To coincide with the release of the new Ghostbusters film I thought I’d embark on a bit of busting myself. Albeit locally, on foot, and without a vacuum cleaner on my back.
And so after consulting the extensive literature on the subject I packed a bag (water bottle, cheese sandwich, camera and crucifix) and headed off to Summer Lane pedestrian tunnel (Tunnel 14a to locals). Known to at least dozens of people as Exeter’s most haunted pedestrian tunnel.
Indeed, according to Exeter: Not a Guide:
“Loud banging noises, accompanied by groaning and screaming as if there is a fight going on, have been heard coming from the tunnel. When locals investigate there is nothing there, though the smell of blood has been reported.”
Sounds suspicious to me, so I lay in wait with my camera, crucifix at the ready. Some of my photos may shed fresh evidence on the source of the disturbing noises:
I don’t wish to put the tunnel’s haunted status into question but even the national Paranormal Database doesn’t mention it. Rather, it lists 29 other haunted locations in Exeter. Most notably Marks & Spencer, where “phantom heavy breathing and light, poltergeist-like behaviour has been reported.” Not to mention the apparent ethereal coughing of the ghost of sir Walter Raleigh at the Royal Clarence Hotel. Exeter, it seems, is plagued by a host of mildly ill ghosts.
The tunnel’s poltergeist obviously takes offense at the local council’s incessant interfering in what are clearly the personal affairs of an eternally restless soul. When smashing something up doesn’t quiet satisfy you, go ahead and mark a large cross through it. Job done.
Blood famously smells like rusty iron. This tunnel is beneath a railway line. So obviously perfect cover for spooky haunting and spiritual bloody letting. So overt it’s covert.
It was after nearly ten minutes stood leaning against the wall of the tunnel, waiting to be violated by a spectral creature, that my prayers were answered and the Dementors came. Like all frustrated muggles, I have repeatedly watched the documentary film: ‘Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban’. But never did I expect to star in my very own scene.
I walked home sullen, pale and with all hope of ever feeling happy again gone. Although, on second thoughts, that could’ve been because I was hungry. And it was raining. I think I’ll leave the ghost hunting to the experts. Or someone with a bigger crucifix and a more imposing hoover.