Richard Felix : Derbyshire's Stately Ghosts, Carnfield Hall

Resident historian on TV's Most Haunted, Derby's Richard Felix begins a new series with a visit to Carnfield Hall, South Normanton

With Derby being labelled as the 'Most Haunted City in Great Britain' it seems an appropriate time to tell the stories of the past inhabitants of Derbyshire's Stately Houses, who for whatever reason still share their former homes with present day owners and their families and staff. Some of these haunted jewels in Derbyshire's crown have stood for hundreds of years and witnessed numerous sieges, murders and tragedies, therefore it is no surprise that so many have a wealth of ghostly tales to enthral today's visitors.

The interest in ghosts and the supernatural attracts a growing number of visitors to Britain's historic houses and many properties open to the public are finding that ghost tours and night vigils are becoming increasingly popular. In fact the ghosts seem to be doing their bit to help maintain the time-honoured castles, manor houses and mansions that they created during their own time on this earth and are unknowingly helping to boost the contribution these houses make to the wider economy. Ghost tourism is one of the fastest growing industries in this country.

Over the last 15 years I have been conducting ghost tours around Derby and York and five years ago became the resident historian on the TV programme Most Haunted. I have probably been in more haunted locations around the world than most people. I still believe that at least eight out of 10 ghosts can be explained. When ghost hunting you must look at the normal before you even consider the paranormal. Tick all the normal boxes first and if you are left with a box without a tick you can then start thinking paranormal.

One thing I must add before we continue is that the profession of a ghost is not to scare. We are frightened because we do not understand what they are all about.

I believe that the vast majority of what we call ghosts are nothing more than a recording encapsulated in the fabric of a building. It's called the stone tape theory. Sandstone and limestone are made up of silica - which comes from silicon plus oxygen - and the redder the sandstone the more iron oxide it contains. Iron oxide is rust and is magnetic. Clay is silica plus iron oxide and is magnetic, therefore bricks are magnetic and can hold a recording in the same way as a piece of sticky tape sprinkled with magnetic rust particles. All you need then is energy to make the recording and that comes from us. Each one of us emits 2 kilowatts of electricity every day and we also have a 'power reservoir' that we use in time of crisis. e.g. murder, suicide, execution, battles and accidents. This form of ghost is not an intelligence and does not enact with us and it is dressed as it was when the recording was made.

We then have the spirit or soul that has not passed over, there are many reasons for this. They love the place and want to stay, they have unfinished business or they are frightened to move on because of something they did and they fear divine retribution and hellfire. Others just do not know they are dead due to the nature of their death.

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All of these ghosts and more, you will be encountering over the coming months in my articles on Derbyshire's Stately Ghosts.

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