Derby Gaol is a working Museum, which is open to the public and has been through many incarnations including a nightclub, since it was first constructed. It was eventually bought in 1997 by paranormal investigator and dedicated historian Richard Felix, who appeared in the hit series Most Haunted. It has been restored after much hard work to its current condition, which mirrors closely its original state . Tours of the jail are available privately during the week for parties of 10 or more.
It is reputed to be extremely haunted, and with its history of imprisonment and death, it is a strong contender for the title of most haunted place in Derby. There have been many paranormal occurrences and unexplained sightings reported over the years and according to the owner and staff at the jail, they tends to occur mostly from around October through to December and then tail off until June and July when they pick up again.
Richard Felix has had several supernatural encounters himself including on a Friday afternoon in November, three years ago he was standing in the kitchen talking on the phone, when a figure walked down the corridor past him. The grey haze was in the form of a person which glided down the corridor and vanished at the bottom. Richard was extremely shocked bought and left the building immediately, returning the following year on the anniversary of the sighting at the same time and waited. But this time he saw nothing.
Many visitors have felt sick in one of the cells, including Yvette Fielding from Living TV's Most Haunted, who had to leave the cell during their investigation after feeling extremely nauseous and emotional. During the rebound and restoration of the jail, one of the builders was working in the cells and twice during one Saturday afternoon, the very heavy cell door closed by itself while he was in there. He also had to leave the room several times are feeling sick.
The Condemned cell has long been an area which has caused great discomfort visitors and some people have reported neck restriction and feelings of suffocation. Two ladies left the jail in tears, clutching their throats and felt something was around their neck and on the way out of the jail, they passed a figure standing by the door. They assumed it was an actor, a balding man wearing a sleeveless leather outfit which the ladies described as a body warmer type garment and the same figure has also been seen in the day room, quite disturbing a female eyewitness, who described him as a evil murderer. Another witness, this time a contractor, was working on the restoration and sited the same figure as he locked up alone one night. The man walked away, passed through a cigarette machine and managed through the wall.
There are many ghost sightings in Derby, but certainly most have taken place in Derby Gaol. The ghost walks go on throughout the year and continue to be a success since they started eight years ago, led by experienced, informative and friendly guides. Booking is essential as they are extremely popular.