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Real Haunted Mansion

House On Haunted Hill is a grizzly tale of some bright young things who meet a ghostly and gruesome death. Inspired by this blood curdling tale and armed with the reassurance that it's only fiction, right?, I decided to have my own spooky experience and go ghost hunting. Recruiting the help of ghost hunter and medium of 10 years, Craig Hamilton-Parker, we paid a visit to the magnificent, but haunted home of the 7th Marquees of Bath, Longleat House, near Warminster, Wiltshire.

He's never been inside the house before and is hunting 'blind'. As Craig, 46,who knows about these things, says: "It's such a great place the spirits don't want to leave. "He looks like a friendly headmaster in his blazer and chinos, but having a chat isn't easy when there are ghosts around. He suddenly veers off down dimly lit corridors in the private quarters of the huge, echoey house, his imaginary antenna leading him to spooky quarter.

haunted LongleatStanding in a bland and empty corner of the corridor, with his head bowed in concentration, Craig murmurs, "This used to be the nursery and children would play here. But a little girl who played here with blonde, ringletted hair died of a breathing disease."

I stand there, not daring to breath, the hair on the back of my neck slowly standing to attention. Craig continues: "There's also a woman here too, but she's connected to a different time in history. I saw her standing in the corridor. A lot of tragedy has surrounded her life and she has a very ruthless husband. She's waiting for him to return."

I dash through the haunted area and stumble down the servant's steep spiralling staircase away from the former nursery. Down in the boiler room when Craig senses that dead bodies have been stored on the floor, I scarper to the near by cafe for a strong brew.

A chat with the house steward, Ken Windess who's worked at Longleat for over 20 years, proves Craig was spot on with his ghostly sightings. In fact, baby Alice who used to play in the nursery before it was converted into a corridor, died of consumption in 1847.

She was exactly as Craig had described, right down to the blonde ringlets.

haunted house

As for the tragic woman, she turned out to be Louisa Carteret. Married to one of the Marquess'sancestors, she had an affair with one of the servants. Her ruthless husband found out and naturally had him disposed of. The servant was booted down the namely 'breakneck' stairs - the spiralling staircase next to the nursery - during the 1700s. His body was stored in the boiler room until it could be fully disposed of.

Louisa was told he'd just 'gone away' and never knew he'd been bunked off. She's waiting for him, rather than her husband, in the servants quarters where they used to meet. Although having ghosts around may send shivers down your spine, Craig maintains the spirits will do you no harm.

"Theses are friendly ghosts," he's says with dad-like smile as we stand in the sunshine in the vast grounds of the house. "They're there because they like it, just like us