by ANTONY CLAY
IT might look like an ordinary shop but to the paranormal investigators of Rotherham it is a well-known haunted hotspot.
A poltergeist has apparently been making its presence felt for years at 70 Broad Street in Rawmarsh with documented tales of objects being mysteriously moved.
Most people would probably avoid taking on such an establishment but for Lee Steer and Linzi Sheeran it was a definite draw.
The pair run paranormal investigation group Project-reveal, have two successful websites and film their experiences for a large online audience.
Their Ghosts of Britain and The Haunted World Facebook sites are followed by thousands and they regularly explore supposedly haunted sites to see if they can gather evidence to prove or disprove the presence of spirits.
They have built up a collection of scary objects such as devilish dolls, firestarting paintings, a possessed ouija board and a genie in a sacred container – and have even taken them out on tour across the country.
But now they have opened a Haunted Objects Museum in Rawmarsh in Rotherham where people can get up close and personal with the weird wonders.
But don’t expect a visit to go without incident. People have reported objects moving and strange experiences.
Lee and Linzi are both sceptics but willing to find out more about the paranormal, and some of what they have experienced has left them unnerved and baffled.
The Rotherham-based group has investigated locations for unusual activity far and wide.
And people are interested with 250,000 followers online and their videos of investigations receiving one million views per month.
Lee said: “We have got a lot of items and toured them around various cities, such as Manchester. But touring was causing wear and tear on the items so we thought we needed to stop moving them around and put them in one particular area so that people who wanted to see them can come to see them.
“We decided to open it as the Haunted Object Museum.
“We were scouting for a location for the museum and what are the chances of getting a property to let that had documented hauntings?
“The fact that it has a poltergeist drew us to it.”
The premises on Broad Street is an old bridal and fancy dress shop where, a decade or so ago, the Rotherham Advertiser reported that the scared owners were experiencing objects being moved around, a radio being turned on and other poltergeist-like happenings.
They had also seen a ghostly lady on the premises.
This strange activity has still been happening today, even as Lee and Linzi have been setting the museum up.
“When we were setting up the CCTV cameras we walked into the shop area and as we were walking out there was a chair blocking our path, even though we did not leave it there,” said Lee.
While the building was still an empty shell, paranormal investigators were allowed in to do research.
“Eleven teams have been in and all found evidence of paranormal activity,” said Lee.
“Some were sceptics and came out of the museum changing their mindset completely.”
The museum consists of one room on the ground floor with a cellar and then rooms across three houses on the top floor, providing 11 rooms through which objects can be displayed.
The museum has already sold out until mid-December for private bookings and opened to the public last month with an official opening event.
A schedule for opening to the public hasn’t been decided yet but it will cost £5 to enter the museum, although the shop will be free to visit.
Lee said: “It will be the only shop in South Yorkshire that sells things to do with the paranormal.
“It will be selling things such as spiritual cleansing products and so on. If you are interested in the paranormal, you need to see this shop.
“The museum is clearly of interest for people who are interested in the paranormal.
“Because we have got a large following and because it’s appealing in a strange way, the museum is going to stay.
“I think it will be a surprise to a lot of people. The only people it will not be a surprise to are local paranormal investigators who know the history of the house.
“Lots of people are showing interest in the museum already. We have already been approached by a TV company.”
Lee and Linzi’s paranormal mission is set to continue, but now the public can get involved too.
A TRIP AROUND THE HAUNTED OBJECTS MUSEUM
THE CELLAR: Discover a possessed ouija board and a vicar’s haunted mirror on which writing is supposed to appear.
THE CRYING BOY ROOM: Look at pictures of the Project-reveal investigations and see evidence of the poltergeist activity in the building itself.
Lee said: “What we do know is that in this house there was a documented death where someone burnt to death in that room. We have had the crying boy picture in that room which supposedly has a curse that burns down houses. We didn’t know about the fire death when we put it in the room. What a coincidence it was that we put it there.”
THE CONFUSION ROOM: This is full of haunted dolls, such as the 125-year-old Samuel which has been accused of causing headaches. Recently its head fell off and smashed even though there was no one around. There are also the terrible twins which supposedly induce sensations in people’s legs and make people hear laughing sounds. Lee said: “People who have been in that room have reported that phenomena even when we have not told them about it beforehand.”
THE BRIDAL DOLL ROOM: This includes the bridal doll Elizabeth which was recently studied by paranormal investigators who took a thermal scan of her head which revealed a red heat source. Lee said: “People think it indicates there is something going on there, that there is activity in the brain.” The room also contains a wedding dress which, according to Linzi, isn’t haunted but tells a sad tale: “A lady had it made 70 or 80 years years ago for her wedding. Unfortunately the man she was going to marry went to war and died, and the woman used to wear the dress every day.” The room also contains a curtain which moves of its own accord and a lamp which goes on and off. A medium has been in and said that two children’s spirits are behind the activity.
THE SINISTER ROOM: This contains The Sinister Painting which was made specially for a film production based at Revesby Abbey in Lincolnshire. But strange things started to happen and the film crew refused to work with it so it was dumped. The caretaker of the abbey offered it to Project-reveal. Lee said that a paranormal investigator used a crystal skull to investigate the painting and the skull turned round of its own accord, and he himself claimed that his own research using a random word generator heard the painting saying it wanted to be “in the woods”. When the picture went on tour in Gloucester, a woman collapsed in front of the painting and Lee said that many people can’t stand looking at it. There are other items in the Sinister Room such as a haunted doll kept in a glass case called Scarlett who swears.
THE EVIL ROOM: This room contains a dybbuk box which supposedly contains a demonic entity, a djinn – or genie – in a special sacred container and dolls made with human ash. There is also a mannequin which Lee said was put in merely as a prop but which seems to now be displaying weird behaviour of its own. An investigation team saw its arm moving and another group saw it move too. Project-reveal investigated and saw the mannequin’s hood move off its head. Lee said: “We have had people running out of that room because people have said they have seen it moving.”
THE BEDROOM: If wandering around the museum and seeing the unnerving objects isn’t enough, the bedroom is being refurbished to give people the opportunity to sleep overnight at the premises. Whether they will get a good night’s sleep isn’t guaranteed!