My 7 Most Convincing Paranormal Experiences
I went on my first ghost hunt in 2004 and now spend most weekends investigating haunted locations in an attempt try to capture proof of the paranormal, but despite my best efforts to communicate with the undead, I've still not witnessed anything that would convince me that hauntings are caused by the spirit of the dead, however there have been a location that have left me scratching my head.
Being left scratching my head is pretty much the best I can hope for as a skeptic, it's pretty much top marks. In fact 'unexplained' is really the best I can hope for as a skeptic, unless a full-blown apparition walked out in front of me and was caught on camera.
Below are several investigations I've embarked on where I've left having experienced something weird, although I'd be hesitant to label these events as paranormal, they are my most convincing experiences to date.
Glass Mysteriously Thrown During Ghost Hunt At The Nunnery In Worcestershire
While investigating a former convent nestled at the foot of the Malvern Hills in Worcestershire, an unexplainable incident occurred in the building's now-disused Gothic-style chapel. We were stood in a circle around various pieces of ghost hunting equipment on the wooden floor. We were taking it in turns to call out to any spirits that might haunt this part of the building.
As one guest spoke aloud to introduce herself to any unseen entities, there was a very loud tap, the unmistakable sound of something falling. The sound had come from the middle of the circle, and since we weren't in total darkness and our eyes had adjusted to the dark, some of the guests had seen what had happened.
One guest said, "it was like plastic, it bounced off something here and went over there." Another guest picked up the object in question, he'd seen it hit a ghost hunting device in the middle of the circle and bounce off, this is why the sound was so loud.
At first we thought it was a piece of transparent plastic, but on closer inspection it was a small piece of glass, less than one centimetre square.
Looking up at the vaulted ceiling above us revealed no clues as to the source of the falling object. There were no light fittings or sky lights and the glass fell in the middle of the room, as far away as you can be from the chapel's walls. After a thorough search later I could find no other broken glass nearby or anything with glass in it that might be the cause.
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Growl Heard While Alone In Bishton Hll
While at Bishton Hall, a Grade II listed mansion in Staffordshire, I heard a sound that I couldn't explain. I was completely alone in the entire Georgian hall setting up cameras before a public event. After making my way up to the top floor guided by torch light, I placed a camera in one of the abandoned rooms.
I was about to head back downstairs, but as I passed a doorway that was ajar on a decaying corridor, I heard what I can only describe as being a growl. The sound seemed to be coming from behind the door. My normally rational and level-headed demeanour instantly left me, and spinning around to face the door I shouted "what the f**k was that?!"
Not quite believing what I had heard, I backed along the corridor away from the door and shouted, "is someone there?" This unnerving realisation that someone or something might be lurking in the dark with me became too much and I turned and run, darting back down the two flights of stairs and out of the building. I was visibly shaking by the time I got out of the hall and can't explain the cause of the sound.
Stone Thrown At Margam Castle
Margam Castle is an impressive and allegedly very haunted large Victorian era Gothic Revival home in Port Talbot and my investigation here quickly got off to a very promising start. During our initial walk around the building we stopped to conduct some quick vigils in each of the areas we'd be returning to over the night.
We started out in what was once the library, before walking through into the adjoining drawing room. I was stood with my back to the doorway we'd come through. As the group was calling out and willing activity to happen, a few of us heard something coming from the library.
It sounded like a small stone had been thrown, and bounced off of something before landing. A couple of us put our torches on and went to investigate the sound. Very quickly we were able to find a stone on the floor in the area the sound seemed to have come from.
I'm not going to jump to the conclusion that this was paranormal, but there was no one behind me when the object fell, and there were no other stones on the floor or anywhere else in the room. Could it have been a piece of falling plaster from the ceiling? No, the ceiling was destroyed in a fire decades ago. Today the wooden floor of the first floor is suspended above the library on metal beams. There's no plaster, no stone. The walls are red brick, the stone was grey in colour. The source of the stone and what caused it to move is a complete mystery.
Did I See My First Ghost At Margam Castle?
I had another odd experience at Margam Castle while on my own in the library. I was stood pretty much alone in the area in total darkness. I was looking through the opening into a round turret-like room. Because the small round space had windows all around it there was bit of light coming in from the outside.
Suddenly I saw a dark shadow move across and out of the turret that I can't explain. Most of the guests were together in the drawing room at this time, there was no one moving as far as I'm aware, and even if they were, there was no obvious light sources that would create a shadow. This gets marked up as another unexplained incident and perhaps my first ghost sighting, or at least a shadow person sighting.
A Ghost At Woodchester Mansion
My experience at Margam Castle had left me wondering if I had seen something odd, but at Woodchester Mansion in Gloucestershire I knew I saw something and I am unable to explain it, which makes it by far the closest I've got to seeing an actual ghost.
