Haunted Britain: That sinking feeling
Each month, comedian Barry Dodds and his sidekick Rebecca Kirk spend a night in a different haunted location. Paranormal investigation
Kirk’s Paranormal Investigation Report:
10pm: ‘Apparently these are the inspiration of Alice falling down the rabbit hole in Alice in Wonderland,’ Dodds tells me as we cross the field in which the Kettles sit. ‘Lewis Carroll lived in the village as a child and took a lot of inspiration from the surrounding area.’
‘It doesn’t surprise me,’ I say as we approach Double Kettle and peer into it. ‘This thing looks deep.’ 10.15pm: Thick clouds have brought the night in fast. A breeze whisks the reeds and Dodds sees a smoke-like light darting across them.
‘Was that your head torch?’ Dodds asks.
‘I wasn’t even looking that way,’ I respond. Perhaps it’s time to set the equipment going.
10.35pm: Ten minutes into switching on the spirit box, we pick up an electronic zap and then a man’s voice saying what sounds like, ‘Got to reach for the…’ before falling silent again. There’s a helicopter in the distance though, was that what we were picking up?
10.50pm: Dodds ask for a sign that we’re not alone. We hear the sound of a stone being thrown over the other side of the Kettle - but we’re the only two living people in this field.
‘Let’s move over to where the sound came from,’ Dodds suggests to me.
11.05pm: As we’re carefully walking around Double Kettle, we hear deep thumping, like heavy footsteps, pacing round the perimeter just ahead.
‘I feel unsettled over this side,’ I mutter.
But to my surprise, Dodds feels fine, putting the noises
down to nature.
11.35pm: After sitting in silence for some time, Dodds suddenly stands up, alert.
‘I- nah…’ He shakes his head to himself, looking worried
‘What?’ I insist, still feeling rather on edge.
‘I thought I just saw a black shadow moving through the reeds,’ Dodds says.
He turns around and immediately sees a bobbing light in the row of trees behind us.
‘What’s that?’ he yelps, heading towards them to investigate. ‘Wait for me!’ I cry.
11.40pm: ‘It looked like a dimmed lamp,’ Dodds says as we look into the heavy foliage, certain a dog walker will pop out at any moment. Nobody does, though. We’re all alone out here.
Midnight: We move over to the fresh water Croft Kettle, which is said to have sucked in a farmer, along with his horses and cart, back in the Middles Ages, as punishment for tending to his hay on St. Barnabas’ Day. He’s one of the damned, screaming souls in the ponds. 12.20am: I read aloud a folklore ditty from the incident: ‘Barnaby yea! Barnaby nay! A cartload of hay, whether God will or nay!’ As I’m speaking, the wind picks up, ruffling the reeds and our hair. Something growls. 1am: All is calm again. The darkness is thick and it feels dangerous just to be standing on the edge of this fabled sinkhole.
1.10am: ‘Even when all is silent, this place gives me the creeps,’ I shudder. ‘Strange lights and sounds aside, I still feel nothing,’ Dodds shrugs, before considering, ‘Hey, it only affects wrong ‘uns though, doesn’t it?’ ‘There was that time I told my little brother he’d get a wish if he did a poo in the paddling pool, when he was five,’ I admit. ‘Boy, did he get into troub…’ The Kettle suddenly gurgles and ripples, stopping me mid-sentence. I take a swift step back from the edge.
‘They’re coming for you!’ Dodds teases me.
Suddenly, I’m determined to get as far away from Hell Kettles as possible. I spend the journey home quietly re-thinking my actions as an eight-year old!