It was the year that 'Uncanny' had the paranormal world transfixed, as Danny Robins brought fans two series of the podcast, a television series spin-off, a book and a live tour. It was also the year that Yvette Fielding took the 'Most Haunted' team on a live tour, and Alton Towers opened a new paranormal-themed ride.

As 2023 draws to a close, let's take a look back at some of the biggest stories making headlines right here on Higgypop.com and beyond.
January

I Tried To Force An AI Chat Bot To Admit That Ghosts COULD Exist

Ouija - Yes Or No?

January was a slow news month, but the one thing everyone was talking about was AI, thanks to the recent buzz around Chat GPT. Higgypop's Steve Higgins decided to try to force AI to admit that ghosts might exist. At first, the language model was adamant that "there is no scientific evidence that ghosts exist," so he tried to get it to admit that there is at least a slim possibility that perhaps ghosts might exist. It proved to be an interesting and insightful conversation, which led to questions about the possible ghosts of computers and provided some great advice for believers and skeptics.

The exchange proved to be scarily insightful and realistic. The bot to summed up the chat, it said "this conversation has covered the topic of ghosts, which is a culturally and personally held belief that lacks scientific evidence and usually explained by natural causes or psychological effects, with some speculations on the possibility of an AI becoming a ghost or different theories of physics and consciousness."
February

Alison Hammond Has 'Scariest Night Of Her Life' After Checking In To A Haunted Hotel

February brought us 'ParaSense: The Naked Experiment', a unique documentary by Ross Allison and Chad Goodwin that investigates the connection between touch and paranormal experiences, utilising nudity to enhance sensory perception in haunted locations.

ITV's 'Saturday Night Takeaway' made a thrilling return with hosts Ant and Dec pulling off a memorable paranormal-themed prank on 'This Morning' host Alison Hammond. Alison, confident she could never be tricked by the pair, was lured to the Speech House Hotel under the pretense of filming for 'This Morning.' Ant and Dec transformed the hotel into a haunting setting, complete with creepy dolls and flickering lights. However, Alison's instincts quickly told her the place was haunted, and she initially refused to stay the night, causing a moment of panic for the pranksters. Despite her fears, Alison was eventually convinced to re-enter the hotel, where she experienced staged poltergeist events and saw apparitions, including of Ant and Dec themselves, much to her shock and amusement.
March

Tumultuous Month For The Paranormal Television Community

Nick Groff

March was a busy month for paranormal news, starting with a survey that revealed how the perception of Ouija boards has been shaped by their negative portrayal in popular culture.

Netflix dropped a new supernatural movie called 'We Have A Ghost' staring 'Stranger Things's David Harbour, Jonathan Ross embarked on a supernatural tour of the UK in a new series exploring myths and legends, and Kylie Minogue made a surprise appearance at Button House in the Comic Relief special of 'Ghosts'.

It was also the month we bid sad farewells to two well-known names. Legendary entertainer Paul O'Grady, who was no stranger to the world of paranormal entertainment, having appeared several times on screen alongside his good friend Yvette Fielding. The man behind the iconic 'The World of The Unknown' and 'Supernatural Guides' books, Peter Usborne, also passed away in March.

But the big news in March
 was the significant developments affecting several popular shows and personalities. The Discovery+ series 'Portals To Hell' was cancelled after three seasons, as announced by the show's psychic medium, Michelle Belanger. The series, which began in 2019, featured Jack Osbourne and Katrina Weidman investigating haunted locations. Despite the cancellation, Michelle hinted at future collaborations with Katrina on YouTube. Jack Osbourne, meanwhile, moved on to a new paranormal series, 'Haunted Homecoming'.

In a more controversial development, Nick Groff, a former star of 'Ghost Adventures' and 'Paranormal Lockdown', broke his silence on the "television politics" that led to the cancellation of his shows. Nick refuted allegations of being fired or engaging in misconduct. He suggested that his career suffered due to conflicts with a former co-host, implicating Zak Bagans, although he didn't directly name him. This statement followed Dakota Laden's comments hinting at a lack of support from Zak Bagans for his show 'Destination Fear', which was also cancelled.

Nick's revelations and Dakota's comments have stirred the paranormal community, raising questions about the dynamics and politics within the field of paranormal television. Fans have shown support for Nick and Dakota, with Dakota even successfully crowdfunding a new season of 'Destination Fear'. The situation has led to debates about the future direction of paranormal TV and the influence of key figures within the industry.

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April

Danny Robins' 'Uncanny' Year

Danny Robins, Uncanny on Television
Photo: © BBC

In April, Danny Moss embarked on his "most testing" investigation yet as he launched his new series, 'The Paranormal Investigator'. The series offers a realistic and rational approach to ghost hunting, focusing on debunking or validating paranormal occurrences through a scientific and skeptical methodology, as showcased in his intense first episode at the eerie Wilderhope Manor.

