A team of paranormal investigators are being called in to Wicksteed Park after a series of mysterious events left staff fearing part of the grounds may be haunted.
Actors and entertainers based in the arboretum as part of the Wickscream Park Halloween attraction have reported a series of instances of equipment being moved without any explanation and an eerie reoccurring noise at night which sounds like galloping horses.
The trees are located close to the remains of a Norman motte and bailey castle on a far side of the lake, an area normally deserted after dark.
Investigators will be asked to probe whether the presence of people and park visitors enjoying the Halloween attraction has disturbed the spirits of soldiers killed in ancient battles at the site.
The Halloween attractions were launched after the park joined forces with AtmosFEAR Scare Entertainment, Europe’s biggest independent scare entertainment production company.
Panic Station, based around the park’s railway, is a spooky theatrical experience which takes place on board a travelling train, which stops so passengers have to walk into the depths of the arboretum.
Wicksteed Park managing director Alasdair McNee said: “Our promotional material for the attraction said that the arboretum was where ghosts lingered, awaiting the unwary, but little did we know how true this might be!
”Staff working to prepare the attraction started noticing props and costumes weren’t where they left them but put it down to the fact everyone was busy preparing things for the launch.
“But they started turning up in the oddest of places, outside the arboretum and close to the old Norman castle.
“Now we have had several reports that staff and entertainers can hear what sounds incredibly like galloping horses.
“The people down there at night at the ones supposed to be doing the scaring but a couple of them are starting to say that they themselves are getting a little nervous about what is down there.”
In addition to preparations for the Halloween attractions, which also include a Cirque Savage, creepy freakshow, the lake area of the park has undergone extensive changes and improvement work as part of £3million project backed by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).
Alasdair McNee added: “We have spent a couple of weeks thinking there was just a normal explanation for what people are seeing and hearing down there but now we are not so sure and are looking for a team of paranormal investigators to come and get to the bottom of it.”