Who's Fleecing Whom?

It was while surveying locations to ascertain just how haunted the UK is that a peripheral thought occurred to me; namely about the multitude of commercial ghost hunting groups that had proliferated in recent times. Were they value for money or were they hiking charges and if so, could this be quantified? They would book slots at haunted locations and then (in a crude sense) "re-sell" these tickets, with a mark-up.

These are the companies that issue forth tedious and tired old epithets exhorting us to pay to sit in the dark, with occasional punctuations by flashing, beeping gadgets or the unverified word of psychics. We are asked, "are you brave enough?" ... "dare you join us?" etc.

My comments on why I disregard the vast majority of findings of ghost-hunting groups can be found on another page. But there is another reason why commercial groups in particular won't deliver any believable evidence; they whip the participants up into such a frenzy of expectation that the smallest noise, coldest draught, muscular spasm or anything trivial is magnified into "definite proof" of ghostly behaviour. The immense power of suggestion (perhaps coupled with a tour of the building beforehand in which the hotspots are pointed out?) is enough to adjust the believer's perceptions and expectations. During the daytime, with no spook chasers around, such experiences would be dismissed as unimportant. At night they leap several orders of magnitude into the "significant" category.

So, how much do the ghost laden locations really cost? There was no way to find out ... unless you asked them, which I resolved to do fairly late in my Ghost Survey Project. Posing as a prospective hirer, I contacted all the venues of which I knew that had been offered by commercial ghost hunt companies for the their (expensive?) spectral shenanigans; unlike the results of my survey, I received an impressive number of responses. You can find my results in the table below.

I had already contacted a number of these places as part of my survey, and their comments are included; a number gave surprising results. But quite a few places were new to me. Why did I not contact them as part of my survey once I knew about them? There are a few reasons; the first was, after collecting data on haunted locations for 7 years I was suffering from "ghost fatigue." I felt that I had enough locations. The second reason is that most of these places were 'new', having only just appeared on the paranormal spectrum in the last couple of years. This was suspicious. Had they heard of the large revenue that paranormal tourism could generate and simply wanted to jump on the bandwagon? A few places did fit this bit. There were also a couple of locations that I contacted as a bogus hirer but not as a ghost researcher. Why? As I have said in my survey results, I didn't see the need to contact the very famous places because, naturally they'd say that "of course" strange things are still happening there. To admit otherwise would be tantamount to commercial suicide... maybe.

Contacting the places was straightfoward and obtaining costings was easy. A few of them said that a deposit would reduce with future bookings (a "loyalty" scheme); and a few asked for references from previous hosts. A few were suspicious however. Leeds City Museum told me, "I would be happy to speak with you further and go through our checking policy, this is due to the existence of a relatively small number of groups who we would rather not associate ourselves with, unfortunately we have also been made aware by West Yorkshire Police of a number of scams also involving paranormal groups." Preston Manor in Brighton no longer hired out because, "many of the paranormal groups where not abiding by our conservations directives and guidelines therefore putting our collections and the venue at risk." A few of the places just shrugged their shoulders; an instance of this is Stanley Palace in Chester, who had told me (as a researcher) that they had had groups in who had damaged their property - but despite this they still allowed groups to hire them (the description of this and other venues by the hirers would also seem to be grossly exagerrated and bears no relation to current reports either, almost certainly in an attempt to entice people to part with their money.)

The results of this small survey to elicit the mark-up costs was shocking. To give one example; a museum close to me was charging £200 for a 30 person group, plus team members of the company. This amounts to £6.67 person. So it was abhorrent to find that one commercial group was selling tickets at £35 per head - or over five times their original value! The organisers would no doubt bleat about their own overheads but one must seriously question any group that amplifies ticket prices so disgracefully. I won't point the finger at any specific companies for legal reasons; if you are interested, you can find their price lists with a quick internet search.

A few notes about the table: for clarity I have omitted the mention of a deposit (usually non refundable), any extras for tea, coffee, food etc., and VAT (which nearly all locations mentioned even if it was something like "the fee is £xx + VAT). Likewise, most locations insisted on Public Liability insurance (the maximum amount being asked was £10 million). Also note that as a researcher, contact with the venues was in nearly all occasions attempted twice, usually by email and then via Facebook. While I can't guarantee that my email didn't end up in spam, Facebook provides a notification if a message had been read, and they had been. I was usually guaranteed a fast, first time response as a potential customer. Money talks, apparently.

Note: The second column is hiring fees obtained by myself etc. posing as a potential hirer or commercialist (pale green); while the third (light cyan) is info gained personally by me for my ghost mapping project on whether locations had had any recent spectral events.
NB: Prices were obtained from April-August 2022; they may have changed in the meantime (as of October 24th 2022)


