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Hampton Court Hires Ghostbuster

000606 early show Ghostbuster
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In Great Britain, a real-life ghostbuster has been called in to investigate claims that the royal palace at Hampton Court is really a haunted house.

Some visitors have reported feeling strange sensations in some of the palace's hallowed halls, as CBS News Early Show Correspondent Richard Roth reports.

For the 650,000 tourists a year that Hampton Court Palace attracts, it's a wander through history, back almost 500 years to the time of the Tudors -- and the oft-married Henry VIII. He was the first English king to live here. But for a handful of visitors this spring, it's more like a step into the twilight zone.

Clipboard-carrying volunteers are part of an experiment in science and marketing. They're looking for a ghost.

Hampton Court Palace is said to be one of the most haunted locations in the whole of Britain. Legend has it there are at least 30 ghosts here.

Psychologist Richard Wiseman is testing a theory that one of Henry VIII's wives still haunts Hampton Court, centuries after the king accused her of adultery. Her name was Catherine Howard and she married Henry when she was a teenager. Her youthful vivacity soon led to rumors of adultery, and although Henry refused to believe it at first, he eventually signed her death warrant.

Legend says she ran through the corridor toward the king's private chapel, screaming as palace guards stopped her and dragged her away. On the 13th of February, 1542, she was executed. And almost ever since, there've been visitors who insist the ghost of Catherine Howard haunts this hallway.

Wiseman's looking for temperature changes, measuring movement, recording noise, trying to find an explanation for odd sounds or sensations some people say they experience walking down this corridor. He's not a ghostbuster, but a scientist.

”I remain pretty skeptical about these things. What we may be looking at is something totally psychological…that people come along, they're believing in ghosts, they walk around here, it builds up their expectancy and they have a strange experience and that's it,” said Wiseman.

But whatever it is, says a palace spokesman, it's not bad for business.