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Built in 1610 as a House of Correction, this incredible place officially became a prison-proper in 1625.  Shepton was the longest running prison in the UK. It closed its doors for the last time as a working prison in March 2013.

It has had a fascinating history. When you think about what was going on in the world when it was first built, the changes that have occurred and what the building itself has seen, it is an absolute privilege to be allowed within its walls as a guest.

Naturally there have been changes and additions along the way, and every so often visitors will clearly see and feel these alterations.
Many of the early layouts have been totally changed, bricked-up or built over. Take the yard for example - beneath it are rows of cells.

The 1790 gate lodge was tacked on near the old entrance and governor's office, and it is here where the age of the place truly shows itself - and that's still 180 years AFTER the main bulk of the prison was built!

During the 1700s and into the Victorian age the prison had a desperately poor reputation. It was a health hazard, and prisoners died in huge numbers from poor sanitistion, starvation, disease, murder, and execution.  Hard labour was a tough punishment, and many inmates were shipped overseas to work out their sentences, never to return.  Often the crimes of these people was as paltry as thieving a loaf of bread.
Men, women and children of mixed criminality, were locked up together. You can imagine the conditions.

The prison has had several alternative nicknames over the years, Cornhill (due to the building of a foot-turned treadmill to grind corn) and The Glasshouse (The roofs of B and A Wings are glass and creak as they heat and cool) being just two.  These days regular visitors such as myself refer to it affectionately as The Mallet. It suits her.

There have been a few years of broken use, but perhaps the most famous re-use of the prison came during the second world war when the home office loaned the site to the US Army. It was at Shepton that the soldiers who had committed crimes on UK soil came to serve their sentences, and famously, 18 were executed on site.

Modern usage saw the prison moderately updated, although the great age of the place meant that changes were slow. For example, the cells had no toilets until 1995, and so prisoners were required to 'slop out' daily from a bucket in their cells.  In each wing there is a room for this very purpose.

Wandering around the site is fascinating, and even for the sceptical out there, there is an undeniable atmosphere of sadness and gloom.  

I first visited in May 2017, and have become magnetically drawn back in excess of ninety times to date, including sleepovers!

It is hired for films and TV fairly regularly. You may recognise it from featuring in:
The Trial of Christine Keeler, Des, The Pale Horse, Casualty, Paranormal Lockdown, Prisoner X, Portillo's A Hidden History of Britain, and a special documentary short by Inside Times, to name just a few!

(Des Trailer)
(The Trial of Christine Keeler Trailer)
(Paranormal Lockdown Trailer)
(The Pale Horse Trailer)
(Inside Times Documentary)

If you're interested in what the prison has to offer in these more affable times, go to  The guided tours are well worth attending, the guides incredibly knowledgeable and friendly. 


Ghost Tours are increasingly popular and good value for money - and a few of my recordings have even made it into the final mix, so you can hear them in-situ on the walk round.

Several times a year (Covid permitting of course) there are sleepover events called Night Behind Bars. It's an 8pm to 8am do, no frills. Just go to your allotted cell and either meander about ghost-hunting or ....well, whatever you like really! It's exhausting, great fun, and of course in a location like Shepton, a genuinely and enormously haunted place. I can't recommend it enough. Just wrap up!

For more on HMP Shepton Mallet try , or search out one of the publications by Francis Disney.

A new book on the prison 1625-1940 by Dave Cable is out now. It is a beautiful blend of photography and snippets of information not only from the archives, but from people passionate about the prison. RRP £35




I visited this site in October 2019 bizarrely as part of our honeymoon.  The camp is situated near the town of Oranienburg outside of Berlin, and unsurprisingly is free to enter.  The visitor centre is first class and everything has been set up in a sensitive and appropriate manner. You can join a guided tour or wander at leisure.

Unlike the sprawling death camps that most people think of when they hear the words 'Concentration Camp' (Auschwitz, Dachau, Treblinka) Sachsenhausen was one of the first satellite camps set up with the purpose of housing political prisoners. It was not yet a 'death camp' as such, and was initially a work camp, but things rapidly changed.

Atrocious conditions and the obscene behaviour of the guards still meant that over 10,000 people died on this site.  
Prisoners were beaten, starved, mocked, murdered, and humiliated from day one.  Disease also meant that many lives were lost  through poor health.

When an experimental killing room was built, it was obvious that the powers-that-be had a change of plan in mind, and today the very building that served this grim purpose has been removed. Where it once stood though,  is marked by raised beds of gravel hemmed in by a border. It works very well.  There are photos of some of the many victims displayed for visitors to see, for the macabre reason that the condemned were ordered to sit for a photograph, before being shot in the neck.

Unlike some of the camps, there are still several intact buildings into which visitors can go. There are informative boards and photographs in most, and it is eerily silent as you follow the path around.  
The medical laboratory and morgue below is utterly chilling, as is the steep ramp down which gurneys loaded with the dead would have been transported to the morgue underground.

Later came the gas chambers built by the prisoners themselves.  Also the execution slope, down which prisoners were made to run as a group before being shot by the Nazis from above.  

There was an on-site prison for the worst or most dangerous prisoners, and one corridor of this T-shaped building remains, and it is chilling.  

The three posts outside of the block upon which prisoners were tied with their hands behind their backs, winched up and beaten, remain.

