salt. She recalled screaming in shock with she realised that this smoky, blacker than black thing was hovering next to her. She’d been going to switch the lights off before locking up.
Shortly after this incident, Sara and other staff member Will were preparing for an evening tour in C Wing. Sara was up on the third level and Will was on the ground floor. Sara looked down and saw a black figure emerge from one cell and walk straight across the wing, disappearing into cell 8. This matches very much with two incredible photographs taken by a visitor on a Haunted Happenings ghost tour in C Wing, in which a cloaked figure with what looks like a stunted sort of top hat, was recorded walking just past cell 8 by the radiator. The figure was captured twice by the unwitting photographer who didn’t see anything at the time, and who was just snapping away with everyone else exploring the wing. Like many ‘paranormal’ recordings whether audio or visual, discovering your finds later on are is common occurrence. These events were all within three weeks of each other, and all areas in which ‘he’ was seen are all closely interlinked.
Photo credit HAUNTED HAPPENINGS
The first EVP that I captured in this cell pretty much stands as one of my most clear and incredible yet. I am extremely proud of it.
I was in the cell with the door pushed to, and there were no other guests that morning. I was alone, and everywhere was absolutely silent. My phone did not go off, there were no radios playing nearby, everywhere was achingly still.
I sat on the iron bed frame, and did what I usually do – I introduced myself, and basically talked a bit of rubbish for five minutes or so before moving on, recording all the while.
That particular morning I said to my recorder, “(I’m) in... segregation cell…” and directly after this a male’s voice responds very clearly and loudly with, “The second one.”
When I plugged in my headphones and played this section back on my laptop, I think it’s fair to say that my eyes were out on stalks and my jaw well and truly hit the floor. There are not enough idioms in the proverbial book to explain how stunned and elated this capture made me feel. It still enthrals me now. If I’m having a down day I’ll stick on my best of collection and feel amazed, humbled, and privileged to have been part of such an occurrence.
* Do not be tempted to shut the door fully when you are inside unless there is someone on the outside to let you out! It sticks. In August 2020 I closed it and became genuinely locked in. I had to phone for help!
* The cat drawing on the wall features all around the prison, often found carved into brickwork. One of the most obvious is the little cat on the outside of the execution shed.
© Ann Morris
Is There Anybody There?
I can without a doubt say “Yes”.
In August of 2018 my uncle Martin, after years of battling Parkinson’s disease, bone and prostate cancer, died.
Shortly after this I visited the prison, and feeling emotional, sat on the bed in the Cat Cell and poured out my feelings.
Now, I’m not saying that it was my Martin, but I received a name back when I asked who was there, as you do. And you can guess what the name was. I have recorded this name being spoken a further two times, quite clearly too. It’s likely just coincidence, but I would dearly love to know if a Martin ever spent time in this cell. I’ve asked for a surname but have yet to receive on, but who knows, it may yet come!
Because of this connection, as well as referring to this cell as The Cat Cell, it’s also Martin’s Cell to me.
Paranormal Location Report
by Ann Morris
LOCATION: HMP Shepton Mallet
DETAIL OF LOCATION: The Old Gate Lodge
© Ann Morris 2021
© Ann Morris 2021
Built in 1790 at the far end of the prison, the entrance up to the first level is adjacent to the old entrance gates. It is on two levels, and would have housed the gatekeeper and his family. I’m also heavily suspecting that many suspicious and unpleasant things went on in here. (I have recordings that suggest this is the case).
A Smorgasbord of Anomalous Phenomena
Activity here has not been limited to EVPs . I’ve had multiple ‘in the moment’ audio experiences, one so frightening that I screamed and swore. Luckily the whole thing was captured on my recorder.
I have had physical happenings too, and four photographs that are quite disturbing. And I’m not just talking dust orbs here, and there’s not a cliched white lady in sight!
To quote Lance from The Detectorists (one of the best UK comedies ever, if you've not yet seen it!) where do I begin?! What HASN’T happened in here?!
This individual location may be small, but it packs the biggest punch activity-wise, for me personally at least. It’s like a bird’s eye chilli of the paranormal world.
