MOST  HAUNTED  LIVE - Pendle Hill, Lancashire


In January 2005 LivingTV showed 'Pendle Hell' an investigation into the Hallowe'en investigation.

Much was edited from the original programme, as shown below in red


Clitheroe Castle Keep


Acorah was 'possessed' by the spirit of Roger de Lacey, who returned from the third crusade with leprosy, and set up a hospital for lepers nearby.


He was also in contact with the spirits of three Cavaliers, killed by the Scots when they attacked the royalist garrison during the English Civil War, giving their names as Jonas Pentall, Henry McCabe and Charles Littlejohn

However, the names of Aitken, Casewell and Rockcliffe were given onscreen for the spirits, and records show no mention of Pentall, McCabe and Littlejohn...




















The offices of Cook & Smith (Insurances) Limited


Whilst attempting to contact the spirit of 'Alice', Yvette Fielding said, "Is there a female astral being present".


Later, she said again, "Alice can you hear me?" and when nothing happened, continued, "If there's another astral being here in this room, whether you be a male, female, child, please give us a sign, any sign at all that you can hear my voice. Please come forward." 


Three minutes later "Any female here, any astral spirits?"


No-one can remember Yvette, or indeed anyone on Most Haunted, using the term 'astral being' prior to this moment, and it certainly struck a warning note with many people.


Just two minutes later Acorah was communicating with an alien he discovered in a broom cupboard!  He not only saw them, but was soon communicating with one ... in colours.....











Cutting up of corpse -



"Disgusting, despicable, dirty and nasty" – those are not my words, but those of Acorah when describing the spirits of the so-called Witches of Pendle.

So what really was disgusting?


Making much of the fact that the 'witches' never protested their innocence, for a start. From April 2 to August 18 1612, they were locked in three vaulted stone-flagged underground dungeons in the Well Tower of Lancaster Castle. By the time they came to trial, they were virtually unable to speak; they were allowed no defence council to plead for them, nor could they call any witnesses to speak on their behalf. Some justice!

What really was despicable?


Acorah's assertion that the person cutting the corpse was Alizon - presumably Alizon Device - accompanied by two others. The only mention of this is in her brother, James' confession, where he says

"And further saith, that twelve yeares agoe, the said Anne chattox at a burial at the new church in pendle, did take three scalps of people, which had been buried, and then cast out of a grave, as she the said chattox told this examinate; and tooke eight teeth out of the said scalps ..."

No mention of his sister Alizon whatsoever, or the removal of fingers. Acorah's got his ghosts mixed and not for the first time.

What really was dirty?


Acorah's insistence that these people tortured their victims. Nowhere in the confessions is that even hinted at as far as I'm able to discern?

What really was nasty?


Acorah trying to bring religion into the programme, by producing a cross to frighten the spirits away, and then blaspheming. Witches have no fear of a cross - that pagan symbol predates Christianity by many thousands of years.



So what about mistakes?

Elizabeth Southerns.

1. Acorah gave her age as 72 in 1610 – she was 78


2. On several occasions the name Elizabeth Southworth was given for Demdike. On the first occasion that Acorah is 'possessed' by Elizabeth Southworth [sic] he has to be taken away to recover. As soon as he returns he declares himself to be possessed by Elizabeth Southerns. I wonder who pointed out his mistake to him when he was off camera?


3. He then mentions a toad - presumably Elizabeth Southerns’ familiar, but he got the wrong familiar. Elizabeth Southerns' was a black cat called Tibb, while the toad was reputedly that of Margaret Pearson - who wasn't mentioned as she lived many miles away.


4. At the end of the programme both Acorah and Yvette confirm that it's Elizabeth Southworth moving the glass.

So who was Elizabeth Southworth? Several generations of them lived not far away at Samlesbury Hall, where there’s supposed to be the ghost of a White Lady.



Some speculate the White Lady is one of three sisters. Jane, her sister, Dorothy [who married John Rishton from Dunkenleigh Hall – which has its own ghost.] or the third sister, Elizabeth. Did Acorah get his ghosts mixed up ... again?



Is there a connection between the Pendle witches and Samlesbury? It would seem so, because Jennet Device, granddaughter of "Old Demdike" was the chief prosecution witness against the so-called Samlesbury witches also.


5. Yvette asks, through Acorah if ‘Demdike’ [Elizabeth Southerns] can see her, and the answer is ‘yes’. However, Elizabeth Southerns was blind.  She wasn't hanged, either – she died in Lancaster Castle without coming to trial.


Glass tipping: - It's possible to see the way the glass may have been tipped over during the séance, when watched frame by frame and in slow motion. On the circuit prior to the glass tipping over, Karl raises his finger from the glass and turns his hand so his palm is facing Acorah, briefly. Karl puts his finger back on the glass for the last circuit. At the same time Acorah, whose finger is mainly either horizontal to the glass, or at 45 degrees to it, suddenly moves his hand forward, so that his finger is completely perpendicular to the glass - pushing down on it, rather than sideways. Karl's finger is also on the very edge of the glass pushing down. It's then that the glass falls over. Of course, this could be totally unconscious, but it worked.



