Archive for May 2011
I’ve been writing this letter to you for four years even though you probably don’t remember me. I got my education from you and I was what you would call a ‘socially awkward’ student who didn’t really know how to fit in with others. I was a bit on the quiet side and I didn’t really have a fashion sense and I lived quite far away from everyone else so I didn’t hang around with them out of school and this was generally a disadvantage because it made me a target for ridicule.
I’ve always been the sort of person who doesn’t like to be an easy target so I did what anyone with common sense would do, and I removed myself from those sorts of horrible situations by skipping school, like, quite a lot of the time. I’ve walked past the school since and I’ve seen that you now lock the gates that lead out of the school which is great, but back when I was a student you made it so easy to skip classes. Who in their right mind would honestly sit in a class where they were going to be picked on by those around them? Who would subject themselves to that when they could just teach themselves at home what they had missed in that lesson? It’s a no brainer, really.
Anyway, what I really wanted to write about was how you reacted to me removing myself from the hostile environment that you subjected me to on a daily basis. Can you remember how you made me attend those “special classes” once a week with all the other students who also didn’t fit in very well? I’d love to know why you did that because nobody ever told me what the purpose was.
We’d all sit around in a room while we were supposed to be in our other lessons and we would talk about why we didn’t fit in, and we would write our positive and negative traits on a big board and we would be encouraged to focus on our positive traits and aims (something that doesn’t work, by the way). We even once made a poster about ‘why I don’t fit in’ which was a real kick to the ego and to celebrate the end of the school year we were all allowed to go to McDonald’s for lunch.
I’ve been writing this letter for a long time and I started one afternoon when I was thinking back to those classes you made me sit in and it suddenly dawned on me exactly what the school was doing. You were actually punishing me and the others for being weird and that is inexcusable. I honestly feel that you should be ashamed because rather than punishing the students who made our lives at school hell because we didn’t fit in, you segregated us for not fitting in and effectively isolated us from the rest of our classes even further by doing so.
I am actually puzzled as to why you did that and what you aimed to achieve. It was as though you were demonstrating that being considered ‘weird’ was a bad thing and that we, the weird ones, needed a special extra-curricular class so that we could be taught why people thought we were weird and how not to be weird.
I have some news for you, and you might want to sit down for this because I have a feeling it is going to blow your tiny little minds – being weird is fine, and you know what? Those people in my special class weren’t weird – they were being who they are and there is nothing wrong with that. I still see some of them from time to time when I’m out and about and they are the only people from my time at school who still say hello to me and whom I have respect for and say hello back.
One of them, Carl, actually came out as gay shortly after we all left school. He didn’t come out as gay at school because he was taught that being different was wrong. For so long I resigned to the fact that I was different and weird and I came to the conclusion that I was proud to be weird until one day my mother heard me say that and sternly told me that I was not weird, I was normal and that nobody had the right to tell me I wasn’t normal.
I hate to tell you this, John of Gaunt School, but it’s actually your idea of what is normal that is weird. YOU are the weirdos. Not me and my special class graduates.
I will never forgive you for what you did to us.
It breaks my heart to hear about elderly people who have been targeted by con-men and con-women and cheated out of a large amount of their life savings, even more so when those who have conned them out of their money claim to be psychic and were preying on their targets grief or vulnerability.
I was sent this link by @4tis via twitter about a man called Cecil Kershaw who has been targeted by psychic scam merchants when he filled in just one letter that was sent to him by them, this was something that opened the floodgates to all sorts of contact being made with him from people who claimed they could put him in contact with his deceased wife, Maureen.
“It all started just after my wife died. They told me they could get in touch with her and also promised that I was going to ‘come in to money’ like winning the lottery.
Maureen did delve into one or two things like this. She’d been to a seance before and had been to see Colin Fry. I thought at first it could be legitimate, but it is a con. I’d just lost my wife, I was upset and vulnerable and they preyed on that.”
Mr Kershaw replied to the first letter with a cheque for £20 and received a good luck medallion charm.
But he said: “Seemingly, once I answered the first one, my details went everywhere and they all thought ‘here’s one, get into him’.
