Today's guest blogger is someone who has more than a little experience of the supernatural and paranormal. In fact, he's had a lot of experience.
Welcome, Neil Packer, a paranormal investigator in my home town of Hinckley, in Leicestershire.
Neil runs the Haunted Antiques Paranormal Research Centre in the town, which, as a specialist centre for investigating haunted antiques, is thought to be the only one of its kind in the UK.
Having amassed a collection of more than 50, he decided to relocate the items from his home to larger premises, where he can expand further, and open his collection to the public.
The centre, which opened earlier this year, features a main exhibition room containing all the items, which people can pick up or sit in, and record their feelings.
So, over to Neil...
I was out camping with a group of friends one Saturday night. In the middle of the night I had to go out of the tent that we were all sleeping in. As I looked towards the church I saw a lady in a long flowing white dress walking from the church towards the back of the village pub. I admit it scared me half to death and I quickly made my exit and back into the tent where my friends were all sleeping. I never spoke a word to anyone about what I had seen, and I remember spending a terrified night huddled down in my sleeping bag. The experience remained a secret for many years until I bought a book that had been written about the village. It was only then that I found out that this spectre had been witnessed many times over the years. That’s when I realised that I hadn’t made it up in my mind. I had actually seen a full bodied apparition. Since then I’ve wanted to discover the truth for myself!
Is there life after death?
It wasn’t until 2015 that I could look deeper into the paranormal realm and I got together with another like minded soul and we started running a venue group. However ‘being in charge’ of a venue group meant that my passion for research and investigating just wasn’t being met, so I decided to leave that and go it alone.
In 2017, with a little bit of equipment and a big desire, I decided to start my research with objects. I truly believed that objects held energy, I didn’t feel that they would be ‘haunted’ as such, I felt that was a Hollywood film maker’s scare factor, but I was prepared to be proved wrong!
So I set out to research and prove or disprove, that spirits could be attached to objects.
I must admit I was very nervous to start with, as this project is so important to me. What would happen if it all went wrong? End of my dream I guess.
I did believe that the initial haunted antiques format was very, very good. After this first Saturday evening I knew where I could tweak it and the changes were made for the second visit to the antique centre. Having said that the end result was even better than I imagined it would be.
My original idea for Haunted Antiques was to record our evenings at the antique centre then edit and produce a series of highlight videos. It was in this format that our first two evenings were done, and I have produced two videos based on our first two nights. ‘The boy in the Photograph’ & ‘Bronze African Statue’ are still available to watch on the Haunted Antiques Paranormal Research Centre YouTube channel. Click on the titles above to watch them.
Ian worked on three objects. Each totally different. Each leaving us with questions. One, especially, will stay in my mind for a very long time as we'd never experienced anything like it before. This was the boy in the photograph. As we sat having a short break, Ian saw a young child leap out of one of the photographs. It was a picture of a large house which we think is in Derbyshire. This little boy ran around the shop in an excited frenzy. He set off the rem pod as he raced past it. I asked him some questions which he answered. He’d never come out of the photo before, but he’d seen us and was excited so he just jumped out. He told us that his mum and dad were in the house and that they didn’t know that he’d come out to play. He was such a happy soul. At one point I asked him to hold Terri’s hand. Terri is Phil the owner's wife, who had joined us for the evening. To her astonishment she felt the small cold hand of a small child hold her hand. After a while Ian sensed he was getting tired, and he ran back into the photograph.
The second item was a bronze African figure. Ian was drawn to it. This figure has an older gentleman attached to it. He didn’t like anyone holding it, and was getting quite agitated at first but soon calmed down a bit. It was a present to him and wasn’t happy that his daughter had sold it after he passed.
Since I’ve opened the Haunted Antiques Paranormal Research Centre, Phil has very kindly donated these two items, and they now have pride of place.
I am very lucky to be associated with Sims Vintage Antique Centre in Wootton Wawen, and without the belief of Phil & Terri, the whole concept of Haunted Antiques would never have got off the idea stage. Sims Vintage Antique Centre are now proud sponsors of the Haunted Antiques Paranormal Research Centre.
Obviously now my mind is working overtime to see if we can develop what happened even further. If we could it would prove amazing.
With all our evenings we are not going to be doing them in pitch dark! If there is a shadow I want to be able to see it. The sessions are not about fear. They are not about screaming. We will listen to our guides and act on their advice, as we did on that Saturday evening.
Ian did come out with lots of information and we did get quite a lot of physical responses, and personal experiences.
Again, I wasn’t live feeding this at the time, which was a shame because just like at Phil Simms it was an amazing and really interesting night and today’s viewers would have loved it.
Both these nights had now proved to me that objects definitely held energy and attachment! And I wanted more!
The next move was to invite a group called the ParaAngels to join me. Again another amazing night and the ParaAngels began their passion for objects, as well as buildings. The ParaAngels and I have supported each other ever since and are now a solid team.
Alongside going to antique shops to investigate, I started collecting my own objects that I was drawn to. The ParaAngels also brought objects, and members of the public would contact me to loan or donate. My little carport was soon fit to bursting with objects and their inhabitants too!
Interest on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/hauntedresearch/ started growing fast, and I now have almost 12,000 followers on Facebook from the UK and all around the world, who regularly tune in, and enjoy watching and interacting with the objects and team. Followers have also seen and experienced different types of mediumship; from mediums, to a white witch, an empath and also Gus Rudd, who's a trance medium.
So in the summer of 2017 I decided to get a bigger place to continue my research, and also to let the general public and serious paranormal groups come in and get hands-on too. But I didn’t want any old building. I wanted a building that would capture Hinckley’s history too! I was drawn to 11A Regent Street in the heart of Hinckley, and so began the Haunted Antiques Paranormal Research Centre.
New items are regularly being added to the collection, and the building is haunted in its own right too!
No two nights of investigation within the centre will ever be the same!
The new centre offers followers 24/7 live feeds over YouTube from different room locations within the centre.
Also there are plans to expand on the types of live feeds on Monday’s and another live feed during the week. Plus live feeds with the team and guest mediums.
The centre is open to the general public on Saturdays and Sundays between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., to bring objects in, have a cup of tea, share stories and join in the research by leaving comments of what they experience and sense!
I now have something in the region of 100 items. Not all have attachments but all do have energy around them.
The centre has now been open for more than five months and is growing ever stronger. From my appearance on ITV’s THIS MORNING programme to various magazine articles to various radio shows, the brand is firmly recognised.
I'm now hosting my own paranormal show on Hinckley's Castle Mead Radio each Thursday evening. And later this year I'll be announcing a membership scheme where people can join the phenomenon that is Haunted Antiques, and receive some amazing benefits from myself and my partners.