Believe it or not, there’s more to do in Nottingham than lectures, clubbing and societies, and Impact is determined to experience as much of it as possible. From heated political rallies to laid back beer festivals, we’ll be there. This week, Will ventures into Nottingham’s supernatural past with the Nottingham Ghost Walk.
Embarrassing Will fact #126: I didn’t get over my fear of ghosts until I was 18. When I journeyed to the loo in the middle of the night I would do so as quickly as possible, to give any paranormal entities less time to attack me. Although obviously once I was in bed I was totally safe, since duvets have ghost repelling properties (right?). Still, that’s old news now, so I was rather excited when I was offered the chance to plunge myself into Nottingham’s paranormal past.
The Nottingham Ghost Walk has been going for twenty years now, and runs every Saturday at 7pm without fail. It starts at the Salutation Inn on Maid Marian Way, and for a paltry fiver you get a two hour walking tour around some of the city’s supernatural hotspots.
It was a well-attended evening, despite the rain. There were around fifty people partaking, from pretty much every demographic you can think of. The tour was led by a pony-tailed chap named Simon, a guide who has been doing the Nottingham Ghost Walk since it started twenty years ago. His day job is being a primary school teacher, but it was obvious his real love is the telling of stories, and his charisma and eloquence was obvious from the start.
The stories themselves were great – they ranged from the plight of Victorian ladies of the night, to murderous medieval skulduggery in the bowels of Nottingham Castle. It was the history itself, rather than the ghosts, that was most interesting. The unavoidable presence of various concrete monstrosities all over the country might make it feel a bit like a joyless dystopia at times, so it was lovely seeing reminders of the past. They’re very easy to miss when you’re dashing about in your daily life, so having an oddly dressed, cane wielding eccentric point them out is fascinating.
Many of the stories involved prostitutes, and it was really rather impressive how he managed to discuss them in a way that left the children present completely unaware. Perhaps in fifteen years’ time they’ll realise what he meant when he described a woman as having a horizontal disposition. Considering that students have a reputation for mindless hedonism, it was nice to learn about the debauched and immoral way that the Nottingham residents of the past conducted themselves – it made me feel a tad better about myself.
After an hour or so of ghost walking, the tour returned to the Salutation Inn and we filed awkwardly into the spacious caves beneath the building. In the atmospheric confines of the cave, Simon regaled us with one final story, where he answered the question “Is there such thing as a happy ghost?” – I won’t tell you the answer, but the story does indeed involve another prostitute.
Even if the idea of the paranormal makes you scoff with cynicism, it shouldn’t stop you from attending the ghost walk – especially considering Halloween is just around the corner. It’s only five quid and is both educational and highly entertaining – do yourself a favour and check it out!