Colin Fry is a British medium of questionable integrity, that many will know from television shows such as ‘6th sense with Colin Fry’. I say ‘questionable integrity’ because of “the trumpet incident” in which he was reportedly caught faking activity during a seance. You can read more about it on the site of the wonderful Tony Youens here.
When I read that Colin Fry had been in contact with Cecil after hearing about his story it made me feel really uncomfortable because even though Fry has often been vocal about fraudulent mediums and psychics and has even said on Facebook that he wishes the ‘badpsychics’ website was back in operation because of the great work it did, I don’t view him as being any more reputable than those he speaks out against. I’ve watched television shows with him on numerous times and I see nothing more than cold reading and good editing.
The fact that Colin Fry contracted Cecil after reading about him in the newspaper even shows that Fry would have had prior knowledge to his situation and details. In fact, in the original article I linked to Cecil even says:
“One or two of the things he said could apply to anyone, but once I’d had time to reflect on it, I thought it was genuine.”
Which sadly, to me, sounds like somebody making the things said by the medium fit after they’ve left the reading. It’s a common tactic used by mediums who put the responsibility of making the reading accurate on the sitter who, in their sheer desperation (no matter how skeptical they may be) to contact their loved one, eventually make the vague statements fit.
Of the people who have sent letters to Cecil Colin Fry is quoted as saying
“These people are not mediums, they are not spiritualists. They operate a ruthless and heartless con. It is better to visit your local spiritualist church or centre where they will not only put you in touch with a local reputable medium, but they will also offer support to anyone who is bereaved.”
Although it is better to visit your local spiritualist church because the medium will be registered with them and will be operating in accordance with the SNU regulations, it’s important to remember that the burden of proof is still on them to prove that they can talk to the dead as they claim to. Simply because they’re associated with the SNU does nothing to prove authenticity.
I cannot help but view the contact Colin Fry made with Cecil as a tasteless publicity stunt. Poor taste.
I took a moment today to go back through an old photo hosting account online that I hadn’t used in a while when I stumbled upon a series of photos that were taken years ago during a ‘paranormal investigation’ at a Wiltshire location. In the photo is the shadow of a person that we could not find a source for.
I have posted the photos below with descriptions under each. Click each photo for a bigger version and please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments, it’s an interesting one that bugged me for ages when it was taken.
The photo was taken by Karen, a team member who was sitting on the lower level with Gareth (pictured). In the background Sharon, myself and ‘person 3’ can be seen standing on the slightly higher level outside of the area in which the others were seated. I am sitting on the bench leaning slightly forwards and to the left, Sharon is stood at the other end of the bench and ‘person 3’ is stood next to me at the right of the bench.
There were only three of us by the bench, this is known for sure as Karen noticed the oddity seconds after taking the photo and called over to us while we were still by the bench. There was no fourth person there. What we cannot explain is what the fourth ‘figure’ is caused by and how. It looks to be a mirror image of me as I sit on the bench but we couldn’t work out how that could be caused.
I’ve annotated the picture below to identify the who, what, where etc.
A indicates the curve of the flooring that surrounds the lower area in which Karen and Gareth were seated.
B indicated the difference in floor levels and C indicated where the floor that the bench is sitting on starts.
The ‘First Choice’ shop window is plain panes of glass with hanging displays, none of which had anything on them that looked like a person, or the shape labelled as ‘?’
Please let me know what you think.
…and so are you*
This week I have mainly learnt that people will try to make you feel like a bad person by typing offensive sentences into google search along with your name, and then clicking on your blog knowing the offensive term will show in the blog stats. When I haven’t been learning that I’ve been generally walking around dressed as Velma Dinkley from Scooby Doo. It started with International Geek Pride day on which Bath Skeptics hosted a Geek Pride Quiz and Fancy Dress Contest to raise money for ‘Save the Rhino’. Froody.
Anyway, here are some links that I would like to recommend to my blog readers for this week:
The Alice Illusion in which people are made to believe they are giants or dolls. Showing how weird our heads can be.