April marked the beginning of an extraordinary year for another Danny, Danny Robins, as his podcast 'Uncanny' returned for a new series, starting with the case of 'The Boy In Room 3'. This was just the beginning of a series of remarkable achievements for Danny throughout the year. He not only produced two series of the 'Uncanny' podcast but also ventured into television with a three-episode spin-off series on BBC Two and iPlayer, which premiered on October 13. Each episode of the TV series focused on a different paranormal case, offering a visually immersive experience to the audience. Danny, alongside his panel of experts including parapsychologists Ciarán O'Keeffe and Evelyn Hollow, aimed to maintain the interactive and engaging nature of the original podcast in the television adaptation.

The 'Uncanny' project further expanded with the release of Danny's companion book, 'Into The Uncanny', and a live stage show titled 'Uncanny: I Know What I Saw' that toured various UK venues. The book delved deeper into four new cases, exploring them with greater detail and scrutiny. The live show, which began in Leicester on October 10, was an immersive experience that brought new cases to life on stage, combining storytelling, interactive audience participation, and exploration of local cases. Danny's multifaceted approach to the paranormal - through podcast, television, book, and live show - provided unique experiences for his audience, each medium offering new and original stories. This holistic approach underscored Danny's commitment to exploring paranormal phenomena in a comprehensive and engaging manner, solidifying his position as a prominent figure in the realm of paranormal research and entertainment.
May

'My Ghost Hunting Movie'

May was a big month for Higgypop as the website's founder, Steve Higgins', went in search of spooks at Chester's 'My Haunted Hotel'. He also underwent a past-life regression session under the influence of hypnotherapist Paul Goddard.

But the big news was the release of Steve's documentary, 'My Ghost Hunting Movie.' This unique film offers a fresh perspective in the paranormal reality genre, focusing on Steve's solo investigation of the notoriously haunted Ancient Ram Inn in Gloucestershire. Steve's approach to ghost hunting stands out for its blend of skepticism and open-mindedness. He embarked on an entire night's investigation at the inn, employing both traditional and unconventional techniques, including an impromptu DJ set, to stir up the location's energy. His goal wasn't to prove the existence of ghosts but to explore the inn's history and the stories behind its reputation in a respectful and unbiased manner.

The documentary has been met with acclaim, winning six gold awards at the Fortean Film Festival, including Best Documentary (Feature) and Best Paranormal Investigation Film. Steve's innovative approach to ghost hunting was particularly noted, encouraging others in the field to adopt more creative and location-specific investigation methods. Despite being a skeptic, Steve encountered inexplicable phenomena during his investigation, adding an intriguing layer to the film. The documentary's success at the festival, coupled with its positive reception on streaming platforms like PARAFlixx paranormal+, showcases its appeal as a refreshing and thought-provoking addition to paranormal cinema. Steve's directorial debut in 'My Ghost Hunting Movie' challenges traditional ghost hunting narratives and promotes a more balanced and authentic exploration of the paranormal.
June

30 East Drive's Iconic Front Door Finds A New Home In Stoke

30 East Drive Front Door In Stoke's Haunted Museum

June brought exciting news for paranormal enthusiasts as Craig William Longson, owner of Stoke's Haunted Museum & Spirit Shop, announced the acquisition of a historically significant artefact: the original front door from the infamous 30 East Drive in Pontefract. Known for its alleged poltergeist activity, 30 East Drive has been a focal point for paranormal researchers and ghost hunters, making the door a coveted piece of supernatural history. Unfortunately, the door was damaged by vandals and replaced, but now it will be preserved at Stoke's haunted museum, enhancing its already intriguing collection of supernatural artefacts.

The Haunted Museum & Spirit Shop, established in late 2021, has become a hub for those fascinated by the paranormal. It houses a variety of artefacts tied to supernatural occurrences, including an enigmatic clock and the mysterious crying boy paintings. The museum's most infamous resident, Mary, a seemingly sentient doll, has been known to exhibit unexplained movements. The addition of the door from 30 East Drive, a site of documented paranormal phenomena like mysterious water pools and unexplained object movements, enriches the museum's historical and paranormal significance. Opening to the public next week, this new exhibit offers visitors an opportunity to connect with a tangible piece of one of the world's most renowned haunted locations. The Haunted Museum & Spirit Shop continues to grow, offering a range of activities for the paranormal community, from guided tours and ghost hunts to séances and meditation classes, making it a must-visit destination for enthusiasts and skeptics alike.
July

UAPs Get Serious Attention In Today's US Government Hearing

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July was a significant month for UFO enthusiasts and skeptics alike, as Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAPs) received serious attention during a US congressional hearing. This event marked a pivotal moment in the public discussion of UFOs, bringing the topic from the fringes into the mainstream.

