We had a quick pint before we went on our ghost hunt.
On tour we watch countless episodes of Most Haunted with hard smoking Liverpudlian Derek Acorah and his spirit guide Sam. We love it, it's one of the funniest TV shows ever and now we had a chance to recreate the show in Newport and Eggsy was going to be my spirit guide.
We arrived at the entrance to Newport Market by the Cross Keys pub with the sounds of Mustang Sally blasting out of it on the karaoke machine.
Gareth (the head ghost hunter) with Eggsy.
We were greeted by the key master and let through the iron gates. Newport market was closed for business but it was far from quiet, you could still hear the karaoke and it was pretty bad too. We weren't here for meat or vegetables, we were here to catch some ghostly activity. As we walked in we were met by Gareth the head ghost hunter. Gareth has been investigating for 9 years after having what he called some "odd experiences", but had never actually seen a ghost. Upstairs Gareth and his team had set up a hub of high tech equipment and there were a number of people of various ages buzzing around. It looked like they had robbed cash converters. The team had been setting up cameras and video equipment for some time, they even seemed to know what they were doing too. There was also a range of hand held electrical items laid out on a desk, things like a four in one meter, a head torch, digital trifield emf meter etc, all the usually stuff to help find a ghost or two.
After a quick health and safety briefing and a conversation about whether or not steam is a ghost, we went on our first walk around looking. Amanda and Daniel (Daniel was a girl) took us down to the basement. They have been looking for ghosts for over a year. They told us they had heard whispers and screaming but had never seen anything and they also agreed that steam isn't a ghost. In the basement they showed us some of their equipment and we showed them ours.
Female ghost busters with Eggsy in the Basement.
Eggsy had been given a carbon monoxide sensor in case a ghost tried to gas us and I had a flash light for seeing ghosts if it was too dark. We were told that the basement of Newport Market used to be a slaughter house so we turned off the lights and made animal noises to try to communicate with the dead.
We had been in the building for about 20 minutes and hadn't seen a ghost yet.
Eggsy checks for ghosts with a carbon monoxide sensor.
Back on the ground floor Amanda told us a ghost story, a woman came to get some jewellery fixed and died and then came back to get it as a ghost……. there was more to it than that I think but it wasn't that scary, so we called out to the old woman. She didn't reply.
Searching for ghosts in the tower.
The four of us moved upstairs to the office area then on to the third floor and into the tower, still no ghosts. Eggsy was looking worried. It turned out he had seen a film in the 80s called "The Entity" where a ghost "interfered" with someone and he was a bit scared the same thing may happen to him. The girls knew what we meant but assured him we would be safe with them. We went higher up the tower into an area that looked like murders and dismemberments had taken place but all we found were some dead pigeons.
The girls told us banging had bean heard in these rooms when they last did an overnight ghost hunt here. We continued our accent to the top room of the tower. Suddenly Eggsy remembered his next door neighbour had owned a stall in the market, his name was Roy Treharne. Roy was now dead so the four of us took turns calling out to Roy and his dog. After a good five minutes we were going to give up, and then we heard a noise, a soft bump, was this Roy? The walkie talkies buzzed into action, there was much confusion and as word came back from the hub it appeared we were in the tower alone.
Calling out to Roy.
It must have been Roy or his dog trying to communicate with us! The girls logged the incident and it was time to return to the hub, we were all excited and very pleased that we had made contact. When we got back we discovered that other members of the group had been in the base of the tower and heard us calling out. They didn't want to scare us and the noise we heard was a door closing as they left.
It had been an intense forty minutes ghost hunting and it was time to review the evidence. We hadn't seen anything. We hadn't felt anything either and the only noise we had heard was made by living humans. In fact it turned out that over the nine years of investigating none of the team had seen anything remotely like a ghost.
Back at the hub.
Gareth showed us a blurred picture taken on their last visit to Newport Market. I guess it could have been a ghost if you squinted really hard. We thanked the ghost hunters and called time on our ordeal. Eggsy didn't get interfered with, which was a shame, but we had been assured that steam is not a ghost so we left feeling we had learned something. Eggsy and I repaired to the dark streets outside.
As we left the market the karaoke was still pumping and the streets were alive with night time revellers. We suddenly realised that the outside of the market on the walk home was a lot scarier than the ghost hunt and that the living are in fact a lot more frightening than the dead.