Venue name
Hiring information
My notes
Abbey House Museum,
Leeds
"You can hire Abbey house museum from 6pm till midnight for a maximum of 40 people at a cost of £800, this includes venue hire and staff costs." I was informed in November 2011 that, "there were lots of reports about things happening years ago but it is quiet on the haunted happenings front over the last couple of years. We have regular paranormal investigations but nothing exceptional has happened."
My Map Entry is here
Alcester War Memorial Town Hall "The time is usually 6pm to the early hours for a fee of £125. Both floors are available all evening and open to view, other than a cellar where the heating equipment is kept.The capacity of the hall is 100 upstairs and 50 people downstairs but the assumption is the groups would be much smaller for your type of group." The secretary and chairlady informed me that they have no knowledge of any paranormal activity being experienced, and they know of no resident who had ever experienced anything - and the chairlady even has no belief that such things exist at the hall!
My Map Entry is here
Allington Manor,
Grantham
"We can offer the hire of the house and its 6 bedrooms midweek for roughly £800.00. This would include breakfast for up to 12 guests the following morning."
Antwerp Mansion,
Manchester
The Manion's Website gives the following details: Friday and Saturday 8.30pm-3am £300. Sunday - Thursday 8pm-Midnight £150
Arundel Jailhouse I was told, "we charge £30 per head with a minimum payment of £450 for 15 people. Any extra people would be charged £30 per head. You can hire the venue from any time after 7 pm until the time you choose the following morning." Despite my best attempts to find out whether anything recent had been experienced at the venue, my messages were not answered.
My Map details are here
Ashbourne Town Hall "We hold these twice monthly at our Town Hall at a cost of £200. These are held on a Saturday only, from 6pm until 1am. The hire limit is 110 persons in the building." A number of rooms are available but as space is limited in some of them, they can only allow for small groups of 5 at a time.
Bannockburn House,
Stirling
"We would give team access from 20:00 in the evening, and public access from 21:00. And investigation closed at 02:00. We ask £550 for access to the house for this." The house has a policy of 30 people maximum for events, but recommend 24, which gives 3 groups of 7 or 8 people.
Beaumanor Hall,
Loughborough
The hall offers 5 floors to Paranormal groups, including a base room on the upper storeys. Hire normally starts at 11pm; from Sunday - Friday, the charge is £120.00 per hour from the commencement of the investigation until the early hours of the morning; Saturday is not normally offered but subject to availability, pricing can be offered.
Belgrave Hall,
Leicester
Up to the 35 people, the cost of hire is £800; for up to 15 people, it is £500. Ghost hunts are available from 8pm-2am, additional hours can be negotiated at a cost of £125 per hour after 2am Unfortunately the proprietors of the Hall did not respond to my queries asking about any recent phenomena:
My Map details are here
Bishton Hall,
Staffordshire
"Our hire fee for 2022 is £600 ... We allow around 30-40 people, perhaps in three groups. Times are flexible but generally 8pm until 2am."
The Black Swan,
York
The pub allows use of 3 of their letting rooms, including overnight accommodation for up to 9 people for £450 including breakfast. [This price seems reasonable when looking at the normal rates.] I was told by a member of staff in 2020 that they seem to be blase about the ghosts as she had worked for so long at the pub! She said that they have a little boy who moves things, a man dressed in riding gear and a phantom cat.
My Map details are here
Bodmin Jail "Our private hires are usually bookable from 21.00-03.00 but I can allow access for you to set up from 20.00. The cost currently for the hires are: £750 Sun - Thursday ; £1100 Friday and Saturday." The paranormal manager tells me that he is available "to accompany you on an investigation to allow you to receive up to date information, the in depth history in each area and each building and analysis of your captures,recordings etc in real time and help you understand information being received. This would incur a fee of £200 additionally and would also include VIP access to the basement area of the jail during your investigation." When asked about numbers, "We wouldn't recommend more than 40 [people] for quality. It would depend on your dynamics for the night." The proprietors of the Jail were contacted for my ghost survey but I received no response.
My Map details are here
Bolling Hall,
Bradford
The hall is available for hire for £769. The group sizes average 30 but there may be a smaller size due to covid. Entry is permitted from 7pm and everyone must be off site by 3am. In February 2020, the hall reported that they do still hear from visitors who have experienced something uncanny with claims of a pink lady on the stairs.
My Map details are here
The Bonded Warehouse,
Stourbridge
Groups have access to rooms on the top and middle floor. Room hire is from 6pm - 1.30am and costs £320. No tickets are to be sold to the public on the door, and the limit for attendees is 35.
Borwick Hall,
Lancashire
"The cost for hiring the hall on a self-catering basis is £25.50 per person per night for a minimum of 26 people. This cost does allow you to sleep in the hall if you wish to as the building is reserved for you from 2.00pm to 2.00pm. [sic]"
British Schools Museum,
Hitchin
The Museum charges £440 per visit (although this is expected to change), which allows "free reign" over the site from 6pm - 2am. When asked if anything odd had happened recently, the assistant curator told me in June 2022, "Personally, and with some of our volunteers, I’ve experienced cold spots, frigid patches in what has been otherwise hot summer days. I’ve always been told by some of the volunteers here that, throughout their time here since the late 90’s, they’ve heard talking and footsteps in the Girls School, when no-one was there but them."
My Map details are here
Brook Red Lion Hotel,
Colchester
"Our haunted bedrooms carry a charge of £100.00 for the night, use of our restaurant and cellars where there is activity is £500.00." In March 2020, the hotel informs me that they have regular reports of paranormal activity, ranging from sightings to televisions switching themselves on.
My Map details are here
Castle Menzies,
Perthshire
"We dont do overnight vigils. Normally a group will come in at around 8 and leave at 1/1.30 am. We anticipate a reasonable donation depending on the group size." Employee Scott McMaster told of several incidents over the past 5 years, including a woman singing in the victorian room, and a lady speaking to his dogs.
My Map details are here
Charlton House,
Greenwich, London
The owners charge £695 for access from 10pm-4am; extra hours are charged at £135 per hour. Maximum size is 40, plus team members. I contacted the proprietors of the building to ascertain its haunted status and received no reply.
My Map details are here
Chillingham Castle An information sheet, dated April 2021 says that the minimum charge was £1000 for up to 20 guests. Any above 20 are charged at £50pp up to a maximum of 25. This is for a 4 hour period. A 5% discount on accommodation will be applied if an overnight stay is needed. An evening meal can be arranged at £35pp.
However, I was told that the rates and timings aren't carved in stone and they can be lenient.
In February 2020, I inquired about any recent phenomena and was told that they have reports all the time from guests and visitors. They also said that people post to Facebook when anything has been experienced. But Facebook is not moderated and a lot of the reports are unconvincingly subjective and probably demonstrate unfamiliarity with cameras etc. and paredolia.
My Map details are here
City of Caves,
Nottingham
The Caves run by the Gallery of Justice, operate a multi-tier pricing scheme:
Fridays and Saturdays (exluding Christmas day, NYE and Halloween): 9pm-5am £600 (Loyalty discount £525);
9pm - 2am £500
9pm - 12 midnight £350

Sundays to Thursdays (exluding Christmas day, NYE and Halloween): 9pm-5am £400 (Loyalty discount £350);
9pm - 2am £350
9pm - 12 midnight £250

Halloween and NYE £800 (Loyalty discount £750)

A maximum number of 30 people are allowed
In January 2022 I was told that the National Justice Museum hire out their venues to Paranormal Investigators who "will have their own findings and experiences" and advised me to speak to one of the groups. When I emailed back asking if visitors or staff had reported occurrences at the caves during their day-to-day business, I received no reply.
My Map details are here
Clock Tower,
Warmley, Bristol
The fee is £280 per visit, with events starting at 7pm and going on until the group is ready to leave. The maximum number of people is 30 + team leaders.