At the hearing, former members of the military and intelligence community, including David Grusch, a former intelligence officer, and David Fravor, a retired Navy Commander, presented their encounters with UAPs. Their testimonies added fuel to ongoing debates about potential government cover-ups and the need for more transparent investigation into these mysterious sightings. The hearing also addressed the stigma attached to reporting UAP encounters, with Ryan Graves, a former US Navy pilot, sharing his experiences and concerns about the national security implications of these phenomena.

The hearing's testimonies revealed intriguing accounts of UAP encounters, including the famous 'Tic Tac' object incident narrated by David Fravor. These accounts highlighted the unconventional nature of these objects, often displaying extraordinary speed and erratic movement patterns, and sparked discussions on their implications for national security and scientific understanding.

This landmark hearing represents a significant shift in the approach to UAPs, indicating a move towards a more data-driven, transparent, and serious investigation of these phenomena. The testimonies of Ryan Graves, David Grusch, and David Fravor underline the need for a more structured reporting system for UAP encounters and a greater emphasis on understanding their potential impact. This event could be a turning point in unraveling the mysteries of UAPs, encouraging open dialogue and rigorous investigation into one of the most intriguing subjects of our time.
August

Ghostly Voice Unexpectedly Interrupts A Past-Life Regression Session

There were a couple of sad goodbyes in August. These included the director of 'The Exorcist', Director William Friedkin, who died at 87, and Sir Michael Parkinson, whose distinguished broadcasting career included his involvement on the infamous 'Ghostwatch' as the show's host.

On other news, Chester's 'My Haunted Hotel' opened its doors to hardcore skeptics, a woman appeared on daytime television talking about divorcing a Victorian ghost she'd married less than a year ago, and news broke that the sequel to 'Ghostbusters: Afterlife' had been delayed.

August also saw the paranormal world abuzz with the release of Sian Eleri's documentary series, 'Paranormal: The Girl, The Ghost And The Gravestones' on BBC Three. Breaking away from the traditional format of paranormal shows, this series, hosted by the Radio 1 DJ, offers a fresh and journalistic approach to exploring one of the most infamous haunting cases in Welsh history. The series delves into the mysterious occurrences at Penyffordd Farm, a 15th-century farmhouse near Mold in Flintshire, which has been embroiled in ghostly phenomena since the Gower family moved in in 1997. Their experiences began after moving a gravestone bearing the name Jane Jones, who died in 1778 at 15, and escalated into a series of unsettling events that garnered national attention.

Sian's investigation stands out for its depth and rigour, employing a cold-case style approach that combines historical evidence with new interviews of witnesses. The series features a mix of archival material, including footage from the time of the hauntings, radio and television interviews with the Gower family, and case notes from psychologist Dr. Michael Daniels. The series also includes a session with a local paranormal team using a Ouija board, a method Sian initially approached with skepticism. Unlike typical paranormal reality shows, 'Paranormal: The Girl, The Ghost And The Gravestones' avoids fear-inducing tactics and dubious ghost-hunting gadgets, opting instead for a more balanced and investigative style. The series, available on BBC iPlayer and airing on BBC One, invites viewers to explore the haunting legacy of Penyffordd Farm and consider the fine line between fact and folklore in the realm of the supernatural.
September

Sharon Osbourne Rushed To Hospital After 'Night Of Terror' With Son Jack

Jack Osbourne's Night Of Terror
Photo: © Warner Bros Discovery

September saw the release of 'Incubus', a new ghost hunting game that blends reality and fiction. It was also the month that Planet Weird premiered 'The Unbinding', the follow-up to their hit documentary series 'Hellier'. And Chris Fleming returned to Discovery+ with Vogue Williams for 'Spooked Ireland'.

September's paranormal scene was marked by a dramatic incident involving Sharon Osbourne during the filming of her son Jack's show, 'Jack Osbourne's Night Of Terror'. The show, set to premiere on the Travel Channel, features the mother-son duo exploring the Glen Tavern Inn in Santa Paula, California, reputed for its unsettling paranormal activity. Sharon, initially skeptical about the existence of ghosts, joined Jack for what was intended to be an entertaining paranormal investigation.

The investigation took a harrowing turn when Sharon participated in a sensory deprivation experiment in the inn's most haunted room, known for its oppressive male spirit. The experiment, which involved cutting off Sharon's external stimuli to heighten her other senses, quickly escalated into a medical emergency. Sharon lost consciousness and was found in a catatonic state, leading to a panicked call for an ambulance by Jack. Despite being unconscious for an alarming 20 minutes and undergoing extensive medical evaluations, doctors were unable to explain her collapse.
October

Ian Lawman Embarked On A Solo Journey In 'The Yorkshire Exorcist'

Ian Lawman, The Yorkshire Exorcist
Photo: © Discovery+

In October, 'The Yorkshire Exorcist' made its debut on the Really channel and Discovery+, captivating audiences over the Halloween season. The hour-long special starred Ian Lawman, a psychic medium and ordained exorcist from Scunthorpe, best known for his work on 'Help! My House Is Haunted'. This show marked a departure from typical ghost hunting programs, focusing instead on the practice of exorcism, with Ian venturing solo into the realm of the supernatural.

