Date: Saturday 11th March. Time: 5 pm to 9 am Sunday 12th March.
Location: The True Crime Museum, Hastings
Teams: Asylum 666 and Paranormal Antics
On-site: 9 members
In the many years that I have been connected with the paranormal, I have been privileged to spend the night in some really fabulous locations but also some odd ones. Last night was no exception. The Asylum team were lucky enough to be invited on a team only event to Hastings, East Sussex.
1066 country and a place that I went to school in for some time, albeit a very long time ago.
The True Crime Museum in Hastings is “A SHOCKING new attraction for everyone fascinated by the dark world of CRIME" and houses the LARGEST collection of Crime Memorabilia in the UK. Although, I have spent the night in Littledean Jail and I would argue this statement.
So, with an invite in hand, a team of five headed down to the South coast to spend the night - 16 hours to be exact, locked in 3,000 sq ft of caves. Once there we were joined by Paranormal Antics, who had a team of 4.
Upon arrival, we were greeted by a fantastically knowledgeable young man, Liam who gave us a quick tour of the caves and the museum before the lights went off. Although we had not done any research on the venue or the objects it was difficult to remain unaware of the history and stories connected. Liam pointed us in the direction of a number of items he thought could be worth a watch throughout the night.
Shortly after 5 pm, the lights went out. We were then on our own until 9 am the next morning. One thing became very apparent quite quickly and that was the cold.
I had a plan in place. I was determined to find out whether the venue was haunted or indeed the objects. My pre-conceived thought was that with that many ‘original’ crime memorabilia on display surely residual energy would still be connected. As the night went on we found ourselves questioning this more and more.
I have to add at this point that there was one room in this museum that actually freaked me out and to begin with I had a hard time just stepping in.
Amelia Dyer - The baby farmer
Our first port of call was to visit the glass cabinet which housed the bodice of serial killer Amelia Dyer. Her black velvet and lace bodice was proudly on display along with a photograph and a brief intro into her story. Having read her intro we began to, as parents debate the reasoning and why of this particular woman, I would call her lady but I don’t personally believe that she deserves that title. There were very mixed opinions about this serial killer and we tried to look objectively at the times, the hardship and the reasoning behind how a woman could have killed over 400 children in a time span of 20 years!
Amelia Dyer was hung in June 1896.
Amelia had advertised for children to be placed into a safe home with a loving family for those who were unable to look after their children, in return for a one-off payment. It transpires that she later sold the child's clothes and murdered or starved the children to death.
Wikipedia has a really interesting write up about her, her life and times and her downfall. Check it out here Amelia Dyer
So, here we were stood around the glass cabinet with our notepad and voice recorder and we began to debate and call out to any possible residual energy that may have lingered. It was at this moment as we were actually sympathising about the change in era, time and circumstances that we heard, what we thought was a female moan behind the team.
However, despite various attempts to call out, address Amelia and engage her in the debate, we had no other activity.
Dr Bodkin Adams
This case caused a huge debate on whether Dr Bodkin Adams was indeed a mercy killer or a murderer, both in reality and within our team. Personal items such as his medical bag and syringes were on display.
132 of his patients left him something in their will.
Adams had connections in high places and upon his trial, a nolle prosequi (do not prosecute) was entered into. Adams was therefore acquitted. Again, Wikipedia has a great entry regarding Dr Bodkin Adams, you can read more here John Bodkin Adams
During our discussion, there was a very sweet smelling perfume smell that appeared and upon closer inspection, it seemed to move around the room then disappear. Now, I did smell each person standing next to me to rule out the fresh scent of washing powder. It raised no concern.
Again, this was a debate that got us thinking and discussing. The majority of the two teams believed he was a murderer, two of us, including me, believed that he was either a mercy killer or just very unlucky!
John George Haigh - The Acid Bath Murderer
This was one display that I knew about before we entered the venue and one that I have to admit did concern me. Six original carboys that contained the sulphuric acid from Haigh’s workshop stand in the museum today.
You couldn’t help but notice that there was an eerie feeling in that corner, after all, these carboys had contained the sulphuric acid that removed the traces of his victims. John George Haigh believed that without a body, there was no evidence. This was not to be.
Our night was full of debates, why, how, when and what on earth made them do it and yet again this was just another gruesome moment in time, albeit not that long ago in comparison to some of those that we had discussed.
You can read more about these terrible deaths here The Acid Bath Murderer
It quickly became apparent that we were not alone. However, this was not because of the spirits, dead people or objects. The building itself sits below an old hotel, now converted into flats and the outside contamination was very high. For example, at 5.30 this morning I could hear two women speaking and upon further investigation found that there were two people sitting outside the back door, which was also a fire exit.
From 5 pm until approximately 1 am we found the noise levels to be responsible for, I personally would say, 90% of any evidence we may have had.
One particular moment though I could not explain. This was definitely inside the building and not outside. We were all joined together in The Death Chamber and as clear as day there were footsteps, these came and went but not long after we heard what sounded like someone running, heavy-footed towards us and then stop. Nothing. Complete silence. There was definitely no-one there.
The Death Chamber
Now, I just briefly mentioned The Death Chamber, a small room off of the main museum which housed four objects. A real-life execution bed, the skull of French serial killer Louis Lefeuvre, a noose used to hang two men, John Louis Constantine and a man called Wasyl and finally a bath that was allegedly used by John Child’s, contract killer.
There were a number of victims names on the bio and we attempted to make a connection through speech. This was an odd moment, grunting, moaning and a feeling of touch all take place. I always find it very difficult that these stories are relatively “new”. Read more
They took place not that long ago and that this is someone’s father, brother and son and I like to keep that thought in place as we go about our investigation. It was while we were inside The Death Chamber that shadows were reported to be moving outside, Roxy from Paranormal Antics had been touched and Sam had her ear poked.
The sound of footsteps was always very apparent when inside this room but they were external.
Some of you may know that I speak French - we tried an interaction with Louis Lefeuvre and his skull - which had been guillotined and on display yet our findings drew a blank.
Paranormal Antics are a technology-led team who record and report their findings. You can check out their Facebook page here Paranormal Antics
Throughout the night they used various equipment and I am really hoping that they have captured something ( I know they will share it if they have). Watch this space. Our attempt on the ouija board proved unsuccessful. Not a thing, it was dead!
I was fascinated to see how we would cope through the night especially as we were on a sleepover. We were armed with sleeping bags and pillows and found the most comfortable place in the museum - the cinema room. It was freezing and damp.
We bedded down and the initial mind play came in, some refused to sleep, some thought that they wouldn’t be able to stop watching the door and some just slept like babies automatically. A number of shadows were reported to have been seen moving but before long, each and every one of us managed to get at least an hours sleep.
We survived! As daylight began to break and the pigeons began to get noisier we began to pack up. Our team was ready to go home.
We were photobombed - who’s the guy in blue? LOL
This report is my own personal thought on the night and my findings and for me, personally, I don’t believe that the location is haunted nor that the objects have held onto their owners energy, a lot of what we experienced had a rational explanation and the rest I would put down to psychological tiredness and a willingness of something to take place.
I do have EVP sessions to go through so something may be flagged up yet.
However, I know that a lot of people had their own experiences and unexplained moments and I am sure they will share those with you if you ask.
We had a few of our regular team members missing last night and know that you were missed.
I have to say a big thank you to Paranormal Antics and The True Crime Museum for offering me and my team the opportunity to stay at such a unique place.
If you find yourself in Hastings then be sure to check out the museum - it is well worth it!
I also have to say a HUGE thanks to Will and Oz for driving us safely there and back and for putting up with our Sandy.