WITH Halloween just a week away, a visit to Crumlin Road Gaol is always the perfect preparation to get your annual fix of all-things spooky and paranormal.
Putting aside the history of the building which has played such a part in the story of the city, this year’s Halloween events at the former North Belfast prison began on Friday the 13th of October – a date which seemed fitting for myself to go along and check out what this year had to offer.
Myself and my girlfriend were booked to arrive at 8pm and I must firstly commend the excellent staff who were very attentive and extremely pleasant in sorting out our wristbands, despite the long queues for the opening night of this year’s Halloween tours, and not to mention, the awful weather.
First up, was the brand new Jail of Horror – described as Belfast’s number one gruesome scare attraction. It certainly lived up to its billing.
The tour, which lasted around 15-20 minutes was certainly quite the terrifying experience which would make the bravest of visitors jump.
The tour has flashing and strobe lights throughout and is pretty loud from all the goings-on around you. The actors are fantastic with their scare tactics which adds a lot to the experience – from evil witches to clowns – it has everything you could imagine on a scare tour.
The Jail of Horror concludes with you being trapped in a room with a man with a chainsaw. If that’s too much for you, you can grab a pint or a nice coffee from the bar as you finish. The tour is intense and full of jumpy moments but well worth going on to get you in the mood for Halloween 2017.
The second Halloween event at the gaol this year is the return of the hugely popular Paranormal Ghost Hunt tour, which I couldn’t wait to do again after my first time last year.
Lasting roughly an hour, the ghost hunt tour is much improved from last year and with more opportunities to interact with those spirits – it is very much a hands-on experience with the group with real life experiments with paranormal investigating equipment.
My tour guide was simply fantastic. Robert Murtagh demonstrated an in-depth history and knowledge of the 150-year history of the gaol and ensured it was a fantastic experience for everyone in what was a large group.
This year’s tour featured a visit to more areas of the building than ever before where paranormal activity has been reported and sighted including The Tunnel, Gaol Circle, C-Wing, Hangman’s Cell and many more.
It is essential to go into the tour with an open mind and for the sceptics, there is a good chance your mind will be swayed. My advice is listen to the paranormal history and embrace the tour. It is well worth it.
Sightings, noises and unexplained happenings. Are you brave enough to go ghost hunting or tour the Jail of Horror this Halloween? I could not recommend it highly enough.
Both events run right up to Halloween on October 31. Booking is essential- call 028 9074 1500 or visit www.crumlinroadgaol.com