“On hoaxing the hoaxers” – an awesome episode of the Token Skeptic with the wonderful Kylie Sturgess.
‘Children don’t need Brain gym to spot nonsense’ – Ben Goldacre on how age and maturity do not always equal intelligence.
‘Women’s intuition and other fairy tales’ – a fascinating talk by Rebecca Watson that is well worth putting an hour aside for.
BBC Thinking allowed – Paranormal media – about half way through the discussion turns to paranormal media and is fascinating.
Sanity & Violence – a thought provoking blog post from Jourdemayne
Horse laughs, the rapture & ticking bombs – Daniel Loxton examines ridicule and belief
*UPDATE* I should clarify that I find the google search thing hilariously funny & I’m not being a drama queen over it. If anything, I named this blog post as I did to mock people – it’s what I do….
If people reading my blog honestly believe that people could insult me by searching for my name + horrible phrases, they don’t know me very well. It takes a lot more to insult me. Ask Trystan Swale… he tries ALL THE TIME and still fails.
The Shires Shopping Centre in Trowbridge (the county town of Wiltshire) is one of those places that doesn’t look spooky when you walk through it of a day, with the noise of the crowds echoing around the glass roof it’s easy to forget that the building dates back as far as it does. My mum used to work in the cotton mills that used to be on the site, and prior to that Trowbridge Castle was situated there – in fact, when building work began for the shopping centre all of those years ago they actually uncovered a mass burial site from what was once the chapel of the castle.
The infamous poltergeist that used to haunt a nearby tavern called “Peewee’s” (which is now Domino’s Pizza) is said to be a spirit whose remains were disturbed by the building work. The Peewee’s poltergeist is actually one of my favourite local stories because it involves people I know who witnessed bizarre activity in the form of a grill pan going missing from the kitchen only to be found months later behind a solid wall.
Anyway, I’m straying from the original story here. When I was in my late teens I did an apprenticeship with a bakery shop in The Shires Shopping centre – this was when I was a big believer in ghosts, an after life and all things spiritual and was also when I had first started to be involved in paranormal research. I worked full-time in the bakery shop and it is where I witnessed strange phenomena that, to this very day, I cannot explain.
Over the years I witnessed a security gate at the side of the bakery counter swinging open on its own (it was one you had to lift and then push open but it just flew open unaided in front of me and three customers), I also witnessed a loaf of bread literally float off of a shelf as well as two cans of coca cola fly across the shop.
Other people witnessed odd things in the shop too – customers all witnessed an apparition together, stock would regularly be found scattered around on the floor, a large tin of tuna that had been secure on a top shelf narrowly missed smashing into a colleagues skull, a whole shelf full of utensils flew off of a shelf and hit the wall that was four feet away, people would hear their names being called…
It was weird, something I’ll admit even to this day. Of course, now I don’t know if it was paranormal and would love the chance to look for natural causes – but at the time I was convinced it was ghostly in nature – especially when neighbouring shops started to report the same sort of phenomena, as well as the sighting of a sinister dark shadowy being that had scared one shop so badly they’d called security, thinking they had an intruder.
Naturally, when I started hearing about these other experiences that were happening outside of the bakery shop I knew I had to conduct an investigation and alongside another Wiltshire based team called ‘Jorden Williams Paranormal’ we gained access and conducted our first on many investigations.
On that first investigation with JWP I witnessed a few things I still cannot explain to this day (of course, this doesn’t mean they were paranormal in nature, but they were odd). We all heard a child singing when no child was present and when we all stopped to listen properly it stopped. People also had something whistling in their ears, a toy piano in a shop started playing on its own (when we visited the shop the next day we discovered it didn’t have an automatic play function as we thought it might) and at one point myself and my WPR co-founder (who is also my mum) Sharon, were walking past Argos and there was a loud bang on the glass window that made us both look to see who had got inside the shop – but nobody was there.
