If you missed out on the job in Scotland that paid $64,000 a year plus room and board to nanny two kids in a haunted house, there’s more opportunities available if you’re good with ghosts and handy in haunted hovels. A haunted prison in Shepton Mallet, Somerset, England, is interviewing candidates for the position of “overnight supervisor.” The pay is only £7.50 ($9.75) per hour but it could be great training in the event that the current Scary Poppins follows the path of the previous six haunted house nannies and quits after a month. How hard can the job be?
A better question is, “How haunted can this prison be?” HMP Shepton Mallet was established as a House of Correction in 1625 and operated continuously, except for about 10 years prior to World War II, until 2013, when it was permanently closed after becoming the UK’s oldest operating prison. While very few records were kept, HMP Shepton Mallet was believed to have held men, women and children together who served long sentences for such petty crimes as being debtors, thieves, vagrants or just misfits or persons who acted strangely due to mental health disorders. It was said to have been filthy and disease-ridden and prisoners who didn’t die horrible deaths from sickness died horrible deaths from being tortured on devices such as the treadwheel, a circular contraption driven by up to 40 men pushing to power a grain mill … or just keep them in hard labor until they died horrible deaths and were buried in unmarked graves.
Speaking of horrible deaths, HMP Shepton Mallet was famous for its executions by hanging, firing squad or the gruesome combination of hanged, drawn and quartered. After the Monmouth Rebellion of 1642-1685, at least 12 Shepton men were hanged, drawn and quartered for fraternizing with the enemy and their heads were placed on poles around town. If you think that kind of inhumanity was restricted to the 17th century, the executions continued in large numbers through WWII when the prison was used by the US military to execute at least 18 American soldiers, 10 of whom were black and three Hispanic. While many ghosts have been reported in the prison, it is those that have been seen most often.
Are you still interested in the position? Good, because the job description says you must “not be scared of ghosts or the dark” since the working hours for an overnight supervisor are between 7.30pm and 4am on Fridays and Saturdays. Most of the time you’ll just be hanging out with the ghosts, but you probably shouldn’t be scared of ghost hunters either. While the daytime hours are reserved for tours, corporate team building sessions (what better way to test your managers than to lock them in a haunted prison?), escapes and parties (birthdays, hen and stag), the prison can be booked at night for paranormal investigations or “fun” haunted events. The Weekend Night Operations Supervisor will be responsible for making sure the same number of guests are alive at 4am as there were at 7:30pm.
The application form is available on the HMP Shepton Mallet website along with more details. With a little luck, you could get in on the ground floor (or scary basement dungeon) of an exiting career in ghost management. Do you think the corporate ladder in this field goes up or down?