On Saturday Watford’s Independent Paranormal Research group attained the impossible: “undeniable” evidence of spirits in Cassiobury Park.
The finding has opened the book at a very interesting chapter in Watford’s history, namely past resident Arthur Capel, 1st Baron of Hadham, who married the heiress of the Cassiobury Estate, Elizabeth Morrison.
But why would Lord Capel choose the modern boundaries of Cassiobury Park to haunt after his execution in 1649?
If my head was chopped off I’d have strayed wildly in the consequent 365 years. Capel could be searching Cassiobury for his heart, supposedly removed and buried in a silver casket. Hopefully metal detector enthusiasts didn’t get there first.
The ghost of Arthur is said to appear yearly, every March 9.
Well, “around” March 9. He has the decency to stick around for a bit, observing leap years, and tacking on extra dates due to popular demand. Maybe a residency at the Colosseum is on the cards?
Jamie Burnell, lead investigator, recalls a previous park visit when a medium recounted Cassiobury’s well-documented history of rapes and deaths with chilling accuracy.
Sacrifices, too; have you ever witnessed the aftermath of teenagers taking disposable barbecues into the woods?
And so, to the evidence: an extraordinary photograph showing what Mr Burnell believes to be spirit entities, not in human form, but a fog-like mist.
What can you see?
"There are so many faces that I can make out, it’s almost undeniable proof. There are faces on their sides and I can see almost a full body apparition”, he says.
Faces at right angles? Did the photograph capture the Post-Mortem Scoliosis Club’s midnight outing? Or could one of these faces indeed be that of Arthur Capel?
Investigator Alexander Ray held his breath when the photograph was taken, in case the full-body apparition (several feet away from the camera to fit into frame) was spooked by his slight exhalation.
The mist, which by their own admission they couldn’t see, was said to last three or four seconds (don’t ask how they knew that as they couldn’t see it), and was only discovered when the photo was viewed afterwards. Why Alex decided to hold his breath in anticipation of an unseen fleeting culmination of a yearly event is perhaps the greatest mystery of all.
Things I can see in the picture: Donald Duck’s beak (top left), Monkey from the PG Tips adverts (bottom right), the reflection of a camera flash on some fog (throughout), and the Great Pyramid of Giza (top right).
Things I can’t see: Ghosts. Maybe mist is the ghost of dead air?
A “spirit box” was used to detect disembodied voices via radio frequencies, although the photo “proves” ghosts operate on the visible light spectrum.
What’s Capel’s CB handle?
Mr Burnell divulges: “There is usually some sort of interaction between us and the spirits”, but unfortunately on this, the sole occasion the ghosts revealed themselves, they were mute.
Perhaps these were apparitions of the innumerable fauna hunted in the Cassiobury grounds during the previous millennium?
Maybe the team should instead have been listening for a “moo”, “baa”, or whatever noise deer make. Seems far more likely than stumbling across Capel and pals.
Joking aside, the investigators have successfully reignited interest in our town’s fascinating history. I urge all residents to research Cassiobury and the Earls of Essex to truly appreciate Watford’s significant contribution to England’s heritage.