Alton Towers is renowned for being a thrill-seeker's paradise with its array of attractions and roller-coasters. But it is not until after the screaming and music fades, lights go down and the park is completely empty that the real thrills begin, with its biggest most frightening attraction of all The Alton Towers itself. Reporter Abbey Buxton found out what lurks behind the ancient walls when she recently took part in a Paranormal Investigation at the ancient mansion.
IT was a lovely sunny evening as I made my way towards Alton Towers for a 'ghost hunt'.
The atmosphere was eerily quiet without the hordes of thrill-seekers charging around and as I admired the pleasant spring evening and serenity I was unprepared for what was to befall as the night drew in.
Beginning in the chapel the event organiser Denholm Siegertsz, of Potteries Paranormal Investigations, introduced himself and his team who would be our guides for the evening.
After a potted history of Alton Towers and the myths and legends, we split into two groups and headed off for a twilight tour of the building.
Despite still being light as we made our way around the house there was a tense atmosphere building up, with some people reporting seeing, hearing and feeling things as we went along.
At this point I had not witnessed anything, until we were in the Pugin Rooms. As we were about the leave the room myself and a couple of others saw a shadow peek out from behind a doorway, disappear momentarily, then peek out again, before disappearing once more.
Intrigued we returned to the chapel to refresh ourselves ready for the real fun to begin.
Beginning in the kitchen and pantry, reputedly the most haunted place in the towers, we gathered in a circle.
I heard a woman screaming from elsewhere in the towers while other people reported seeing things in the windows, feeling people standing behind them, breathing on their necks, and seeing dark shadows move among us.
A few people even had to be taken out of the room complaining of feeling nauseous and dizzy, and in the pantry we experienced a sensation of something being there with us.
From there we gathered in a tunnel leading from the house to the grounds, where a few people said it felt like there was something moving past us. Suddenly an overwhelming sense of fear and tension came over me and I had the urge to close to my eyes and pull my head down close to my chest.
As we were about to make our way out of the tunnel we saw the door to the house slowly close on its own.
We rushed to it to see if there was anyone there, but there was no one. We made our way back into the house and to the conservatories where we found a dark passage, although no one actually dared to enter it.
From here we went into the Great Hall and I again heard a woman screaming from elsewhere in the towers. I moved towards the window accompanied by a few others and we heard the scream again.
We went upstairs to a large room, with a smaller one attached, and while some of the group took part in a seance in the smaller room, myself and the others made our way out of the main room to the roof.
As we turned to leave the group I heard a loud male voice growling. As we got to the door I heard it again closer behind me, and when we reached the stairs I heard it again right behind us.
Running upstairs to the roof I was glad to be outside in the fresh air. After steadying my nerves we went back inside to the rooms we had come from and joined the others.
Everyone was silent while we observed the seance and while me and Denholm were standing by the doorway we heard a male's voice growling in the main room next to us.
We went to investigate and heard the same noise several times, accompanied by a loud banging of wooden panels.
We rejoined the others who, as we were in the other room, had claimed to have heard a woman singing in a church choir.
After we told them what we had witnessed in the main room, everyone gathered in there and formed a circle.
For about several minutes we heard a male voice growling loudly repeatedly, accompanied by loud knocking and banging of wooden panels to an almost deafening level, and finally the sound of a man crying out in agony.
Eventually the din subsided and we left the room and made our way back to the chapel.
As I made my way home I pondered the night's events trying to make sense of them.
Having been around the house in the light beforehand I could see there were no speakers, and as the rooms only consisted of bare brick walls, concrete floors and empty fireplaces there was nowhere anyone could hide.
So I cannot explain what it was that I witnessed that night, but for anyone who doubts that there is anything residing in those ancient walls I challenge you to stay the night and see what happens.
Potteries Paranormal Investigations has visited Alton Towers a number of times.
Mr Siegertsz said: "Alton Towers has never disappointed when it comes to paranormal occurrences, and this was no exception.
"The ancestral home of the Earls of Shrewsbury has seen its fair share of drama and history and the entire hall holds different secrets and memories. It was this that we tapped into during the investigation.
"At all times the feeling that the ones who were being observed were not the guests looking for paranormal activity, but the long since passed inhabitants who were observing the living."
For more information visit the Potteries Paranormal Investigations website www.ppistoke.co.uk