Here's What You Missed If You Didn't Attend The ParaMeet 2022

September 27, 2022 6:00 AM ‐ ParanormalLong Reads
Bosworth Hall, Leicestershire

At the weekend, the Haunted Antiques Paranormal Research Centre (HAPRC) hosted the ParaMeet, a weekend-long event that gave ghost hunters and paranormal enthusiasts from across the country the chance to come together, learn and make new friends.

Taking place from September 23 - 25, the event was spread across HAPRC and Bosworth Hall Hotel. Bosworth Hall is a very fitting venue for a paranormal convention. Not only is it allegedly haunted, but it's also a stunning and atmospheric venue.

The event was a huge success, with a day pass to the main event on Saturday costing a very fair and reasonably-priced £5, making this a very affordable and inclusive event. On the eve of the main event, the centre on Regent Street in Hinckley hosted a talk from historian and author, Penny Griffiths-Morgan.

The event's organiser and founder of HAPRC, Neil Packer said, "Penny couldn't make the Saturday, so I added the Friday night investigation to the centre, and she did a talk on workhouses and it was fantastic and we learned stuff about the workhouses I didn't know." The talk was followed by a ghost hunt amongst the centre's collection of haunted antiques and oddities until 1am.

There was a chance to get a few hours sleep, before Neil and his team decamped to Bosworth Hall Hotel just a few miles down the road. With bedrooms at the hotel available at a discounted rate for those attending the event, some of the guests stayed in the hotel the night before the event.

The ParaMeet had taken over one whole wing of the hotel, plenty of room to accommodate the day's activities in a very swanky surrounding. Doors opened to the public at 9am and guests had a chance to explore the event and mingle, before the opening talk from Neil and HAPRC's resident psychic medium, Jane Rowley.

As the event kicked off, Neil said, "it's been six months of planning and it's been quite stressful, I must admit, but I've got lots of friends here and it's nice seeing everybody, and it's nice meeting people as well, which is the main aim of the ParaMeet, to meet people within the paranormal field that you know by name but not by sight."
Neil Packer & Jane Rowley, ParaMeet

The day's first guest speaker was Kate Rae, a paranormal investigator known for her explorations of modern spiritualism and the realms of the fae. During her eye-opening 45-minute talk, Kate dispelled a few myths about fae and taught attendees about the various types of elemental entities that investigators might encounter on ghost hunts.

Kate also had a stall at the event. She was selling her cute and spooky handmade range of ghostly mushrooms in the form of decorative figurines, jewellery and trinkets.

Next to take the floor at the ParaMeet was Hazel Ford, the founder of the paranormal events company Haunted Happenings. Hazel informed and amused the audience with her tales of launching the UK's most successful paranormal experience provider.

I spoke to Hazel before she faced the audience. She confessed that she had no idea what she was going to say to them. Hazel said, "this is probably my first event I've spoken at," adding, "I think I'll just go in there and see where it all takes us."

Hazel also shared some interesting insight into the success of Haunted Happenings. She explained, "I've always held on to the ethos of why I started the business, which was to give a great ghost hunting experience. I don't expect our guests to be paranormal investigators of a high caliber, I expect them to be there to actually enjoy what they're doing and to have an experience of actually trying to see a ghost."

Hazel says that this was the experience she yearned for, which was the reason for starting the events company, but despite almost 20 years of trading, Hazel still hasn't been lucky enough to achieve this goal of seeing a ghost. You can listen to my full chat with Hazel below.

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The room the talks were taking place in was the perfect size for the event. All of the speakers had a full house, as well as interested audience members stood at the back of the room. However, the space did prove to be a little too small for one guest speaker.

Richard Felix, the paranormal expert and custodian of Derby Gaol, attracted so many attendees to his talk that they struggled to fit into the room and there was talk off splitting the audience in two and asking Richard to give his talk twice.

The large turn out for Richard was due to his ability to captivate an audience by bringing accounts of ghostly experiences to live. I spoke to Richard after his talk and asked what his secret is, he said, "I have an ability to seek out the bits that people want to hear, the interesting bits, the juicy bits." The former 'Most Haunted' star added, "in other words, we've all got some attribute or ability, I suppose mine is telling stories."

I also spoke to Richard about stone tape theory, his ghost sighting at the old jail, and why he doesn't believe in demons. You can watch the full chat below.

Next up was Paul Goddard, a hypnotist and master practitioner of neuro-linguistic programming (NLP). Within the paranormal community, Paul is best known for his work with past-life regression. Paul is more used to putting people into a deep meditative state in one-on-one sessions, but here in Leicestershire Paul hypnotised the whole audience.

Paul told me how he pulled this off, "hypnosis is about pacing and leading people, so when you're doing an individual you can see them relaxing into that deeper state that people call hypnosis." But Paul says the pace can be different for everyone, so when working with a group the hypnotic induction might not work on everyone. He explained, "sometimes you might get people in a group that don't get a regression. If they came to you individually they would be able to get a regression."

But despite this, Paul had plenty of people in the audience at Bosworth who did have interesting regressions. Watch the video below to hear more from Paul, including how he thinks elements of suggestibility relate to paranormal investigations.