Whether it’s on the steps up to the first level, the first room, or the broodingly ominous upper level, this place is absolutely heaving with energies good and bad. I have had SO many experiences here that to list them all would take more time and sheets of virtual paper than you'd have time to read, so I shall try to tell you of my top experiences. As well as my own I understand that many other visitors have tales to tell from this location.
©Ann Morris 2021
The photo grainy photo you see here was one of my first paranormal photo captures, and I'm very proud of it.
I was alone in this part of the prison (actually I didn't come across anyone all night and I was on site 6-11pm after hours during which time staff conducted guided ghost tours) and sat in the total darkness.
I snapped away without a flash, and when I uploaded my photos, used the editing tools to lighten the shot.
This is what appeared in shot three of three. The first two showed nothing.
What I see is a small girl, possibly naked, and possibly pregnant. Her hair is long and hangs down over her chest. Her right arm rests on her hip, and her right knee is bent.
The old gate lodge has given me 3 paranormal photos... & many other experiences
One of the first most profound experiences came when I played back my audio from the first sleepover I did here. I went around the site alone whilst most people were on the tour, and so had the old gate lodge entirely to myself. I’d had some crackers of EVPs in there before this, and so merrily shut myself in the upper room, switched on my recorder and camcorder, and turned out my torch for fifteen minutes. If I’d heard what had been going on around me the moment I set foot on the stairs, I doubt I’d have stayed. For, as I reached the second step from the top (and remember I only know this because of my audio and video footage) a man peforms a repulsive phlegmy snort VERY close. I then took my seat on the floor. Then begins a brief yet significant interaction between two men. It was as follows:
Not that one.
NOT that one!
Was Man 1 defending me? Was Man 2 up to no good? Given that there is an entity that undoubtedly resides in this area with a foul nature who likes words beginning with C and F quite a lot, this does not surprise me. I’ve nicknamed this chap Mr Grumpy, and since this date (October 2017) I’ve been on the receiving end of his nastiness many times.
One such time I was about to take a seat in the window at the end of the upper room, and I said “I’m just going to sit down..” and the reply came through loud and clear as, “No you f*****g c***.” Like I said, charming. This sort of response is not uncommon, and in fact a visit to the old gate lodge without coming into contact with this person is a rarity.
ANY KIDS ON THE BLOCK?
It is not just Mr Grumpy that I’ve encountered repeatedly in here. In 2018 I was sat on the flagstones on the first level, just packing up my camcorder and bag. The voice recorder was still rolling thank goodness, for, as I’m almost done, there comes THE CLEAREST EVP that I believe I’ve ever captured.
(2 knocks).. "Comin' through!"
When I played this back and heard the knocks followed by this young boy’s voice, I could hardly believe it! I instantly thought him to be around the eight to ten year old mark. He sounds chirpy, and as if he’s running errands up to the gatekeeper. The knocking was on the first door up from ground level, I’ve replicated it and it’s spot on.
So that was my first encounter with this child, but not my last.
After a Ouija session with staff one evening in February 2019, we received (or rather it was directed to me personally on the board) the name EDDE EDDE EDDE over and over. He wanted to talk to ANN ANN ANN. How did he know me? GATE GATE GATE. The gate lodge? YES YES YES. How can I help you Eddie? (we assumed this what was he was trying to spell). GO GO GO. You want me (Ann) to go? NO NO NO. Do you want to leave Eddie? YES YES YES.
We upped and took our ouija table to the old gate lodge and set up. Immediately Eddie was back on the board.
I am in contact with a genuine and talented medium who used to live in Frome. She has helped me with ‘a situation’ at my own home that became rather out of hand in November 2019, and I implicitly trust her. I had an idea. I asked, “Eddie, if you can tell me the name of the lady who will be helping you out of here, I’ll get in touch with her straight away and we will try t…”
“CARO CARO CARO” Came the reply.
