Sunday, June 17, 2018

Checking out locations

Three of the team decided to take a tour of the West Cork area looking for possible locations for future investigation. We did a few mini sessions in  some of the places but mostly, we were interested in just having a look around.

Coppinger's Court

We began our tour at this beautiful, abandoned manor house. The weather was perfect and we were able to walk around and explore the whole place.

The owner called down to check on his cattle and shared some of the purported history of the place.

Walter Coppinger, the man who commissioned the house to be built for him and his family, was said to have a wicked temper. One of the stories about him tells of how he had to go to court to fight to keep the house. On leaving the house in the morning, he told his wife that if he wasn't home by a certain time, she was to set fire to the house as it would mean that he had lost possession of the place and he didn't want his enemies to get hold of it.

Legend has it that he won the case but decided to celebrate on his way home. Losing track of time, he continued drinking far past the allotted time. On approaching the nearby village he saw a bright light in the sky and when he finally arrived home, he found that his wife had kept her promise and had set fire to the house.

Another legend along the same lines is that a maid servant's brother was due to be hanged in the hanging room in the building the very next day but she set fire to the house while Walter was away so that her brother could not be hanged. Walter Coppinger never returned to the house so her brother's life was spared.

A full history of the life of Walter Coppinger - with some of these legends included at the end - is being written by a friend of mine and fellow Pararnormal Investigator, Barrie Jordan. This book will be released later this year and is much anticipated by both locals and strangers alike.

Follow Barrie's blog on Facebook here for loads of paranormal news and views.

During our brief time here, I felt pressure on the top of my head and a sharp pain in my right eye and ear. I also felt light-headed and dizzy. This only happened in one small area of the building and when I moved away from this area the pain and pressure disappeared. I also noticed that I felt that I should not speak when I was in this area. It was almost as if I had been told to be quiet. The other team members mentioned that they too, had briefly felt a pressure in their head in this area. We will review our audio and if there is anything of note found, I will update accordingly.








Drombeg Stone Circle and Abandoned Church at Glandore

We moved on to Glandore and found a couple of gems. Drombeg is well worth a visit and the history is fascinating. To this day, druids use the circle to celebrate the changing seasons.







Castledonovan Castle

We moved on to Castledonovan castle. This imposing castle has recently been renovated but unfortunately, as we arrived so late, it had been locked up for the night. We were able to see one of the lower rooms through the gate but were unable to enter this time.

This is another place I would recommend for a visit during the day. The views from the upper levels must be spectacular as the castle stands on a high promontory and overlooks the surrounding countryside.

Kilcoe Abandoned Church

Tucked away in a beautiful setting close to the sea, this mostly abandoned graveyard and church is another hidden gem.

The church has recently been cleared out and this was my first time being able to admire this beautiful medieval building properly. A large altar table rests under the large window at the top of the church and on the low widow sills, cup-shaped hollows remain - perhaps they once held holy water.

The gentle sounds of the sea in the distance add to the allure of this pretty place and although I have always felt uneasy here in the past, this time I felt nothing but peace.

On listening to the audio taken in the church I heard what sounds like a chuckle and a growl as I say we are leaving to go and look around the graveyard. This may have simply been an animal, unnoticed by us at the time but to me, it sounds too deep.

The rest of the team will review the audio and if this is something of significance, I will update as necessary.








Thursday, June 14, 2018

Some Recent Investigations

The long bright evenings can make paranormal investigations difficult. Too many tourists, teenagers or hikers out and about. Too much noise - traffic, music, talking - makes it hard to sift the everyday from the paranormal.

Despite this I have been lucky enough to have taken part in a lot of investigations in very different locations.

Blackwater Castle

This beautiful castle has seen many famous and not so famous faces pass through its doors. At the side of the main building, an abandoned tower stands, quiet, lonely and holding its own secrets.

It is said that the mistress of the house in bygone times - Lady Roach - spent years locked up in this tower. People claim to have seen a woman's ghost on the upper floor of the main castle and in the adjoining room in the tower.

Even though I carried out a solo investigation of the 'spiral room' (named for stones on the floor set in a spiral pattern) I did not see or hear anything unusual.

The only events worth mentioning over the course of the night happened on the ground floor of the main castle.

