With it's history of imprisonment, death, and misery, Derby Gaol is a strong contender for the title of 'Most haunted Place in Derby'. Over the years, there have been many paranormal occurrences and sightings reported. This part of the site aims to detail just some of them.
According to the owner and staff at the Gaol, the sightings and incidents tend to occur mostly from around October through to December and then tail off until June and July when they pick up again.
The Gaol's current owner, Richard Felix has had several supernatural encounters himself at the Gaol, including this following event: One Friday afternoon in November several years ago, Richard was standing in the kitchen of the Gaol talking on the phone, when a figure walked down the corridor past him. The grey haze was in the form a person, which glided down the corridor and vanished at the bottom. The experience shook him up so much that he was unwilling to hang up the phone and brave leaving the Gaol alone. He returned the following year on the anniversary of the sighting at the same time and waited. This time however, he saw nothing.
During the revamp and restoration of the Gaol, one of the builders was working in the cells. Twice during the Saturday afternoon, the cell door closed by itself while he was in there. whether or not this heavy door could have been moved by a breeze had there been one is a matter for debate. The same builder also had to leave the room several times on account of feeling sick - something he attributed to the coffee he had consumed earlier that day!
Many other visitors have also felt sick in the same cell, including Yvette Fielding from Living TV's 'Most Haunted'. She also had to leave the cell during their investigation after feeling sick and emotional.
Some people find themselves unable to go into the cells, reporting bad feelings. Some that do, later leave hurriedly, telling of suffocating feelings, being 'pushed down', and feelings of darkness and sickness. One visitor was so badly affected that she was physically sick.
One gentleman claimed to have witnessed something rather disturbing in one of the cells: Namely two dead men hanging from a fixed beam inside the cell. The men were reported as facing the doorway, but turned slightly inwards towards each other, just hanging there. They appeared to have been approximately in their late twenties to early thirties.
The condemned cell has long been an area which has caused discomfort to visitors. Some people have reported 'neck restriction' and feelings of suffocation.
Two ladies on one occasion, left the Gaol in tears clutching their throats and feeling unable to breathe. The had felt that 'something' was around their neck. On the way out of the Gaol, they passed a figure standing by the door, whom they incorrectly assumed was an actor. He was bald and was wearing a sleeveless leather outfit which the ladies described as looking like a bodywarmer type garment. This same figure has also been seen in the dayroom, quite disturbing one of the female eyewitnesses who described it as 'evil' and 'a murderer'.
Another witness to this particular figure, was another contractor called Chris who was also working on the restoration of the Gaol. He sighted the figure while locking up alone one night. The bald figure was also described by him as wearing 'fancy dress' - a leather 'bodywarmer'. The figure walked away, passing through a cigarette machine and vanished through the wall.
A lady in a large 'Ascot' type hat has also been seen at a time when the Gaol was a drinking venue known as 'The Secret Place'. The figure walked down the corridor, through a door, and presumably up the steps beyond. The three men who had witnessed it, followed her. They opened the door and ascended the steps outside to the top, only to find a heavy carpet of snow. There was not a single trace of footprints to be found.
One lady decided to spend the night alone in the condemned man's cell. All was well until the early hours when she began to hear noises and footsteps. Something tugged her sleeping bag off, and as she made to grab it, she dropped her pillow. When she turned back, her pillow had vanished. She had to turn on her flashlight in order to try and find it, only to discover it near the cell door almost 10ft away from where she had dropped it.
After one of the Derby Ghostwalks several years ago, everyone was sitting in the dayroom finishing their dinner while their guide Peter finished his summing up for the evening. One of the diners noticed a figure suspended from the wood above the doorway, swinging gently behind the guide. The man thought at first that it was an actor, or one of the 'scares' from the tour. He soon realised this was not the case when no one else noticed the hanging figure.
There have been incidents of poltergeist activity in the Gaol. Cups and saucers moving or flying through the air. Richard Felix, the current owner, had a pair of original 18th century spectacles vanish, which turned up three months later by the main door in a very prominent place. Had they been there all along, they would have been spotted long before.
A man wearing a scarlet coat has been seen in the dayroom on several occasions, staring around, looking for something or someone.
Other figures have also been seen in the dayroom, standing by the door or the fireplace. Other sightings have been made of figures in the main corridor, including two children. A young woman with blonde plaited hair was sighted lying on a bed in one of the cells, terrified of the sinister man who was leaning over her.
As recently as June 2004, doors have been heard opening and footsteps are heard when no one is nearby or moving about. The smell of pipe tobacco has been reported. There are also reports of banging on walls and whispering.