That was good enough for me, and without delay I contacted Carolyn my medium friend, and explained all. We met up a week or so later and made our way to the gate lodge, my recorder on the whole time. On playback, as we ascended to the first level, an excited young boy’s voice pipes up with, “CAROLYN!!” Obviously we didn’t know this at the time, but when we did, it was the most wonderfully satisfying feeling of not only validation, but a sense of having done some good.
Carolyn went to work, and very soon, she confirmed that young Eddie had moved on. He had been admitted to the prison for something he did not understand, he missed his Mother and sisters greatly, and was so “very very cold.”
Carolyn is a talented artist, and after dealing with special cases such as Eddie’s, attempts to keep them in her mind long enough to sketch them. Here is her drawing of Eddie that she very kindly sent to me.
YOUR FACE OR MINE?
One afternoon I met two friends interested in what I get up to, and we headed to the gate lodge to do a bit of recording. As we finished up, we decided to do the tourist thing and take each others’ photos through the hold in the floor/ceiling of the first and second floors. Sending Charlotte downstairs to do mine, I put my face into the hole in the floor and she snapped away. After a few seconds there was this awful smell that got steadily stronger. I joked with my friend Jim that someone must have had a curry the night before! Except it was worse than that. It was a cross between bad eggs, dog mess, and vomit. We rapidly left.
That night I looked at the photos taken on my phone, and was absolutely shocked at what I saw. Charlotte had taken three pictures. One and two were fine, but three was very disturbing.
Around my chin and cheeks is a silver hand. You can see the thumb nail shining! There are wisps of something white and smokey around my nose (this wasn’t my breath) and my mouth is mishapen as if something is half covering it or in the process of manifesting over it. There is a vague hint at something appearing on the other side of my face, but this is not as pronounced as the hand which appears to almost be cupping my face. I have tried to enhance using different filters and adjustments, so see what you make of it!
**I would like to point out that my hands were nowhere near my face because they were palm-down supporting my bodyweight as I knelt down into the hole.**
LET’S GET PHYSICAL…
Early on in my first flush of investigations at the prison, on two occasions the upper room I had my camcorder bag move on its own – and, caught on camera. Typically and very frustratingly, because I wasn’t expecting anything to happen to it, the bag is not fully in frame and so when it moves, the sceptic will likely say that I was moving it somehow – which I assure you I would never ever do.
The first time I was crouching down by the end window and a tiny stone pinged off the wall behind me. As I reacted to this I was suddenly aware that I could hear creaking, much like when you step onto fresh deep snow. A crumping noise. Then, I saw my camcorder case lid being pushed down. Not just sitting motionless (the lid was over the bag but not clicked shut) but physically being squashed down with continued pressure. Then, after a few seconds, it made a sudden jerky motion as the job was finished. I was in awe at what I witnessed, and didn’t quite know what to think! This was at about ten-fifteen in the morning, and I certainly hadn’t expected that to happen. As well as having the camcorder on I was recording with my voice recorder, and captured a choice word as I thanked whoever, for what they’d just done. “W*nker”, it said.
The following week up I went again and asked them to repeat the activity. This time I’d left the lid of the bag open and hanging down rather than just resting over the opening. Within a few moments, the lid began to slowly dip towards the floor. Then, with a final burst of energy, went all the way down and did not bounce up again.
Later the same year (2018 was incredibly active) I positioned the camcorder so that it was pointing fully at my camcorder case. I was hoping that there’d be further activity focused on it due to the previous luck I’d had!
However, as I stood up after having put my voice recorder on the floor in shot, the camcorder rapidly spun about forty-five degrees to the right so that the bag was only half in shot.
At this moment I had stood up and said out loud that I was going to take off my coat because I was hot. I did not touch the camera.
HEARING IS BELIEVING
The mark of a true EVP capture is that you do not hear it at the time of recording. However, what do you call it when you DO hear but there is nothing to see? Audio anomaly? Disembodied voice phenomenon? This has happened two times to me in the gate lodge (and several times in other areas of the prison, and believe me that really does make your hair stand on end) the most frightening in…. (you guessed it) the top room.
I was bending into that hole in the floor again. You could say that since the weird photo incident that I have a bit of an obsession with it. So, I always ask whoever may be there, what it was, how and why it happened.
