"We've never been so scared in all the 80 episode we.ve filmed"
Karl Bettie & Yvette Fielding - Living TV's Most Haunted.
As seen on GMTV's House of Fear live show on 17th October 2004 and now visited by Living TV's Most Haunted on the 7th November 2004 for a 24 hour visual, Dalston Hall Hotel has some spooky tales that had these two TV shows interested in paying us a visit, for more details read on.....
Three miles south of Carlisle on the B5299 is the village of Dalston. Dalston Hall is very old, built over 600 years ago. At night it the towers are floodlight and the stone an orangey red sandstone - more mellow than the deep red of Penrith sandstone. It is approached up a drive through trees. But look out for the ghost of the Victorian handyman as you drive up at night. He has been seen in the grounds.
The current entrance of Dalston Hall is actually the most modern - dating from 1899 - but this hides a more ancient heart. The door into the hotel leads from bright sunshine to a subdued dimness. All around dark wood panelling makes the place intimate and yet strange. Passing into the hotel from the reception, you go past the stairs and into the Banorial Hall. The hall dates from around 1500. An inscription reads: "Iohn Dalston Elisabet mi wyf mad ys byldyng" - the letters are in Gothic script, and curiously in reverse. Above the manorial hall is a gallery. It is here that the oldest ghost - known to the staff as Lady Jane, can be seen. She appears in Tudor dress and may well be one of the Dalston families who owned the Hall for such a long time.
Off the Banorial Hall, to the left, an old wooden doorway opens onto a staircase. Near the bottom of the stairs is a heavy iron gate, which is almost certainly from the date of the first building. The staircase spirals, up with worn stone steps, into the top of the left tower. As you ascend you can almost imagine footsteps behind you, though if you turn you know no one would be there. The stairs come out in what is now the honeymoon suite with its four-poster bed. The walls are the original stone and the windows cut through stone blocks three feet thick. This was one of the defensive Pele towers of Cumbria from the times of the border skirmishes with the Scots.
This room is not haunted but it is atmospheric enough despite that. It is possible to climb the spiral stairs still further and emerge onto the battlements and even higher to the top turret. From here you can survey the estate and look south to the Lake District fells.
Going down again, on the ground floor there is a small library, which serves as a lounge for residents. There is also a cupboard for hanging coats, which when the back panel was removed, revealed a staircase going up to nowhere; it meets a blank wall.
From this floor the staff can go down to the extensive cellars that wind like a rabbit warren underneath the hotel and go from century to century revealing modern bricks, Victorian building, medieval stone.
There are storm drains down here from when the rain is exceptionally heavy. More than one of the night porters has heard noises from the cellars when making their rounds in the depths of the night. It has been described as the sound of wooden barrels being rolled around. Wooden barrels have not been used for a long time at Dalston Hall. In 1997, one brave fellow called Richard actually went down to investigate and saw the figure of a man down there. He turned and came back up again, asking the receptionist whom the other fellow was. Of course the receptionist told him that he must be mistaken. There was no one else working down there.
Room 4 is said to be haunted by a poor maid who threw herself from the Pele tower above. It has an original fireplace with inglenooks to either side. One of the staff and her partner stayed there one night and both tossed and turned. She told me that she had a strong feeling of a presence in the right hand inglenook - as if someone were carefully watching her as she slept.
One guest came down in the morning and asked to be moved from Room 4. She said that she woke up to hear her dog growling at the door. He kept growling on and off all night though there was no one to be seen there. She said that she herself had felt a presence in the room.
Room 12 is perhaps the most interesting. It has half a bathroom. It is difficult to see this from inside, but if you go outside the Hall and look into the bathroom window, you will see that the room has been cut in half with a false wall. The other half of the bathroom, in faded decor is visible from outside, but there is no way to get to it without knocking a hole in the new wall. Room 12 has a lovely view of the gardens, perhaps the best view of any room in the hotel. It also has a four-poster bed. People who have slept in the room - not everyone but a significant number over the years have complained of being woken by girls voices whispering. It is said that they are completely benevolent - as if they are just having a giggly time. The trouble is - there is nobody actually there.
A Report into Psychic Investigations of Ghosts at Dalston Hall between 28 March and 1 April 2001
Mr Fingernails in the Cellar
There have been various stories of barrels moving in the cellar and sightings of workmen, even ghostly workmen handing tools to real workmen, but these can be put down to The Handyman below. Two psychics have independently described an entity that is non-human and appears to them as a black fog. It appears to have something protruding from its forehead, which has been described by one psychic as a hat, though the other disagreed. They did agree that it could move fast, move through floors, and had long fingers with long weird fingernails and liked to loom over people to scare them. In fact it turned out to be a big bully and though it got a kick out of scaring people, couldn't really harm them.
The Handyman lives in the cellar with Mr Fingernails, though whether they get on is unknown. He is described as having tweed or check trousers, being big and physical. He enjoyed his job with the barrels so much he never wanted to leave. It is a physical job but he's proud of being the breadwinner and a real man. Or was he?. He has a significant armband on his right arm which is to do with his job - maybe a badge of rank. He also has a horse with long hair on its fetlocks so I guess he's some kind of drayman.
Girl Being Dragged By Hair
This poor girl who is described as having a pale face, possibly powdered was seen being dragged by her hair, beaten up, raped and possibly thrown out of the window to her death, by a burly man dressed in leather. We have no idea of period for this but it could be 1500s. The psychics felt she was a courtesan or 'floozie'. This scene happened in the corridor outside Rooms 4,5 and 6.
This poor girl stands by the window in Room 4 gazing south. Three psychics have independently felt great sadness here and two of them reported the sensation that the girl had looked out of the window thousands of times. She is described as having a headdress, like a bonnet, but more in the style of a headband? With flowers and frills in white cotton. It holds her head back. Her waist is drawn in tightly as if by stays. She has a ring on her finger, which she fingers. It is felt that perhaps she is pining for a man who never returned. An older lady comes in to check if she is all right.
The Dogs and Party
There is a party going on in the Baronial Hall, there are fat dogs and people and high-pitched pipe music. Possibly medieval? A woman also haunts the grille at the bottom of the tower that leads into the hall, and there are strong feelings that there is a void under the hall floor (now bricked up) and Mr Fingernails comes up from this. The party may be the same one from which the girl dragged by her hair (above) was taken.
Three Women and a Young Girl
On the stairs, there are three young women and a small blonde girl. They watch people going up and down, but what they are really doing, and why is it a mystery?
Dalston Hall Country House Hotel
Dalston Hall, Carlisle, Cumbria, England, CA5 7JX,
Telephone: +44 (0)1228 710271 Fax: +44 (0)1228 711273