Ghosts like three things. Freshly laundered laundry, big chains to rattle… and recording studios. Since rock’n’roll reigns, minds have turned the dials and fiddled with the amps. Who can blame them? It is well known that ghosts are particularly fond of rhythm and boos. Hmm. Either way, here are 10 of the most haunted spaces in music…
St Catherine’s Court, Bath, Somerset
This 16th century monastery was – under the ownership of Bond actress Jane Seymour – used as a recording studio, at least until noise complaints forced its closure. The Cure recorded there, as did New Order – most of Radiohead’s 1997 opus “OK Computer” was also recorded there. “Ghosts were talking to me while I was sleeping,” said Thom Yorke. “There was a time when I got up in the morning after a night of hearing voices, and decided to cut my hair with a penknife.”
Probability of seeing a ghost: Let’s just say it’s a great place to get scared.
Clearwell Castle, Clearwell, Gloucestershire
Black Sabbath was so scared during the 1973 recording of their classic fifth album, “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath,” in this neo-Gothic house, built in 1727, that drummer Bill Ward allegedly went to bed every night clutching a knife. Guitarist Tony Iommi said: “One night I was walking down the hall with Ozzy and we saw this figure in a black cape. We followed him into the armory and there was no one there. The owners of the castle knew all about this ghost and they said: “Oh yes, it is the ghost of so-and-so.” We were like, ‘What!?’ “
Probability of seeing a ghost: If Ozzy Osbourne is there, then the odds are good. As we’ll learn, ghosts used to follow Oz everywhere…
Chepstow Castle, Chepstow, Wales
If castles had Tinder profiles, Chepstow would most likely include the phrase “Britain’s oldest post-Roman stone fortification” in his bio. Innovative Brazilian metal types Sepultura chose the location to record the instrumental ‘Kalowas’, for their 1993 release ‘Chaos AD’. and English lawyer Henry Martin, who died on the property after choking on his chicken dinner in 1680.
Probability of seeing a ghost: High. If you’re lucky, you’ll also see the chicken one.
The Garden, Shoreditch, London
Built in 1981 by original Ultravox singer John Foxx, the now demolished east London studio hosted Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Cure and Depeche Mode in its concert hall during its time in this mortal realm . Other residents include the Arctic Monkeys, whose vocalist Alex Turner once reported that “a young girl, Elsie, haunts the room – unexplained faint whispers have appeared on recordings in the past…” album they were there to make? “Famous Worst Nightmare” from 2007.
Probability of seeing a ghost: Eeee bah gum – here you go, scary boy.
The Mansion, Hollywood, California
Errol Flynn’s former home – later bought by production titan Rick Rubin – has a mystique built into its walls; it was once used as a practice space by the great illusionist Harry Houdini. The first record recorded there was “Blood Sugar Sex Magik” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers in 1991. The sessions for said record were odd to say the least. Drummer Chad Smith was so pissed off he refused to sleep. Bassist Flea reported seeing a shrouded figure, while guitarist John Frusciante was so excited to be in the presence of ghosts that – and, reader, there’s no nice way to put it – he had the habit of masturbating in front of them.
Probability of seeing a ghost: Moo. They are all far too traumatized.
Alley Studios, Los Angeles, CA
Zak Bagan is America’s most famous paranormal researcher. This writer spent an evening exploring the haunted mansion he owns in Las Vegas, which doubles as a museum where the Illinois ghost hunter stores items he calls “the most haunted artifacts in the world.” world”. In 2018, Bagan took on his TV show, Ghost Adventures, to investigate LA’s Alley Studios, which served pop alumni such as Elvis Presley, Kurt Cobain, Michael Jackson, John Lennon and Tom Petty. There they found the ghost of a person who is believed to have murdered the facility’s chief of operations.
Probability of seeing a ghost: High – and really good too. The studio is said to be possessed by the spirits of many, many cats.
4670 Encino Drive, Encino, CA
Foo Fighters’ Covid-delayed 10th album was recorded at a home in Encino, California. The recording, says Dave Grohl, has been beleaguered by paranormal activity. “When we walked into the house I knew the vibes were off, but the sound was screwed up,” he said. NME. “All the guitars would be out of tune. We would open a Pro Tools session and tracks would be missing. There were leads that were put there that we didn’t put there…” Grohl approached the owner of the building to inquire about his past. He was told, but asked to sign an NDA because the house is on the market.
Probability of seeing a ghost: High. By the way, what’s the Foo Fighters ghosts’ favorite song? “The best of Boo!”
Blackwing Studios, Southwark, London
Housed inside a desecrated church that was partially destroyed in The Blitz, Blackwing Studios is a name woven into the (stretchy, colorful) fabric of 80s pop. Depeche Mode recorded there, as did Yazoo, and as the birthplace of Nine Inch Nails’ “Pretty Hate Machine” (1989), My Bloody Valentine’s “Loveless” (1991) and Pixies’ “Trompe le Monde” (1991), it can claim to capture the sounds that led to at least three seminal albums. The place is now closed, but rumors of spirits wandering its halls were commonplace in the music industry for years.
Probability of seeing a ghost: High. And most likely one with impeccable taste.
Monnoe Valley Studio, Rockfield, Monmouthshire
While recording his first solo album “Blizzard Of Ozz” in 1980 at the legendary Welsh studio, Ozzy and his team – guitarist Randy Rhoads, bassist Bob Daisley and drum tech Spencer – decided to hold a session with a Ouija board . “After a while of asking questions and getting YES and NO answers, the glass spelled RANDY followed by YOU WILL DIE,” Daisley wrote in her 2013 memoir. For the love of facts. “We didn’t like the atmosphere and we stopped. We smashed the glass, threw the paper letters of the alphabet into the fire and poured salt on the table…” Rhoads, the greatest guitarist of his generation, died three years later on March 19, 1982 .
Probability of seeing a ghost: Again, if you’re with Ozzy…