I am informed on 24/10/22, the number of participants is 25 + team.
Cockliffe Country House,
Arnold, Nottinghamshire
"We would charge £500 for your venue hire between the hours of 8pm and 2am ... Our maximum capacity is 150 throughout the whole venue."
Colchester Castle Hire cost for the building is £1500. Access is to all areas but not the roof. The first event is limited to 30 guests. In the event of repeat bookings, the number of guests can be increased and the booking fee negotiated further. In February 2020, staff at the castle report that nothing paranormal has been recorded at the castle and all the stories are anecdotal, mainly from visitors.
My Map details are here
Colchester Town Hall Hire cost is £750 and there are no limits to guest numbers (apart from the building capacity which is 400 people).
The Commandery,
Worcester
"we charge £666 this is for 6 hours hire between the times of 6pm – 2am. We have a weight limit on some of the smaller rooms on the first floor so restrict those rooms to a maximum of 25 people. You could have up to 60 guests if you were happy to split into 3 groups whilst going round the building, the great Hall can comfortably seat 60 people to group and discuss or have a talk." I attempted to contact the establishment to ascertain whether anything paranormal had been experienced recently but my queries were not replied to.
My Map details are here
Daniels Mill and Oldbury Viaduct,
Bridgnorth
"Our terms are £10 per head (subject to a minimum charge of £200). We try to restrict numbers to a maximum of 25 given the size of the Mill ... For this the Mill and grounds would be exclusively available to you - generally any groups have arrived between 7 and 8pm and stayed until about 2am but we are entirely flexible on this"
Derby Gaol Two Jails are offered for night vigils; the famous Gaol in Friargate and the Venon Street Prison. The price per person is £45 (it isn't clear if this is one or both venues) including a pie and mushy peas (!) My Map details are here
Derby Museum and Art Gallery Due to an exclusivity arrangement in place, only private non-ticketed events are considered. "The usual hire charge for our venues would be £150 per hour, rising to £180 after 11pm, and is chargeable for each hour you would need to be in the building."
RRS Discovery,
Dundee
"Cost to hire the ship for an event like this is £500 for the evening. These events usually run from 9pm – 3am, with an hour to set up beforehand if you need it. Capacity for these events is usually your own team + 20 guests." I attempted to contact the proprietors to inquire about any recent phenomena but received no reply.
My Map details are here
Dudley Castle Two packages are offered by the Castle proprietors:
Overnight Ghost Hunt: includes hire of the castle grounds from 7pm-3am. A maximum of 30 people, including event organisers, for a payment of £600
Ghost Suppers: supper at the Queen Mary Restaurant and hire of the castle grounds between 7pm-1am. For between 20 and 40 people. The price seems to be £35 per head.
I attempted to contact the Castle to inquire of any recent paranormal reports but received no reply. The Queen Mary restaurant is also supposed to be haunted and I received no reply from them either
My Map details are here
Eden Camp,
Malton
"This year’s (2022) hire costs for paranormal investigations range between £400-£800, depending on length of time requested. (No earlier than 6.00pm, no later than 2.00am, maximum number of participants = 40.)"
The camp later emailed me hire fees for 2023. The conditions were as above, with the cost being £100 per hour, minimum time = 4 hours.
The EDGE Venue (Englefield Social Hall),
, Surrey
I was told, "We do a special rate of £175 for paranormal investigations. The restrictions of numbers would be a maximum of 30 guests. The timing will be from 18:00 until 02:00. After 23:00 the noise will have to go down due to local neighbours."
Elizabethan House Museum,
Great Yarmouth
"We generally book the museum out between the hours of 7pm to 2am, and most of our paranormal events take place on a Saturday. The current cost is £630 for your first booking, then £580 for bookings thereafter."
Falstaff's Experience/The Tudor World
Stratford Upon Avon
The website lists conditions for access by Paranormal teams: available from 8pm - 5am on Friday, and 10pm-5am on Saturdays with a recommendation of no more than 25 people including the team. The minimum price is £250 for up to 10 people, with £25 per person after this, with 4 team members free. I attempted to contact the establishment to inquire of any recent paranormal reports but received no reply.
My Map details are here
Fort Purbrook,
Portsmouth
The Fort hires out the tunnels and base room from 7pm – 2am. An evening investigation is £250.00 (for 20 people; £10 additional charge for every extra person). Additional spaces can be hired out as follows: residential block and courtyard - £75, additional room - £15, lower east chalk tunnel - £15, lower west shooting gallery - £15. I was also informed that, "Fort Purbrook is for hire by groups who have established a good customer relationship with the Trust." In Septmber 2020, the centre manager said that contacting paranormal teams might be the best bet to find out about any recent phenomena. He did admit that, "As for a staff point of view there hasn’t been anything to my knowledge or from talking to the staff or the teams that live on site."
My Map details are here
Fort Widley,
Portsmouth
The Fort hires out the tunnels and base room from 7pm – 2am. An evening investigation is £250.00 (for 20 people; £10 additional charge for every extra person). In Septmber 2020, the centre manager said that contacting paranormal teams might be the best bet to find out about any recent phenomena. He did admit that, "As for a staff point of view there hasn’t been anything to my knowledge or from talking to the staff or the teams that live on site."
My Map details are here
Galleries of Justice (National Justic Museum),
Nottingham
The Galleries run a multi-tier pricing scheme:
Fridays and Saturdays (exluding Christmas day, NYE and Halloween): 9pm-5am £775 (Loyalty discount £700);
9pm - 2am £650
9pm - 12 midnight £450

Sundays to Thursdays (exluding Christmas day, NYE and Halloween): 9pm-5am £500 (Loyalty discount £450);
9pm - 2am £425
9pm - 12 midnight £300

Halloween and NYE - £975 (Loyalty discount £900)

