By David Keane
A ghost hunter claims to have caught footage of the white-faced ghoulish figure of a man hanged for murdering his young lover when she dumped him in one of the UK’s most haunted jails.
Tony Ferguson, 32, and his wife Bev, 50, were investigating Bodmin Jail, Cornwall, on Monday evening when they set down their camera for a moment, not far from the‘Execution Pit’.
Without realising it, they had positioned the camera in just the right spot to capture a ‘real haunting’ as a ghostly figure stalked past the end of the corridor when they weren’t looking.
Eerie footage, which Tony claims is inexplicable and is confident was a ghost, shows a white-faced figure dressed in black wander past while turning its head to the side to look towards the camera.
Only moments before, Tony had called out the name William from a plaque and the investigator believes the figure could be the ghost of William Hampton, the last man to be hanged at the jail in 1909.
Tony, from Southampton, said: “It was insane. I have investigated many locations and seen many things but never seen activity like this. I can’t explain it.
“It really shocked me and that doesn’t normally happen. I don’t normally get freaked out or scared.
“But I always try to remain sceptical about what I witness and try to debunk whatever I capture. That way I ensure it’s real as there’s possibly a normal explanation.
“But I think this is a real haunting. There are lots of residual spirits trapped there in the jail. Lots of seen this ghost in person around the place.
“He doesn’t acknowledge those who see him, which makes me think he’s just a residual haunting, trapped there.
“It was just by chance that we had put the camera down there and captured the moment he walked through.
“We weren’t able to debunk anything when we went back the next night, that’s what was so shocking.”
Tony is adamant that there was no one in the jail while they were there so is convinced that what he caught on camera was a real ghost.
After revisiting the jail on Tuesday evening and asking staff to check CCTV to ensure no one else came into the corridor, he claims the footage cannot be debunked.
Tony said: “The place was so active when we were there. We went back the next day to try to debunk it like I always do.
“When I went back there on the Tuesday night, there was a different feel to the place. It is as I built up a story of the location and built up a relationship with it.
“Spirits learn how you work and you learn how they work. But they were even more active on Tuesday. I felt dizzy, like they knew we were there now. It was very atmospheric.
“But there was no one there at all who could have walked past. We can’t work around people so we had the place to ourselves completely.
“Staff checked CCTV in the area near where the figure was spotted and they were shocked to see no one came in there at all.
“Believe it or not, I didn’t see it that night. I saw it in the morning when I started editing it. I thought what’s that. When I saw it, I was shocked by it.”
Since Bodmin Jail was built in 1779, there were 55 executions carried out there – most in the ‘Execution Pit’where William was hanged.
William, 24, had been convicted of the murder of his 16-year-old girlfriend Emily after she tried to end their relationship.
Henry Pierrepoint was the young man’s executioner, who was father to Albert Pierrepoint – the UK’s most famous hangman, who is thought to have hanged 435 people.
Tony said: “We were told it was the anniversary of William’s death on that day.
“The name came up when I was reading the plaques on the wall of the jail. When I read his name out a few orbs came out and the atmosphere changed.
“The lights even went out on their own. Even the technician on duty that day didn’t know what had happened as the lights stayed on upstairs so they couldn’t explain. They said nothing appeared wrong and they didn’t know why the lights had suddenly gone off where we were.
“We showed the people who work there the footage and they were shell shocked by it. They claimed that the activity had been quite quiet lately.
“We are going to do some research into William but what happened to us certainly matches up to things that others have experienced in there too.”
Rather than a chance encounter, Tony believes that in order to catch an apparition like this it is all about developing a relationship with the location and the spirits that haunt it.
Tony said: “I have seen lots of things at Bodmin before but I lost all of the pictures so I was pleased with this. I have a connection with the place.
“I investigate differently to other [paranormal] groups. I don’t use much equipment. I go in there and try to communicate with them and ask them things that are vital to them.
“This was why I was reading the plaques – I read out their names to get their attention. That’s 100% why I was able to catch something so clearly in this video.”
William was the last man to be hanged in Cornwall and the last hanging in the UK was in 1964.