The Digital Ghost Hunt
Augmented Reality and live performance in an immersive storytelling experience
The Digital Ghost begins when a normal day is interrupted by Deputy Undersecretary Quill from the Ministry of Real Paranormal Hygiene (MORPH), recruiting any young children nearby to help her investigate a mysterious haunting in their building. Under her tutelage, Professor Bray, the Ministry’s chief scientist, the young ghost hunters must unravel the mystery of the ghost's haunting, and help to set it free.
Paricipants investigate the haunting with their own paranormal detectors: The SEEK Ghost Detector, a BBC Micro:bit connected to a DecaWave DWM1001-DEV Ultra wideband radio, housed in a custom designed laser cut shell. The SEEKs allow the children to identify objects and locations touched by the ghost, working together to discover ghostly traces, translate Morse code using flickering lights and find messages left in ectoplasm. Meanwhile, the ghost communicates through a mixture of traditional theatrical effects and the poltergeist potential of smart home technology.
Productions (so far)
Battersea Arts Centre (2018)
A scratch of The Digital Ghost Hunt was performed at the Battersea Arts Centre in November, 2018, funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council's Next Generation of Immersive Experiences program.
The Garden Museum (2019)
On All Souls Day 2019 the project performed a museum-late experience in partnership with the Garden Museum in London. This new format sent young ghost hunters up a medieveal clocktower and digging for clues in the gardens of the 14th century St. Mary at Lambeth church.
Leigh Spinners Mill (2021)
A new production in collaboration with the Manchester Royal Exchange's Leigh Ambassadors group at Spinners Mill for family audiences, inspired by real historical events. In addition to support from King's College London and Sussex University, this production was made possible by a generous commission from the Manchester Royal Exchange, as part of their Den pop-up festival.
Media and Press
- Featured in Immersive Arcade's Best of British since 2001.
- Tom Bowtell and Elliott Hall wrote about their work on the Digital Ghost Hunt for Raspberry Pi's Hello World magazine (Issue #9).
- Listen to an episode of the Exchange's podcast Connecting Tales discussing the Spinner's Mill production, with Tom, Elliott, and Leigh Ambassador (and part time ghost) Mike Burwin.
- Emma Bradburn, intern for the ‘Civic Theatres: A Place for Towns’ research project wrote an account of the Spinner's Mill show on her blog.
Concept, Co-Creator, and Co-Investigator
Co-creator and Director
Professor Mary Krell
Primary Investigator (BAC & York productions)
Dr. Carina Westling
Co-Investigator (BAC & York productions)