For well over six centuries, Nottingham, England’s the Galleries of Justice, was used to judge and jail criminals of every sort. First, used by the Normans in 1375 CE as a headquarters for the Sheriff of Nottingham, made famous by the Robin Hood stories. Seventy years later in the 1440s, the building was turned into a prison. For centuries, men, women and even children were incarcerated and hanged for everything from failure to pay taxes to murder. The Normans were notorious for having little tolerance for people who broke the law. To them, if you committed the crime, be prepared to do the time…even if it meant the rest of your life.
Although the Galleries stopped taking prisoners decades ago, something of those old days remains. Many of the prisoners who met their fates behind it’s imposing walls still lurk among the shadows, and some areas are far more haunted than others. I will break down the areas of the Galleries where the unsuspecting visitors may just have an unforgettable brush with the inexplicable.
The entrance Hall of the Galleries is our first stop of haunted areas. Those courageous enough to spend any amount of time in the Entrance Hall have encountered three highly active phantoms. The first is a soldier who marches about the hall with a rather unpleasant scowl on his face. Before vanishing, he grunts at visitors as if he is displeased with the intrusion.
The second ghost in the Entrance Hall is a kindly gentleman in Victorian era clothing. He is said to be quite friendly as he greets visitors with a smile. The third ghost is a mean old woman who, unlike the gentleman, makes it noticeably clear that you are not welcome by yelling at people before fading away.
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When the Galleries of Justice were used as a court and prison, many criminals learned of their fate in the courtroom. Swift justice came down on their heads as they were either sent to dank prison cells to live out the rest of their days. While others had their day with the hangman at the end of a rope. Since the courtroom was the place where many met their destinies, it should come as no great surprise that it is haunted.
Guides, cleaning crew and visitors have reported various unnerving supernatural horrors in the Courtroom. Large balls of crackling lights have been witnessed zipping around the Courtroom regardless of the time of day. Large looming shadows that give off a feeling of dread and malevolence are seen lurking in the shadows. Perhaps the most unnerving activity of all is the disembodied screams for mercy by the defendants as they were dragged out of the court to their punishment.
The area of the Galleries of Justice that is rumored to be the most haunted is the least likely, the Chapel. The Chapel is said to be haunted by an ill-tempered ghost that tears the cross from the wall and throws it at people as they enter. Loud bangs on the wall accompanied by shrieks are heard throughout the day. Stones are thrown around the room, sometimes hitting people. Are these the spirits who begged god for forgiveness and found none? Quite possibly.
Today, the Galleries of Justice serves a much different purpose as a museum. And if your child is into the gloomy ambience of the Galleries, they can have their birthday parties among the methods of pain and torture. A bit of good macabre fun. Despite this, the Galleries of Justice do not take their spectral population lightly. The Galleries of Justice have a healthy respect for their ghosts..even during a child’s birthday party.
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