A FILM crew got a little more than they bargained for when making a documentary about the Pendle witches.

As part of Pendle’s Paranormal Road Map, presented by Clitheroe-based TV historian Simon Entwistle, the crew bravely ventured into a barn on Pendle Hill to conduct a seance in the hope of contacting the spirits of the witches.

According to Simon, the team got a fright when three of them ‘became possessed’, causing them to turn ‘distressed and violently ill’.

Simon described the material, which also includes a dramatic reconstruction, as the best he had ever seen.

And he is convinced the witches’ 400-year-old story is worthy of a place on the silver screen.

The 11-strong film crew, with a stunt man and 20 actors in 17th Century attire, descended on Pendle Hill to make the documentary.

But it was not long before the ‘spooky’ aspect of the setting became apparent.

An elaborate stunt had to be cancelled when a seemingly fit horse involved went lame, according to Simon.

The first part of the film deals with the history of the Pendle witch trials and what is now considered an appalling miscarriage of justice.

Members of re-enactment group, 17th Century Life and Times, were on hand to ensure complete historical accuracy.

Simon said they did a “fantastic job.” He added: “For me personally, it’s the best material I have ever seen relating to the Pendle witches.

“It’s the best story in East Lancashire. In America they have a huge museum in Salem and quite proud of the story.

“People come from all over for the Pendle witch tours. If Steven Spielberg got his teeth into it I’m sure he’d do a fantastic job.”

The latter part of the material features the seance, co-ordinated by renowned ghost hunter Roy Basnett and the Pathfinder PI team.

Director Mark Howard, whose previous credits include Roddy Smythe Investigates with Peter Kay, said: “Almost 400 years on from the actual event, here we are, with actors in clothing from the period, possibly walking in the very same tracks trodden by the original protagonists. Bit of a weird feeling really.”

The tour around the hill, described by the crew as “informative and unsettling,” also features Liverpool actress and radio presenter Margi Clarke and BBC radio presenter Alanna Rice.

It was produced by Manchester-based independent company GCH Entertainment and filming took place on Sunday April 5.

A DVD release is scheduled for October and negotiations are ongoing to secure TV transmission in the future.