The Paranormal: I’ve seen some weird stuff.

We don’t necessarily have to understand and explain a phenomenon to know that it is real.”

Stephen Braude

With the 21st century’s love of horror movies, it would appear that the majority of individuals have a curiosity for the unknown. However, i have found that having a strong fascination into this subject is either developed naturally from a young age or routed from a personal, highly unusual experience.

For myself, it was a little mixture of both. As a child i had a strong fascination with myths, legends and spooky tales. My grandmother owned a hardback dog-earred Readers Digest book which contained the legends and spooky stories from all over the country. I can recall sitting in her living room and reading these over and over again.

Although i had a bit of a “weird kid” label throughout secondary school, this interest took a backseat during the awkward teenage phase. Unfortunately, after the introduction of boys and alcohol, came the turbulent relationships and university years where i battled a whole bunch of personal problems. Yet despite turning my back on the supernatural, it still managed to keep a grasp on my curiosity. Even when i was so immersed in my own issues, in the  mundane daily routines, it still managed to get through to me. It was only when i received my own personal proof of an afterlife (it was either that or a 1 in a billion coincidence) that i made my way back to being the “weird kid” again.

Still from Beetlejuice (1988)

After graduating with a 2.1 in Religious Studies, clearly a very useful degree, i managed to secure a job with the local museum service. Part of my job required working solo in the museum – which just so happened to be a 13th century city gate. The possibility that this building could be haunted had not really entered my mind. I think i was still in shock that they were actually allowing me to look after one of the town’s historical landmarks. Nevertheless, something happened that sparked it all up again.

It was a Sunday morning around 9 o’clock and i was sweeping the floor below the stained glassed windows. These windows faced down towards the high street and underneath was a simple wooden bench. As i was sweeping underneath this bench, what i can only describe as “a ball of grey mist”, materialised out of thin air and shot towards me. It came to a halt about two feet away from me and was roughly at knee height. It hovered for a second and then shot off to the left and disappeared. Sounds pretty crazy doesn’t it?

The rational, skeptical person would say that it was my imagination. I will agree that my imagination is rather vivid, but it has never created anything on this level before. “Perhaps it was a bird? Or a rat? Or maybe it was a car light reflecting off the window onto the floor?…” Now i know that the majority of paranormal experiences tend to be easily explained, but this has been one incident that has never sat right with me. It was a sunny morning, i was relaxed and i certainly wasn’t looking to having a face-to-face encounter with anything other than a member of the public. The most peculiar aspect of the event was that i shrugged it off. Even as someone who is open to the idea of the paranormal, i still ignored the whole situation. It was almost as if i couldn’t register it into a category and just dismissed it entirely.

I don’t think i really thought about the “ghost ball” again until we picked up some strange anomalies in some photos to market our Halloween event. The first few photos were perfectly normal and then this shadow appeared. The cameraman didn’t say anything at this point and continued to shoot further images. It was only when the shadow seemed to cover my whole side (excuse the poor modelling skills) that he mentioned the anomaly. He said that he had never seen his camera do this before and attempted to re-create the photo, but to no avail. With the museum’s bright spot lights and overhead lighting, we couldn’t find an explanation for this. Although it is possible that it could have been something on the lens, it did remind me of the “entity” that i had seen a few weeks back.

Ghost? Or maybe something on the lens and some awkward posing

It was this experience that led to me to contact a local paranormal investigation team. As a shy 21 year old, this was a pretty daunting experience but it was probably one of the best decisions i have ever made besides going travelling. Attending the investigations has allowed me to see and experience all sorts of phenomena, but it has unfortunately left me with more questions than what i started with. The team have now broken up, but the paranormal occurrences have not ceased. As mentioned in a previous post, activity seems to have increased within my family home. One particular, rather dramatic event caused me to nearly flee my house in fear. I genuinely thought i had a physical intruder in my house and luckily my friends came to rescue me at 4am – a sign of true friendship! This is one story that i will definitely have to leave for a future post.

I have barely touched upon the surface of the experiences i have had. Pro actively investigating the paranormal is possibly one of the most time consuming, least gratifying and frustrating interests to have. It has rather unsociable hours, everyone presumes you’re a massive weirdo and anything you do capture ends up being scrutinised and claimed as “fake”. Despite all this, it is definitely a labour of love. Where other hobbies have entered and left my fickle mind, Ghost Hunting is here to stay. Maybe one day, one of us will finally capture the Holy Grail of evidence. But until then i will just continue my cursing when i realise that my camera was pointing in the wrong direction…yet again.