Jedburgh Castle Jail: Activity

Alleged paranormal activity at Jedburgh Castle Jail

First sighting

At the moment, it is unknown when the first ghostly experience was recorded at the site. The source(s) of the initial stories is currently being researched.

As well as normal visitors to the Museum, the Jail has been a focus of investigation for a multitude of paranormal investigation and ghost hunting groups. So far, research suggests that the first investigation at the Jail was by the Ghost Club in May 2008, followed by the Most Haunted TV show in December of the same year.

Several early reports do cite an investigation at the jail in 2005 which hit the national press as poltergeist activity in the jail sent the investigators packing. At the point of writing this, the press article has yet to be found. If anyone can point us in the right direction, it would be greatly appreciated!

Investigations and visitor sightings since 2008 have generated a list of alleged activity at the Castle Jail, as can be seen on the list below:

Scratches

There have been multiple reports of visitors and/or investigators finding inexplicable scratches on their bodies after visiting/investigating the jail. This has not been witnessed by OWNE during fieldwork. However, due to the nature of the building it would not be unexpected for a visitor to potentially scratch themselves on rough or protruding surfaces and not notice at the time, especially on arms in areas such as the spiral staircase in the cell block.

Mists and Orbs

Despite years of research and even statements by digital camera manufacturers explaining how ‘orbs’ are created through the photography process, many investigation groups still cling to the theory that orbs are evidence of paranormal activity. They’re the lazy approach to quick and easy ‘evidence’. As such, a number have been reported over the years at the jail. Now bear in mind that the cells especially are somewhat dusty: multiple airborne particles are visible to the naked eye in a strong torchbeam, and they get cold at night, often leading to the misting of investigators’ breath (and other gas escaping bodily functions!). Paranormal mists and orbs at the Jail can easily be explained by simple environmental factors and airborne particles.  

The Phantom Bagpiper

A phantom bagpiper has been seen and heard on the castle walls a number of times by visitors and investigators, and was cited certainly as early as The Ghost Club’s visit in 2008. 

Deadzone Paranormal Adventures initially thought they had caught an image of the piper on camera on an early visit to the site. However Chris Fox, Team Founder, was able to debunk it as pareidolia formed by a bird.

OWNE has yet to witness this phenomenon.

Visible apparitions

The Ghost Club’s 2008 report mentions a number of apparitions having been witnessed at the Jail as well as the piper noted above.

OWNE has yet to witness this phenomenon.

Stones and other objects being thrown at people

There are numerous references online to a 2005 investigation group having experienced poltergeist activity. However, so far we’ve not been able to track down the actual account. So far the earliest record that suggests this activity appears to be Most Haunted’s 2009 show.

OWNE has yet to witness this phenomenon. 

Drain on battery operated equipment

Numerous reports of investigators claiming battery drainage in mobile equipment have been reported. However, it is unknown where this was just a result of cold temperatures (overnight it gets cold in the jail!), as the cold can have a draining effect on some battery types, with the charge returning when the battery warms up.

OWNE has yet to witness this phenomenon at this site.

Online accounts

The sound of doors slamming shut

The sound of cell doors slamming shut (when the doors don’t actually move) has been reported by a number of visiting investigation teams. 

This phenomenon actually appears to be caused by the flag pole on top of the gaoler’s block. In a breeze, the rope cracks against the pole creating a metallic clang that echoes across the site.

This has been witnessed and documented by OWNE: one aim of our next fieldwork session there as guests of Deadzone will be to attempt to gain an audio recording of the event for presentation here.

Doors slamming shut on visitors

There is the occasional but repeating report of doors slamming shut on investigators within the cell block. The weight of the doors would make it incredibly unlikely that this would be caused by airflow. However, this phenomenon has yet to be encountered by OWNE and as such cannot yet be examined.

Audio anomalies

Inexplicable voices or heavy breathing sounds have been heard, reported at least as far back as 2008. 

OWNE has yet to witness this phenomenon. 

Edwin McArthur

Several investigation groups claim that the spirit of a former prisoner, Edwin McArthur, executed on site in 1855 haunts the jail and treats visitors and investigators to his own brand of poltergeist activity. Please see our Debunked section for more information. 

Disappearing Ouija

In 2019, Deadzone Paranormal Adventures undertook a 24 hour investigation of the site, with guests from another North East group also present. A visual anomaly appeared on the guest group’s CCTV upon playback during the night, suggesting that an ouija board set up as a trigger object had quite literally disappeared and reappeared in front of the camera. However, the raw footage was not made available to Deadzone, and the phenomenon also coincided with a trap camera set to cover the board having its memory card wiped, so the true nature of the anomaly cannot be investigated further, other than to repeat the experiment.

Have you ever experienced something strange or allegedly paranormal on a visit to Jedburgh Castle Jail? If so, would you consider sharing the event? Please use our Reporting Desk to tell us about it!  We’d love to be able to generate a map of everyone’s experiences to help focus our research and fieldwork.
Thanks in advance
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