It's easy to become disillusioned by the amount of misinformation and misinterpreted phenomena that plague the paranormal field. A few week ago we published an article, "The Bulls**t I've Heard On Ghost Hunts
", which listed a series of misconceptions and downright inaccuracies that we've encountered while attending public ghost hunting events. From the false premise that temperature guns can detect ghostly cold spots to the notion that toy cat balls can be triggered by ethereal electromagnetic fields, I've endeavoured to dispel some of the dubious claims that too often muddy the waters of genuine paranormal investigation.
But it's not all missteps and misunderstandings in this field. Ghost hunting, as unpredictable and controversial as it can be, also provides instances of absolute bafflement – moments where the natural order of things seems to buckle, leaving us in the awe of the unexplainable. It's these rare moments that not only challenge our perception of reality but also remind us why we delve into the world of the paranormal in the first place.
So, in the interest of balance, I'm stepping away from the debunking and skepticism to journey into the most uncanny experiences I've had while ghost hunting. These are occurrences that, to this day, defy logical explanation. From the inexplicable incident of a thrown glass in a Worcestershire nunnery to an unaccountable growl echoing through the empty halls of Bishton Hall, these events are the closest I can say I've got to experiencing the paranormal.
1. The Bewildering Incident Of The Thrown Glass At The Worcestershire Nunnery
Tucked in the shadow of the picturesque Malvern Hills, our investigation took us to a historic convent in Worcestershire. This once sacred ground, complete with a disused Gothic-style chapel, served as the backdrop for one of my most perplexing experiences in paranormal investigation.
We assembled in the chapel's interior, our ghost hunting equipment was meticulously arranged within our circle, patiently waiting to pick up signs of the otherworldly. One of the guests introduced herself to any spirits that might be listening and just as the last syllable of her introduction resonated in the cavernous room, a startling sound punctuated the atmosphere - the distinct noise of an object falling. It came from the centre of the circle we'd formed.
Even in the chapel's gloom, the keen-eyed among us caught sight of the event unfolding. One participant relayed what they had seen - an object, seemingly of plastic, ricocheting off a device at the heart of our circle. This collision echoed through the chapel, a loud punctuation in the eerie quiet.
Upon inspection, the supposed plastic proved to be a fragment of glass, no larger than a centimetre square. Its sudden emergence, and its inexplicable trajectory left us perplexed. The vaulted ceiling above, deprived of light fittings or skylights, provided no answers. The location from which the glass fell, central to the room, was as distant from the chapel walls as possible, reducing the possibility of a natural explanation.
Despite a thorough sweep of the area later, I found no signs of broken glass or any objects that contained glass. The origin of the glass fragment remains a mystery to this day, leaving us with an enigma wrapped in the silence of the Worcestershire convent.
2. The Unsettling Growl In The Derelict Bishton Hall
The setting for my next inexplicable encounter was the imposing Bishton Hall, a Grade II listed mansion situated in the heart of Staffordshire. This time, I found myself navigating the empty halls of the grand building entirely alone, armed with nothing but my torch on a sneak preview of the venue before a public event.
Guided by the narrow beam of my torch, I ventured to the top floor of the mansion, my footsteps the only sound against the backdrop of eerie silence. While walking along the neglected hallway I heard a guttural growl coming from the ominous darkness from beyond a doorway that was slightly ajar.
The logical and pragmatic part of me receded in the face of this raw and animalistic inexplicable sound. I spun around instinctively, facing the source of the unsettling noise and shouted "what the f**k was that?!"
I found myself retreating, instinctively distancing myself from the source of the mysterious sound, as I called out "is someone there?" But the thought of sharing this isolated space with an unknown entity, dead or alive, was overwhelming. In a surge of fear and adrenaline, I turned on my heel and sprinted down the two flights of stairs, bolting out of the decaying mansion.
The menacing growl from the vacant room in Bishton Hall left me visibly shaking. The source of the growl remains unknown, leaving behind an enigma that further intensifies the eerie charm of the Georgian mansion.
3. A Night To Remember At Margam Castle
Margam Castle, a grand, Victorian-era, Gothic Revival masterpiece nestled in the heart of Port Talbot, lived up to its haunted reputation during my investigation there.
Our journey through the castle's intricate layout took us first to what once served as the library, then through to the adjoining drawing room. As I stood in the drawing room, my back turned to the doorway connecting to the library, we began our vigil. As the group reached out, inviting activity from the unseen, a peculiar noise captured our attention.
