The paranormal scene has been an interesting, exciting and entertaining place in 2018. It was the year when more Brits than ever consulted clairvoyants driven by their worries about Brexit
uncertainty. Fans of the paranormal also voted in the first ever Paranormal Entertainment Awards and there was controversy and drama after psychic mediums
made false claims and YouTubers posted fake paranormal evidence.
Join us as we look back month-by-month at some of the strangest news stories, weirdest happenings and most prominent ghost sightings from 2018 from the United Kingdom and around the world.
Katie Price Hunted Ghosts On 'My Crazy Life' With Lee Roberts
The year kicked off with plenty of odd paranormal news stories including claims that an Italian school was forced to call in a Catholic priest
to perform an exorcism after pupils played a harmless fortune telling game called 'Charlie Charlie.'
Former glamour model Katie Price also made the news in January after she called paranormal expert Lee Roberts
to her West Sussex mansion to teach her some ghost hunting skills to deal with her resident spook. The ghost hunt featured in Katie's Quest Red show, 'My Crazy Life'. Later in the year Katie had another go at paranormal investigation and made the news again when some viewers were shocked
to see her dabbling with the occult while her children were upstairs in bed sleeping, some even labelling the séance she held in the show "sickening".
It was also the month when the US government admitted
to funding a top secret multi-million dollar Defense Intelligence Agency programme, which was set up within the Pentagon in 2007 to investigate sightings of strange speeding aircraft and hovering objects, and military aircraft encounters with UFOs.
A Psychic Claimed To Have Successfully Exorcised 30 East Drive In Pontefract
The story that really got every one talking in January was a controversial claim that 30 East Drive has been spiritually cleansed by a psychic medium that no one had heard of before or since.
Nick Sage made the claim
about the UK's most haunted house, which is said to be haunted by the infamous Black Monk of Pontefract. He said that while filming at the former council house he was able to find some time to walk around the house alone and the spirits of the property made a connection with him. He said that all he did was give the spirits an opportunity to be heard and listened to their story, "those poor souls wanted a story told," and that all they needed was a good listener to set them free.
Following his claims, Nick experienced huge backlash from the ghost hunting community, one Facebook commenter said "nobody will ever be able to cleanse this place." Another posted, "the house is still active. Still bangs, dark shadows. The fool cleansed nothing."
Whatever Nick did doesn't seem to have worked, plenty of ghost hunting teams have returned to the house throughout the year and experienced strange goings on. The legendary property was also voted the best paranormal hotspot
of the year in the inaugural Higgypop Paranormal Entertainment Awards.
New Most Haunted Series Ignites Debate Amongst Viewers 🔥
The team were investigating the haunted farmhouse, built within the grounds of the medieval Codnor Castle. As part of the two-hour special, Yvette had placed a creepy looking doll in the attic of the now derelict family home.
The doll was left throughout the night with a locked off camera placed in front of it. This is a common technique for paranormal researchers who use objects like dolls as "trigger objects". Their hope is that if any spirits interacted with the doll and it moved, it would be caught on camera. But what the team did catch on camera was far more dramatic.
A cutaway to the camera fixed on the doll showed it suddenly burst into flames. The show's resident demonologist, Fred Batt, was first to notice the fire and shouted "what's happening down there?" Stuart Torevell, who was manning the camera shouted "holy ****, what is that?" and ran to the room at the end of the attic where the doll had been placed. On seeing the eerie toy, he screamed "no way! The doll's on fire!"
Tweeting about the incident after the episode aired the show's skeptic, Glen Hunt, said, "it was examined by an independent expert in that field. He couldn’t find any cause. Nor could I at the scene. To this day, it remains unexplained. Weird."
However, not everyone was as convinced that the flaming doll was genuine proof of the existence of the paranormal. Some viewers noticed that there was a red band on the doll's leg where the fire started. But, the official word is that this was a red ribbon that came with the doll, presumably to keep the shoe on.
Zak Bagans Released His First Documentary
In March US paranormal investigator and star of 'Ghost Adventures', Zak Bagans, released his feature-length documentary horror, 'Demon House
"This film is cursed," says Zak at the start of the very dramatic 90-minute film in which he takes on a haunted house that he describes as "the next Amityville". The documentary is based around the story of the Ammons haunting, a case of demon possession that made international news a few years back.
When the Ammons' story broke, Zak straight away purchased the haunted house. Over the next three years he lead a team of paranormal investigators to try to validate the claims of the paranormal activity. But Zak, who has previously conducted more that 1,000 paranormal investigations, got more than he had bargained for at the house. He called it "the case that really f**ked me up."
