Ghoüle Wampe Ghost Walk: The Ghostly Tales of Nottingham Contemporary

Photo by Julian Hughes
Photo by Julian Hughes

High Pavement has always been famous for being a haunted place. It is believed that spirits of the criminals that stood trial in what is now the National Justice Museum roam the streets at night and cause mischief in the neighbouring buildings.

Earlier this month we had a chance to hear some rather unearthly tales as our resident collective Kühle Wampe held a “Ghoüle Wampe” ghost walk. Starting at Nottingham Contemporary, the walk included Nottingham’s haunted locations and ended with a candlelit ghost story open mic in the King Billy in Sneinton, Nottingham.

Read the spine-chilling accounts below...

The Slime Troll of Broadmarsh Bog

In the days of yore, before the demolition and current renovation of the Broadmarsh Centre, before the initial construction of the shopping centre and bus station, way back when the city of Nottingham was known as the city of Snottingham, the area was a vast and treacherous swampland. Undisturbed by the rulers of Snottingham the marsh formed a natural deterrent to anyone attempting to storm the castle from the south. Countless species of mosquito filled the thick air while all manner of slithering fauna crept along the swamp-bed. Of all the vile and toxic creatures that inhabited the Broadmarsh there was one far more foul and terrifying resident.

Parents had warned their children about the tale of the slime troll who crawled out of the swamp and dragged bad kids into the murky darkness to eat.

Here is a letter detailing an account with the beast, the story of Yorrick, Archie and Plum:

Plum’s letter

Ey it were a fateful day when me and t’lads went into that bog. Far as ah remember it were a dark ‘n stormeh night, Yorrick an’ Archie’s kids ‘ad gone missing earlier that day an’ they reckoned that the bog witch ‘ad teken ‘em and they were planning to go in and gerrem back.

We went aht, we all ad us little sticks ready t’batter ‘bog witch if she wun’t gie us kiddies back. We set off singing, we sang some rate crackers ‘til we reached t’edge of t’bog. Ey – it reeked – like urine and vinegar and rotten taters. We started heading in deeper and it wern’t that bad once you got used t’smell, saw some little frogs, that were nice. Y’had t’be careful not to stand still too long cos’ your feet’d start sinking in t’sludge.

Was all going alrate til’ mosquitos found us – they were a pain in t’neck – we spent about twenty minutes swatting them, then we ‘erd it –a gret, rattling ‘orrible roar.

‘wasthat?’ Yorrick said.

‘Dunno, sounded like it came from over there’ our Archie retorted. He was pointing at this thick, bushelled pile o’ sticks n’ moss in t’middle of t’swamp. As we peered in t’darkness I noticed all t’mosquitos had gone too – bit weird – I thought. After staring in t’dark trying to figure out what we were looking – somatt moved – slowly something wa’ rising up out t’bog – it were a massive anorll.

We tried to round but all as feet were stuck in t’mud. It were getting bigger an’ slowly comin’ towards us so we shat us sens.

When it reached us we could all see it we could all see it properly, it were fearsome and it stank. It were all hunched ova, prob’ly about ten foot tall and built like a brick. It opened its massive mouth full o’ big tombstone teeth and gobbled up Archie and Yorrick. It looked me straight in t’eyes and let out a massive burp rate in me face, then turned and started to crawl back in t’swamp.

No one ever found any body and no one ever found any bodies, especially no Troll body. Eventually they flattened the area to make way for the building of Broadmarsh centre in 1893. Since it’s opened, night staff have reported strange incidents occurring at 3am smells of drains, overflowing toilets, piles of dead mosquitos.

Our Gallery Zero (off of Gallery 1) is a place for collectives of artists, creators, makers and agitators to develop their practice and to engage and collaborate with audiences. Our current Gallery Zero residents include Kühle Wampe, who describe themselves as "a parasitic research-based practice; spawning within the institutional host of Nottingham Contemporary."