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Galleries of Justice Ghost Hunts

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Galleries of Justice / National Justice Museum
Nottingham, Nottinghamshire

OVERVIEW

The Galleries of Justice is a building of judgement, imprisonment, torture, hangings and death. There has been a court of law on this site since 1375 during Edward III's reign, and prison on this site since 1449. The Shire Hall has seen criminals, murderers and even the innocent sentenced to their deaths, with judges over the centuries repeating these exact same words: "May the Lord have mercy upon your soul." From evil spirits of those incarcerated, to violent and frightening poltergeist activity, it's no wonder why the Galleries of Justice is the most haunted building in Nottingham. Dare you face the Gallows?
 

HISTORY

The earliest history of the site being used for official purposes takes us back to the Norman Conquest, when the Normans appointed Sheriffs to keep the peace, create local laws and collect taxes. This is why the site was commonly referred to as Shire Hall and County Gaol (Shire deriving from the word 'Sheriff'). The first written record of the site being used as a court of law dates back to 1375 in the reign of Edward III, and the first written reference of the site being used as a prison can be traced back to 1449.

Underneath the building lies Medieval sandstone caves, which were used as a Dungeon and Oubliettes. Oubliette comes from the French word Oublier, meaning 'to forget', and an Oubliette was a horrific, dark, cold enclosed space where men were thrown down, forgotten about and left to die. Between the two, the Oubliette was the worst way to go. There was only one way to escape and that was through a trap door in the ceiling, but because the drop down was so deep, it was impossible to climb out.

The courts and prison were extended and enlarged over the next few centuries as its importance grew. In 1724, tragedy struck when the courtroom floor collapsed after the room was packed to the brim during a trial, causing countless severe injuries and deaths. Between 1769 and 1772, the Shire Hall was rebuilt under the architect James Gandon who came from London. Additional wings were added to the building some time between 1820 and 1840.

Hangings in Nottingham took place on top of Gallows Hill, a gruesome site of bloody death that's now the Rock Cemetery. In 1832, hangings in Nottingham were transferred from Gallows Hill to the Shire Hall, taking place on top of scaffolding erected over the stone steps at the front of the building, for the citizens of Nottingham to watch. The last public execution here was on the 10th August 1864, when Richard Thomas Parker was hanged for Matricide. After the abolition of public executions in 1868, the Gallows was moved to the Exercise Yard at the rear of the Hall, where another gentleman by the name of Thomas Grey was the first to be privately hanged on the 21st November 1877, for the crime of Murder. In 1876, a fire broke out at the Hall during building improvements and nearly destroyed all of the newly completed work. The County Gaol was closed in 1878, but the courtrooms remained active.


In 1905, a police station was built adjacent to the building. While the County Council moved out of Shire Hall in 1954, the building continued to be in use and home to Nottingham's civil and criminal courts up until 1991. The Galleries of Justice Museum first opened in 1995, and was refurbished and rebranded over two decades later, as the National Justice Museum in 2017.

 

GHOSTS & HAUNTINGS

Many ghosts haunt the Galleries, and plenty of paranormal activity is reported almost on the daily by staff, visitors and ghost hunters.

In the civil and criminal courtrooms, shadow figures are seen sitting in the back seats of the rooms, causing spine-chilling taps, knocks and creaking noises. Shadows have also been seen in the criminal courtroom walking between the pillars on the upper balcony. In the Judge's Chair, people pick-up strange sensations of anger and sadness, and even have had their faces transfigured into someone else.

In the Gaol Cells, male groans and disembodied voices are heard, and cell doors have been opened and slammed shut by angry energies, scaring staff and visitors back up to the ground floor level.

Apparitions ranging from Georgian Prison Guards to Victorian Females are witnessed walking throughout the building, with visitors thinking they're seeing actors and actresses in costume, only to find out they aren't working there that day. In the Washroom area, a Victorian Matron is residually seen as a Grey Lady, who continues to do her day-to-day duties, and the pungent smell of soap appears and dissipates.

The remains of old Narrowmarsh are usually closed off to the public, but are open to us at night. Narrowmarsh was one of the poorest areas of Nottingham, and many families and children died from illnesses and disease, so it's not surprising that ghost hunters experience phantom footsteps, taps and small shadows peek around corners.