A maximum number of 40 people are allowed
My Map details are here
Great Fulford House,
Exter
The minimum fee is £500 ... which entitles you to bring up to 20 persons including yourself. "Normally groups arrive 1930/2100 and leave 0230/0300. All the 'Great Rooms' are available." I contacted the venue regarding recent paranormal phenomena and received no reply.
My Map details are here
Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse,
Norfolk
Offers access to 8 areas on a Friday and Saturday evenings, at a cost of £1000, from 6pm till 2am. The maximum number of people allowed is 40 plus your team.
The Groundlings Theatre,
Portsmouth
The establishment's website says that, "Hire costs Monday-Thursday 8pm-2am is £300; Friday-Sunday 8pm-2am is £400; Monday-Sunday 11pm-2pm is £250." Companies can come in from approximately 6pm to set up and can access the whole building. There must be a minimum of 2 organisers per event and a minimum of 2 organisers per 30 guests.
The Guildhall,
Sandwich
Four rooms are available to groups (Jury Room, Court Room, Council Chamber and Mayor’s Parlour) at a cost of £350; the guest allowance is 30-40 people from 7pm-2am.
Guys Cliffe House,
Warwick
There are two tiers of paranormal "package" available:
A full length event- the cost is £745, and allows for 32 guests plus a team of 6 from 7pm - 3am.
A shorter event - the cost is £600, and is available on any day other Saturdays from 7.30pm - 1am: maximum number of attendees is 32 people.
My map entry
King's Head Pub,
Guildford
The only time that the Kings Head would be available for such a vigil would be outside of trading hours...so after 00.30 Sun-Thurs & 01.30 Friday & Sat. I would say £500 including VAT for 8 hours. Unfortunately the pub did not respond to my query for any recent occurrences
My map entry
Jedburgh Castle Jail and Museum The Castle building is open from late March to the end of October for paranormal investigations; Friday or Saturday evenings can be offered a minimum of 6 hours, normally 8pm-2am. Standard fee is 6 hours - £375 plus £5 per guest; 12 hours is £650 plus £5 per guest; 24 hours is £1000 plus £5 per guest. No more than 35 guests including event staff unless special permission has been granted. I contacted the Castle and Museum in August 2021 about recent phenomena and was told of footsteps, doors opening or closing and murmuring at a distance. The witness's dog would react to something unseen. However, most of the staff don't get much exposure to anything paranormal apart from keys going missing.
My map entry
The Judge's Lodgings,
Presteigne, Powys
The venue is available from 7pm till 2am, though earlier entry is possible at no extra costs. For a team of up to 5 leaders and a maximum of 15 guests incurs a fee of £350; 5 leaders and 30 guests is £450. Booking more than 35 people is possible, and multiple bookings in one year will result in a loyalty discount of £50 per booking.
Kelvedon Hatch Nuclear Bunker,
Brentwood, Essex
Teams are allowed any time after 5.30pm but must leave by 5am but don't do "sleepovers". The booking pamphlet states that, "The cost is £30 per attendee (that includes the organisers) with a minimum of 15 attendees (or if you have less than then you can still pay for 15 ie a minimum of £420). 80/90 would be the sensible maximum attendee limit." A £50 fee confirms bookings and any damages.
My map entry
Landguard Fort,
Felixstowe
The hire cost of the fort is £500, and the allowed time for events is from 7pm to 2am, with a maximum number of 30 people (including the team) on site. Unfortunately, the Fort did not reply to my queries for any recent paranormal activity, whether by groups or by day-to-day visitors or workers.
My map entry
Leeds City Museum "The charge for hire between the hours of 6pm and 2am (8 hours) is £800 this includes staffing costs or from 6pm until 1am." An alernate possibility would be £700 for 7 hours. Interestingly, they note, " It is against our human remains policy to use our Egyptian mummy for publicity purposes linked to these events and that includes the image. Ignoring this would breach our terms and conditions of hire."
Leeds Industrial Museum at Armley Mills "We hire out the Museum, generally on a Friday or Saturday evening, from 7pm until 2am the following morning. The cost is £840 for the evening ... We have a maximum capacity of 40 people and we would ask that you have at least one staff member per group of 8 - 10 guests and that you provide a first aid person. We will provide Museum staff for security of the building and assistance when you are moving the groups about." I was told in March 2020 by a member of staff that some people "have felt something heavy at their back and/or pushing them while going down the stairs ... We have a member of staff who thinks that he saw a couple walking along a gallery but nobody else was aware that anybody was in the Museum. We have also had an occasion when a bobbin was thrown through the air in an area where nobody could have done it. This incident was reported by a very sensible member of staff."
My map entry
Leicester Guildhall, Up to the 35 people, the cost of hire is £800; for up to 15 people, it is £500. Ghost hunts are available from 8pm-2am, additional hours can be negotiated at a cost of £125 per hour after 2am Unfortunately the proprietors of the Guildhall did not respond to my queries asking about any recent phenomena:
My Map details are here
Life Science Centre, Newcastle Upon Tyne Approximate prices for overnight hire are: Venue hire from 7pm to 8am is £4500.00. Staffing is £18.00 per hour per staff member (numbers required dependant on numbers attending). These charges may increase "depending on what areas of the Science Centre are required, the number of attendees for the event and any additional support/technical support that will be needed for setting up." I was told in January 2022 that, "Unfortunately (?) we are not aware of any paranormal happenings about the Centre for Life, past or recent."
My map entry
Market Hall Museum,
Warwick
Warwickshire Council can accomodate 33 people on Friday and Saturday nights at this venue including staff members. The cost is £255 for up to 4 hours hire, or £480 for 7 1/2 hours, whic includes all setting up. Hires begin no earlier than 7.15pm and the site must be vacated by 2.45am
Mary Queen of Scots Visitors Centre,
Jedburgh
The Visitors Centre is open from late March to November for paranormal investigations; Friday or Saturday evenings can be offered a minimum of 6 hours, normally 8pm-2am. Standard fee is 6 hours - £300 plus £5 per guest; 12 hours is £550 plus £5 per guest; 24 hours is £1000 plus £5 per guest. No more than 25 guests including event staff unless special permission has been granted.
Much Hadham Forge Museum "Our evening hire for private functions is £50, with an additional £50 to run overnight. " In February 2020, the Museum replied to my email asking about any recent occurrences: "We have hosted paranormal society visits a few times now over the years. I think one report from about 15 years ago is on the internet. A different group have visited the last few years and they wrote us a short report. I can dig it out for you, I don't know if it will suit." Unfortunately, a follow-up email from my myself was not answered.
My map entry
Museum of Making at Derby Silk Mill,
Derby
Due to an exclusivity arrangement in place, only private non-ticketed events are considered. "The usual hire charge for our venues would be £150 per hour, rising to £180 after 11pm, and is chargeable for each hour you would need to be in the building." Staff told me in March 2022 that, 'There hasn’t been any recent ghostly reports from the Museum of Making at the silk mill.'
My map entry
Nantclwyd y Dre,
Ruthin
Hire is from 6pm - 5am at a cost of £600 but a shorter evening is available at a cost of £500 from 8pm-2am. The maximum group size is 30 and the duration is a maximum of 9 hours I attempted to contact the museum to determine any recent paranormal activity only to be asked, "sorry can I have some more details about you and your venture ?” When I replied I obtained nothing in return.
My map entry
National Emergency Services Museum, Sheffield "The cost of booking the museum for the evening is £400.00 ... We ask that, including your team/staff, there is a MAXIMUM of 40 people for your event" The Museum told me that "a range of groups" come and investigate and that "they all report to have found something." When I asked if anything had been reported by staff and visitors as they went about their day to day business, I was told, "We do have the odd comment from visitors but it's mainly during the night."
My map entry
Neatishead RAF Radar Air Defence Museum,
Norwich
The maximum number on any night is 30, not including museum volunteers; the fee is £525 and the whole museum is available between 7pm and 1am.
Newarke Houses Museum,
Leicester
For 35 people, the cost of hire is £800; for up to 15 people, it is £500. Ghost hunts are available from 8pm-1am; presumably like other "Haunted" venues run by the Leicester council, additional hours can be negotiated at a cost of £125 per hour after 1am.
Newcastle Castle Keep,
Newcastle Upon Tyne
Access to the Keep is from 7pm with prices for the following times:
11pm - £395
12am - £495
1am - £595
2am - £695
3am - £795
4am - £895
5am - £995
6am - £1,095
Access to the Keep and The Black Gate:
11pm - £495
12am - £615
1am - £745
2am - £875
3am - £995
4am - £1,135
5am - £1,265
6am - £1,395
The castle informed me that they like to keep group numbers to a maximum of 60 people but this is dependent on the organiser.
I inquired of the castle whether anything had been reported recently but they ignored this inquiry.
My map entry
Norwood Hall,
Southwell
"With regards to our hire for these types of events, we normally charge £1000 hire (including VAT), which will give you 8 hours hire (including set-up). Normally, people hire it from 6pm until 2am."
Old Lamb Hotel
Theale Reading