How about the "viewers' vote" on whether the witches had real powers? Funnily enough, 83% of viewers thought they had – exactly the same number as those who believed Acorah had communicated with an alien in glorious technicolour, the previous night. 'Nuff said!






Cath's giggles - EDITED OUT

During a table tipping and séance at the end of the programme, team members were dropping like flies. It started with those around the table, with the usual routine been played out.  Then the table leg by Karl suddenly broke!  Paranormal?  This was a flimsy table with removable legs.


One of the most interesting sights commented on by many viewers was when the camera unexpectedly went on Cath, the make-up lady.  Several people had already claimed they felt they were being choked, yet Cath was giggling.  It didn't seem to be a nervous giggle, either, more a giggle of someone finding it hard to keep a straight face.  When the cameraman realised he had caught her laughing he quickly moved the camera away.  But when the camera returned to her, she was suddenly shaking and upset, then collapsed as well.


Remember that while people were holding their throats claiming to feel like they were being strangled, the spirit who was supposed to be causing this was never hanged, and died in prison.  Why would she make people live through something that never happened to her?

The climax of night two was so perfectly timed as to be unbelievable.  Just before it finished at midnight, the glass was thrown and smashed on the floor, followed by a close-up of Yvette crying her eyes out.   It couldn't have been stage-managed better.








Funnily enough, the aliens from the broom cupboard in night one had been forgotten by everyone.  The first time on British television that aliens have been contacted, and it doesn't even warrant a mention in passing.  Amazing.


On to Waddow Hall, and the well-documented Pegg O'Nell, serving girl to the Starkey family.    When Acorah makes contact with Mistress Starkey, Ciaran O'Keefe asked him for her first name.  Acorah was unable to do so, but as Matthew Smith so rightly pointed out,

"One thing that is noteworthy - whenever Ciaran tries to push Derek on the first name of Mistress Starkey he's changed the subject onto something else, because this isn't a name that's recorded, so it's not as if he can produce that information. Whereas if he really was communicating, surely he'd be able to just say what the first name was. That leads me to be rather suspicious."




despite Acorah telling the BBC the ghost of a highwayman (Ned King) had been caught on camera.


Read article here



Whilst walking by the river talking of Pegg O'Nell and Mistress Starkey, Yvette saw a white figure.   Acorah immediately agreed that he saw it as well, even though he appeared to be looking in another direction, and declared it to be the ghost of highwayman, Ned King - also well-document nearby.  Naturally, the cameramen didn't manage to catch anything on film.

There is a public footpath where Yvette thought she saw a ghost, and  several viewers had seen people walking in that area on the webcams.



For the first three and three-quarter hours of the final night Derek talked many times either to, or about, Anne Shepherd, which baffled those who had researched the 'witches'. At one point Derek declares

"I will never forget the name Anne Shepherd!"

But he did! When he returned to the hub the name had suddenly become Anne Redfearn - what it should have been all along. Who pointed out his mistake to him while he was off camera?

So was there a famous Anne Shepherd of the time? Yes, but not a witch. It was the name of "The Queen's Dwarf" at the court of King Charles I, who married the dwarf court artist, Richard Gibson.


The most fascinating feature of night three occurred when David Wells was doing a scrying experiment.  The effects of scrying appears to be fully understood by science, but that wouldn't prevent Most Haunted from using it.

As he sat there on his own looking into the mirror; he had some contact with a spirit man, which told him to cover the mirror with a cloth and place on the table.  This was only covered by webcams and not seen live on air. 

After a while David Wells called for help on the walkie-talkie, and by the time the rest of the crew arrive, the mirror is smashed and Wells has almost passed out. Eventually the footage is shown, and proves to be very interesting.

As he is sitting at the table, Wells suddenly grabs the cloth-covered mirror and appears to hit it against his head.  As it was covered in a cloth any risk of injuring himself was minimised.  In fact there wasn’t a mark on him afterwards.

When watched in slow-motion it is even more interesting to see that he starts to lay his head on the table, lifts it up and very deliberately places his hand between his head and the table before contacting the team.


Most Haunted Live was entertaining, and it was great fun. But just like the last MHL at Maes Artro, there were simply too many mistakes.

Richard Felix again appeared ignorant about the availability of information produced by Acorah.

There was Acorah getting confused over which name he is supposed to be saying.

There were crew members that struggled to keep a straight face when apparently under attack from spirits.

The only sceptical element to the show in Matthew Smith was stifled and prevented from speaking.

And why wasn't the talk of aliens continued and examined?

All in all it was a good show, but that’s all it was - a show. No-one can believe that any of it was a genuine paranormal investigation.

©2005 Emma Gee

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