A SHOPPING centre might not the most obvious ghost hunting ground. But over the years, customers, staff and security have made countless reports of paranormal activity in the retail space.

Strange noises or misplaced products can easily be brushed off by sceptics, but at the Castlegate Shopping Centre, there could be much more to the ghoulish goings on and tales of terror told within its walls.

The Castlegate, in the heart of Stockton, stands on the grounds of a Norman castle belonging to the Prince Bishops of Durham dating from the 12th century – hence the shopping centre’s name.

Since opening to the public, several ghost sightings have been reported, including strange music and sounds heard in the dead of night by security guards and others feeling or seeing something strange nearby.

Karen Eve, centre manager at Castlegate Shopping Centre said: “[Castlegate] is made up from two buildings, Walker House, which is currently in use and the abandoned Stephenson House where the majority of the terrifying tales have been witnessed.

“The building has been frozen in time since it was deserted in the late ‘70s. While most of the furniture has been removed, evidence of a once busy workplace is all over.

“Coffee mugs still stand waiting to be washed next to a kitchen sink, break time magazines lie on tables to be read and a rather sad looking Christmas tree sits in the corner of one room,” added Ms Eve.

And now, for the first time since the 1970s, the disused and abandoned areas of the shopping centre will be open for the public to explore. The haunting event is being as an exclusive ghost tour charity event in aid of One Great Day, supporting Great Ormond Street Hospital and Middlesbrough and Teesside Philanthropic Foundation.

Chantal Taylor, marketing manager at Castlegate, said: “The building is incredibly eerie and the few people who have already had access, all have very creepy stories to tell.

“The event has been designed to appeal to not only those who are interested in the paranormal but those with an interest of local history.”

Ahead of the eerie evening, paranormal investigators, Spiritus Paranormal, spent the night in the shopping centre. While staring into an empty room in the abandoned Stephenson House where there is no power, the team picked up a ghostly figure using thermal detection equipment.

Josh Ryan who was filming the investigation on behalf of Castlegate said: “As a sceptic, it was a shocking sight. The camera picked up the figure standing still and looking directly as us.

“One of the team moved closer to the ghostly figure so we could compare the two shapes and there was a significant difference between them. It was one of several things that happened during the evening that changed my opinion and convinced me.”

  • Ghost tour guests will be invited to take their own photos and footage during the event. Tours takes place on June 19 and June 20 from 6.30pm through to late night and tickets start from £12.50 available at castlegateshoppingcentre.com