Mark’s Solo Overnight Stay @ Napier Prison

After a year-long gap, (well, it was only around this time last year, but seems an eternity!) I figured it was time to revisit this intriguing urban fortress.

The plan was standard. To spend the entire night, exploring and investigating the entire facility. Documenting everything as I go. Since we drove there, the car was full of gear. I figured I may as well use this opportunity wisely and cover as many bases as I possibly could whilst there. To keep in an alert and awake condition, I brought along coffee, energy drinks, chocolate, and assorted snacks.

Love this place and it’s one of my favorite investigation locations. Was good to get back there roaming the corridors again. Basil the ‘phantom cat’ was also there to keep me company.

The room that I chose to stay in (Room 11- Guard Room) had had a lot of reported activity, with several people telling us stories about that cell. Staff told us of seeing a man sitting at the window looking out at the recreation yards, and apparently, a mannequin left in the cell was moved to a different position when there was no one in the room.

This was also the room of the notorious “Eye Eater”, aka Kereopa Te Rau, who was incarcerated in the prison back in 1871 for the alleged ritualistic killing of Missionary, Carl Volkner at Opotiki on March 2nd, 1865. Kereopa tore out and swallowed Carl’s eyes, during the claimed brutality, calling one eyeball “Parliament”, and the other “Queen and British law”. He later repeated this gruesome act on three Ngati Manawa warriors who had been decapitated, soon giving Kereopa the fearsome status of The Eye Eater or Kaiwhatu.

Kereopa was convicted and sentenced in December 1871 and was hanged at the Napier Prison on January 5th 1872. However, in 2014 as part of a treaty settlement, and due to many inconsistencies in the murder story, Kereopa was later pardoned and released of guilt for his part in Volkner’s murder.

I spent time in pretty much every room and every hallway. From the East Wing; Women’s Wing to the dark and ominous South Wing; aka Death Row. Outside at the Gallows hanging area, shower blocks, courtyard, and in the various rooms previously inhabited by criminal gang members.

We’ve been trialing live Facebook video feeds at some of our recent, more relaxed and non time restricted investigations. They don’t hinder the investigation at all, are easy to set up and give our followers/fans a chance to come along with us on investigations and help out with monitoring specific areas of interest.

With this session, we had nothing but issues. Due to a poor Wifi connection, the live feed was forever cutting out. The live feed would freeze, stop or just disappear totally. With dodgy Wifi, I tried my 4G connection, nothing. Internet annoyances weren’t the only issues I faced that night. Batteries were continually being drained. My digital gear was malfunctioning. Cameras were struggling with keeping in focus. Videos set up to record, kept on pausing. I would check on the camera gear every 30 minutes or so, only to find that nothing had been recorded and were still sitting on pause mode or just stop without reason. A tripod mounted video camera and illumination lamp I had set up in Death Row, switched off, drained of power within a short 10 minutes; possibly less. Fresh batteries put in at the start.

It was frustrating to say the least. No decent continuous live feed, with about 40 or so keen online paranormalists waiting to watch and investigate with me. Gear that wasn’t cooperating with recording. Batteries that didn’t last.

There was this one moment, possibly around 1am. I was near giving up on the live feed idea. It just wasn’t happening and there were too many issues. My phone had lost connection and cut off the live feed. The screen was frozen.
Suddenly the phone rings.
A few seconds, and stops before I can answer it. Its Sarah, my wife.

I could tell she was getting a little worried. Much of this field I’m in worries her. I kind of understand how and why though. I thought I’d better return the call. If anything, to give her some reassurance I was ok.
I rang her….it rang twice then cuts off.
The phone buzzes yet again. She’s seen my call attempt and is returning it.
I answer. The conversation was brief, and very cut up.
The following is her concerned Facebook posting, soon after, describing the incident:

”Husband doing solo exploration of Napier Prison…
Wife in lovely art Deco hotel in “town”…
Abandoned prison live feed from husband has failed because of WiFi coverage….
Phone call from wife to husband went:
H: Hello…
W: Hello…
H: “sounds and screams as though from the very bowels of Hell” followed by scraping, squeaking, shrieking and then the line went dead
W: Just ringing to tell you I am pouring the last of the Stoli into a glass and am going to sleep …….whatever is going on it seems the best solution to me. Good luck buddy #ghostbusterwidow”

The next day Sarah described in more detail the frightening sound that had greeted her during the phone call.

It was like the tortured screaming of many people, over distorted static noise. It went for a few seconds then stopped suddenly with sharp noise and a slow, winding down thunk, thunk, thunk………thunk sound, before going silent. Frustratingly, I didn’t hear any of this on my end.

All I heard was Sarah saying, ”Hello?”, to which I responded ‘’Hi’’….she then pauses, before saying “What the hell?” and hanging up. It was certainly an odd moment; one I can’t readily explain and one that unfortunately wasn’t able to be recorded.

I managed to stay awake till 3am.

Figured I’d better get some shut eye for a few hours if I was going to be a pleasant driving companion on the six hour journey home.
I awoke at 6am, (unusually refreshed after only three hours sleep), packed up and headed back to Sarah’s hotel. She was still asleep, so I grabbed a quick sneaky couple of hours more snooze, before she woke up.


This is the Facebook Live feed that I attempted during my stay, which unfortunately was riddled with technical problems.









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