In the Medieval Caves and Oubliette in the lowest part of the location, an evil poltergeist terrifies visitors and ghost hunters, with stones and rocks thrown their way and dark shadows forcing them to run out. Horrible groans and screams echo the cave walls, smells of Sulphur and fear fill the air, and the feeling of legs being grabbed by unseen hands is more than enough reason why staff refuse to go down there.

Back in September 2022, one of our guests photographed what can only be described as an actual 'ghost' in the Debtor's Cell. You can clearly make out it's a male spirit, with thick hair, moustache and beard, and the longer you examine the photo the more details start to show. We believe this capture is the ghost of William Saville, and man hanged in 1844 for murdering his wife and three children, and is said to be buried underneath the Exercise Yard. Interestingly, a nasty entity is known to haunt the Exercise Yard believed to be William Saville, and the Debtor's Cell is located right next to it.


 

YOUR GHOST HUNT EXPERIENCE

Your night of ghost hunting with Brookes Paranormal is guaranteed a fun, safe and spooky one. Experience this historic location with exclusive access after dark, as you explore the eerie rooms and areas in search for the ghostly spirits that haunt here. Here at the Galleries of Justice, you will get to investigate the Criminal Courtroom, the Georgian Gaol Cells, the Washroom and Women's Cell, Narrowmarsh, the Debtor's and Dark Cells, and the Medieval Cave Dungeon.

Our team are friendly, professional, approachable and knowledgeable with paranormal investigating, and we will guide and support you to make sure you get the most out of your investigation. We welcome everyone from all walks of life, as our events are a safe space for all who love and enjoy the thrill of ghost hunting. Whether you're a paranormal novice or an experienced investigator, you'll be well-looked after and treated like family.

This is an honest ghost hunting experience, so there won't be any fakery or trickery during the night. We believe that if activity happens, it happens for real.

On your ghost hunt, you will be split into smaller groups to give you the best, personal experience possible. You will also get hands on with various pieces of ghost hunting equipment and participate in interesting paranormal experiments.
​ While we encourage everyone
to get involved in the night's vigils, you don't have to partake in experiments like Ouija Boards and the Estes Method if you don't
want to, we have plenty of other equipment for you to use.


You will also have a break during the night, where we provide you with unlimited refreshments and snacks.

 

YOUR EVENT INCLUDES

  • Group photo of all guests which gets published to our page

  • Small group extended vigils

  • Refreshments and snacks like teas, coffees, hot chocolates,
    bottles of water, biscuits, crisps and chocolate bars

  • Full use of ghost hunting equipment like K2s, EMF Meters,
    REM Pods, Mel Meters, Spirit Boxes, Motion Detectors,
    Dowsing Rods, Laser Grid Pens, ITC Apps and SLS Cameras

  • Paranormal experiments like Ouija Boards, Glass Divination,
    Table Tipping, S
    éances, Estes Method and Human Pendulum

  • An introduction to ghost hunting equipment and techniques
    for guests new to the paranormal

PLEASE NOTE BEFORE BOOKING

  • All attendees MUST be 18 years or older

  • Heavily pregnant women are NOT allowed on these events

  • This location is NOT wheelchair accessible

  • This location has NO sleepover facilities

  • We operate a STRICT No Alcohol/Drugs Policy on our events, and if caught or believed to be under the influence of any alcohol or drugs, you will be removed from the event immediately and banned from all future events - No refunds

  • All attendees MUST bring a torch to the event, as we will be investigating in dark areas and low light conditions

  • Sensible footwear is required for the location's environmental conditions

  • In the colder months we advise to wear warm layered clothing, and bring a warm coat with you as the night will get cooler as the event progresses

  • History tours are NOT provided at this location, but we will talk briefly on the location's past

  • Ouija Boards are brought to events at this location, however we don't force you to take part in them

  • Please ensure you are able to attend this event; deposits are non-refundable and non-transferable, and full payments and remaining balances are non-refundable and non-transferable
    four weeks prior to the event date

ADDRESS, EVENT TIMES & PARKING

ADDRESS: The National Justice Museum, High Pavement, Nottingham NG1 1HN

EVENT TIMES: 9:00pm - 4:00am (arrive at 8:45pm and wait patiently outside until a member of our team greets and registers you at the door)

PARKING:

  • Lace Market Car Park

  • NCP Nottingham Maid Marian Way Car Park

  • Broad Marsh Car Park

  • Local Street Parking

Please note parking charges may apply.