Investigations take place at weekends, with a suggestion of no more than 20 people from 7pm to 2am. The fee is £200.
Old Museum (aka "Black and White House"),
Hereford
"The Charge is £20 per head. Minimum charge is £200. Maximum number of people is 20. Charges apply to all with the exception of 1 organiser. The maximum time for the visit is 6 hours. The latest we can be open is 1am in the morning." I attempted to contact the museum about recent occurrences but none of my messages were replied to.
My map entry
Old Nick Theatre,
Gainsborough
The theatre's website provides costs for investigations:
Friday night: 7pm -12 midnight; maximum of 30 people, at £30 per person. Minimum charge of £300 if less than 10 people and a maximum charge of £500
Saturday overnight: 7pm - 10.30am: maximum of 30 people, fee is £600
Mid-week (Monday to Thursday): 7pm - 12 midnight, £25 per person, maximum of 20 people and a minimum charge of £200 if less than 8 people and a maximum charge of £300.
The Theatre confirmed that phenomena is still being reported, and not just by ghost-hunting teams: these include members being pushed and touched, and even a chair that went to the seated position during a performance and then rising after the curtain call!
My map entry
Ye Olde King's Head (aka "My Haunted Hotel"),
Chester
"[It] is open Monday - Thursday for anyone wanting to book a room and be part of the filmed paranormal experience. Access to all 3 floors and paranormal challenges throughout the night as well as being left to do your own investigations. 6 bedrooms available at £140 per room 8:30pm check in, 12pm check out the next day. Also available for paranormal events teams to host their own public investigations. The entire building available £750 hire fee and you can sell up to 25 tickets plus team. Available 7pm - 3am."
My map entry
Oliver Cromwell's House,
Ely
The "seating capacity" for the house is listed as 25-30 theatre style, or 16-20 board room. The hire of the whole house is given as: 6-9pm £55 per hour; 9pm -12 midnight £80 per hour; Midnight to 2am £100 per hour. In August 2020, the House replied to my query for any recent phenomena. These include a visitor's daughter being distressed when a little girl, who was invisible to anyone else had sat next to her and tried to interact with her. Objects from the shop have been seen to move across the room, and strange noises and the office door opening and slamming by itself have been reported.
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Ordsall Hall,
Manchester
The hall works with 5 "very well established companies" and aren't recruting for new partners. But they say that on a ghost hunt, they have a team:public ratio of 1:5, but only allow 35 people per hire. rates are £125 per hour but only offer a minimum hire of 3 hours between the hours of 7pm-2am on Fri and Sat Nights in the months of Oct-Nov. They do not allow overnight stays. Inquiring in January 2022 about recent phenomena, I was told that many have heard their names called out, people heard walking in the attic before there was access and a figure walking down a corridor.
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Oxford Castle The Castle's website informs us that the hourly rate before midnight is £150, rising to £185 afterwards. Sleepovers from 9pm-8am is £1250. The capacity is 35 guests (not including your team, which can number up to 5 people). The minimum duration for non-sleepovers is 3 hours. In July 2021, I contacted the Castle and Prison asking for any recent phenomena and they directed me to their website. Accounts include the smell of alcohol, perhaps linked to sightings of a perpetually drunken monk, who liked to brew his own beer. Other phenomena include doors opening and closing, a woman laughing and a guide dog reacting to something invisible.
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Peterborough Museum The fee for commercial groups is £850, for private, non-profit groups, it is £600. The time frame is from 8pm - 2am but it is expected that commercial groups will arrive an hour early. The maximum number of people allowed are 30 for a commercial event, 15 for a private event. [NB it works out that a private group is considerably more expensive per head than a commercial group!] I have attempted to contact the museum to find out whether anything paranormal had been reported recently but received no reply.
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Pickford's House Museum,
Derby
Due to an exclusivity arrangement in place, only private non-ticketed events are considered. "The usual hire charge for our venues would be £150 per hour, rising to £180 after 11pm, and is chargeable for each hour you would need to be in the building." There is conflicting information as to whether this building has any spectral activity: I was told in September 2020 that there had been no recent reports; but a year and a half later I was told by another staff member that a couple of years ago a figure was seen to walk through a wall in the basement. When the building was shut, a young boy has been seen looking out of a first floor window, and this was 'recently.'
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Prison and Police Museum,
Ripon
"The Prison & Police Museum starts at £250 ... this price includes 4 hours with a caretaker. After 4 hours the caretaker is charged at £15 per hour. The Prison & Police Museum is much smaller than the Workhouse Museum and so it is limited to 35 people including you and your staff members. ... The museums are available to hire between 16:00 - 02:00. We generally don't allow groups to stay in the museum beyond 02:00."
Regent Cinema,
Blackpool
"The cost of hiring the venue for a paranormal event from 9 till 2 is £300." The capacity is 20 guests plus the team.
Rifles Berskhire and Wiltshire Museum,
Salisbury
Investigations may start at any time from 7pm onwards but must finish by 2am. The maximum number of people is 30. The cost for an evening is £550. The manager informed me in August 2020 that the building is reported to be haunted but he had no personal experience as he was only in the building during the day; but paranormal investigators "do keep coming back."
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Ripon Workhouse "The Workhouse Museum starts at £420. This price includes 4 hours with a caretaker, after 4 hours the caretaker is charged at £15 per hour. The Workhouse Museum is a large site so there essentially is no limit to numbers. However, I would require that for every 10 visitors there is one member of staff ... The museums are available to hire between 16:00 - 02:00. We generally don't allow groups to stay in the museum beyond 02:00. "
The Robin Hood Experience,
Nottingham
I was told, "We have two different prices depending on the nature of the event - these prices are all-inclusive with no additional surcharges and give you access to the whole building from 5pm until the following 8am, should you wish to stay that long. For a "Private" event, which is just your team splitting to cost between you, the charge is £100. For a "Public" event where you sell tickets, the charge is £300. Due to the size of the building, we recommend keeping numbers to under thirty, including your team, and dividing into smaller groups."
Royal Victoria Chapel,
Southampton
Although it is not possible to hold overnight stays at the Chapel museum, I was told that the hire fee from 6pm - 1am was £500 (for up to 40 people) and that extra hours (up until 03:00) was £100/hour" Staff at the Royal Victoria Country Park told me, "none of the staff have had any experiences" but they did note that "we do have ghost groups visiting though and I believe some have had experiences. We don't have any specific details though." When asked if they had any experiences from visitors, they said a few but couldn't remember the details.
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Ruthin Gaol Hire is from 6pm - 5am at a cost of £600 but a shorter evening is available at a cost of £500 from 8pm-2am. The maximum group size is 30. I attempted to contact the Gaol to determine any recent paranormal activity but I received no reply.
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Ryecroft Hall,
Manchester
The Hall simply provided a list of three rooms and their charges, ranging from £40-£50 per hour on a Friday/Saturday/Sunday and capacities for those rooms (30 - 120) The proprietors of the Jail were contacted for my ghost survey but I received no response.
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Samlesbury Hall,
Preston
The Hall runs their own paranormal events during the year; these are mainly tours but a "stay over" from 7pm to midnight is scheduled at £48 per person. I was also told, "if you would like to hire the Hall privately for an investigation, our hire fees are as follows: Wednesday or Thursday , 6pm to Midnight £675; Friday, 6pm to Midnight £2000; Sunday, 6pm to Midnight £1000. Sadly, we can’t allow sleepovers. With regards to numbers, we ask that no more than 20 people attend in total." Sadly, the hall would not respond to my messages inquiring about any recent phenomena.
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Savoy Theatre,
Monmouth
"The charge for use of the Savoy is £5 per head with a minimum charge of £100; the maximum number using the Savoy at any one time is 30. Normally [they] only allow use after 9.30/10pm on days when there is no live entertainment. There is no maximum length of use.
Scolton Manor, Pembrokeshire "There’s a £300 hire fee for the night and events can run between the hours of 8pm and 2am. A limit of 30 people are allowed to attend such an event."
Shepton Mallet Prison Prices are as follows:
8pm-4am, maximum of 60 people including event organisers and staff: £1000
8pm-8am and sleepover, maximum of 60 people including event organisers and staff: £1500; guided tours £50 per hour
8pm-4am off peak investigation (Sunday, Monday and Tuesday), maximum of 60 people including event organisers and staff: £750

