SPIRITS of the past were called upon by mediums and ghost hunters in the grounds of an historic house.
Around 20 people attended the ghost walk at Basing House in Old Basing, to find out about the history of the ruins, and to see if they could communicate with dead people.
The visitors were shown various types of equipment that are believed to make contact with ghosts, including crystals and metal poles.
James Kemp, a medium, said he wanted those taking part to communicate with the spirits themselves, rather than being told what he could see or hear.
He added: “Most of the time, I see pictures or feelings and every so often a spirit comes up to me and has a conversation. What I like to do is get people doing experiments and picking up on things. That’s more entertaining.”
Participants headed to the Basing House ruins, and were given a brief history of the site, where a three-year siege of the Marquess of Winchester’s Royalist forces took place there, between 1643 and 1645.
Jensen House, paranormal specialist for Supernatural Tours, said: “Basingstoke played a big part in the Civil War. It was all to do with parliament wanting to be in charge. It’s no surprise that people say they smell burning round here.”
He also told visitors that apparently, many people who visit the house have seen a ghostly figure of a seven foot tall man, whose skeleton was dug up on the site.
Jensen, who is writing a book about haunted goings on in Basingstoke, has worked in various haunted venues across the UK, America and Australia.
Participants had the chance to use equipment to try and ask questions to any roaming spirits, before conducting a séance in the barn across the road from the house.
Unfortunately, either there were no ghosts present that evening, or they were not willing to communicate – but apart from a bird flapping its wings and terrifying the group, it was a quiet evening for those involved.
Jensen said many people expect the event to be like the television programme Most Haunted, with objects flying across the room. But he said patience is the key to communicating with “the other side”.
Basing House is an early 12th century earth and timber ringwork and bailey fortress, founded by the de Port family. In 1261, Robert de St John founded the stone castle, when adding a keep and a gatehouse encased by a heighten rampart but the outer defences remained of timber. In 1531, Sir William Paulet, constructed the Citadel inside the ringwork, when he was granted a licence to crenellate. Later to the north east of the ringwork, he constructed a brick Tudor palace, comprising of a series of rectangular buildings, arranged around a central courtyard. In 1643, Civil War earthwork defences, were added to the castle, which was under siege, until being stormed by Oliver Cromwell in 1645. The successor to Olivers Battery, the castle was then slighted, with the remainder being demolished after the Restoration. Both buildings now survive as ruins.