Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Fright Night!

Cold, biting winds picked up across the parkland, drawing in a veil of oppressive clouds intermittently pierced by javelins of eerie light. From the rooftops of the Gothic mansion, gargoyles snarled menacingly at the circling crows that began to descend and gather on the windswept lawns and a herd of anxious looking deer watched as we made our approach on a long gravel drive.

 
 
 
Our arrival had not gone unnoticed. Just as the sun went down the main door of the mansion creaked open and a boney finger beckoned us in. We were assembled in the Great Hall to commence the Knebworth House Ghost Tour.

The richly decorated Gothic interior boasts dark, heavy woods, sumptuous fabrics, an impressive armoury, creaking floors, narrow corridors and hidden doors within a library full of occultist books. Pretty much everything you'd expect from a haunted house is here including a creepy children's bedroom full of sinister toys and life size dolls that looked like Cousin It!

There were ghost stories galore in every room. The loud door knocking spirit, the ghost of the Yellow Boy who emerges from the fireplace to tell you how your life will end via mime, the Old Gardener ghost who tinkers with the electrics, the stairwell spectres that push past you on the staircases and the ghost of the poor scullery maid who fell three floors into the sewer, Pee-yoo!

 

My eye sockets ached from not only adjusting to the dim atmospheric light within the mansion but also from eye-rolling when one of the attendees insisted that they felt a different presence in each and every room. We found ourselves suppressing fits of impish silent giggles at the back of the group. Did we find it amusing or were we influenced by the spirits of tittering corn children!?

After a rather hearty supper provided by our hosts we were ushered out into the darkness to walk the Lutyens designed gardens and begin a Bat Watch as the second part of our evening. Bearing in mind that it was pitch black outside, photographic evidence is rather slim or grainy. Several members of the local Bat Conservation group were on hand to educate us in the ways of the flying mice and introduced us to some teeny weeny injured Pipistrelle bats they were caring for. One of the poor blighters had only one wing, I suspect the other was pickled along with eye of newt by a local whiskery faced lady with a warty nose!

 
 
Our walk into the darkness was lit only by the occasional candle to stop us from falling face first into the bushes. Unfortunately I had been holding the bat detector that we were issued with upside down for the first 10 minutes but soon enough the blood thirsty suckers were swooshing overhead looking for the nearest pulsating jugular.....or perhaps a just a midge!

 
 


Thankfully, we didn't see any spooks on this trip but a frightfully good time was certainly had by all.

35 comments:

  1. Paul, that was such a fun fright night adventure! :)

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    1. Certainly was Pamela, funny and creepy at the same time:).

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  2. I see you're getting us ready for Halloween. Cool shots, Paul! Would love to see interior photos of the house.....especially of the creepy dolls.

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    1. Photography inside was prohibited Loi, I was tempted to take a few sneaky shots but didn't want to go the way of the scullery maid!

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  3. Paul, I forgot to tell you, great photos and too bad that Batman did not show up that night I.e. a certain handsome fellow Brit, Christian Bale. A photo of him would be lovely! Good night! :)

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    1. Funnily enough, I do believe part of Knebworth House was used as a location for the 1989 Batman film with Michael Keaon. Sorry Pamela, no Christian Bale appearances, only creepy dolls:)

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  4. Creeeeepy! Great photos to get one in a spooky mood. I don't like bats even though they are very helpful to the environment! They scare me, flying about in the dark. Pamela

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    1. The local bats here are little tiddlers and in the summer evenings they fly all over our gardens snacking on flying insects, I quite like watching them!

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  5. oooo scary....have you looked at your photos to see if there were spheres or orbs...or is that just in New Orleans???

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    1. I'm sure one of my fellow attendees saw an orb and another orb and another orb:))

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  6. Paul, what a trip! I would have died if I saw one little bat! The pics are excellent considering it was so dark. We went on a tour of Alcatraz Prison one time and they shut us in a solitary confinement cell and that cured me of going anywhere near dark places..Happy Wednesday..Judy

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    1. Now that is creepy Judy, that would freak me out a little!