I and two other members of the team were seated in the living room when we all heard noises on the floor above us. I thought the rest of the team were up there walking along the corridor but the guys with me assured me that the rest of the team were in the tower not in the main building.

A quick check via walkie talkie conformed that we were alone in the building at the time of the noises. I assumed that the noise must be caused by plumbing  - perhaps caused by air in the pipes along the first floor corridor. However, when I checked this out later on, I found that the upstairs heating was electric and there was no plumbing along the corridor.

The only other thing that captured my interest was when we were leaving the sitting room. I came out by a different door to the rest of the team. The two lads were chatting and laughing together and as I came into the corridor, I heard a child join in with them.

Unfortunately, this was not captured on any of our recorders even though I had mine running in my hand at the time. Therefore, I have to dismiss this as I have no evidence of the event.

The rest of the night passed all too quickly and although we did not capture anything of note, we were all sad to leave this beautiful place.


The Spiral Room - Pic by Matthew Clarke, CSS


A Hill Fort

This investigation was carried out by a large group of investigators but as it was such a massive place, this did not cause any problems.

Several evps were captured during the long night at this magnificent place, the best one being as follows:

We were in a part of the fort that had been used to store gunpowder many years before. One of the team lit a cigarette. On listening back to the audio a voice is heard saying 'they're smoking'.

Another moment of interest happened when we were in a room which had been used by officers. I was seated with my back to the door. Suddenly, I felt something rush in behind me and bite the top of my thigh. I jumped and nearly fell off the chair but there was nothing there. Later, I did find a red mark on my leg but no broken skin nor bruising.

We did get a lot of K2 hits around one indoor area but can not rule out phone signals as the group had all joined up at that point and someone may have inadvertently left their phone on.

The Black Gates

We joined up with some investigators from another group up the country. Unfortunately, there was loud music playing nearby and this made the audio recorders almost redundant.

The gates themselves lead into a ruined church and graveyard. Inside the church it felt very peaceful. It was a beautiful summer's night and, apart from the music in the background, it was idyllic.

One of our guests had a pair of divining rods with her. I got to try these out. My overall impression of these is that they are rather like Ouija boards, table tipping and so on. Fun to try but no real evidence to back up anything that 'comes through'.

The only thing of note that evening was when we gathered down at the gates themselves. One of our guests began to feel very sick and I soon noticed that I felt nauseous too. I started to feel quite dizzy and faint and was glad when my team leader suggested that the guest and I should return to the church where we had felt perfectly well.

As soon as I left the gates, I began to feel better and by the time I was back in the church - less than one minute - the nausea had passed and I felt fine again.

Later, as we were leaving, I had a brief feeling of nausea as I passed the gates once more.

Some of the graves - Pic by Matthew Clarke CSS





Sunday, June 10, 2018

Dead Haunted - a chat with Claire Barrand

I recently came across this little gem and knew I had to share it.

The characters and storyline are well thought out and beautifully crafted. The paranormal flavour adds spice to the mix and makes this one of the best books I have read in quite a while.

Claire Barrand understands how to weave a wonderful tale and draws the reader in, holding them fast until the last page.

I can't wait to read Dead Haunted 2.

I hope you enjoy this page turner as much as I did!

Check out Claire's fantastic book trailer here

What are the books about?


Dead Haunted and Dead Haunted 2 are both collections of supernatural stories, inspired by events from 19th Century Gothic Wales.

Claire Barrand weaves these spooky tales using her ghoulish imagination, as she delves into the disturbing possibilities that lurked behind these nightmarish stories of murder, revenge, and ghostly hauntings.


Can you give us an idea of what some of the stories entail?

The Brynmarsh Ghost


This three-part chilling tale begins when an 11-year-old boy senses the presence of a chilling apparition watching him.

A tangled web of unforgiving and grisly secrets start to unfold; a murder, an illegitimate child, and a dreadful accident are about to catch up with the residents of Tywyll House.

Bloody Mary's Revenge


The horrific discovery of prostitute Mary Connolly is found murdered in Aberwayne. This leads to the hanging of ruthless and coldblooded murderer, Rhys Davies, who shows no remorse as he stands with the noose around his neck. However, he soon discovers that death brings no escape from his crimes and he must face Bloody Marys' revenge.