'Demon House' was first available to watch on iTunes in the US only, but it got its television premiere on British channel Really on the night of Halloween 2018.
The month started with one of the weirdest conspiracy theories the internet has ever concocted. The bizarre theory
originated in Gateshead where there were claims that streetlights were being used by MI5 to control our minds.
But it was an amateur ghost hunter who got the most headline after shooting an eerie video
which shows two ghostly horsemen riding through the grounds of Berry Pomeroy Castle in Devon at night.
The video was captured by 19-year-old Chloe Armstrong from Plymouth at the Tudor mansion in Totnes at the beginning of April and some think it could show the spirits of the Pomeroy brothers. They rode their horses off the battlements to save themselves from being captured by enemies in the 17th Century. The brothers are said to have ridden their horses up to the top of the castle and together leapt to their deaths in full armour.
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Paul O'Grady Trained As An Exorcist
May was the month when researchers restored faith in the Loch Ness Monster as they embarked on a new investigation
, which aimed to uncover evidence of the illusive beast. The team were using modern genetic code sampling technology, which aims to identify exactly what is living in the murky waters.
Celebrity paranormal fan, Paul O'Grady made the news in May when he admitted that he had trained as an exorcist
in order to help the ghost of his showbiz pal, Cilla Black, move on. The British television presenter, who's no stranger to ghost hunting, says he's been aware of Cilla's presence around him since her death in 2015.
Paul told the Daily Star that "it was a thrill" to exorcise the spirit of fellow Liverpudlian, Cilla. Paul and Cilla had been friends for many years and he even gave an emotional eulogy at her funeral.
We Met Sir Noface
American paranormal researcher and filmmaker, Chad Calek made the bold claim that his 2018 film included a clip of a ghost which has the potential to "change the world". The grainy, night vision footage presented in the film sparked debate, but was the figure caught on camera the real deal?
The documentary revolves around the spooky goings on at Cockatoo Island in Sydney, and follows Chad on his journey to validate the video evidence collected by the West Sydney Paranormal Research (WSPR) team at the location, including the clip of a spirit dubbed "Sir Noface
Craig described the clip as a "full body apparition", and when Chad saw the video evidence, he said "I was f**king floored."
The Sir Noface clip was shot on a locked-off camera in the island's Officers' Quarters, a building known as "Sir's House", on February 15th 2014. Despite being in a building that was supposed to be completely locked down, an eerie figure was caught peering a round a door in the hallway.
Chad describes the clip, "with an incredibly fluid motion that appears to defy all natural human movement and physics, what can only be described as a full body apparition leans around the doorway at the back of the hall, just long enough to get a direct look at the camera, before sliding back behind the wall. But not before allowing the time it took to notice its near perfect human figure, which is ever so oddly combined with a complete lack of discernible facial features, hence the nickname Sir Noface."
The short clip became one of, if not the most, debated footage of a ghost sighting of 2018.
Help! My House Is Haunted
In July a new paranormal investigation team hit the small screen. 'Help! My House Is Haunted
' followed Chris Fleming - a world renowned psychic who can see and talk to spirits directly, Sandy Lakdar - a Parisian truth seeker, and Barri Ghai - the show's tech expert.
The show, which aired over 12 weeks on the Really channel, was created by Zak Bagans and sees the three paranormal experts travel the UK from castles in the highlands of Scotland to small seaside towns on England's south coast, experiencing everything from the terrifying to the surreal.
The show was well received by viewers and picked up a silver award for in the best paranormal reality show category at the Paranormal Entertainment Awards. Barri also picked up a silver award in the best male ghost hunter category.
Civilisation Didn't End During The Blood Moon Eclipse
July 2018 offered a rare opportunity to see a stunning lunar eclipse, combined with a deep red "blood moon," but some believed the event could signal a cataclysmic end to life on Earth
. I don't need to tell you that they were wrong.
While fans of astrology made the most of this rare opportunity, it seemed that some instead took cover and prepared for an armageddon. Apparently it all related to a passage in the Hebrew Bible, which states "the Sun will turn into darkness, and the Moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes." Those who believe this latest doomsday prediction think that the eclipse will bring with it a tragic event with the potential to destroy the world.
One religious preacher on YouTube confirmed this prophecy. In a video Pastor Paul Begley told viewers that, "we are in the era of apocalypse, and this blood moon, which will be the longest blood moon of this century is happening [...] at a time when the volcanos already erupting in Hawaii."
If you miss this lunar eclipse, the next one happens in January 2019, when there will probably be a whole new list of scaremongering doomsday predictions.