I was on a tour of the building before a ghost hunt and I was stood in a corridor at the back of the house. The only source of light in the corridor was our guide's torch he was holding, which let out a decent amount of light, so it was easy enough to see our surroundings.
From where I was stood I could see along an adjoining corridor, where totally unexpectedly I suddenly saw a human-sized, grey mass appear about 1.5 meters into the opening of the corridor. It was human-sized, stationary and it appeared to be floating above the ground.
This wasn't something I saw out of the corner of my eye, I had been staring along the corridor and it appeared in my field of view. It was visible for one or two seconds, and then it vanished.
It appeared to be grey in colour, it didn't glow and wasn't shadow like. It felt like it was consistent with the lighting in the space. Oddly, the object looked two dimensional and it had an aura around it, not a glowing aura but a grey outline that was actually detached from the main body of the shape.
It's possible that I was mistaken or that there was another explanation, but to me it's unexplainable and it's comparable to sightings that other people have reported. Rightly or wrongly, those people are often confident enough to call what they experienced a ghost, so I think it's reasonable to classify my experience the same way. Therefore, I do feel that I saw a ghost.
Unexplained Lights Onboard The SS Great Britain
For the best part of a year I told people that I had one of my most convincing paranormal experiences to date while investigating the 175-year-old passenger steamship in its dry dock in Bristol, but after a second night aboard the historic steamer, I did eventually find an answer. I've decided to include it because it was so hard to explain and therefore quit convincing, at least to start with.
As I bordered Isambard Kingdom Brunel's famous ship for a nightlong investigation on my first visit, fog was hanging low over Bristol docks. The night ended with a vigil of what is probably the most atmospheric part of the ship, steerage accommodation. This area of the middle deck consists of cramped rows of bunk beds, there are several mannequins scattered around, which in the dark certainly add a creepy vibe.
The vigil in this area started off with a few creaks and a dragging sound that couldn't be obviously explained. But then something very odd happened. I was towards the end of the accommodation area when suddenly I saw a light sweep across a wall of bunks.
What makes the incident really weird was that the light only appeared on a wall which was hidden from the rest of the room. A rogue beam of torch light from a guest wouldn't have been able to bend around the corner to reach these bunks. Even if it were possible, no one had a torch on at that moment.
At the end of the night I remember thinking that what I witnessed looked like car head lights sweeping across a wall through a window, but concluded that it couldn't be because I thought the portholes on the boat were too small to create this effect, plus there was a river on one side and tall buildings between us and the nearest road on the other. As well as this we were at least six meters above ground so any beam from a headlight would be unable to reach us, or at best would only light the ceiling.
However, on a subsequent visit I was able to establish the cause. With a bit more time to investigate, it turned out that the lights were in fact car head lights. It was harder than it should have been to identify the cause because the lights obviously weren't coming from the side of the boat with the tall building. They were actually coming from the side the river was on.
The lights were coming from across the river, but only when the conditions were right. It turns out that the lights were shining through the boat's portals only when cars across the river turn a certain direction at a junction on the other side of the river. When they did their headlights swept across a bus stop and reflected across the water and into the boat.
Without having the opportunity to sit and wait and see this in action a few more times in order to narrow down what was going on, it would have been almost impossible to work out the cause of the lights.
Unexplained Responsive Knocking At A Stately Hall In South Yorkshire
Hickleton Hall, a Grade II listed hall in South Yorkshire also proved to be an interesting location. While hunting spooks in the Georgian stately home's bare room, we heard unexplained knocking sounds that seemed to be responsive to our questions.
This started out by guests encouraging any spirits that might be present to communicate with one knock to indicate "no" and two knocks for "yes".
Some of the guests wondered if these might just be natural knocking sounds, so held up three fingers and asked, "how many fingers am I holding up," three very clear knocks responded, this was replicated several times. Another guest asked "can you tap out how many people there are in this room please?" and the taps correctly knocked 18 times. This continued with the unseen force mimicking specific patterns of knocks that the guests and team stamped out on the floor.
It was very hard to place where the rapping was coming from, at times it sounded like the floor in front of us, other times it sounded like it was embedded in the solid stone walls and at times the knocks seemed to take on the rhythm of footsteps and could be heard to walk amongst us, getting louder and softer as if approaching and moving away.
One of the team even tried calling out "do not copy this," before rapping out a series of knocks on a wall, and on this occasion the phantom knocks didn't echo back as requested.
This went on for about 20 minutes as guests tried to work out where the taps were coming from and how they could be answering their questions. Eventually there was a series of footstep-like knocks that got more and more faint, as if something was walking away and then we were left in silence.
I've also experienced similar activity in other haunted locations like Armley Mills In Leeds and Dudley Castle, and it's baffling.
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