Saturday, 31 August 2013

Paranormal Investigations

A series of paranormal orientated investigations at an undisclosed 17th c farmhouse near Barry in the Vale of Glamorgan during May and June of 2013. This is very interesting for Mark and I as we have had an interest in the paranormal from a very young age (everything from poltergeists, pre-cognition, doppelgangers, disappearances to time-slips) and have over 50 good books on the subject so we are both well read in regard to various cases and debates concerning the nature of such phenomenon as well as the development of institutions devoted to its understanding, namely the Society for Psychical Research et al and their pre-eminent cases. We also have a large volume of interesting and local experiences involving ourselves, family and friends which have occurred over the years.

The reason we have decided to conduct our own investigations (although we believe the best examples of evidence or cases of the paranormal invariably seem to occur when not planned or expected) is that there can be no doubt that these events do happen and such phenomenon is real, it is just something which is very hard to study as by its very nature it does not conform to known rules or laws (of science) and is not possible to test in a laboratory or does not perform ‘on cue’, hence it is spontaneous. Its cause and explanation though is a matter for debate.

The location itself is derived from a 17th c farmhouse and, despite a few interesting and unusual features and alterations would be a typical building of this period; the house is partially habitable with some rooms being converted to stables.  Old Glamorgan was almost entirely pastoral and such houses would be commonly found dotted around the countryside, thus forming the backbone of the rural agrarian community.

Given its long antecedents we thought that this location would be ideal for a series of controlled and scientific investigations. With permission secured we began the task of creating a methodology that would be practical and hopefully conducive for spontaneous phenomenon. The owner of the property agreed to our investigation providing the exact location was not disclosed.

This article is the end product of three separate investigations at this location (more are planned) and contain the more interesting elements from all. The only people involved were Mark and I. We believe that large numbers of people present are not particularly conducive to paranormal activity and the various rooms we investigated were more efficient to monitor and control with just two people. Mark and I accompanied each other at all times for the purpose of corroborative evidence and to rule out one of us accidently producing ‘phenomenon’. We started our investigations at 10am and this went on until 1pm. We were present before the start time to set our equipment up. This was relatively low-tech as this fits into our ‘keep it simple’ ethos. We used a Pentax digital camera (nothing special), a Sony digital Dictaphone, two sets of trigger objects with thermometers (both trigger objects were of some age, a Georgian ‘cartwheel penny’ and an 18th c thimble; both would have been recognisable objects for people living centuries ago) as well as more traditional note-pads and pens. During the first investigation we confined ourselves to two downstairs rooms with time spent away from both. The subsequent two investigations made use of a further upstairs room with also time spent away from the main house. This time away we felt (although we were in an old barn, itself of some antiquity and were in constant view of the house) might be equally conducive to spontaneous phenomenon as us being present (which did produce results). All the time we were investigating there was absolutely no one else present; this was confirmed by the tenant and by our own pre-investigation perambulations around the immediate vicinity of the property and adjacent buildings; this we view as an extension of being able to control the entire area in order to rule out interference by people not privy to our investigation.

Throughout our investigations’ none of the two trigger objects were moved. They were placed in a variety of locations, mostly next to old fireplaces and were checked regularly, in fact every twenty minutes. Next to these trigger objects (a coin and a thimble) we placed thermometers. They were checked at the same time as the trigger objects, but in all instances did not exhibit any abnormal fluctuations or sudden drops. The only thing of note is that some rooms were colder than others, albeit slightly (by a few degrees); both sets of temperature readings were consistent with their respective environments.

We took a lot of photographs during our investigations. We took interior and exterior shots, most of which were perfectly normal. Now, we don’t hold much, if any faith in orbs. Unless taken with an analogue camera and emitting their own glow they can pretty much be discounted as dust or products of digital cameras. Throughout the annals of psychical research orbs have never been a feature of spirit photography or been regarded as particularly good proof of the paranormal.  We have lots of photos from here with orbs in them, but believe we have clarified our position regarding them as evidence of the paranormal. One photograph we took is particularly interesting and deserves a mention. It was taken during the first investigation and looks into the old main room, now converted into a stable. It is a brightly travelling, coiled moving shoot of energy. The photo was taken at around 1.00 pm on our first vigil, as we were in fact leaving, and was not visible at all when the photograph was taken; there was no light present and was taken in the near dark, the result is a twisted chord of light emanating from the side of the photo. Many attempts were made by us to recreate the photo, including some helpful suggestions from sceptical friends. So, we tried shining flashlights while taking photos, dangling hairs in front of the camera, moving the camera around during exposure in an attempt to distort the photo, different angles but nothing managed to re-create this picture. It is best described as a light anomaly although its cause remains unknown.

We frequently used a digital dictaphone recorder in all our investigations. We had the recorder running when we were both present and absent in the hope of picking up any anomalies (including EVPs). We also had periods where we implored direct communication. The results for this and most of the recordings were negligible, but on a couple of occasions there are some interesting sounds recorded. These sounds were recorded when we were away from the room in question; this is an old technique which was in fact employed during the Enfield investigations with tangible results. The sounds came from a large, upstairs room. The recorder in this instance was placed next to a trigger object; the sounds occurred at 11.27pm. The sounds consist of a heavy dragging/scraping sound which lasts for two seconds. There was certainly no one else present at this time as we were monitoring the building and its only entrance from across the yard. At 11.57 there was another heavy drag, similar to the previous sound. Again, the room was empty.

We of course kept paper and pens to record any feelings, emotions or any other change in atmosphere, unfortunately we felt that there wasn’t anything tangible or noteworthy to record.
During the second investigation though once we had finished and were outside heading back to the car we heard a very loud single bang come from the vicinity of the house, we went back to investigate but everything was in place and as we had left it.

It is said that there are haunted people as well as haunted places; is this place haunted? It is hard to say without affirmative, direct evidence but, what we have is suggestive of some sort of presence as the photo and noises seem to defy logical explanation. Interestingly though, a previous occupant has stated that he has seen animals which he knows have died, had his paperwork pushed off his desk when in the near vicinity, has seen on a number of occasions a man in an out-of-date tweed coat walking down the path as well as hearing various crashes and bangs in his house. We will be back at this location soon. 

As a postscript to this article Mark and I recently conducted investigation number 4 at this location. Aside from a few interesting and unexplained noises we were privileged enough to have our first EVP. Interestingly, this was not in what we would deem the designated and most likely period (when we deliberately implored contact) but literally a minute before we ceased the investigation and were quite literally saying goodbye into the recorder. Before Mark says his goodbyes into the recorder a softer and more female voice says “bye” just before he speaks! The sound is unmistakable and clearly not Mark and I. There is no crackling on the recorder and the voice is clear. Throughout many hours of accumulative audio recording at this location we have nothing else as unambiguous and definite as this.

It is interesting to note that both the recording and the above photo were taken right at the end of their respective investigations’, in fact when the investigation was finished and we were not as alert and expectant as during the investigation proper. This reinforces the theory that spontaneous phenomenon is just as likely to occur when in a relaxed state as opposed to one of being mentally alert and focused. 

1 comment:

  1. This is my yard, Next time your down I would love to sit in with you guys! x