UK Heatwave Caused "Spike" In Paranormal Activity
The month of August made up one of the hottest British summers in memory, but the long-lasting heatwave was said to have caused a spike in reports of ghosts
and paranormal activity. One paranormal investigator, Gary Parsons, said that when temperatures shot up he experienced a huge increase in calls from the public reporting ghostly goings on.
Usually Halloween is the most paranormally active date in the calendar, but this year it seemed to have come earlier. Skeptics say that the increase ghost sightings could be due to the psychological effect of the heatwave. Heat is an irritant and the discomfort it causes, including getting less sleep, might make people less alert and more susceptible to hallucinations.
August was also the month when Nick Groff and Katrina Weidman returned to our screens in a new series of their ghost hunting show, this time filmed in Britain. In 'Paranormal Lockdown UK
' the investigating duo spent 72 hours at a time locked inside some of the country's most haunted locations, starting with the grim Shepton Mallet Prison.
The prison was also investigated by one of the UK's best known YouTubers in August. Vlogger Alfie Deyes embarked on a tour of some of Britain's most haunted prisons
for his YouTube channel Pointless Blog.
The UK's First Mermaid Olympics Took Place
Also in August, mermaids, young and old, from across Europe came to the small Dorset town of Shaftesbury to compete in the UK's first ever competitive sporting event for merfolk.
The Olympic-style event saw mermaids and mermen from around the world competing in aquatic events including relay races, freestyle and group routines, as well as participating in coral planting workshops.
Mermaids travelled from as far as Slovenia and Italy to enter the Merlympics
, which was open to contestants from eight years old and up. There was no upper age limit and the only requirement was that mermaids were strong swimmers, healthy enough to compete and had their own tail.
The aim of the event was to enable mermaids to get together, make friends, compete, work as teams and create mermaid memories that will last forever.
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A Creepy Nursery Rhyme Haunted A Woman At Night
The most talked about story of September was that of a woman from Ipswich who described eerie singing
echoing around the outside of her house like "something from a horror movie". She told the Ipswich Star, "the first time I heard it it was the most terrifying thing ever, I went cold and felt sick, and thought 'what on earth was that?'"
The mother of two was woken up in the middle of the night by the creepy nursery rhyme several times over a period of months of torment. She was understandably terrified by the creepy rendition of "it's raining, it's pouring, the old man is snoring".
It turns out that the haunting tune was actually a custom alarm tone of a security system for a nearby business. The company owner said that the song which had been echoing across the business park and the surrounding area was meant to act as a deterrent for opportunistic thieves when the system detected movement. It was being triggered by spiders walking across the sensor.
While the Higgypop team were busy investigating a house that's said to be so haunted that it's been dubbed the "Hell House
" with over Halloween, the rest of the world seemed to be binge watching paranormal television shows.
October was the month when the Really Channel brought us #13NightsOfFrights
in the build up to halloween, treating viewers to a whole host of spooky television. This included the TV debut of Zak Bagans' 'Demon House' and new episodes of 'Most Haunted' and 'Ghost Adventures'.
Meanwhile Netflix viewers spent the month trying to spot ghosts hidden in the background of each episode of the streaming platform's newest show 'The Haunting Of Hill House
'. The ghosts were often only half in shot, obscured by something, peering through a small hole or are an out of focus blur in the background.
Over on the BBC, Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton terrified viewers with a one of a kind broadcast for Halloween, the likes of which has never been seen before. The 'Inside No. 9
' Halloween special was broadcast live and was based upon true paranormal incidents
that took place at Manchester's Granada Studios.
Ghost Adventures Broadcast A Live Halloween Special
Over in the US, Zak Bagans and his 'Ghost Adventures' team embarked on a live four-hour Halloween special
from Zak's occult museum in Las Vegas. During the broadcast Zak promised to open his infamous dybbuk box
on live television, a wooden case which is said to be the most haunted object in the world.
The live special was broadcast with a warning to viewers, "the following programme contains disturbing content and shocking images. Those who suffer from anxiety, panic attacks or heart conditions should view at their own risk". Towards the end of the show, the celebrity ghost hunter got down to the business of opening the box.
The stunt became the most talked about paranormal moment of Halloween, not because of what happened when Zak opened the box but because many viewers were left disappointed
when the ghost hunter backed out of opening the box.
At the end of the show Zak chatted to the host Josh Gates about the incident. He told Josh, "I know what the dybbuk box has done to me, I know what it has done to others, I know what it has done to my friends. The coincidences of what they have gone through, the curse of it is too coincidental to ignore."