Author Bio


I was born in Timperley, Manchester and raised living above the Antique Shop my parents owned. I had a few strange experiences there and often wonder if some of the objects were haunted. My sister Linzi and I witnessed the full apparition of a ghost in my bedroom aged just 11, before we relocated to Abergavenny, South Wales aged 12.


An interest in the paranormal was always in the cards and Wales opened up a whole new side of the supernatural to me. I fell in love with the local stories of fairies, witches, giants and magical standing stones and there began my fascination with folklore stories. I managed a very haunted pub in Bristol for two years in my twenties, the ghosts were troubled, a man who had been murdered by his brother and the cellars had tunnels leading down to the docks where some horrific things had taken place like dog fighting, bare knuckle fighting and slave trading.


Writing about my experiences and researching have been my passion for years. I have written for many publications such as Haunted Magazine, Paranormal Magazine, Spooky Isles and many other online publications and local newspapers.


I have a website and blog which is updated regularly with articles about Welsh Folklore, Dark History, and Ghost stories

https://www.books2read.com/u/49Dp08
Click the pic to go to the Amazon book page


When did you first realise that you wanted to be an author?


I think from the moment I discovered stories I wanted to write stories. At primary school my favorite lesson was always English, and when we were asked to write a story they would be pinned to the display board. Mine were always pages long so had to be hung up with string whereas other kids would maybe write a page or two!


How long does it take you to write a book?


Oh gosh! I am not one for counting words or having targets and am quite a lazy writer. My first book took me 40 years and my second six months! Hopefully the next book wont take as long, but I have learned that it is not the writing that holds me back, it is the editing and finishing process that is the frustrating part. Thankfully I have had some great help from my editor, Kathy Denver, she edited my books and designed the amazing covers for me, without her Dead Haunted would still be on my computers hard drive!


What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

Ha! I have many quirks. I must have food with me. And several mugs of tea get consumed whilst writing. Writing makes me hungry! I also love to have an incense stick or scented candle burning in my office. It has to smell nice. Music is a no-no – I need silence. There is enough noise going on in my head.


Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

Ooh! My favorite part of my stories is the research! I trawl newspaper archives looking for unusual stories dating back from the 19th century. Wales Online has a fantastic resource now where I can search keywords. Mine are always dark search terms like “death” and “murder”! I am always amazed at the stories I find in the archives, it is like opening Pandora's box.

When did you write your first book and how old were you?

Oh I wrote a book when I was in primary school! I don’t remember much about it, it was about my cat and held together by sellotape. My first published book was only released last year and I am .. um.. *cough in my early 40’s!


What do you like to do when you're not writing?

I am a mum, I have 4 children and lots of animals so that keeps me pretty busy! I am a part time paranormal investigator whenever I get chance to, I join up with a team or some friends and get my boots on the ground, you cannot write about things unless you experience them and one thing I am not is an armchair researcher. Another thing I find invaluable is para-con events. Listening to other people is the best way to learn. If I have any time after that I love to read, meditate, get my nails done or visit a spa with my best friend.


What does your family think of your writing?

I have had a very mixed bag of reactions. Mostly I have had very positive reactions though thankfully. Sadly, writing is still seen by many as a bit of a whimsical arty-farty way to spend one’s time, reserved for romantics and fantasists. Unless I suddenly write a New York Times best seller, I don’t expect others to appreciate how much it means to me as a writer to have published a book, which is fine. My husband and my best friend have been the most supportive and given me great feedback and encouragement. My kids couldn’t care less, they just want to know what’s for tea. My Nana who is 97 read my first book, and it was a bit too dark for her, but I love that she took the time to read my book and was proud of me! 


Why did you choose to write in your particular genre? 


It was a natural thing, it kind of just happened. Being drawn to dark subject matter, I began listening to gothic rock music as a teenager and was fascinated by the lyrics. So there began my research. I suppose I just write about what moves me, about the things that disturb me enough to give me nightmares. And the stories I found through my research did just that. I felt compelled to put my thoughts down into words.


Where did your love of reading/writing/storytelling come from?

My Dad and my Grandma. Dad was just the best father any little girl could ever wish for. He would read to me from a very early age. I would sit on his knee with a pile of books and he was so patient. He wasn’t much of a reader himself oddly enough, but he did read to me and my sister as kids. Enid Blyton was my favorite! Grandma would tell me stories about the “olden days” and I was fascinated by how my own ancestors used to live.


