Is the paranormal real? Are there things out there that defy explanation? Well, ghost hunters Hannah Sargent and Fiona Cotter, from Leicestershire paranormal company Get Spooked, say definitely…because they’ve experienced it.
Oh, and so do I, as I’ve experienced it on several occasions, too.
According to Hannah and Fiona, there are two types of paranormal event. Firstly, a “residual” haunting, where the spirits we see aren’t conscious of us being there with them. What we see is simply a playback of something that happened in the past. But no-one knows how or why it happens. Secondly, where the spirits we encounter are conscious of us being there, and can communicate with us.
They have also seen a figure in a dark cloak or dress floating up stairs, and a child’s face playing peekaboo with them around a corner.
And Fiona recalls packing up their equipment at the end of an investigation, when she and a colleague could suddenly smell burning. “It was very strong, but nothing was on fire. Then we learned that there had been a fire there in the past. We didn’t know that at the time.”
The pair believe Earth-bound spirits are trapped here – a point reinforced by their communication with a presence saying it was there with its family who had all died at that location.
The recording equipment includes spirit boxes, which scan radio waves, and voices come through on it…and a Rempod, which is a round box that detects electro-magnetic fields. It comprises an aerial and four flashing lights. “The lights flash when a presence comes near to the aerial,” explains Fiona. “The closer the presence, the more the lights flash. We ask the spirit to move towards it and the lights flash more – if we ask it to move away, the lights stop flashing.”
The pair say spirits pick up and feed on people’s energy, making them feel tired. “We can go to a location on day and it’s extremely quiet. But the next time there can be a considerable amount of activity. They also like draining batteries – we can turn up with a fully charged camera, and it’s drained within a few minutes.”
I was curious as to whether they think the entities they encounter are the spirit of former living people, or beings from another dimension. Hannah believes they have all lived as human, even those engaging in minor poltergeist activity. “They just want people to know they’re still here, and they do like to play games with us. We can put objects in certain places and ask them to move them. When we come back they’ve been moved.”
Hannah founded Leicestershire-based Get Spooked two years ago, having undertaken paranormal investigations for four years before that, and Fiona joined shortly afterwards. While Hannah originally became interested in the subject through programmes like Most Haunted, she does question whether some of the things are faked for the TV.
“We understand why people are sceptical, but when they come to one of our events and experience something for themselves that has no logical explanation, they often change their minds.”
My view: There may be as-yet-undiscovered scientific explanations for these phenomena, but at the moment it does seem to indicate there is something waiting for us after death. Which gives comfort and hope. However, on the flip side – it’s also frightening to think that our soul or spirit could become trapped here on Earth, unable to move on to its rightful place in the afterlife.
If you’re as fascinated as I am by the paranormal and supernatural, Hannah, Fiona and the team regularly organise official visits to a variety of haunted places. Upcoming ones include:
July 17: Gresley Old Hall, Swadlincote. £25
August 7: East Drive, Pontefract. £59
September 2: Old Vicorian Gaol, West Bromwich. £45
September 22: Drakelow Tunnels, Kidderminster. £35
October 13: Oak House, West Bromwich. £49
Tel: 07498 283506