If you believe in ghosts, then there was bad news at the start of the month when British physicist, Brian Cox, shed doubt on the existence of ghosts
and told television presenter Lorraine Kelly that he thinks that there's nothing to be scared of when it comes to the paranormal. But a few weeks later good news came from Dan Aykroyd, who confirmed that a 'Ghostbusters 3
' script is being written "right now".
UFO Spotted Off Irish Coast By Three Pilots
The other big stories from November both revolved around UFOs. The first of which was an interesting sighting
that occurred on Friday 9th. Three pilots spotted an unidentified flying object off the south-west coast of Ireland.
The strange bright lights were first spotted moving quickly across the early morning sky by a British Airways pilot, who was flying a Boeing 737 from Montreal to London. Confused, she contacted Shannon air traffic control to ask if there were any military exercises taking place in the area.
The air traffic controllers radioed back "there's nothing showing on either primary or secondary radar." The pilot described the sighting as being a "very bright light" which had been seen to the left of the aircraft then "rapidly veered to the north".
The object was then seen by two further commercial pilots, one of which also contacted air traffic control. The audio of the communication was released by the Irish Aviation Authority, who stated publicly that they had started an investigation into the incident.
There are always those who will jump to the conclusion that odd lights in the sky are caused by an invading alien attack fleet, but there is a more rational explanation for the incident. Astronomer, Apostolos Christou, from the Armagh Observatory & Planetarium, thinks that the pilots saw a piece of space debris burning up in the Earth's atmosphere.
'Bob Lazar: Area 51 And Flying Saucers'
The legendary UFO whistleblower Bob Lazar was the subject of a new documentary film
which was released in December. It aimed to re-examine the former government scientist's claims that he worked as part of a select team who reverse-engineered an alien spacecraft at the top secret Area 51 military base.
Lazar first came forward with his claims in 1989 in an interview with investigative reporter George Knapp on Las Vegas television station KLAS. He continued to make appearances in UFO documentaries throughout the 90s, but we hadn't heard much from him in the last 20 years. This year he broke his silence for the film which examines how Lazar's life has changed after he went public.
Lazar says that blowing the whistle on the secret project he was working on has changed "every aspect" of his life. When asked if his life has changed in a positive or negative way, Lazar said "well, for the most part negative. It's really difficult to find positive aspects of that."
What is made clear in the documentary is that the people that know Lazar the best, believe him the most. Knapp, after three decades, is still convinced. He tells Corbell in the film, "the evidence that he's telling the truth outweighs the evidence that he's not."
Paranormal Entertainment Awards
In December we announced the winners of the inaugural Higgypop Paranormal Entertainment Awards. We received over 40,000 votes from fans who helped us pick the best paranormal content creators, publishers, hosts and broadcasters of 2018. The awards recognise all forms of content created for traditional broadcast, online streaming, social and print, as well as celebrating the stars and creators of that content.
The shortlist included some of the most popular paranormal reality television shows of the year and the best supernatural movies, as well as the best paranormal investigators of the last twelve months and podcasts causing a stir in the paranormal world.
It was 'Most Haunted' who were the big winners, picking up an award in each of the five categories they were shortlisted in, including Best Paranormal Reality Show and the award for Best Female Ghost Hunter went to the show's host, Yvette Fielding.
Zak Bagans' 'Demon House' picked up Best Paranormal Documentary Film and 'Haunted Magazine' was named the best paranormal magazine of 2018. You can see the full list of winners here
Paranormal YouTubers Deceive Their Subscribers With Faked Paranormal Evidence
The last big paranormal scandal of the year came just before Christmas when the YouTube channel 'Proving Demons' were outed by Cheshire Police
for planting a human bone in a haunted house as part of a hoax designed to deceive their subscribers.
The video was shot at an abandoned house on Whitchurch Road near Nantwich and appeared to show the team uncovering human remains behind a wall after being tipped of by one of the house's residents spooks via their spirit communication gadget.
The team took it upon themselves to demolish the wall and first found an old-looking dusty child's toy behind the bricks. Then finally viewers get to see the moment the body was found bricked up behind the wall. But, the climactic moment left some viewers disappointed, as rather than finding a body in the wall as promised, the YouTubers stumble across a single bone. About 200 bones short of a whole body.
The following day, a spokesperson for Cheshire Police told Nantwich News that the bone found at the house was being treated as a hoax and that three men and a woman, all from Lancashire, are being given "strong words of advice" and a verbal warning for wasting police time.
Officers said that at first the bone appeared human, but they found it had been put there as a hoax. The incident has resulted in anger throughout the paranormal community with many prominent paranormal teams voicing their dismay at Proving Demons' faked evidence.