I am informed on 24/10/22, the price is £1200 (including VAT). It is not known which of the three scenarios this applies to.
I contacted the Prison in February 2020, and they provided a list of known ghost stories; they also say that "many of our visitors also have reported seeing/hearing strange things or have sent us strange photographs of extra figures/shadows or orbs ... there has been a wide variety of reported hauntings at the Prison." However, it is not clear whether the reported phenomena is due to Pareidolia, misidentification, the 'power' of expectation etc. - and the mention of orbs raises the hackles by reputable ghost researchers.
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Shire Hall Historic Courthouse Museum,
Dorchester
"The private small team hire cost of Shire Hall is £250 and larger public events are £375." Events should occur from 7.30pm-2.30am; numbers should not exceed 30. In September 20202, I was told that, "Visitors and staff do seem to report a number of sensory experiences. A sense of something being there and maybe observing from the shadows. That's about it really." This was confirmed to me when I was posing a ghost tour operator: "Sensory experiences however seem to have been a common theme..."
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Shrewsbury Prison Prices are as follows:
8pm-4am, maximum of 60 people including event organisers and staff: £1000
8pm-8am and sleepover, maximum of 60 people including event organisers and staff: £1500; guided tours £50 per hour
8pm-4am off peak investigation (Sunday, Monday and Tuesday), maximum of 60 people including event organisers and staff: £750
Silver Mountain Experience,
Aberystwyth
The venue informs me, "Because we offer our own Paranormal Investigations to the public, we do not allow hire of the site by commercial companies who would be selling tickets to the public to join the investigation. We only offer hire of the site by groups who are conducting private investigations. If a fully private hire is of interest, the hire rate is currently £400. This is for up to 8 people between the hours of 8pm-2am."
Slough Fort,
Rochester
"The fort can be hired for £200 per night from 6.30pm to 1.30am and we need to be offsite by 2am ... One of our Trustees or volunteers are on site with you or nearby in case there is an issue ... To be on the safe side we have limited the maximum people at 30."
South Yorkshire Aircraft Museum,
Doncaster
"We charge a fee of £400 (currently under review for possible increase) ... The maximum number of your group, including team/staff is 40. Access to the site is from 19.30hrs to 0200hrs and we generally accept bookings only for Friday or Saturday nights. (Other nights may be available by special arrangement and possible surcharge)." Alan Beattie of the museum told me, "We have many different groups hold paranormal investigations at our site and over the past years, barring the Covid lockdown period, and all groups report having encountered some activity, be it electronic anomoly stuff or weeghee (i know it's wrong spelling) board or seance. Some much more than others. Unforunately, we are unable to distinguish between tampering by visitors, when items have been moved or 'stolen' in some cases', and 'other forces at work'. We have no instances of ghosts, white sheet type or otherwise, appearing in front of staff."
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St George's Hall,
Liverpool
I was told, "We do host a number of these type of events, the areas available would be the basement areas, cells and crown court areas, the cost of hire would be £1,500 (inc VAT) 8pm – 3am." I asked how many people were allowed and was told that it all depends on how many staff would be on site and whether you the group would be split. "If not then they usually run at circa 35 guests but different companies do differ." I contacted the venue and asked about any recent phenomena. I was told by an employee who had worked there for 7 years, "[I] had no experience of any form of phenomena, I have also asked colleagues who have said the same."
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St John's House,
Warwick
Warwickshire Council can accomodate 33 people at this venue including staff members. The cost is £255 for up to 4 hours hire, or £480 for 7 1/2 hours, whic includes all setting up. Hires begin no earlier than 7.15pm and the site must be vacated by 2.45am
St Mary in the Castle,
Hastings
"We cannot do any hires overnight but can operate within the terms of everyone being clear of the building by midnight. The cost of hire for the venue is £125 an hour, for a minimum of 6 hours ... The venue itself holds 600 people, so legally we can operate within that." In January 2021, staff at the establishment informed me that, to their knowledge, there had been no reports of recent paranormal phenomena.
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St Mary's Guildhall,
Lincoln
"Two tariffs were provided, for the summer months (May-September) and Winter (October-April). For the Great Hall, these were £9.00 per hour, (minimim £18) or £45 minimum for the whole day for the summer. For winter, these rise fo £11 per hour (minimum £22); for the whole day, a minumum of £55. For the lower hall, these were (summer): £7.00 per hour, minimum £14, or £35 minimum for the whole day. In winter, £8.00 per hour, minimum £16, whole day minimum £40. For the great hall and lowere hall, these figures become: (summer) £14 per hour, minimum £28; for whole day, minimum £66. Winter rates are £17.50 per hour, or a minimum of £35; for the whole day, a minimum of £70.00." I was later told that the Great Hall only allows up to 60 maximum and the Lower Hall allows only 30 maximum at any one time. However, there would be no time limits for a ghost hunt. In June 2022, I was told that in over 16 years, there had been no recollections of paranormal phenomena - except those found by paranormal groups.
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St Neot's Museum For Commercial groups, the fee is £20 per person, mininum fee £200/10 attendees. For non-profit groups, this is reduced to £15 pp, minimum fee £150 for 10 attendees. The maximum number that can be accommodated is 15 people. The times of the event is from about 7.30pm till c.2am
Stirling Old Town Jail The events normally run from 9.45pm - 3am. The fee is normally £500 with groups of around 25-30 being most popular.
Strelley Hall,
Nottingham
Ghost events are generally on Saturday evenings, running through to the early morning: arrival is typically between 7.30 and 9pm and departure is 3am. Cost for 2022/3 is £400 with payment in advance ... They also say that, "For small events (up to 5 people) without paying guests would be £200 again"
Tewkesbury Museum Due to the 2nd floor being unavailable at the time of inquiry a low cost of £60 for 6 hours is quoted. There is an additional fee of £10 for an extra hour and £5 per guest (the price will increase when the 2nd floor is available).
