“Sam? A’ ye there Sam? What’s ‘ee sayin’, ‘ee wha’? Ask him again Sam…’ee wants to come through? No! Keep ‘im back Sam. I said n…“
Cue eyes rolling back, reminiscent of The Undertaker, a rasping voice, uttering only semi-coherent sentences and a flurry of excitement and panic as crew members rush to remove the man from view.
What we have here folks, is a typical scenario in a past favourite ‘reality’ show of mine: Most Haunted.
Fronted by a team of amateur, paranormal investigators (including an ex-Blue Peter presenter and her cameraman husband), the programme would visit various, notoriously haunted, buildings around the UK, in search of recording the dead, who still apparently resided within.
Their in-house medium, Derek Acorah, would (claim to) converse with ghosts with the aid of his spirit guide, Sam, often absorbing their spirits and chattering in tongues (albeit with a Liverpudlian twang!) before collapsing in an asthmatic heap! People screamed, doors slammed and objects moved of their own volition. In fact, spoons being lobbed out of the ether became a recurring theme. Perhaps this is where the idea came from for the audience watching The Room…
(Have a look. The quality of this is naff but it captures the chortle-worthy ‘possessions’ that made for compelling viewing!)
And it was all kinds of brilliant! Ridiculous and scary in equal measures. Even when it became cheesy and predictable, I faithfully tuned in, hoping to capture a real ghost on camera. My mum was an avid co-watcher, literally sitting on the edge of our sofa, waiting with wide-eyed enthusiasm to have the wits scared from her: My step-father however, was a little more cautious, ready to reject any ectoplasmic offerings with his down-to-earth,
skeptical logical mind… from behind the safety of a cushion! It made for a whole load of family fun, so much so, that we decided it would be a good idea to become ghost hunters ourselves!
Fad number 666: Paranormal Investigation. (Do you see what I did there?!)
I’ve always believed in ghosts, as they naturally went hand-in-hand with my love of all things supernatural. However, it wasn’t until my Nana died suddenly that I began thinking about life after death more seriously, searching for answers. Along with watching Most Haunted, eagerly watching for evidence of another realm, I visited several mediums, hoping to reconnect. Of course, they were mostly vague, ambiguous in their messages from the other side, and just waiting to prey on any unfortunate, grieving individual. That’s not to say I don’t believe there aren’t some people that have a ‘gift’, I just don’t think I found them.
Yet, I can’t deny the experiences that I, and other family members, had after she passed away. Her perfume would suddenly linger in the air as you entered a room. The family cats would screech and stare at the same wall in the middle of the night (something previously never done) and my grandfather is convinced she was playing around with the electrics, after returning home to an empty house one night. When she was alive, she would switch on the outside light when she heard my grandfather arrive home on his bike. This particular night, the house was in darkness, yet when he leaned his bike against the wall to unlock the door, on came the light…
Armed with these experiences and because it sounded fun, my mother and I went along to a paranormal group meeting. Long story short, it was pretty much a money making scam. But after talking to other newcomers there, we set about creating our own group and began visiting locations around the country.
We stayed overnight on abandoned airfields, in underground RAF bunkers, mansion houses and theatres. We walked corridors by torchlight and became acquainted with more basements than I can remember. We got to see behind the scenes of some interesting historical places and most of all… It was super exciting and scary!
I’ve witnessed orbs and light formations appearing out of nowhere. I experienced sudden, intense nausea upon entering a certain area. Unexplained voices and banging have been recorded, most notably in ‘answer’ to specific questions. I had something breathe on and growl in my ear and seen a card lift into the air and move several inches to one side. And this was in my own house. Terrified much?
Okay, yes, for all you skeptics, there are in some cases possible, plausible explanations for many of the occurrences. But when they happen without explanation, after we have accounted for draughts and outside influences, you do have to wonder…
So, do you fancy being a paranormal investigator? Think you won’t scare easily? Then here’s my top ten list of the equipment and jargon you might need!
- Walkie talkies.
- Cameras (stills and video) – minimum of 2. Preferably with night vision.
- A recording device (dicta-phone, retro cassette recorder!).
- A laser thermometer.
- An EMF (electromagnetic field) detector.
- An object to interact with (e.g. a teddy bear, a ball, piece of jewellery).
- A protective talisman (whether that be something religious, such as a cross or another ‘blessed’ item).
- Pens and paper.
- Snacks, drinks, warm clothing and cushions / sleeping bag.
KNOW YOUR STUFF:
1. Baselines: These tests are conducted at the beginning of a session, to establish where there could be breezes, creaky doors or floorboards, electrical lines (causing EMF spikes) and where best set up a locked-off camera. Temperatures readings would be taken of each room too. It is said that if there are spirits a-lurking, then there will be extreme cold (and sometimes hot) spots, plus there will be an increase in the electromagnetic field).
2. Locked-off camera: This stays in one place to record any movements / manifestations independently. Needs placing in a high ‘ghost traffic’ area!
3. Asking out: No, not so you can take some ethereal creature on a date to the movies, but the stereotypical ‘Is there anybody there?’ scenario. Obviously, you can be more creative with your questions than this!
4. Acknowledgement: Apparently, like living folk, ghosts get a bit cranky if ignored. So should be lucky enough to have an encounter of any description, it’s polite to let them know you’re aware they are there. And that you’d just like to say hello, no nasty business allowed!
5. Orbs: Considered the first manifestation of a spirit, these dancing lights can show up on stills and video cameras. Skeptics debate over whether they are simply motes of dust, so it is always good to bear this in mind, as some will be debris. Usually white in colour, we have seen other hues, including green -sometimes considered an evil spirit.
6. Candles: Used in conjunction with asking-out. Light it, ask some questions, watch to see if it blows about a bit or gets completely extinguished. Guarantee it will totally freak you out if it goes all dark!
7. Table / Glass Tipping: Personally, I don’t like doing these, as there’s too much room for human, sub-conscious intervention, but many investigators do indulge. Essentially, the glass is your typical Ouija board set-up – everyone puts one finger on a glass, asks a question and waits for the glass to move in response. The table is the large scale version where the goal is channeling the spirit to ‘lift’ the table spontaneously.
8. Ghost Baiting: Another one to avoid in my opinion, but again, a method frequently used to draw out the ghosties. What is it? It’s bullying. Of ghosts. Trash talk the spirits and provoke them into showing themselves. Works better for the cranky other-worlders but then why would you want to enrage a possible demon entity?!
9. Elephant Spirits: This is a personally used term, created by my mother, who is unable to say ‘malevolent’! So elephants are evil…but only in the world of paranormal investigation. I love elephants IRL!
10. A Seb Coe moment: Again, a phrase coined by my Mothership, Coe standing for ‘corner of eye’, the Seb was added as reference to the British athlete (and now Olympic ambassador). If you experience one of these, it’s likely you’re aware of something moving on the periphery of your vision…but it conveniently disappears when you turn towards it. Pesky little ghosties!
And there you have it. A basic guide to tracking down residents from across the veil. So grab a camera, a group of friends and go scare yourself silly in a haunted house! I no longer take part (one too many scares if I’m honest) but mum still visits many places with things that go bump in the night!
In all seriousness, even if you’re not a believer, it’s not something you should take lightly, just in case. We always asked for guidance and protection from a higher order before embarking on an investigation and even though I felt a bit of an idiot doing it, it’s better to be safe than sorry!
Still not convinced how awesome it is? Here’s the BEST footage (I think) from Most Haunted…a moving cross from inside a cell at Derby Gaol! If you have any experiences of your own, please share – I love a good ghost story!