Kate Cherrell was up next to talk about the ethics of hunting ghosts at burial sites, a topic that is close to the paranormal investigator's heart as the creator of the website, Burials & Beyond. Her appearance at the ParaMeet came ahead of a busy week for Kate, as the following day the news broke that she'll soon be appearing alongside Jack Osbourne in his new paranormal reality series, 'Haunted Homecoming'.

Talking about the new show, Kate said, "I was a fan of Jack's work before, you know I love 'Portals To Hell' and 'The Osbournes I Want To Believe', you know lots of things like that and so I had this kind of preconceived idea about how he likes to investigate maybe what he's like as a person. And then actually meeting him hanging out with him, having this experience, it was wonderful. He's such a lovely genuine person and a really, pardon the pun, a spirited investigator."

Kate was handpicked for the show for her expertise in 19th century Victorian spiritualism, and her specialism is spiritualism in literature. She told me, "everyone loves a bleeping REM-Pod or you know calling out, but I don't think you've lived until you've sat opposite someone who's hacking up a bit of cheese cloth." This thin gauze-like cloth was what mediums of the Victorian era used to produce the illusion of the legendary supernatural substance known as ectoplasm.

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Kate handed over to historian and author, Neil Storey. His talk at the ParaMeet was about his forthcoming book, a biography of Bram Stoker, he particularly focused on Dracula and the origins of the character.

Ahead of his appearance in the main room, I spoke to Neil about the importance of storytelling in the paranormal world. He said, "I spent an awful lot of time with my grandparents when I was growing up, their friends loved to tell stories and it was a rich tradition." He added, "it does worry me that as time time moves on that tradition isn't always being passed on from generation to generation today."

You can watch my chat with Neil below and find out why he thinks that history is essential in paranormal research and ghost stories. Neil says that it is this "grain of truth" that really gets us hooked and sucked in.

Neil also had a stall at the event with a selection of historic and macabre artefacts for sale and on display, including coffin nails, 17th century lead mortuary crosses that were found in a plague pit, old coins and even a haunted doll. The child's toy lay peacefully in her wooden cot during the event, but one spiritually open guest said she could feel its ghostly breath on her hand.

In total there were around 15 to 20 stalls to peruse in between talks. There was the chance to get a tarot card reading from medium Kaz Evans, original artwork for sale by Nottingham-based artist Minifi, and the team from Skepticide were on hand to talk to guests about attending their ethically-priced ghost hunting events.

There were also tables with ghost hunting gadgets laid out on them, all of which could of course be purchased at the event. One creator of these paranormal tools was Andy Guy from Scire. He was at the event promoting his range of affordable devices that help investigators get to grips with measuring environmental factors in haunted locations.

I spoke to Andy about his range of paranormal tools. He told me, "our focus is very much on building equipment which helps further more scientific explorations and experiments into the paranormal." In the chat below you can hear Andy talk about Scire's most popular devices and how they can help investigators.

Also manning a stall at the event was Paul Stevenson and Andy Soar, the creators of the hugely popular, Haunted Magazine. The pair are no strangers to Bosworth Hall, which is said to boast its own ghosts. The Norfolk Suite, which was once the bedroom of a former resident, Ann Dixie. It's said that her ghost has been seen in the form of a grey lady who still roams the room as she searches for her lost lover.

Elsewhere in the building, staff have heard doors rattling, objects mysteriously move and there's even said to be a perpetually wet bloodstain.

Andy told me about their most recent investigation of the hotel, "the last event we did, last Halloween, was just off the grid some of the things that we were seeing physically in front of us, some of the responses that we were getting from things like the Alice Box, some of the photos that were taken on the night, just mind-blowing." Paul added, "I think the beauty of it, is also it's a living breathing working hotel."

Paul and Andy also spoke about the success and growth of their magazine, which they launched back in 2009, and why they feel events like ParaMeet are so important. You can listen to it all in full below.

The final speaker of the day was Barry R Frankish, who gave an open and emotional talk about how the paranormal community has helped him through personal troubles in his life. Posting online after the event, Barry said, "I can honestly say this event is exactly what I needed. Not only was it my first public event since my health and personal problems reared their ugly heads, but it also showed me I have more friends and support than I could have ever imagined, in fact thinking about it brings a tear to my eye."

Neil Packer brought the day to a close at 8pm. After thanking the guests for attending he told them, "we will be back next year." This was in response to a question Neil has been asked a lot throughout the day due to the success of the event and the lovely sense of community that those who attended experienced.

But the event was far from over. Those who wanted more had the chance to head back to HAPRC for a Saturday night ghost hunt, plus there was another investigation and séance session taking place the following day on Sunday. Neil said, "because the demand was there, we tried to fit as many as we can in, which is not the way we normally do things."

During the event I also spoke to Neil about the growth of the centre and the importance of the recent research into demons they've carried out. You can watch the interview in full here.

The superb event received overwhelmingly positive reviews and feedback for its laidback and relaxed atmosphere, interesting and informative speakers, accessible venue, and very reasonable ticket prices.

I'd like to mirror what others have said and thank Neil, Jane and the rest of the HAPRC team for all their hard work in making the event such a memorable occasion for all those who attended.

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