What inspires you?


Where I live inspires me. I am so lucky to live in Wales, surrounded by incredible lush green mountains and valleys, waterfalls, canals and beaches. When I get out there into nature it makes my heart soar to look around me. I have to pinch myself sometimes.


What did you enjoy most about writing this book?


I enjoyed being absorbed into the lives of my characters. I almost become them when I write. I love the feeling I get when the thoughts start flowing faster than I can type.


https://www.amazon.com/Claire-Barrand/e/B078TK9BPW
Click the pic and follow Claire on Amazon

Who are some of your favorite authors and what, if any, impact have they had on your writing?


I read an eclectic range of books, from Jackie Collins to Jessie Burton. Jackie Collins has had a huge impact on my writing because if you look beyond the glitter and wealthy characters, you’ll find a common theme in her work is about women being powerful. Revenge and retribution are also big topics of hers and I love the adrenaline that these stories give you. I loved how her stories would weave twist and turns and shock factors all the way through them and I couldn’t put them down. I try to ensure those themes run strongly within my own stories too! 

Are you a full-time or part-time writer? How does that affect your writing?


Part time. Ahhh yes, it’s difficult and frustrating when all you want to do is hide away and type but instead you have to get the dinner on or iron a school uniform! And it is hard to find motivation after a busy day too. But I think its ok as long as you make notes when inspiration hits and then you can attack the keyboard when you get the opportunity. Children grow up fast and I don’t intend to miss their childhood because I was locked away in an office. I am patient and my time to write full time will come.

What makes your book stand out from the crowd?


Well, it is based on true stories, and although many true stories are rewritten with artistic license I think its rare for a book to take on news stories where we never knew what the cause, the ending or outcome was, and give it an ending anyway. Nowadays we get the full double story behind murders and deaths, the court details and family members give reports. We didn’t have any of that 200 years ago. Someone was found dead, maybe presumed for example it was a “suicide whilst temporarily insane” and that was that! Well, I give the stories a story. 

What projects are you working on at present?


I am currently writing the final stories for Dead Haunted – The Collection where all fifteen stories will be published as one final book and released in paperback format too! I am also planning to write a novella.

I also continue to write my supernatural and folklore blog focusing on Wales at www.reddragontales.com every week as well and am always looking for new stories and themes to add. I have also been working with a small team developing ideas and concepts for television and can’t say too much about that as I don’t want to jinx it, but things have been interesting and have future potential!

Another thing I also do is make book trailers for other authors! I made my own trailers and thanks to Kathy who designed my book covers, who recommended me, I have been asked by a few people to make theirs so if anyone is interested, then I have links on my website, or we have a Facebook group called iPublishglobal - Cover City (link https://www.facebook.com/groups/487078161690430/)

What question do you wish that someone would ask about your book, but no one has?


Ah I am SO glad you asked that ha-ha! I wish someone would ask me if, when I am researching the stories and then begin to write them, do I feel a connection in a psychic way to the people in the story that the events really happened to?


My answer would be YES! I do not claim to be a medium or psychic in anyway, I don’t like “labels” however I am sensitive. I believe everyone creative is channeling something from within them and for me it is emotion. One of the things that I can do is pick up emotions of others very well and whilst writing some of the stories I get so drawn into this bubble, that I can almost hear their voices telling me what happened, and I feel their pain. I dream about them and things are “shown” to me. When I wrote the story “The Dead of Night” I was in floods of tears writing about the death of Nesta’s baby boy. And writing “Moon” was equally moving for me. I discovered this poor girl had drowned in the canal only a few hundred yards from my home in the 1800’s. She had been seen in some distress a few hours before. I felt that I was on the right path when I wrote why she had committed suicide that day and the tragedy of her story haunted me for weeks. I still feel her presence when I walk my dog along the tow path and I say “hello” to her.

https://www.books2read.com/u/49Dp08
Click the pic to go to the Amazon book page



Monday, April 16, 2018

The Hottest Cold spots

People often ask me what personal experiences I have had on my paranormal journey. I usually start with one or two anecdotes and if the person is especially unlucky I will still be talking an hour later!

