Ghost-hunting dog Basil sniffs out spirits at the Old Courts in Wigan

Ian Wood and his spirit-sniffing hound Basil
Ian Wood and his spirit-sniffing hound Basil

A professional medium and his spirit-sensing dog have visited a Wigan venue with a rich history of ghostly goings-on.

Ian Wood, the man behind “Sixth Sense Ghost Hunters”, has carried out a ghost-hunting sessions at Wigan’s Old Courts with his 14-year-old dog Basil who he says can communicate with the dead.

The 53-year-old ghost hunter, who set his business up almost four decades ago, said that he has had contact with spirits on numerous visits to the historic building.

“There have been hangings and birchings at the Old Courts,” said Ian. “The original cells are still there and they were full of bad people.

“We do have to be careful when we are there because we are raking up filth from the past.

“We pick all sorts up any time we go there.

“One time a TV company said they wanted to film us.

“The cameramen met us there and we took them down to the cells.

“They said they didn’t feel so good and wanted to go outside.

“When we left they were crying and being sick. They were definitely experiencing something, they just couldn’t understand what was happening to them. After that they refused to go back.”

Ian explained that the Old Courts have always been a source of strange goings-on.

He said that a few years ago, lead coffins from the graveyard at Wigan Parish Church crashed through the wall of one of the cells underneath the venue.

“When they came in one of the walls collapsed,” he said. “Two or three coffins just came straight through the walls.

“The place had to be shut off amid fears of the plague.”

Staff at the former courthouse confirmed his version of events.

Alex Armstrong, marketing manager for the venue, said: “Seems the spirits in the parish church gardens were a little keen to see what was happening in the building and somehow made their way underneath Crawford Street in their caskets.

“There may still be some ghostly presences in the building, however the only spirits I’m aware of are in our Bailiff Bar.”

The Sixth Sense Ghost Hunters descended on the Old Courts on Friday evening, escorting a group of curious guests through the old tunnels and halls.

They were also accompanied by Basil, who Ian says has a knack of sniffing out spirits.

“Dogs are very sensitive to these things,” he said. “Whenever she finds something she starts barking.”

The next event will take place in October. For more information click here