Paranormal Week – Monday night

Paranormal Week is a week of paranormal workshops, talks and events run by Halton Lea Library in conjunction with Eximius Paranormal Research and Investigations and Para-Projects (EPRI) and is in its 9th year. It ran from 19 to 23 October and included afternoon talks and sessions as well as evening events.

Paranormal Week at Halton Lea Library

Paranormal Week at Halton Lea Library

The first night saw an open debate and discussion featuring Mark Rosney of Para-Projects and EPRI, City Talk’s own broadcaster and investigator Roy Basnett and Suzanne and Steve Taggart of Tameside-based group ShadowSeekers.

Roy lead the discussion by asking the audience “Who believes in life after death, and why?”. The responses were mainly from people who had had their own “ghostly” encounters, often as children. He explained that most people’s experiences were usually audible ones and rarely visual and described a recent case that he was involved in: a lady from Preston had contacted Roy and his team to complain of being frequently “sexually molested” by an unseen entity and begged him for help. She also had a photograph of her 400 year old house that appeared to show someone looking through the window from the outside. Cameras were set up in a room and filmed for two hours but caught nothing visual on the tapes. However, a very clear sound was picked up that said “Michael” which Roy said “came and went on an echo”. This voice was picked up clearly on both cameras.

Roy Basnett talks to Paranormal Experts.

Mark Rosney, Roy Basnett, & Shadow Seekers - Suzanne & Steve Taggart

Mark Rosney went on to describe an incident that happened to him at Chingle Hall some years ago. Chingle Hall is near Preston, Lancs and dates from around 1300 and is widely considered to be one of the most haunted houses in the UK. Mark was part of a team that led a science-based investigation with no psychic or medium used, just electrical audio visual equipment and atmospheric sensors. At around 1am on the night of the investigation, all the instruments switched off, including the battery powered handheld camcorders. It was not a power outage as the lights in the Hall were still on, only the investigative equipment had failed. Mark went into the area known as Eleanor’s Room, which belonged to Eleanor Singleton, who was reputedly kept captive there and died or was murdered there at the age of 19. Armed with a tri-field meter which began to, in his words, “go nuts”, Mark approached the fireplace which linked Eleanor’s Room to both the cellar and a priest-hole. He was then hit with what he described as a “static shock” and when two other investigators arrived moments later, they were hit by it too. Two minutes later, all the power came back on.

Chingle Hall (photo courtesy Para-Projects)

Chingle Hall (photo courtesy Para-Projects)

Chingle hall is now closed to visitors and investigators, and the current owners request that they are left to enjoy their home in peace. We trust that you will respect their wishes.

Shadow Seekers’ Suzanne Taggart explained to the audience the difference between a ghost-hunt and an investigation. Along with her husband Steve, Suzanne runs events which are available to the public and are very popular, largely due to the interest in TV shows such as Most Haunted. Although SS use electonic equipment to monitor an area, attendees are given the option of using less scientific methods of information gathering such as an upturned glass on a table because, as she rightly states, this is what the public want.

Steve and Suzanne then recounted a spooky tale or two for the audience! At Morecambe Winter Gardens, Suzanne told her group not to go down the stairs. She then saw someone do exactly that, but it appeared to be a child or child-like figure. When she told members of staff at the Winter Gardens about what she saw, they asked her if there had been anything else she had picked up. Earlier in the evening, she said someone had had the name George or Georgie in their head. The staff at the theatre then showed Suzanne an old programme featuring the act “Wee Georgie Woods”. George Woods was an actor who performed in films theatre and music hall for over 50 years. He was only 4’9″ as an adult and therefore his career was spent in the guise of a child, until he died in 1979.

At the Golden Fleece public house in York, there is a room where the taps regularly appear to turn themselves on. During an investigation there, Steve, Suzanne and their team made sure that the taps were turned very tightly off in the bathroom. A member of the team reported that she could hear water after some time and when the lights went back on, the taps were indeed dripping. When audio and video recordings were reviewed, a child’s voice could be heard clearly saying “Now I will show you”, just before the taps came on!

Roy Basnett brought up an interesting point about paranormal TV shows such as Most Haunted, GhostHunters etc. Claims are often made by viewers that some of the programs never really show or catch anything. Roy states that they do, but as what is broadcast is regulated by Ofcom, quite often the “scary stuff” is not allowed to be shown on TV as it is deemed too controversial.

Talk turned to every paranormal investigators favourite/most hated subject – orbs! Mark Rosney offered his own, highly plausible explanation. He believes that the number of orbs caught on camera has exploded since 1997 and that this is due to cameras becoming smaller. As the lens gets nearer to the flash, it is more likely to illuminate small particles, which then appear as small balls of light. A member of the audience asked “What about orbs with faces?”. Some of the panel explained that the human brain is programmed to find familiar shapes in random collections of objects or symbols – this is known as pareidolia. One of the things we are most likely to see is a human face, as we’ve all seen in the clouds.

An orb caught by one of our team on an investigation

An orb caught by one of our team on an investigation

In part two of the evening, Roy, Mark, Steve and Suzanne were joined by Mark Syder of PPI and EPRI, and Michael Hadfield of EPRI. The opportunity was given to the audience to put any questions they had to the panel and for the panel to explain what an real investigation was like. Most Haunted makes people interested in this kind of thing but that’s not the experience you’ll get on a true investigation. The investigators stated that in actual fact, for the most part it was quite boring! There’s no running about in the dark or sitting on your own in haunted cellars. Anything you experience by yourself is purely subjective and cannot be corroborated by another member of the team and is therefore of no evidential value. EPRI and Para-Projects explained that they set up a hub, a place where the team stays together and monitors all the equipment for the main part of the investigation, known as lockdown. During lockdown, everybody’s prescence can be accounted for. Only after a few hours of this do teams go around the site, depending on its size and nature, and investigate using tools such as EMF/tri-field meters, handheld camcorders and digital voice recorders. At least one or two people will still remain in the hub. This active session allows members to pick up on phenomena such as cold spots and spirit lights. Power failure in equipment often occurs during these active sessions. It’s often referred to as a power “drain” but as the power usually comes back after a short time, Mark Rosney considers the power to be “inhibited”.

Every anomaly, noise, visit to the lav and fag break is recorded on log sheets, an essential piece of an investigators kit. This allows to team to cross check any audio or visual discrepancies with normal human activity. Other essential items for an investigation include recording equipment, thermometers, motion sensors, a torch and most importantly, an open mind. One thing that all the investigators present tonight agree on is not to use a ouija board during a vigil. Suzanne Taggart believed that she and her team were not qualified enough to use one and pointed out that you only have to take your eye off the ball briefly and you don’t know what you could be letting in. Mark Rosney also stressed the importance of discipline on an investigation and said he didn’t understand why people so often run away when they encounter something as surely that’s what you’re there for?!

The evening ended with a “show and tell” session, where Mark demonstrated some of the technical gadgets that investigators use in allegedly “haunted” locations. All in all, a flying start for Paranormal Week 2009!

Mark Rosney's Show & Tell

Mark Rosney's Show & Tell

Clare Rooney, EPRI.

~ by eximiusparanormal on October 31, 2009.

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