Personal experiences are just that; things that I alone have heard, felt, seen, smelt or touched. These experiences are, more often than not, unconfirmed by anyone else and not captured on any recording devices.

This does not mean that they are not valid, it simply means that they happened to me and me alone.

Touches

Feelings of being touched can happen at any time. The first time I felt this was as I tripped on an old staircase. A hand reached out - unseen by me - and gently took hold of my elbow, steadying me and stopping me from falling.

Another time, I felt a gentle touch on the back of my head as if someone was stroking my hair.

In an abandoned women's home, in the maternity section, I felt hands moving over my belly as if someone was examining me.

Lying in bed and having my quilt pulled off me.

Sounds

Quite often when we are investigating we do not hear anything at the time but when we play back the audio we find we have caught moans, cries, voices and other strange phenomena that went unheard by us at the time.

Sometimes, however, I am lucky enough to hear something strange at the time it happens;

A muttering of many voices from the end of a corridor in an abandoned castle.

A knocking on a wall - on request - when there was clearly no one within touching distance.

Footsteps walking around our group despite us having our torches switched on and all of us accounted for.

Sights

It can be difficult to make things out in the half-light during investigations but I have come across quite a few oddities. Here are some of them;

A fleeting glimpse of a hooded figure standing beside me in full daylight.

Shadows moving around a doorway moments before footsteps were heard running up the stairs in an old mill.

A big black ball of energy appearing in a doorway seconds before all the EMF meters went off.

A white light flying above our heads in an erratic fashion in an abandoned asylum.

Smells

Sometimes, on investigations, we mention to each other that we can smell flowers or smoke or some other scent. It is difficult to classify these as paranormal as there are so many possible explanations
  • Aftershave, perfume, deodorant, toothpaste or other personal hygiene products worn by the investigators.
  • Wood often holds aromas such as cigarette, cigar or pipe smoke which can be released by heat from the sun or artificial heating.
  • The smell of spilt alcohol can often linger for quite some time so if the location has recently hosted a party this can contaminate the scene.
I have sometimes smelled flowers during an investigation but have always ruled it out as a possible perfume contaminant.


I would love to hear of any possible paranormal personal experiences that you may have had. Feel free to add yours in the comments section!








Friday, November 10, 2017

The Emotional Paranormal Investigator

I was asked recently if I had ever been affected by a location and this got me thinking. Can the paranormal affect our emotions? Or are we simply projecting our thoughts and affecting ourselves?

Paranormal Emotional Transference

This is the transferring of energy from a paranormal source onto a living entity. If you love reading about the paranormal you will, no doubt, have come across lots of stories about transference.
  • Dogs barking at nothing.
  • Horses getting spooked for no reason.
  • People being overcome by feelings of grief or unease.
These are only some of the many examples that have been documented and discussed over the years.

But, is there any truth to these stories?

Taking the above examples and looking at them objectively, we can come up with some logical explanations that may have been overlooked or simply ignored.
  • Dogs' hearing, especially at very high frequencies, enables them to hear things that most humans simply cannot.
  • Horses are notorious for getting spooked over seemingly trivial things - a bird fluttering in a bush, a sudden gust of wind, a piece of discarded rubbish - things that we may not notice ourselves are they are so commonplace.
  • Some people have little control over their emotions and may feel uneasy or sad without realising it. Even seasoned ghost hunters may suffer from tiredness, stress or illness and tis may lead to them appearing to take on some form of paranormal emotion.
Before we assume that paranormal emotional transference is the cause of these emotional outbursts, all other avenues should be investigated.
Rule out the obvious, the probable and the possible.
Only after doing this, can we say that paranormal emotional transference may have taken place.

Conclusion?

It is far more likely that the seemingly paranormal experience can be explained logically on examination of all that facts.

But ...

Did I fall victim to Paranormal Emotional Transference?

I remember entering the kitchen area of a large abandoned building where woman - both young and old - had been treated brutally. I was chatting to one of the team and suddenly I felt tears well up. I tried to blink them away but the sadness I suddenly felt was overwhelming and I couldn't stop the tears from falling.
As I fought to hide my distress from the other people present, I heard one of the team remark that this area was called the crying room as people often became upset when they entered the area.