Thackray Medical Museum,
Leeds
"With regard to paranormal hire here at the museum the current hire charge is £800 with access from 18:00 – 02:00 and a maximum of 40 attendees..." When I asked about recent phenomena (March 2020), I was told that some of the staff don't believe so don't look out for anything. They have heard stories around certain parts of the museum but did not elaborate.
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Tolhouse Museum,
Great Yarmouth
"We generally book the museum out between the hours of 7pm to 2am, and most of our paranormal events take place on a Saturday. The current cost is £630 for your first booking, then £580 for bookings thereafter."
Tonbridge Castle,
Kent
I was told, "We can hold up to 30 people" but the booking form says that there is a maximum of 35 people including the host. The cost is £700 from Saturday 5pm - Sunday 4am
Town Hall,
Devizes
"The rate of hire is £310.00 and this gives you access to the venue 19:00-01:00, including the Assembly Room Council Chamber, Grand Jury Room, Cheese Hall and Lock Up (Cellar). There will also be a member of staff on hand throughout the booking. " I was told by the staff here that they have info of a little girl in the building, and have had "spooky" male presences in the building, and there have been moving chairs, door slammings, footsteps on the stairs, and an odd and unpleasant feeling in one of the areas of one of the rooms.
Most of this information comes from paranormal groups; there was no reply to my further query when I asked whether anything had been experienced by people as they went about their every day business.
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True Crime Museum,
Margate
The Museum's website says that it can be hired from 5pm - 1am 7 days per week at a set price of £450. Extra charge for sleepover and after 1am.
True's Yard Fisherfolk Museum,
King's Lynn
The fee is £200 ... Maximum allowed numbers are 30 + team. The museum is not in a position to do overnight vigils, but run events from 4pm - 11.30pm. It is clear that, apart from the dubious antics portrayed in a recent TV show, and the unverified "activity" recorded by Paranormal Teams, anything spectral is very low-key and intermittent.
Tudor House and Gardens,
Southampton
"The hire costs are £790 for up to 6 hours or £195 per hour ... Max number of attendees is 35, we can go up to 40 for an additional £25 per hour. Hire time just needs to be outside of opening hours. Opening hours are Mon-Thurs 10am-3pm, closed Fridays, Sat & Sun 10am – 5pm." A number of recent reports have surfaced here including a figure on CCTV, the sound of dice rattling, banging on a door and furniture being moved.
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Valence House,
Dagenham
For events selling tickets to the public, £73 per hour is charged. Most groups book between 9pm and 3am, which is the maximum time limit. They recommend a maximum of 35 people per event. The curator at the museum responded that many phenomena have been experienced recently, within the last few years
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Viaduct Tavern,
London
"To rent the venue is £150 per hour ... The maximum capacity for this type of events is around 30 people [it] might be easier having 2 groups of 15. For timing, I would say 20 till 2am." Unfortunately the pub ignored my requests for any recent phenomena.
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Warwickshire County Records Office,
Warwick
Warwickshire Council can accomodate 20 people at this venue including staff members. The cost is £255 for up to 4 hours hire, or £480 for 7 1/2 hours, whic includes all setting up. Hires begin no earlier than 7.15pm and the site must be vacated by 2.45am
West Midlands Police Museum (aka "The Lock-Up"),
Birmingham
The cost for hire from 7pm until 1am is £500. They also said, "Our capacity for public events is 150 at any time. But for a ghost hunt I'd suggest about 40 or 50 but it's totally up to you and how many staff you'd have to manage the group."
Winter Gardens,
Morecambe
Due to restoration work, ghost hunts are not being advertised in 2022. However, the cost is normally £30pp with a minimum of 15 and a maximum of 25 people. The access hours are usually 9pm until 3/4am but the organiser can get entry from 8pm and be given a quick tour. When I asked if anything had been reported recently, I was told in May 2022, "I can’t really help on this. I am not aware of any reports of any untoward things happening. We have been closed all winter for major restoration work and none of the work people have reported anything out of the ordinary. Nothing has been reported at weekends when we open to the public either."
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Wisbech Castle "The current charge is £250 for a session (although this is under review) which can be 6pm-1am or 7pm-2am."
Woodchester Mansion, Gloucestershire "Access is normally between 8pm and 5am ... At present the fee for up to 30 people (including staff members) is £780; if numbers exceed 30 there is an additional cost of £15pp. For small groups the fee is £36pp with a minimum of 7 people ... These fees could be reviewed in the course of the year." "
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Wookey Hole Caves,
Wells
Hire of the venue between 8pm-2am costs £1000. Normally, the first half of the evening, from 8.30-10.30pm is spent in the caves, the majority of the remainder in the Victorian Mill and the old buildings. The maximum size for a paranormal group is about 50 attending but, subject to confirmation, this can be increased to 60. I contacted the venue asking for any information on recent phenomena and was advised to contact ghost groups. When I inquired whether there had been anything reported by staff or visitors there was no reply.
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Wymering Manor,
Portsmouth
The building can be hired from 8pm till 2am; although access is between 7.15pm and 2.15am (including setting up and packing away). A maximum of 25 people including team leaders are allowed, and must be split so that no more than 10 are on any one floor at a time. The hire fee is £550. Jonathan, who runs the Paranormal Company "Dark Encounters" and who looks after the building, informed me in June 2022, "I have conducted over 150 investigations at the Manor and locked up many times more after events. And yet, the two significant occurrences I have never been able to explain both occurred late afternoon – when the building was supposedly empty. I know that the team have all had odd occurrences." However, my request for more information was not answered.
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York Castle Museum Evening hire is from 7pm - midnight and is £900. The capacity is 40 guests + staff.

