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26 Nov 2013

Ghosts, Paranormal & Hauntings


I saw my first ghost when I was 13 years of age in 1955. Maybe that’s when I first developed my interest in the paranormal.

I was a boy scout living deep in the Warwickshire countryside. The village was Berkswell and the scouts met in a centuries old cottage (now demolished) a few yards from the church and the well. I had hurt my leg and, whilst the rest of the scouts went out to play a wide game, I remained behind. It was about 7.30pm and as I sat in the meeting room in front of a log fire, a misty grey image about four feet high and one foot wide floated before me and disappeared upstairs via the open staircase.

My second encounter with a ghost was years later when I lived at the foot of Edge Hill and was driving home about 3am. Walking towards me was a Cavalier or Roundhead. The ghost was completely oblivious to me as I drove past.

Now most of us claim to have seen ghosts…Years of research have proved to me that ghosts do exist. However, for most ghostly sightings there is a rational explanation. It is therefore important to consider the following when investigating ‘sightings’.

Most ghostly sightings or ghostly noises occur late at night or in the early morning, so please remember that noises, usually masked by the noise of daytime activities, are more likely to be noticed. Not only that, noise travels a lot further at night time: the screech of owls, foxes, etc. can easily be misinterpreted for someone crying or screaming. Likewise, lights are few and far between during the twilight times. Lights can, and do reflect. Bumps, bangs and rattles are also more noticeable in a building when the household has retired. They could be due to central heating, plumbing or floorboards contracting once the central heating has been turned off and so on.

Also please remember that most of us have an overactive imagination! For example if you were alone in an old building, say a castle which you had been told was haunted, your mind would be listening for any unusual noises, and fear might set in as you anticipate a possible sighting. Never forget the power of the mind – it can play tricks.

If you want to investigate a haunting, here are just a few of the things you can do:

First of all, you can rule out any human or animal interference by placing cotton across hallways and passageways. If there is a wooden floor, sprinkle flour over certain areas to pick up foot/paw prints (or spread some brown paper over the carpet).

If ornaments are moving, place flour beneath them to see if they have moved by themselves.

Should doors be opening or closing, including cupboard doors, put Vaseline on the handles with a slight covering of flour. The same can be done with wall mounted ornaments.

The above actions should rule out any pranksters and provide a clue as to whether or not there is any paranormal activity.

Most ghostly sightings are usually met with a distinct drop in temperature of several degrees, so have a large thermometer with you and keep a regular check on the temperature.

Research is important – has the property suffered from subsidence (which could account for settlement creaks and groans). Look around the area for anything which might give rise to noises not normally heard during the hustle and bustle of the day. Underground culverts, farms nearby, woods nearby etc.

Ghost investigation requires a lot of patience. It may take weeks or months to carry out a thorough investigation, so please don’t think for one moment an investigation can be carried out overnight. You will need to keep detailed notes of times, dates, circumstances, the weather, plus any other happenings to see if a pattern has developed or is developing. Ask local people of their experiences, have they seen/experienced a ‘ghostly sighting’.

Whatever you do, please never be afraid of a ghost. A ghost cannot, and will not harm you (despite some of the horror films you may have seen!). A poltergeist is simply a “noisy ghost” (German translation). In conclusion, for every alleged ‘ghostly sighting’, 99% have a rational explanation, so don’t be fearful, but what about the remaining 1%!

Written by: I4C