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Nottingham Castle

Take a Look Inside the Haunted Museum, Nottingham's Spookiest Spot

27 June 22 words: Marta Tavares
photos: Curtis Powell

The fear of ghosts and other supernatural creatures, known as phasmophobia, can conjure up a mixture of feelings. For some, hearing ghost stories brings with it the giddy thrill of anxiety, or that feeling of enjoyment mixed with excitement that comes with the fear-fuelled rush of adrenaline. Having moved from its original home in Mapperley to Hopkinson on Station Street, The Haunted Museum has become Nottingham’s one-stop-destination for those of us brave enough to face the fear head on. We spoke with Marie Wesson, a supernatural investigator and owner of the museum, to find out more…

The idea of a Haunted Museum was never on the cards until the day Marie and Steve Wesson, who had been collecting supernatural items for seventeen years, realised their house was too small to host so many artefacts.

A home to evil spirits, more than a thousand haunted items, possessed dolls and a promise to turn each and every visitor mad, the Haunted Museum in Nottingham is ranked the 29th most haunted location in the United Kingdom.

The previous Haunted Museum in Mapperley was initially used to store the items and to investigate the paranormal side of them, before the Wessons made the decision to open it to the public in 2018.

The haunted items went on a road trip last September when the Museum moved to Hopkinson near the train station. The building in Mapperley had become too dangerous, planning permission was needed for every minor detail, and lockdown didn’t help matters.

Many of the museum’s visitors are initially scared to enter, but as Marie says, “It’s all about educating yourself, because there isn’t much to be scared of. You’re always scared of what you don’t know, but by walking around here you can educate yourself more on the paranormal. It opens your eyes.”

How daring and bold would you have to be to go inside a place that might contain ghosts or cause you nightmares? According to Marie, some of the visitors say that they get scratched during their visits, something which she claims to have witnessed first-hand. Others feel sick and dizzy - but the reaction is different for everyone, depending how open to the known and unknown you may be.

Among the scariest items in their collection are the voodoo dolls, because of what they represent, and how they’ve been used in the past. For the uninitiated, a voodoo doll is a life-like effigy of a person in which pins were inserted in order to inflict real-life damage, and were found in the magical traditions of many cultures around the world. But their lack of knowledge about the voodoo side of the paranormal has made Marie and Steve extra wary about the items. “If I don’t understand something I don’t trust it,” she explains. “And in my job the unknown is what I go looking for. I always go deep with everything, so If I don’t understand I am more standoffish about it. That’s what we do, we look for everything and anything.”

Everyone is welcome to the Museum. Whether you want to learn, overcome fears, or kill that curiosity inside you. Whether you’re a sceptic or not, the museum and its contents should be viewed in perspective, and visitors should mind how they behave: “Ultimately, you’ve got to respect the spirits,” Marie says. “If you don’t respect them, then they’re not going to respect you back.”

The couple host paranormal events that are open to only six members of the public at a time. Using the latest technology, they claim to have had experiences ranging from being scratched, seeing and feeling things, having tables tip over and even having members pass out. On top of that, Marie explains how she’s had tables tip over.

Events are held every weekend up and down the country, so Marie and Steve are everywhere to investigate, usually between the hours of 8.30pm to 2am. Once in a while, events take place in the Haunted Museum, but you have to be quick to get tickets, as they tend to sell out in the blink of an eye. The next is scheduled for August, but sold out within two hours. Good news for Marie and Steve, less good news for those who procrastinated in buying.

A lot of the exhibits that can be found in the Haunted Museum have been donated over the years, especially from foreign countries where Marie and her husband Steve have investigated paranormal activity, from exorcism kits and vampire hunting kits to a rare Czech ghost story from Prague. If you’re brave enough, head down and check it out for yourself. 

The Haunted Museum is open Monday – Sunday from 11pm to 6pm. Entrance costs £8 per person 

thehauntedmuseum.co.uk

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