Eerie unexplained events have been reported at a town's historic courthouse cells.

They have occurred in recent months at the Shire Hall Museum in Dorchester as a growing number of people with an interest in the paranormal spend the night there.

Shire Hall was Dorset’s courthouse from 1797 until 1955 and the museum that incorporates this historic building is gearing up to hold Halloween-themed events, including a 'Night at the Museum on Friday (28).

David Goulden of The Dorset Paranormal Research Team, who manages the paranormal events at Shire Hall, says the courthouse and cells are 'a unique location which seems from our research to deliver more sensory experiences than full blown apparitions to those who brave the building at night.'

Mr Goulden said a Shire Hall employee has told of four guests on a private sleepover in the cells having 'an experience'.

He said: "Hugh Copson had been asleep in an upstairs office all night, but on the guests arriving for breakfast the next morning, one of them reported the lift descending into the cells area by its own accord at about 3am followed by a dark figure observed at the entrance to the martyrs cell.

"Thinking it was Hugh doing an overnight check on them they thought nothing of it until Hugh mentioned at breakfast that he had not left the office once during the night."

Dorset Echo: Some eerie unexplained events have occurred at Shire Hall Museum in Dorchester

Last summer a team of rational researchers from South Bristol Paranormal visited Shire Hall and documented hearing deep thuds or footsteps, Mr Goulden said.

He added: "Early in the evening an audible footstep was heard outside the cell where the Tolpuddle Martyrs were held, which seemed to set the theme for the rest of the night.

"During later vigils in the cell the team observed what appeared to be deep thuds or footsteps of someone running around the courtroom above.

"With everyone together knowing the court was empty this seemed like quite an unnatural sequence of events for the team who were initially looking for the obvious reasons as to why this could be."

Dorset Echo: Some eerie unexplained events have occurred at Shire Hall Museum in Dorchester

Sound files captured during this research were analysed by South Bristol Paranormal, Mr Goulden said, and the only noises for which there was an explanation were the deep thuds.

It is thought they could have been car doors being closed on the busy main high street outside of Shire Hall and that the sound echoing through the empty court room amplified down into the cell below.

He added: "Although this provides a satisfactory conclusion for some of the noises, it doesn’t fully explain them all. Our research into these sounds continues."