A Chill Wind In A Dark Place

We walked dark corridors, climbed barely lit stairs, taking care on the uneven floors. Around every turn people awaiting execution for committing evil deeds could be found. But here there were also children – awaiting a flogging for stealing a sheaf of corn or merely imprisoned because their parents were incarcerated within.

A walk around Bodmin Jail is a chilling experience as the evil of the English prison system of the 18th and 19th centuries is told in the stories of so many people who spent time within the walls and in many cases met their deaths through illness, brutality or the hangman’s rope. Many visitors claim to have experienced the presence of past inmates during their tour and a number have complained of extreme headaches and experiencing a feeling of deep depression. I can’t claim that I felt any of this – the place is horrible enough without any supernatural influences to make it worse. I recommend a visit to Bodmin Jail for the experience and the insight it gives into past prison regimes. You can find more details and some of the history on the Jail’s website. Check out the ‘Most Haunted’ videos too…



  1. Really haunting but amazing images nonetheless. And the morbidness on the first paragraph, sends chill but interesting at the same time. Very nice images and post, Flinchley.

    • Thanks Rommel – It is a chilling place to visit. The past presses down upon the present even for those of us who are not affected. It is frightening how ‘justice’ was passed down just a century ago and they still hanged people in this country just 50 years ago!

  2. I don’t know…I think I’d be a little “freaked out” to be around what I presume has a lingering sense of pain. It’s historically very compelling, though. The photos are really outstanding, too.

  3. Love your using the window / bars to frame that first shot, Martin…
    and the vertical format of your second piece really emphasizes the sense of height / feeling of being ‘surrounded’ or ‘closed-in’ to me. Powerful stuff – and nicely done, as always!
    My wife and I used to watch ‘Most Haunted’ when we had cable. I was a bit skeptical of it, but I always found Derek Acorah entertaining.

    • Thanks Bob – that’s the interior of the Naval wing of the prison with the roof and landings gone. You can still see some of the beams that carried the walkways outside the cells. I wonder how many prisoners took a dive from the top floor?

      I’m skeptical about shows like Most Haunted because the pressure is on to make something happen and, as we know, things tend to not happen when we want them to. I’m not skeptical about paranormal activity though… As my Night Lady poem indicates.

  4. Even at this distant remove, I feel a shudder.

  5. Fantastic photos Martin. I could just imagine the feeling from knowing what went on there. Those in prison today get it quite easy in comparison to prisoners back in those times.

    • Thanks Tony πŸ™‚ There are lots of stories told within the cells about past inmates and their crimes. Punishment for petty theft was extreme – children as young as 10 were often publicly flogged. Murder invariably meant the hangman’s rope and surprisingly, so did the wilful destruction of someone elses crops! A number of medium level crimes resulted in transportation and the formation of the Australian Cricket team πŸ˜‰

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