I did not intend to record at Sachsenhausen, to be honest it felt wrong even taking pictures.
But... very soon after arriving I found myself alone in one long LONG barrack, the rooms to the side derelict and somber.  I suddenly became aware of the booming silence.  Before I knew what I was doing I pulled out my phone and switched on the voice recorder app and recorded on and off (every so often a few other people would show up and I'd have to stop) but in the fifteen minutes total I recorded a total of 38 EVPs.  

Any guilt I may have had about recording on such a site was quelled when on my return, I read  book by one of the surviors. In it he quotes a fellow prisoner who did not survive, as saying;
"We are the murdered of this war. Do not leave this place without hearing our voices... We do not want to be forgotten."  
This makes me feel that I have done some good - their voices have been heard again. Click on my Sample EVP page to hear some of the Sachsenhausen voices.
The book is called Barrack 38 by Leon Szalet in Polish in paperback, but is also available as an Ebook under the title Experiment E.
There are also several other informative titles available on the market.
Opening Times, Prices and Travel Information - Gedenkstätte und Museum Sachsenhausen (



Anyone in the UK who's interested in 'the paranormal' will have heard if not already been to, the Ram. It is located in the Gloucestershire village of Wotten-under-Edge, and is a devastatingly ancient building.  Just seeing it from the road gives goosebumps! 

It's been a dwelling since at least 1145, and has had a VERY chequered history, as you can well imagine.

The long-term owner John Humphries was something of a legend, a real local, a loveable character who remained living in the Ram after his family moved out. It was John who began to document the bizarre and disturbing activity within the ancient building - something that his daughter (the current owner) can verify.  

Sadly, John died in December 2018, and since then Caroline keeps The Ram as something of a mecca for ghost hunters across the UK, although it is world famous.  It even featured on US show Ghost Adventures in their special UK episodes that also featured Fort Horsted in Kent - which is where my first ghost hunt took place.

There are many tales about what exactly resides in The Ram.  Evil entities certainly, but also from my own experiences, Gloucester locals, children, and even a cat.  What with evidence of devil worship and pagan burials under the flagstones, the ambience of the Ancient Ram Inn is totally bizarre.  You walk inside and it feels like a house, then it rapidly becomes the old pub that it was. The barn is actually part of the house, and then you go upstairs.  The stairs are eerie. At the landing you can turn right into the Witch's Room, or left towards the other spattering of rooms, each with their own distinct atmosphere. The attic stairs wind around and up, to a spacious low-ceilinged area.  
The activity I experienced at The Ram was off the charts, not just with EVPs either.  I have visited several times with a small number of friends , the last time just the three of us.  Aside from EVPs aplenty, we've experienced motion-sensor lights going off as we sat still in the living room. The lights were strung across the front doorway, and up into the bar room. In between them was an alarmed sensor. First, the lights began flashing by the front door, moments later the  middle alarm sounded, and then the lights by the bar began flashing too.   Something unseen had walked all the way from the kitchen, past us at the table, and gone on to the bar and beyond!  There was such a positive good vibe that day.
Later on that afternoon the light string that we had over the door to the Bishop's room began to thrash about madly when no one was near it!  I tell you, the energy of the place is remarkable.   The uneasy feel of the building is added to by the strange and disturbing oddities displayed in each room, such as a stuffed crow  and the mummified corpse of a cat that was found bricked up in the walls.

The site is available to hire for small groups (I wouldn't recommend more than ten people at a time due to the creaky floors and small spaces - it could get crowded and you can hear what's going on in every room) for pretty good rates.  For example, to hire during the week in the daytime it is £5 per hour, per person (this was true at the time of writing).
 Rates change at the weekends when it's open to the big ghosting groups, but it's great to have the private, personal option to explore the place on your own if you so desired.  There are currently no options to stay overnight due to Health and Safety regulations.

To enquire, contact  01453 842598 or find them on Facebook. 



In June 2019 my fiance and I drove to Normandy for a three day camping trip.  The campsite was quite literally above Omaha beach, and within fifty paces of our tent was a bunker along the path down to the beach.  I was blown away by the proximity to this world famous site, for we managed to land ourselves a prize plot away from the busy caravan area, overlooking Charlie Sector.  Where we pitched our tent and indeed all of the campsite, was where the German encampment was set up. 
I can't recommend the site enough. It's called Flower Camping Omaha, if you're thinking of a trip.
Flower Camping Omaha Beach *** (

It goes without saying that this area of France is abundantly saturated in WW2 history. It's evident wherever you go. People display landing craft on their front grass, here and there you'll see anti tank devices and Czech hedgehogs, and bullet holes have been left in the walls of buildings as a memorial.  
As you'd expect, Normandy is heaving under the weight of museums. All are of excellent quality and great value, and you can literally get hands-on in some of the hundreds of shops selling genuine finds leftover from the invasion.  For 80 Euros you can pick up a German helmet, for several hundred a great coat, 3e a bullet case, badges, buttons, boots... you name it, you can get it. The best shop we came across was in Arromanches. I could have spent a fortune!
I recorded my clearerst EVPs at Pointe du Hoc. It's a large open clifftop area (the story behind is incredible) dotted all over with bunkers and tunnels. Pick the right time to go (raining = less people!) and you can quite easily get some alone time.  Jack and I managed it, and I ran off to record at regular intervals without coming across anyone besides a nest of sqwarking baby birds!

As well as Pointe du Hoc I recorded inside multiple bunkers and pill boxes, in the American cemetery, and on Omaha beach itself at sunset.


wix tent.jpg
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