In nearly 100% of the cases, locations were faster to respond to my query where money was involved (most of them were within a day, and some within a few hours); in my other guise as a researcher, I had to wait a lot longer, the record being some 7 or 8 months. It was a slightly unpleasant feeling to note that they seemingly had no time for a research inquiry but acted in a very expeditious manner where the mere whiff of money was detected.

A point to bear in mind is that some locations had more than one email. It is a valid criticism that I may have used a general email address that wasn't conducive to paranormal inquiries, but a "hire venue" address would be more likely to reply. This is true, but I have tried to maintain consistency in using email addresses between my researcher and commercialist guises. In all but half a dozen or so locations in my inquiries were the emails different, due to con-contactability issues and so on.

While the above are all the venues for which I had managed to obtain hiring costs, there were a few other locations that, again, reacted speedily at the hint of remuneration, but didn't bother at all when I asked about recent spectral activity. It gives the distateful impression of Fagin-like characters, their hands greedily outstretched for a palmful of pennies. The following places, who didn't provide costings, should also be noted. The locations that I had tried to contact as a researcher but was ignored are indicated by *:

A few points to ponder: why do so many places admit to genuine researchers that nothing has occurred but still open themselves to a legion of ghost hunters, who readily report all kinds of inexplicable happenings? How can it be that these places are quiet during the day but at night become veritable Amityvilles? Could it be that ghost hunters are deluded, for reasons given on this and other pages, and anything slightly odd is attributable to spectres? Is the maxim, "Why settle for a rational explanation when a paranormal one will suffice?" the only adopted credo? I would posit that this is the case in many ventures.

It is to be seen that the cost charged by most venues themselves are quite reasonable, and this was a very welcome surprise (though as stated in the preamble, this would be magnified many times by greedy companies); with a little business acumen, some of these venue's prices could be increased slightly and still be at an acceptable level. With places being hit by covid enforced lockdowns, one can perhaps argue that such ghost hunts are a necessity to bring in extra funds, vital for an organisation's survival. For what it is worth, for those badly hit locations (museums, theatres etc.) this is an acceptable policy to this author - assuming the pricing does not stray into extortionate levels. It is certainly a far cry from the halcyon days of the early 2000s before shows like "Most Haunted" opened custodian's eyes that they could be sitting on a potenial gold mine for ghost groups. I remember the Newcastle Castle Keep charging £100 per group in 2004/5. How times have changed, when one simply paid a token small amount for staff overheads and extra insurance costs! Now, some of the huge fees act as a deterent to the genuine enthusiasts; though it should be borne in mind that a few locations have a two tier system. That is, a cheap price for ghost groups and a larger one for commercial entities. But these are very much the exception.

Two further matters should be considered:
Those places that charge for access having admitted that they know of no paranormal activity in their premises (and by this, I include "alleged activity detected by paranormal groups" since their evidence is usually diabolically poor). Surely this is reprehensible and morally repugnant? To charge under false pretences?
The second point is that, before the recent announcement of the two year energy price cap, I wondered on the possible impact of the longevity of the commercial ghost hunting groups with the collosal cost of living price hike to be enforced upon us. Would they reduce their prices accordingly, and thus show us how much of a discount they could tolerate - and proving that they have artificially expanded the original price by a significant margin? Indeed, there were hints that this started to happen in August and September, judging by the adverts on Facebook, with prices being excised by £10 per head, then £15, and finally £20. No one else seemed to notice this, and tickets were readily acquired by the masses at bargain prices. Now we know that the difference between the original price and the ones offered by companies was considerable.


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