Armley Mills – Leeds Industrial Museum
Oct 22 2022 9pm-2am
Another visit to this fascinating building with Visage Paranormal. Once the home of the world’s largest woollen mill. The first record of it being a ‘fulling’ mill was in 1707. The current structure was built by Benjamin Gott after the mill burnt down. He used more fire-retardant materials and the building remains standing to this day with a Grade II listing. The original looms and machinery are still inside, as are various collections of textiles and locomotive and cinema history, including a tiny 1920’s cinema recreated from the original picture house which was originally located in Armley.
History lesson over – let’s get down to the report of our investigation.
We had 16 very excited guests, some returning and a few who were completely new to this kind of thing. With some sightings and sounds already seen heard and felt on our initial baseline tests before the guests arrived, we were hopeful of an interesting night. Shadows flitting between the looms and a tug on the string of my hoodie during my lone walk around. And seeing the outline of man in the doorway as I was putting up the Visage banner in the main lobby area. As well as the other team members picking up on a man watching/following them during their walk around. It was looking as if Armley Mill wasn’t going to disappoint.
During the intro talk one of our returning guests told me he had picked up on the name ‘Thomas Molloy’ – around 6ft tall, grey suit/blue shirt and the words, “He goes on this lad doesn’t he?” while Brett was doing his tech talk. This did make me chuckle I have to admit. He also picked up on a young boy aged about 9, called ‘Billy’.
During the protection circle we did in the area by the large loom, both myself and the same guest kept looking towards the far end of the floor as we were both independently picking up on the form of a tall man, pacing and watching from the shadows. There was also an audible knock on the floor.
Bring it on Armley Mills!
At this point we split into two groups. Group A staying on that upstairs level. Group B moving downstairs to the old cinema area and other exhibit areas.
I was with Group A and we had some interesting results with the paranormal music box which goes off if something passes in front of the sensor. We cannot say for definite that each time it sounded, spirit was present, but at one point it did seem to go off in response to questions such as “How many of you are here?” The box going off twice then eventually, a third time. A guest picked up on the name “Peter” and when asking out if there was a Peter present, the box sounded again. At this point we moved the music box to the far end of the room where the shadow figure had been spotted earlier on, we pointed it the other way and two guests remained down that end on vigil while the rest tried some table tipping and a human pendulum session. There was a loud unexplained bang down the far end of the room where the shadow man was seen and the music box did go off a couple of times. Meanwhile on the Human Pendulum session, the guest chosen to be in the centre got the spirit of a young lady who died due to a “cough” from working in the mill and “lungs”. Her husband had moved on to remarry after her death and she was not happy about that. On trying to ascertain a name, after various attempts the name “Margaret” scored a very definite YES result.
We then relocated to the workers cottages – not an area we often get to investigate – so I was very excited at this. The cottages are located outside and a short walk along the riverside. Within a few minutes of entering the cottages, I felt a very definite pinch of my bottom! I was stood in a corner with nothing behind me except a cupboard built into the wall. No guests were near me and nothing else was around that I might have bumped into. Did we have a cheeky spirit on our hands?
One guest in particular seemed to be getting pushed, so we suggested trying a Human Pendulum again with her in the centre. The name ‘Horace’ was picked up on and received a definite YES response. Could Horace have been the master on this particular cottage? On calling out questions we received the YES response when asking if he had been a bully when alive and did he have children and indeed did he have a mistress – several it would seem! Horace was asked to step back nd allow other spirit to communicate. This time we got “Geoffrey” who was around before “Horace”. A family man who died of natural causes. A migrant worker down from Scotland who lived in Bradford but did not like it.
By now it was time to take a break and re-join the other group and Team Leaders for a well-deserved hot drink and a snack. 25 minutes later I realised I had left my voice recorder in the cottage so steeled myself to return alone to retrieve it. I have never moved so quick to leave the building as there was a very heavy vibe in there when I returned alone. On reviewing the recording later, during the 20 minutes of recording after we had left, there are some knocks and clicks which could be objects shifting or ghostly footsteps. I cannot, however rule out the sounds being fireworks from outside. I guess we will never know for sure!
Group B had some interesting occurrences on their vigil. Including two guests independent of each other, seeing a black and white Collie type dog. So much so that they asked the museum ladies in the gift shop if either had brought a dog with them. They had not and had never heard of anyone seeing a dog around the building before.
Using the tables they picked up on the name “William” or “Willis” and “Jonathan”. One guest picked up on a “Jeremy Iceton” who was “27 years old and earned 7/2”. There was also a 6-year-old and the letters B E E spelled out.
We then swapped over locations and it was Group As turn to go downstairs. The cinema area was surprisingly quiet although it did have a heavy atmosphere. In the area with all the sewing machines, a plasma balls was dropped accidentally so I (foolishly) volunteered to go get a dustpan and brush from the ladies upstairs. Walking alone through the building in the dark with my lame torch was rather more scary than walking around alone with all the lights on. Particularly when I was followed through one room by something small and dark, which made me break into a run to go and join the rest of the group. I thought it may have been a child, but perhaps it was the dog that the other group had witnessed? The music box went off a couple of times in that area but again, I could not rule out interference from us as we tried to stand still. There were some footsteps head and a slight knocking and then we moved on to the Engine Room, which was pretty quiet and flat. Group B had better results in that area with lights going on and off and during a Human Pendulum session, coming up with “Frederick” and a lady who had a miscarriage. Also a child called “Timmy” and some guests reported feeling as if they were being touched on their face and hair. Not an uncommon sensation on my many visits to Armley Mills.
All in all everyone enjoyed their night and we had some interesting results.
We are looking forward to doing it all again next month at the brilliant Thackray Medical Museum. Tickets still available for that at a bargain price, and well worth it, just to roam about in a museum full of old medical equipment for the night after hours.
Get involved and come and join if you dare.