When I visited an old empty house that my parents were hoping to buy, I walked around on my own and as I reached the back of the house I suddenly felt sad. I sat on a ledge at the back corner of the house nearest the road. My Dad came around the corner and asked me why I was crying. I shrugged through my tears. I had no idea what had come over me.
Years later, we found out that a woman spent a lot of her life locked in an upstairs room at the back of the house on the side nearest the road. She was often seen by passers-by and they said she stood at the window weeping.


There are possibly logical explanations for what I felt but I believe that something outside myself affected me for those few moments.

Demonic Possessions

So, if energy can affect us, can energy manipulate us? Is this where the idea of demonic possession come from? Or poltergeists?

Once again, there are many theories but my own personal beliefs are that, as in everyday life, if we choose to give away our power then yes, energy can manipulate us, but we have a choice. We can choose how we react to energy around us - either by allowing it to affect us or by refusing to let it in.

  • If we walk into a room where there has been an argument, we can often feel the air thick with negativity. We then have a choice; either let the energy affect us and make us angry, sad or afraid or, we can choose to ignore the energy and carry on as if nothing had happened.
  • If a friend comes to us with their problems we can feel empathy for them and allow their anger, sadness or fear to become ours or, we can choose to listen, offer advice but refuse to allow their negative energy to affect us.

Future Investigations

I will continue to keep aware of my emotions during paranormal investigations and will report any new experiences or findings.

Perhaps we will never know if paranormal emotional transference really occurs.

But, I'll have fun trying to find out!

Further Reading












Monday, October 9, 2017

EMF? What has this got to do with Ghosts?

What is EMF?


EMF is the abbreviation for electromagnetic fields. According to the WHO, these fields are around us all the time but are invisible to the human eye. (WHO web link)

Sources


Natural sources include thunderstorms and the earth's magnetic field.

Man-made sources include x-rays, electricity and mobile phones.

Possible ill effects of high EMF

  • fatigue, stress and sleep disturbances
  • skin rashes
  • depression
  • sore throats
  • digestive disorders
  • infertility
  • cancer clusters
Research is ongoing and although these effects are often reported, no conclusive link has been found between them and high EMF levels.

So what has this to do with Ghost Hunting?


Most paranormal investigators carry at least one EMF meter with them. The meters' flashing lights are well-known to most paranormal fans.

But why do they flash? What does it all mean?

For years, paranormal researchers have believed that bursts of EMF signal the possible manifestation of a spirit.

There is no proof to state that this is the case but conversely, there is no proof that this is NOT the case!

Confusing? Yes.

These days, most paranormal investigators use these meters as, simply, another tool to point them in the right direction. Unexplained readings (flashing lights) guide us to spend a little more time in the area, perhaps taking more photographs or calling out.

Sometimes the pulsing of the lights seems to be intelligent. They seem to flash on demand or in response to questions. While this can be interesting, it does not prove the existence of spirits.

Things that can affect EMF


Sometimes, on a ghost hunt, the EMF meters flash throughout the investigation. We have to rule out natural or normal causes such as;

  • mobile phones not switched off
  • passing taxis or police cars (the radios send out waves that can affect our meters)
  • other items of gear too close to the meters - my audio recorder sets mine off if I hold them too close together
  • electricity meters
These are the most obvious things we have to look out for but there may well be other things that we do not notice at the time (thunder, overhead power lines).

If we have a lot of activity with the EMF meters but no other items of interest during the investigation, we make a point of returning at a later date to see if we get the same response.

If, on the other hand, we pick up EVPs (electronic voice phenomena), unexplained mists or shadows on photographs or film and have some personal experiences around the time of the high EMF readings, we are inclined to say that they may be of a paranormal nature.

In conclusion


High EMF readings are always of interest. Shorts bursts may simply mean that we have inadvertently contaminated our investigation or that a spirt is trying to manifest or that a taxi has just driven past close by.

Longer, more sustained, high readings suggest that there may be a source of electricity, WIFI, cordless or mobile phone or other radio wave producing element in our vicinity. In this case (especially in a private house investigation), we will try to locate the source so that we can advise the homeowners that this may be a potential health issue.

EMF readings are interesting but not conclusive. No self-respecting paranormal investigator would rely solely on these little flashing lights - but, they are still fun!