Derby is considered by many to be the most haunted town in England and Derby gaol certainly has more than its fair share of ghosts. The cells themselves, underground, damp and lightless, seem to have desperation soaked into their walls. It is not difficult to imagine what it must have been like to be crushed into these dispiriting rooms, probably with killers and madmen, not knowing what your fate might be. With many crimes carrying the death penalty for most of the gaol’s existence, that fate would probably be twitching at a rope’s end, if the disease and damp didn’t get you first.
Photography is welcomed in Derby Gaol and a large number of people have been rewarded by the appearance of orbs on their images, either digital or film. These orbs have never been properly explained and cannot usually be matched to a flare or reflection in the room at the time. Sometimes two people will both take photos of the same thing at the same time and one picture will be covered in orbs and the other will show nothing. Sometimes they cover a person’s face, sometimes one particular area of a room, sometimes connected to a cold spot.
Shapes and mists are an everyday sight for visitors to Derby Gaol but something not experienced in every haunted location is the deep sadness that comes over some people, causing them to burst into inconsolable tears. This is hardly surprising, considering the suffering which must have taken place within the cells of the gaol and is more frightening in its way than any physical appearance of a spirit could possibly be. People affected have to leave the cells as quickly as possible and feel sad for hours afterwards. Sometimes, unearthly screams are heard from inside the gaol – no one knows what makes the noise as who would want to go inside when they sound?