Northampton's premier paranormal investigators lift the lid on the county's X-Files

Ghost investigators have opened the case files to Northamptonshire's most haunted destinations with findings of fallen bomber pilots from the spirit world, pub poltergeists and headless apparitions.

Saturday, 20th February 2016, 6:30 am
Michael York and Alex Duggan, otherwise known as UK Haunted, have lifted the lid on the county's X-Files.
Michael York and Alex Duggan, otherwise known as UK Haunted, have lifted the lid on the county's X-Files.

As science fiction drama the X-Files makes a return to the small screen this month the town’s premier paranormal investigators to shine a spotlight on the county’s scariest places.

Alex Duggan and Michael York, have been investigating spooky goings on in decaying buildings, ghostly graveyards and dank basements across the country, since forming UK Haunted in 2012.

Now the boyhood pals who met at Weston Favell College have more than 100,000 Twitter followers, with their homemade videos of paranormal investigations attracting a worldwide following.

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But the men are quick to state their studies are more than simple seances use scientific tools to scan radio waves, heat signatures, electro-magnetic fields and high frequency sound to back up their observations.

“We see ourselves as more of a technical, science team,” Alex said.

“It’s okay to say you have seen a ghost, or felt something, but we want to be able to back that up with evidence. We are not mediums or psychics.

“We have places rigged with cameras and equipment. If there are any spirits there, we will find them.”

UK Haunted in action.

Now the UK Haunted men have revealed the seven places their investigations have shown to have the most spirit “activity,” in Northamptonshire... with some surprising results.

Number 1: Boughton cemetery

The burial grounds around the 14th Century St John’s Baptist church, situated on the outskirts of Boughton village, have long been considered a ghostly hotspot.

Michael said: “I have seen so many spirits in there it is shocking, even in the daytime.

“You go through those creaky gates and you can see those old St John’s ruins there. You can’t help but feel there is something watching you - it doesn’t feel right.

UK Haunted investigated Boughton cemetery in March 2012 after hearing tales of a headless ghost roaming the grounds.

While they didn’t capture any apparitions on cameras the men claim to have seen two ghosts on the site.

The first, a woman in white robes “was standing at the bottom of the hill at the entrance to the church. “

UK Haunted in action.

And the second, which Michael saw, appeared to be a headless man “wearing a blue or black jacket and dark trousers.”

Number 2: Northampton and County Club

The cellars of the George Row venue adjoining County Hall led to one of the UK Haunted team’s most revealing investigations.

The men used a “spirit box,” a radio scanner which paranormal investigators believe can pick up voices from the other side, to hold a full on conversation with a spirit, which their research later revealed could have ben that of a downed bomber pilot.

The conversation was caught on film

“We had a name come through, “ said Alex. “He said he was called Bertie.

“We were asking him questions and he said things like ‘air raid’, ‘oil’, ‘plane’, ‘RAF’, ‘very scary’ and ‘help’.

“When we looked into it we found the pilot of a Sterling bomber had crashed nearby in World War Two and his name was Bernard. When we found that out we just couldn’t believe it.”

Number 3: Delapre Abbey

Previous ghost hunts have thrown up all manner of spirits at the 900-year-old former monastery in Northampton.

In 2011 Northampton Spiritseekers, which both Alex and Mike were members of, claimed to have witnessed the ghost of Mary Bouverie who died in the stable block there in 1943.

But when UK Haunted held a public event in the ruins back in December 2014, Michael says he was left shaken.

The spirit box picked up a male voice - which repeated the word “evil” three times - before adding “it was me.”

The men filmed the exchange using an infra red camera.

“I definitely think there was a bad energy there,” Mike said. “For some reason it really stuck with me for a while.”

Number 4: Overstone Hall

A devastating fire tore through Overstone Hall in the early 2000s, leaving the 18th Century House standing derelict.

But the creepy ruins, provided the UK Haunted men with a skin-prickling evening back in 2013.

In the cellars of the old hall the men found a key, which they then left on an old maid’s trolley, also abandoned in the basement there.

The men called out in to the dark asking: “Can you tell us what is on the trolley?”

Seconds later a voice came over the spirit box, saying “key.”

“It was just so loud,” said Mike.

“We were underground so there was no way the scanners could have just been picking up a stray radio wave.

“We like to use really controlled questions so there is lesser chance of the voice being explained by coincidence.”

Later when the men reviewed some photographs they had taken at the hall - a ghostly figure could be seen standing in an archway.

Number 5: The Old Black Lion pub

The 17th Century stone-built pub hides sinister secrets beneath its picturesque exterior in Black Lion Hill.

Situated next to St Peter’s Church and opposite the remains of Northampton’s Castle ‘Postern Gate’, the location has had many paranormal disturbances over the years, from reports of lights switching on and off, banging doors, voices and footsteps.

In 2013 Leicester based Leicester-based GSI Paranormal claimed to have heard loud voices from a woman called Elizabeth and saw glasses “explode” during a 36-hour vigil.

“We have been there many times,” said Alex. “If you spend some quiet time down there you can pick up so much activity.

“On one occasion this old bar crate just banged on the floor on its own, there was no reason for it.”

Number 6: The Old Red House

This abandoned 19th Century pub on the A43 near Hannington may not have the same wealth of history associated with Overstone Hall or Delapre Abbey. But Mike and Alex say the decaying building is a regular haunt - for ghosts.

In fact one spirit voice picked up by the men told them they would now enter the building because it was “too crowded.”

“We used to go there to test our audio equipment,” Alex said, “ There is that much activity there.

“We have taken so many readings from there.

“Once we went in and asked ‘can we have a drink’ and we heard footsteps running upstairs. There was no one else there but us two.

“Then on the spirit box we heard someone say ‘drink’.”

Number 7: Overstone Manor

Now a perfectly pleasant looking chain pub near Sywell, Overstone Manor is the last in a trilogy of haunted watering holes to appear on UK Haunted’s top seven.

The men had been called in to research the premises after pub staff had spotted a ghostly figure hunched over the bar on CCTV.

Back in 2012, Michael and Alex uncovered what they believe was quite an active poltergeist at the premises.

Michael said: “I remember saying can you make yourself known - and after about five to 10 seconds we heard the loudest bang from behind the bar. We later found it was a cupboard banging shut.”

The same night they moved into the sitting area, where there had been reports of a salt and pepper pot seen to have moved on CCTV.

There the two men used their equipment to make contact with a woman called Isabelle, who was 21-years-old.

They played her a Dame Vera Lynn record, and the ghost appeared to move around, like she was dancing, the men say.

“We also heard what sounded like a whistle from the other side of the restaurant,” Alex said. “We had about an hour of communication with Isabelle, before we decided to move to another area.”