• Story by James Kay, taken from This Is Nottingham - Evening Post, 25 September 2003.
Those of a nervous disposition should give Bestwood Lodge a wide berth this Hallowe'en.
The Gothic pile in Bestwood Country Park, Arnold, is the venue for a conference on the paranormal.
Ghostcon will be held at the Grade II-listed mansion from Friday, October 31 until Sunday, November 2.
The first event of its kind in the UK, the gathering of spook specialists, authors and celebrities starts with a ghost hunt around the grounds, followed the next day by lectures on things that go bump in the night.
Subjects include Ghost Investigation for the Beginner, Portals and Phantom Gateways, and Shamanism and Ghosts.
The conference, organised by Talisman Productions, culminates in a seance to contact some of the hotel's resident spirits.
If the legends are right, the mediums won't have to wait long for an answer from the beyond - the 19th Century building is steeped in spooks.
Talisman, which hopes Ghostcon will become an annual event, chose Bestwood Lodge for that very reason - plus its Gothic grandeur and central location in the UK.
Paranormal investigator Phil Whyman, from Clifton, lists it as one of his favourite haunted houses in Notts.
Mr Whyman, who presents cable TV show Most Haunted Live, said: "It's one of the most well-known haunted houses in the county. A number of ghosts have been reported there on a regular basis."
Richard Felix, historian on Most Haunted Live, has good reason to remember Bestwood Lodge - he had his first paranormal experience when he stayed there overnight in 1975, as a member of the Territorial Army.
After a wargame, he was billeted in one of the conference rooms. As he lay down to sleep, he heard the disembodied voice of a young man calling for a nurse. "There was a noise at the back of my head, where the wall was, so I went
to grab my rifle. I heard a young man calling for a nurse, moaning and groaning as if in agony."
In the morning, he kept quiet about the uncanny episode - until a fellow passenger on his minibus mentioned that the building was haunted.
Tickets for Ghostcon - £40 for the whole weekend, £20 for the day - will be available on the day, but booking is recommended.
For tickets or more information, visit the organisers' website at www.ghost-con.com