It was a dark and stormy night in Brighton. We gathered around at the Pavilion gardens waiting anxiously for something to happen. Deep from the shadows came an old man, seemingly from another era. His hollow voice echoed in the night as he began his story of the restless souls and the unexplained events that have taken place on the very same streets you walk everyday. The time is nigh for the Original Festival Ghost Walk.
I can truly recommend this chilly, yet somehow very touching and intimate walk to everyone.
This hour and twenty minute walk takes you around central Brighton from the Pavilion to the Theatre Royal, North Street and the Lanes. The group is in the very capable hands of Malcolm, our guide into the underworld. He is truly the original ghost tour guide with more than a decade of experience under his belt. His expertise as well as enthusiasm for the subject is evident. There is no Victorian attire or magic tricks here - none are needed. The stories take centre stage and carry the tour.
I quickly realized that it is the unexplained everyday occurrences that are the scariest. We are all saturated by Hollywood horror blockbusters to expect the extravagant, yet we always immediately recognise this as fiction. But served with subtle stories of doors slamming on their own, cold presences felt in dark corridors, foul smells originating from nowhere or vague shapes seen at a distance, you start to wonder. It could happen.
Imagination and the city of Brighton are the best props here. You are bound to look at empty windows more closely and start seeing figures lurking in the shadows. Perhaps the chills I felt were due to the cold evening breeze, perhaps they weren’t. Anyway, I learned that the pub I visited just last week was haunted. On top of good old ghost stories, you also get a generous helping of local history and architecture.
I can truly recommend this chilly, yet somehow very touching and intimate walk to everyone. Even if the undead are not your thing, this walk is worthwhile just for the local folklore. The two younger members of the audience also enjoyed the tour wholeheartedly, so don’t be afraid to take children along. I now know the difference between hauntings, poltergeists and apparitions, and I even know how to perform a DIY exorcism. You never know, it might come handy someday.