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.