As a month's worth of rain fell on the South West of England in one day at the weekend, I headed to a 250-year-old former brass works on the outskirts of Bristol to search for spooks with paranormal investigator, Barri Ghai. It was a night the proved to be very emotional for some of the guests.
Barri is one of the three lead investigators on the Really channel's 'Help! My House Is Haunted'. Filming for the show's third series is due to start soon. Viewers will recognise Barri as the team's tech expert, often taking a ghost hunting gadget-lead approach to investigating than his co-start Jayne Harris and Chris Fleming.
The same was true of Barri's event which was hosted by his paranormal team, the Ghostfinder Paranormal Society
. The five-hour-long ghost hunt took place at Warmley Clocktower, which despite its name is as much an old factory building as an actual clock tower.
The clocktower and former pin factory is now a community centre which was originally built in 1743, it was once part of a much larger early industrial estate built by William Champion.
I have to admit, the venue of our ghost hunt wasn't familiar to me and I didn't know anything about its alleged paranormal activity, but I had been tipped off about one bit of information that wasn't known to Barri or his team. It was also their first time at the venue and we were all keen to find out what the building had in store for us.
More From 'Help! My House Is Haunted'
You can read more and the team's investigations on our 'Help! My House Is Haunted' hub, where you'll find detailed reviews of each episode, trivia quizzes and news on future episodes.
The event started like most others I've attended with the guests meeting in a base room for a quick welcome chat. The difference on this and other recent events is that guests were asked to socially distance and of course we were required to wear masks throughout the night.
We were then split up into smaller groups, looked after by a member of Barri's team. Throughout the night Barri made his way around the three teams spread around the building to investigate with each of the guests.
My group started off with Barri on the ground floor in the large room we were using as the base room. It was nice to hear from Barri that he'd swept the building before the guests arrived to get baseline readings to help him explain away any non-paranormal occurrences that might happen during the event. I've never known an investigator pay this much attention to detail on a public event before.
With the lights out Barri lead an EVP session using the audio recorded he's often seen using on television. EVP, or electronic voice phenomenon is a method of capturing disembodied spirit voices using an electronic device. During this first vigil Barri hit record on his audio recorder and called out to any spirits that might be present and encouraged them to answer his questions. Barri then played back the audio and we listened in deadly silence for any spirit responses in the recording.
What was nice about the EVP session is that it was different to most ghost hunting events I've attended so was a refreshing change. Barri took the experiment very seriously and encouraged every guest in the room to get involved. For those new to ghost hunts it was a great way to get them over their initial fear of calling out for the first time.
Barri very much seemed to be investigating the paranormal
, rather than just leading a public investigation. It was obvious that he was taking a genuine interest and that after the event he was going to be heading home and reviewing the audio he'd recorded during the event.
As well as the EVP recorder, the room was full of other gadgets like REM-Pods, which flash and beep if anything gets close to them, and devices to measure temperature fluctuations. We did get what could have been possible responses in the EVP recordings, but the other ghost hunting gadgets failed to trigger and the room was fairly still and quiet.
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The next part of the evening was very interesting. One of Barri's team took us to the clocktower itself. Andy Moore is a medium and psychic
artist who produces incredible sketches of the spirits he encounters during investigations.
The rooms inside the tower below the clock were once a small flat and it was this area of the building that I had a bit of prior knowledge about - a little-known fact which Andy wasn't aware of. Because the full story isn't in the public domain, I won't share all the details here because it was a useful way to test the claims of Andy's psychic abilities. If I make it public then other mediums won't be able to be tested, neither will other ghost hunters who claim to have communicated with the spirits of the building.
My interest was piqued when Andy first suggested we went to the flat because he had a sensation of feeling hot. Once we started investigating the small room he said that he felt someone had died there due to a fire. Although the building is over 250 years old, Andy placed the tragic event fairly recently, narrowing it down to the 1980s.
Andy felt that the death might be related to alcohol. He said, "not drugs, but a dependency of some kind." This is fairly close to the actal cause of a fire which did kill someone in the flat in the 1980s. I pushed Andy for a name but he was unable to provide one or a more detailed cause of death. However the information he gave was a fairly good fit.
Once Andy felt he knew the spirit we were dealing with, things got more interesting, especially for one guest. We were all invited to take part in quite a spiritual ritual to help the trapped spirit move on. Andy asked any guests who might be skeptical about such things, which included me, to open their minds and focus their positive energy into the middle of the circle we were stood in, as he guided the spirit towards the light.
During the ritual one of the guests, whose name was Kelly, was asked to stand in the middle of the circle and act as a channel for the spirit to communicate. It's a method known as the "human pendulum". Although she was standing completely motionless, Kelly's hole body would sway forward to indicate the spirit was communicating "yes" or back for "no".
Using this technique the group had been able to ask the spirits several questions. At the moment the spirit crossed over, Kelly became very emotional to the point where she was in tears. No matter what your beliefs are on this sort of thing, it was a really interesting demonstration that has perhaps left the clocktower with one less ghost.
The night finished with an investigation of the building's top floor, but either the spirits had lost their energy by 2am, or we had, as the vigil was a very quiet one - but this is often the case on a ghost hunt.
Overall the event was a breath of fresh air, which is perhaps the wrong phrase to use as we were wearing face coverings all night. All the activities were very different to other events I'd been on, which tend to be a bit more formulaic in their structure - which isn't a bad thing as you know what you're getting, but a ghost hunt with Barri is a great option for somebody who's looking for something a little different.
Normally the potential evidence I take away from paranormal events to ponder over most often includes unexplained knocks and bangs, doors slamming, light anomalies and occasionally an object seeming to be thrown.
On this event it was more about the EVPs we captured and reviewed - something I've never done on a public event before - and the evidence provided by Andy the medium, and witnessing the feeling of emotion experienced by the other guests. It all made for a very enjoyable night.
I'd like to say a big thanks to Barri, Andy and the rest of the team for a fun and fascinating night in the dark.
If you fancy experiencing a ghost hunt with Barri for yourself, then head over to his official Facebook page and give him a like to find out about all of his upcoming events.