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  7. Wow, you captured some AMAZING shots there! Eerie but beautiful at the same time. =)

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    1. I was quite pleased too Liz, the wobbly shots shown in context here look quite smart:)

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  8. Hello Paul

    What a fun night and scary too. I feel empathy for the one winged bat.

    Great pictures

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    1. I'm with you Helen, the Bat conservation group are very serious about their work and it was in very capable hands.

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  9. Love your creepy shots Paul especially the one of Knebworth's turrets lit up in a golden glow. It is the turrets that I always recognise when the house is used as a TV location. They make me think of eastern minarets, which is quite likely given, the families Indian connections.

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    1. Thanks Rosemary its amazing how no light and an unintentional wobbly hand can help when taking creepy shots. It was a first visit for us to Knebworth but now I have seen those exotic turrets I will keep an eye open for them on film.

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  10. What fun! You certainly are in the halloween spirit.

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    1. We certainly are Julie, our studios become the 'Nightmare before Christmas' at this time of year with Halloween and Autumn commissions really getting us in the mood to have lots of spooky fun.

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  11. what a fun post! How better to celebrate Halloween than in a haunted castle!
    Nancy
    Powellbrowerhome.com

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  12. Great seasonal post! Even though there was some eye rolling this Knebworth House Ghost Tour sounds like great fun. We used to have lots of bats in the belfry of the church up the street, but they must have closed it off, because we rarely see them now.

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    1. The tour was incredible fun Jennifer and the gifted attendee actually made it even more fun, I did wonder at one point if it was part of the tour. I wonder what happened to the bats in the belfry, I'm sure your garden would have attracted lots of pollinating insects to draw in the bats at night.

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  13. Paul, You had me mesmerized with this post. Perfect for Halloween. You are brave. I'm not sure I'd be up for that night tour. Sounds a bit scary. Love the bats though! They are so cute. They are actually great for your yard and a lot of people here have bat boxes to encourage them. Great bug eaters! My boys would love that bat detector...

    Looking forward to seeing more of your gorgeous wreaths too.
    Have a good weekend!
    Kim

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    1. It wasn't too scary really Kim, lots of fun though. The boys would have been much better at using the bat detector than I was, holding it the right way helps for starters! I'm sure I'll pop a wreath or two on the blog before the years out:)

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  14. Really cool post and pictures. Are all bats bodies that tiny? It looks so cute.

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    1. The pipistrelle bat above is one of the smallest bats of the 17 species we have in the UK, our largest being about twice the size. If you really want to go large, Asia has it's flying foxes with 2 metre wingspans, perhaps not so cute:)

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  15. Paul,

    What an adventure! It sounds like it was creepy, scary and not something for me.

    I am a wimp when it comes to scary, ghosty things.

    I hope you are having a great weekend, Elizabeth

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    1. Me too Elizabeth, if I would have actually seen 'anything' resembling any of the characters in the stories we were told I would have been out of that mansion quicker than you can say.....Boo!;)

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  16. Paul, I would have loved to gone on that ghost tour. How much fun! I don't mind bats, either...too much. Sometimes,we watch them from our deck catching mosquitoes. Good bats.
    Thanks for sharing your fun tour and for visiting my spooky foyer post.
    Babs

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  17. OOoh! Perfect haunted house! Fun for a dark and stormy october night. Waaaaahahahaha!

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  18. Paul, you have restored by desire to go on a real ghost tour again. I enjoyed your post very much! Sounds like you had a great time. The "ghosts" houses here in America, as least in my area, are lame and filled with movie spin offs to include loud chain saws {The Texas Chain Saw Massacre} which are always annoying, Freddie Kruger and Jason always chase you, and basically "gore" seems to win over mystery. I'll have to dig to find a true Haunted House, but I do hope it comes without the BATS ;-)
    JoAnn

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