28 August 2008, JellyBean @ 9:00 am

This week saw Derby being listed in a report as THE place to be for anyone keen to see a ghost or poltergeist.

The Supernatural Britain report, which investigated spooky sightings in 40 of Britain’s cities, found there had been 315 in Derby – an average of 14 sightings per 10,000 people.

One building in particular stood out amongst all other haunted locations: Jacobean House.

Jacobean House was Derby’s first brick building, built in 1611. It was once much larger, having five gables until in 1855 when the Victorians drove Becket Street right through the house.

Mrs Gisbourne, the wife of Derby’s mayor, was the first lady within the town to have her own coach. When she left her home her servants and retainers always accompanied her to the borders of Derbyshire.

To this day, a mysterious phantom coach and horses are sometimes seen parked outside the house and a headless coachman has been seen coming through the coach archway which may still be seen on the left-hand side of the building.

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Also, the dark, mysterious figure of a man is seen standing in the Wardwick entrance to the house. A solicitor who once had offices in the building, moved his premises elsewhere as he could no longer stand working in the building late at night, due to the strange things that happened there when he was alone.

One lady, Mrs Hall, a former worker at Jacobean House experienced the following:

“I was in the upstairs rooms of Jacobean House, looking for something or other, when I felt someone brush past me and immediately turning, I caught sight of a lady in a blue dress, who turned her head to look at me, smiled and walked down the stairs. I immediately followed her, and on reaching the bottom floor I asked colleagues if they had seen anyone pass them, to which they replied that no one had, as far as they were aware.

I left it at that and did not tell them why I had asked such a strange question. Later on that week, I saw the lady again, this time going up the stairs, and still wearing the same blue dress, the only difference being that she had added a white shawl which hung loosely around her shoulders.

Again I followed her. on reaching the upper floors of the building, I could find no trace of the woman. Shortly after this event had taken place, work colleagues came rushing into the room where I was working and stated that they had just seen the ghost of a lady in blue walking up the stairs, who had vanished before their eyes.

It was at this point that others working in the room stated they too had experienced similar visitations. I saw her many times during my employment within the building, always in blue and always in the vicinity of the stairs, I was never frightened of meeting her and in many ways I looked forward to seeing her, for she always looked so gentle and kind and I don’t think that she would ever hurt anyone.

Whenever anything went missing – and things very often did – we always put it down to the ‘Blue Lady’ moving them. Some things were never found and some things would turn up days or weeks later, but never when they were needed.”

The house has been used as various offices over the years but is now a bar called The Haus.

There are supposedly 14 ghosts in Jacobean House which have been reported over the years. This gives Jacobean House the distinctive honour of being one of the most haunted buildings within the most haunted city in the UK.

“We are a nation rich in spooky sightings and strange phenomena,” said the report’s author Lionel Fanthorpe, president of the Association for the Scientific Study of Anomalous Phenomena, who is an ordained Anglican priest.

His report was based on interviews with people who said they had had supernatural experiences. He also researched books, archives, websites and other records of paranormal sightings.

In joint second place were the two ancient Roman cities of Chester and York with 11 sightings per 10,000 people.

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