The special centred around the case of Michelle, a woman from Lancashire who had been suffering from what she believed to be a supernatural attachment for over a decade. Her husband, Andy, expressed his deep concerns on the show, hoping for her return to normalcy. The program followed Ian's investigation, including consultations with demonologist Ben Winfield, who suggested that an elemental entity might be plaguing Michelle. Faced with the possibility of an escalation into full possession, Ian was confronted with the tough decision of performing an exorcism.

'The Yorkshire Exorcist' distinguished itself with its human-centric approach, eschewing the typical reliance on night-vision footage and ghost-hunting gadgets in favour of focusing on the personal stories and experiences of those involved. Ian's methodical approach, supported by medical and psychological reports, lent an air of credibility to the narrative. Jayne Harris, a co-host from 'Help! My House Is Haunted', also appeared in the show, assisting Ian in the exorcism ritual. Despite the potential for skepticism, 'The Yorkshire Exorcist' offered a fresh and intriguing perspective on the paranormal, appealing to both enthusiasts and skeptics and presenting a novel narrative within the genre of haunting and exorcism.
November

Teaser Trailer Drop: 'Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire'

November was electrified with the release of the teaser trailer for 'Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire', the much-anticipated sequel to 2021's 'Ghostbusters: Afterlife'. The upcoming film, directed by Gil Kenan and co-written with Jason Reitman, is the fifth instalment in the iconic 'Ghostbusters' series and aims to bring a fresh perspective to the supernatural comedy saga.

The trailer reveals a stellar cast that unites actors from 'Afterlife' like Paul Rudd, Carrie Coon, Mckenna Grace, Finn Wolfhard, Logan Kim, and Celeste O’Connor with franchise newcomers Kumail Nanjiani, Patton Oswalt, James Acaster, and Emily Alyn Lind. The film also marks the return of 'Ghostbusters' originals Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, and Annie Potts, with William Atherton reprising his role as Walter Peck, adding a nostalgic touch. Notably, the movie is set to explore further the storyline of the Spengler family, connecting the franchise's past and present.

Filming for 'Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire' primarily took place at Leavesden Studios in Hertfordshire, England, standing in for New York City, with additional shooting in NYC itself. The story picks up on the narrative thread left by the last film's post-credits scene, with Ernie Hudson's character, Winston Zeddemore, now a successful businessman overseeing the original Ghostbusters base. The film's plot revolves around an ancient artefact that unleashes a malevolent force threatening the world.

Kumail Nanjiani's involvement adds a unique flavour to the film, with the actor revealing that 'Frozen Empire' draws inspiration from the 1980s animated series 'The Real Ghostbusters', aiming to create a movie experience akin to a long episode of the beloved show. This approach promises to infuse the movie with a blend of nostalgia and innovation, appealing to both longtime fans and newcomers to the franchise.
December

Psychic's Predictions For 2024 Include A Russia-China Alliance, Global Cyberattacks & Australian Fires

Australian Fires

In December, British psychic Craig Hamilton-Parker shared his predictions for 2024, encompassing a wide range of global events. Despite some of his previous predictions not materializing as expected, Craig's latest insights include a variety of significant forecasts. He anticipates a formal alliance between Russia and China, intensifying the geopolitical landscape. This partnership is speculated to bolster Russia's military capabilities and open new markets for China, a development that could have far-reaching implications.

Craig also predicts a surge in cyberattacks globally, including a major spyware release inadvertently originating from Japan. He foresees these attacks impacting banking systems and causing widespread disruptions. In terms of natural disasters, he expects significant earthquakes in America and Italy, as well as extensive flooding in London, Europe, and a devastating tsunami in the Pacific affecting Australia's coast.

Economically, 2024 is projected to be challenging, with Craig anticipating a weak dollar, volatile stock markets, soaring oil prices, and an oil shortage. He also warns of a potential instability in cryptocurrency markets.

In the political arena, Craig predicts Donald Trump's victory in the November 2024 US presidential election, despite potential health issues and security threats. He foresees a tumultuous period for current President Joe Biden, suggesting Biden might be removed from power close to the election. Additionally, Craig warns of potential Islamic terror attacks in the US and Canada, including a threat to air transport.

In the UK, Craig forecasts political upheaval with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak ceasing to hold office possibly before the 2024 election. He also predicts rising tensions and eventual divorce between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, along with potential terrorist threats in London.

Craig's predictions extend to Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose death he had previously predicted for 2023. He maintains that Putin's demise is imminent, attributing it to health issues.

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