Wicklow Gaol, ‘The Gates of Hell’, September 2009
Proclaimed as one of the most haunted places in Ireland, Wicklow Gaol has a history of cruelty and shame. Built in 1702 and finally closed in 1924, it was locally known as ‘The Gates of Hell’. Within its walls were penned in thousands of prisoners during the Great Famine, the 1798 Rebellion and the War of Independence. Conditions inside the gaol were harsh and inhospitable meaning that many inmates died from maltreatment, starvation and disease. It is currently once again open and now functioning as a tourist spot offering the ‘Wicklow Gaol Experience’. Meanwhile the lost souls who breathed their last within its walls still walk its corridors.
The investigation began around 10pm with a talk about equipment and the history of the place. We then did a walk around, spending 10-15 minutes in each location, such as the solitary confinement cell. In the hall near the geneology office there was some activity. I myself felt as if there was a male presence in the geneology room, looking in through the window in the door with interest. The presence didn’t feel menacing, it felt more as if curious. Other members saw shadows moving across this window as if someone was walking behind the door. One female also believed she heard breathing close to her face Another interesting area was in the room decorated to look like the deck of a transportation ship. Inside the cabin several individuals began to feel ill, including myself. I began to feel nauseous and headachey, the headache only dissipating upon leaving this area for a break.
After the walk around we split off into two groups. We started off in the cells. The first cell we entered was due to my choice as I had felt a presence in it earlier in the walk around. Shortly after sitting down on the bed I experienced what felt like someone tugging my trouser leg and not long after it felt as if someone was stroking my arm and shoulder. I couldn’t feel a breeze at the time, which may have caused the sensation, although unfortunately we did not have time to return to this cell to double check.
We investigated another couple of cells following this, but there was no activity noticed. We then went up to the rooms made to look like a transportation ship. In the cabin area I once again began to feel sick and headachey, so much so I had to sit outside the cabin. I called out here and there were a few low thuds in response. I also sensed a male presence. I very much felt that it was the same presence as I felt in the hall. It was as if he was following and watching us with interest. Another thing of interest about this area was that several people complain about the batteries of their equipment running low. My camera batteries were fully charged prior to entering this area, and while inside they were reduced to only one quatre capacity. It seemed as if something here, either a presence or something to do with the atmosphere, was sucking out energy; including the energy of the investigators as people were complaining of feeling sick here.
Finally we went down to the bottom of the gaol to the old laundry room, now decorated to look like a school house. Here I called out and during this a growl was heard. This was at around 1:15am. We also heard a short sound of what could have been a female child’s voice humming. Here an EVP session was done with questions. A couple of us saw the light underneath the kitchen door block out several times as if someone was walking in front of it. We opened up this door to see if there was anyone there, but the kitchen was empty.
Unfortunately we didn’t have enough time to return to some of the places we wanted to investigate further. It was, however, a very interesting investigation.
The night following the investigation I also had a very unusual dream. In the dream I saw a young teenage girl wearing a sack like garment being held by two people as they chopped off her lovely long wavy brunette hair. I don’t know if the dream was the result of suggestion or perhaps due to a psychic link with the location. But as I was refered to casually as ‘the psychic girl’ on this investigation, perhaps these visions are less to do with suggestion than I thought.
I enjoyed this investigation very much as the building was of great historical interest to me and I experiences a little paranormal activity. I would very much like to explore this location again, but perhaps with more time allowed.
Visit Wicklow Gaol: http://www.wicklowshistoricgaol.com/