This morning as I knelt down, recorder doing its thing by the window, there came a sharply loud metallic crash directly next to me as if a metal implement had been hurled into the wall! I mean this sincerely. This was not outside in the lane below, nor had anything been thrown from outside at the little window pane. This was IN THE ROOM WITH ME, and it was loud, and deliberate. I as you may imagine, was a little freaked-out by this, shrieked, leapt up, and took stock of the room around me. Nobody was there. I then swore and asked what had just happened. Nothing. My heart was pounding and my throat was dry. I was immensley privileged to have been apart of this incident, but it was pretty scary I can tell you.
On reviewing the audio from the incident, I was even more fascinated to hear a child’s voice just before the crash that I didn’t hear at the time. The child screams, “Go AWAY!” and is obviously in some sort of trauma. It’s horrible to hear. So, was this actually occurring in a different dimension a the very same time that my incident was playing out, or was this a residual echo of something that had at one time, happened in this very room? Was the crash I heard part of what was happening to the child? Why did I hear the metallic slam but not the child? What was the key to unlocking this activity? Am I some sort of conduit, a switch to the mechanism?! So many questions!
I literally don’t know where to stop telling you about all of my experiences here, because they’re all amazing! I have hundreds of EVPs, plus the photos and physical activity too. But I must draw to a close...with one final recollection of a morning in 2020 just after the first lockdown ended.
I invited a friend and her two boys to join me at the prison. My friend was admittedly a little sceptical and probably a bit wary, but the boys were very keen to have a try at recording themselves having heard what I do.
I planned to give both of them a recorder, press record at the same time, and leave them to it for five minutes totally alone up in the old gate lodge. I My friend would wait in the old entrance so as to give them space, which although close is distanced enough so that they wouldn't feel listened-to.
I ran through how to use the recorders, told them not to touch them or fiddle with them whilst recording etc, and diligently, they showed me that they could do it. The younger of the two boys was slightly nervous but so serious about it, but the eldest just couldn’t wait for us to leave! So off we went.
On our return, I turned off both recorders and took them home with me.
Later that evening I first listened to youngest's recording. Then I listened to eldest's.
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing! The two recordings made AT THE SAME TIME were different!
OUIJA YOU THINK YOU ARE?
The Ouija board session in which young Eddie first made himself known was not the first nor the last in which I’ve taken part in the gate lodge that yeilded significant evidence.
Another mind-blowing episode occurred in which myself and three staff members were on the board at around 11pm after hours. We had a contact on the board and we began asking the usual questions, when someone asked if they too had once worked at the prison. Dates, names, and cause of death was then duely given and was verified by two ex-staff members with whom I am friends. This individual on the board also correctly answered my husband’s question relating to our ex-officer friend. What was his nickname when he worked at the prison? None of us had an inkling if he even had one, but quickly our contact (who’s name I can’t reveal due to familiy sensitivity) spelled it out. I got in touch with our friends the next day and it was confirmed that the nickname given, was indeed correct!
Now, you might think that I’m being incredibly narcisisstic here, hearing my own name. But there is NO doubt. It is not uncommon for my name to come up in recordings around the prison, and I believe that the entities do definitely get to know their regular communicators, so that in itself is not surprising. But to have it said out loud and so clearly, when the speaker DIDN’T say it…. What?!
I have amplified and slowed down each recording, and side by side compared the sound waves – and they are absolutely different. This is absolutely incredible, and I cannot begin to explain it. Once again, the old gate lodge has thrown up so many questions, the answers to which we will likely never have.
© Ann Morris 2021
Finally (although there's still mountains of things to tell you about) I'll mention the snort. Yes, snort!
During the first overnight stay that I did attended at the prison I made a point of going to the gate lodge before anyone else got there. I wanted to be alone, and to spend some quality time recording in this very special place, and so I cranked up the night vision camera and up I went.
When I reached the top step, someone does a really nasty phlegmy sort of pig snort very close to me.
Naturally I heard nothing at the time and just carried on regardless, but had I known I think I may have bailed!
© Ann Morris 2021