The guys and gals of Ghost Hunters International are back with a brand new season and three new members. Wednesday night will bring viewers in to the land of Robin Hood. The Galleries of Justice is a museum of Crime and Punishment and is housed in the old Nottingham Shire Hall. The Galleries dates back to 600AD and is the base for Nottingham's original Saxon settlement. It’s not know whether the site was used for imprisonment in the dark ages due to the lack of written records (the first known records date back to 1375).
The Normans invaded and appointed Sheriffs as keepers of the peace and the collectors of taxes, dating back to 1125. However, there is currently no evidence to suggest they were based here from the beginning, but it’s known the site was referred to as the Sheriffs Hall, County Hall or the Kings Hall. Some believe it was the base of Robin Hood’s archenemy,the Sheriff of Nottingham.
There were many discussions the building needed renovations during the 17th Century. However, it took one of the courtroom floors collapsing in 1724 sending the solicitors, jury, public crashing in to the cellars to force their hand. The Hall was re-built between 1769 and 1772 designed by James Gandon from London and costing about £2,500. Centuries afterwards, more additions and renovations took place including additional wings, judges retiring room, barristers, robing room and the office for a clerk. There was also a working police station from 1905 to 1985. The courts officially closed in 1991.
Death by hanging was the main form of execution from Anglo-Saxon times in Britain until capital punishment was abolished in 1964. Up to 1868 all hangings were carried out in public, attracting large crowds looking for morbid excitement and carnival atmosphere. The modern expression Gala Day is derived from the Anglo-Saxon gallows day. After 1868 hangings were moved inside prisons. However, it didn’t stop crowds from gathering outside the gates to see the posting of the death notice.
Today, the Galleries contains the original cells, dungeons, 2 courtrooms, and medieval caves. A fully functioning Victorian courthouse was turned in to a museum. The Galleries of Justice Museum was founded in 1993 by the Lace Market Heritage Trust. The old Shire Hall had stood empty and forgotten for years, until an extensive fundraising campaign turned this gem in to the museum and opened its doors in 1995. Many locations have coveted the highest paranormal honor as the “Most Haunted Location in the World”. Has the Galleries of Justice earned the title?
The cell corridor is full of audio. Visitors have heard strange noises, including footsteps, doors slamming, and the sound of keys rattling. The entrance hall is believed to be the home of four ghosts, a Victorian gentleman, a soldier, and a lady wearing a long gown. The fourth is believed to be responsible for the cold spots. This spirit is believed to be of a little girl who is said to have visited the courts with her father who worked as a court official. She is said to been seen on the stairs and also playing in the Grand Jury room.
The courtroom (the largest of the two) is known for knocking sounds, and terrifying groans. Some have even seen black figures on the balcony. There are also reports of smelling rotting corpses around the large table used by the Clerks of the Court. This table is believed to have been used to lay out the bodies of the convicted convicts who had been executed to serve as an example to others.The Pits have been known to bring on a sudden illness to those who visit. Some have had to even leave the building. People have been touched and footsteps have been heard. Dark shadows have been seen on occasion.
It’s no wonder the Courtyard/exercise yard has it share of activity. Bodies are buried beneath the ground in this area. Many have witnessed and experienced strange sensations, and seen dark figures. The caves and chapel are believed to be the most haunted areas in the Galleries where remains of animal bones and other artifacts are located. A cross is sometimes thrown across the room. Noises, scratching and bangs have been heard. Dark shadows have been seen walking around the cave. People have been touched, and stones have been thrown at people.