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Pilot Nobby's Spooky Past and Launch Site – Ashton Court!

As it gets closer to Halloween, the spooky stories and haunted locations have been crawling out of the woodwork. Ghostly ghouls, angry apparitions and headless horsemen litter a large amount of England’s old, historic buildings.

With our Pilots spread across over 100 launch sites across the country, they often hear of spooky stories and haunted locations surrounding them on Halloween, often just a stone’s throw away from where they launch their balloons!

One of our Pilots stands out when it comes to ghostly stories which is Nobby, who grew up learning how to use a Ouija board with his brother and has visited quite a few haunted locations to test them out and he's got quite the story of him in his childhood! Not an activity for the light-hearted!

One of our launch sites, which happens to be one of Nobby's launch sites, is Ashton Court Estate in Bristol where a locally famous headless horseman and his phantom dogs roam the area as well as a grey lady who can be seen from time to time.

Ashton Court will also be running a Halloween event this year which sounds like it’ll be great fun given the haunted stories that are associated with it! The Red Rope Theatre Company will be reading and dramatising four of the original stories from the Penny Dreadful series which, at the time of coming out, was seen as very controversial given how horrifying they were and some of which got banned from being performed!

If you’re in the area and are wanting to spook it up this Halloween, they’ll be performing Penny Dreadful from the 26th- 31st! Just remember not to pet any strange dogs, they might disappear before your eyes!


On the other hand, with all his experience in the paranormal, Nobby has quite the story or two himself.

He and his brother grew up with a spiritual parent, so they got quite accustomed to the paranormal.

“My mother was quite alternative in her spiritual beliefs; she would draw detailed portraits of the "people" she would see (literally "I see dead people....") and taught my brother and I to how use a Ouija board correctly from a young age.

Talking with my brother about it all, we both agree that we can't explain it and can't think of any reason why our mum would try and deceive or scare her young sons. In fact we believe it was quite the opposite, that she was trying to teach us to explore and challenge our understand of how everything works.”

With a few of us in the office with parent’s involved in spiritual practice too, Jordan for one has said he wouldn’t dare touch a Ouija board. “With all the speeches my mom/aunty gave me, I thought best not to touch one, just in-case I leave the door open and allow the spirits to escape!”

Surprisingly Nobby took no fright at all!

“My brother and I were convinced that our family home was haunted and still talk about it to this day. We both experienced some very weird events growing up but strangely weren't in anyway scared of it.

Our family Sunday afternoons would regularly involve my mother, brother and I sitting around the dinner table talking to "spirits" and we would watch the glass shoot around our dining room table whilst the 3 of us lightly resting our fingers on top of it.”

Surprisingly a lot lead up to Nobby being a hot air balloon pilot and the biggest reason was due to these Ouija boards as well as his mom’s friend who came round to read his Tarots at the age of 18.

“The woman told me that she saw me in the sky, and I would earn a qualification that would enable me to travel around the world!

Having recently left school with few qualifications and with no clue as to what I wanted to do with my life, I just thought she was talk nonsense. 6 months later I took my first ever balloon flight and two years after that I became the youngest commercial balloon pilot in the UK”

Recently in the past few years Nobby has moved closer to Bristol as his flight locations have changed and we’re all starting to wonder - Did he move there on purpose to practise his Ouija board skills, or is it the spirits that followed him there? Or maybe... it's all just a coincidence?

If you would like to get involved this Halloween, book onto a flight for Ashton House Court this season and we’re sure Nobby will tell you another story or two.

Let us know on our socials a few scary stories of your own!