From the silence of the library, we heard the distinct sound of a stone being thrown, bouncing off something before settling on the floor. Upon hearing this, a few of us broke from the group, torches in hand, drawn to the source of the sound. There, amidst the dusty echoes of the library, we discovered a solitary stone, sitting oddly out of place on the wooden floor.
While I'm hesitant to label the incident paranormal, the circumstances were undeniably puzzling. The stone had fallen behind me, with no one present in the area, in a room where no other stones were found. It's possible that it was a fragment of fallen plaster, although the room's original ceiling was ravaged by a fire decades prior, and the wooden floor of the room above was now exposed above us, suspended by metal beams. There was no plaster or stone to be seen, and the library's red brick walls weren't a match to the light grey stone that had inexplicably appeared.
My journey through the ominous Margam Castle took another intriguing turn later than night. Still in the former library, I found myself alone, peering into a turret-like room that lay adjacent. The quaint, round room, lined with windows, allowed a small amount of outside light to filter in, faintly illuminating the space.
As I observed the dimly lit turret, out of nowhere, a dark shadow darted across the room and disappeared into the darkness. This fleeting apparition was interesting, especially as the majority of the guests were together in the drawing room at the time, making the possibility that this was another human unlikely. Plus, the environment lacked any light sources that could logically produce such a shadow.
4. The Responsive Raps Of Hickleton Hall
While investigating Hickleton Hall next, a Grade II listed Georgian mansion located in South Yorkshire. The mansion, rich with history, presented an intriguing encounter with what seemed to be a responsive, invisible entity. Our ghost hunt centred around a stark, bare room within the stately home where we began to discern mysterious knocking sounds. Remarkably, these sounds seemed to react to our questions.
Myself and the other guests were encourage to coax any spirits present to communicate using a knock system - a single knock for "no", and two knocks for "yes." After some initial success, one guest held up three fingers and asked, "how many fingers am I holding up?" In response, three clear knocks rang out. This experiment was repeated several times, each time receiving a precise response.
When another guest asked the unseen presence to indicate the number of people in the room, 18 distinct knocks were heard, accurately reflecting our group size. This uncanny interaction continued, with the entity mimicking specific knock patterns that the team and guests created.
The source of the knocks proved elusive. Sometimes, it seemed to emanate from the floor, while other times it felt embedded within the hall's stone walls. Strangely, the knocks occasionally mimicked the rhythm of footsteps, growing louder and softer as if moving towards or away from us. In an attempt to understand the phenomenon, a team member instructed, "do not copy this," before knocking a pattern onto the wall. There was seemingly an eerie compliance with no knocks echoing back.
This puzzling activity lasted for about 20 minutes. Eventually, a series of diminishing, footstep-like knocks were heard, as if an unseen entity was walking away from us, leaving us in silence.
5. The Phantom Of Woodchester Mansion
Woodchester Mansion is a hauntingly beautiful abandoned gothic mansion in Gloucestershire. My encounter here proved to be an experience of a different kind. Not just another "odd" sighting, but an event that came the closest to what I might describe as seeing an actual "ghost."
The sighting occurred while on a tour of the mansion before an impending ghost hunt. I found myself standing in a dimly lit corridor at the back of the house. Our guide's torch served as the sole light source, casting just enough light to reveal our immediate surroundings.
From my vantage point, I had a clear view of an intersecting corridor. What I saw in that corridor in the gloom defied all expectations and logical understanding. A human-sized, grey mass materialised abruptly, about 1.5 meters into the entrance of the corridor. It remained stationary, seemingly suspended in mid-air.
This apparition wasn't a fleeting glimpse caught in my peripheral vision. Rather, I had been intently looking down the corridor when it appeared directly in my line of sight. It remained visible for a couple of seconds before vanishing as suddenly as it had appeared.
The figure I witnessed was distinctive - grey, but not shadow-like. Instead, it seemed to be consistent with the level of light in the corridor. Interestingly, it seemed almost two-dimensional and was surrounded by a peculiar aura - a grey, detached outline that encircled the main body of the shape.
Though I am open to the possibility of being mistaken or that there might be a rational explanation, this experience remains unexplained to me. The nature of this sighting parallels those reported by other individuals who have no qualms in labelling what they've seen as a "ghost." Given the similarity, it seems reasonable to categorise my experience similarly. Therefore, despite my uncertainty that this was really the spirit of a dead person, I feel justified in saying that I did indeed encounter a ghost at Woodchester Mansion.