Saturday, 30 April 2016

THE HANGING OF TOBY GILL - A para-documentary

My latest journey into history takes me back to the year 1750 where on 24th June, a young soldier named as Tobias Gill allegedly raped a young woman and strangled her with his handkerchief.
Gill (whose nickname was `Black Toby`) was found unconscious drunk and lying next to the girl`s body.
According to some witnesses, she appeared untouched and lying asleep, but to others who were used as witnesses in court, she had been, `sexually violated, raped and murdered by Gill`.

Suffice to say that Gill was later found guilty at a court in Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk and was subsequently hung and then placed in chains at a gibbet erected near to the scene of the alleged crime at 5 fingers crossroads in Blythburgh, Suffolk.

There his remains stayed for 50 years before finally being taken down and buried at the scene.

In this presentation I explore the background to this event, and discuss whether Toby was black or white. I also examine the case in detail, and explore the legends of hauntings associated with Toby.

And later I return at night to carry out a paranormal investigation on Blythburgh Common, a place noted for criminality and possible murder.

The video presentation will be live at 10pm (UK time) Saturday 30th April 2016 (tonight).


Sunday, 27 March 2016


On this occasion I decide to focus on some witchcraft legends within my own county of Essex.
Essex is historically associated with witches and black magic,  a belief largely generated by superstitious country folk whose fear of the devil led to the persecution of many people.  Their only crimes were being mostly female, old, poor and physically feeble.

The centre-point of many legends was the village of Canewdon, and in particular, a witch named George Pickingill who was very active in the 19th century.

Also featured is another Essex legend, a man named Matthew Hopkins the arch-nemesis of `witches`in 17th century England, and a man that later seeded through his work, the persecution of many innocents in Salem, Massachusetts.

In addition, we have a visit to Felsted in Essex, a place steeped in history and of a strange incident some years ago involving myself and a voice that sounded to be weirdly witch-like near to a spot where once lived a spinster who too was executed for being a witch.

I hope you enjoy this presentation on my journey back to a dark era in Britain`s history.


Saturday, 5 March 2016


Here is a short video of out-takes from my latest shoot in Felsted, Essex.

Many of you imagine I tread an ethereal world where time has stood still, but here you can see the reality and my frustrations of shooting in a public place. 
Despite the inconveniences, it will hopefully be a flawless production as part of my latest feature which examines the legend of Essex Witches. 
More shoots to do at various locations, and here I visit the beautiful village centre of Felsted in Essex. 
I hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, 3 February 2016


In the year 1698, a double axe murder took place at Letheringham water mill in the county of Suffolk,  England. The victims John Bullard senior and junior, were left hog tied to a beam in the mill after being butchered by an axe.

Chris Halton standing at the gibbet
The killer, a disconsolate temporary worker named as Jonah Snell was later found wandering and still in possession of the blood stained murder weapon.

He was detained and appeared at West Wickham Sessions Court the following year where he was judged guilty of both murders.No submissions were recorded by Snell which may have given an account as to why he chose to commit this terrible crime.

His punishment was to be hung by the neck, and for his body to be incarcerated in a gibbet at nearby Potsford, which was then a busy road, but now standing on the edge of a wood along a country footpath. His remains were left in chains until the year 1740 whereby they were taken down and finally buried nearby.

Today the remains of the gibbet post are preserved for posterity, and the site has gained a notorious reputation for haunting`s - both day and night.

The earliest sighting of Jonah Snell`s ghost occurred just prior to his remains being removed, and since then many people have experienced the presence of a paranormal entity over the centuries.
This may be a physical manifestation or by an unknown presence grabbing or touching people when they least expect it.

The site has been investigated many times with investigators experiencing some of the events recorded there.

In this show, the legend of Snell is examined in detail, and is followed by a night investigation at the gibbet.

The show will be linked from this page at 10pm (GMT), Friday February 5th 2016 where it can be viewed.

Below is a trailer for the show:

And here is where you can view the full show from 10pm (GMT) Friday, February 5th 2016.

Posted by Chris Halton

Friday, 1 January 2016


Today I travel over to an incredibly remote ancient church which dates from the early Medieval period and has remained virtually unchanged for 300 years. A church where an iconoclast named as Captain William Dowsing of the Suffolk Regiment visited in 1643 to destroy and  remove anything considered to be `superstitious` to the tastes of a puritanical England during the English Civil War.

 Here Chris Halton your guide covers the history of this wonderful building and shares the story of Captain Dowsing, and some of the remaining damage left untouched after his fateful visit. Fortunately much furniture still remains literally frozen in time.

St Mary`s Church in Badley is currently a redundant church under the care of the Church of England through their wonderful charity, the Churches Conservation Trust.

Like all redundant churches, it`s long term future remains uncertain, and it is hoped that by seeing and appreciating the same beauty that I saw and experienced, you too may one day travel here to admire and support this vestige of British history and culture which is set surrounded by countryside that remains virtually unchanged.  It is so remote that it is only accessible by a one mile unmade track way which has remained for centuries.

St Mary`s at Badley is a perfect example (and victim) of historic religious bigotry and intolerance to other people`s beliefs.

As always I touch into the ambient spirituality that I sense and feel in this pleasantly historic building from the days of yore.

A truly rare and wonderful place to visit and appreciate in a fast disappearing world.