We were very lucky to be able to join JWP on their investigation at The Shires, but we soon decided we wanted to go back and so our own team gained access another five or six times over the following years. During our time in The Shires we witnessed numerous odd things that, at the time, we thought were ghosts. In fact, I saw what people would class as an ‘apparition’ with two other people at the same time – we saw a little boy running across the shopping centre and disappearing around a corner. To this day I can’t explain what I saw, but it was certainly one of the experiences that led me to believe ghosts existed. Now I know there are numerous reasons I could have seen what I did, but I don’t know for sure what it was and it’s annoying because I wish I could come up with a certain answer.
Lots was experienced at The Shires that at the time seemed very strange and was labelled as paranormal in nature, now though, with the knowledge I have gained over the years I couldn’t say with as much certainty as I did before that it was paranormal in nature. I do wish I had as much knowledge back then as I do now about how things can appear to be paranormal when they’re not as I think it would have been fascinating to study The Shires and the activity experiences from my more skeptical point of view which would provide not only myself with answers, but also those who work there.
However, the reason I wanted to write about The Shires was to share with you the experience that myself and my research team had with the woman who came through the wall. She sent screams echoing up and around the shopping centre as we encountered her and it’s something that neither myself or my mum will ever forget.
In fact, we saw her again yesterday and it was our encounter with her yesterday that brought the whole thing back to the front of our minds…
We had been nearing the end of our investigation at The Shires, the only light in the place came from the dim bulbs in shop windows that were left on for security reasons. Occasionally we would hear a pop or creak as the large building settled around us – the security shutters would often move on their own as a result of internal air conditioning units. It was something that had initially made us jump, but we got used to it in the end.
The Shires has three levels at one end of the shopping centre, the top-level is where the shops are located and then two sets of moving stairs lead to the two levels of car parks. At the time we encountered the lady we were all spread out between the two lower levels. Myself and a handful of others were on the lower level and my mum, Sharon, and some others were on the middle level when it was decided we would move back up to the area with the shops. As we made our way up the stationary moving stairs my mum happened to turn around to say hello when she saw from the corner of her eye a woman climbing through the wall next to the locked doors that led to the first level car parks.
She screamed and pointed and the rest of us panicked at her screams and tried to all flee together up one set of stairs at the same time. The result was a lot of bruised shins and egos and a pile of us laughing on the floor as we realised what the lady actually was.
We had all been petrified by a piece of art work.
When something annoys me I blog about it, it’s what I do. I write about how I am feeling and it would appear that doing that annoys some people and I think that’s a shame. In a post I made yesterday about how certain things said by listeners of the Righteous Indignation Podcast make me feel uncomfortable I mentioned that some people have searched for ‘Hayley Stevens Speech impediment’ in the past and have clicked onto my website in the search results. I should have worked out this would have made others search exactly the same thing.
I didn’t though and when I noticed a number of people had found my blog by searching that term I jokingly tweeted and posted on facebook that people should stop searching for that term – however that prompted people to search for the term more, as well as terms of their own that they thought would be funny.
Through the day I checked back twice and took screen caps to share the funny things people were googling to find my blog and then things took a bit of a sinister turn and people started searching things that were rude an insulting and clicking on my blog so that I would see the term they searched.
– “Hayley Stevens” bitch
– Hayley Stevens stroppy little tart
– “Hayley Stevens” deluded
– Hayley Stevens attention whore RI
– Hayley Stevens stupid
I also got accused of loving the attention these searches were generating in my direction when in fact I actually just found it annoying but funny at the same time. However I didn’t think people would be abusive via anonymous google searches and I’m not sure if I’m supposed to feel amused, insulted, as though I’ve been taught a lesson, put in my place…
I do find it funny that what I presume are adults don’t have the guts to call me names with their own names attached to their comment at the bottom of my blog posts, and if your aim was to insult me it sort of worked, but you insulted me not with the words you searched, but actually by thinking that such childish behaviour would upset me. You really got me wrong.
Here is a full list of the terms some of you searched , I know who some of them are from and some of you have requested a copy of this. Enjoy.
Part one of this review can be found here
Episode Four – the team meet a little boy sent up a chimney to his death
Locations visited: Shoe shop, Gloucestershire & Country hotel, Petty France
Reported activity at the shoe shop:
– Spoons resting on a cloth in the kitchen were ‘flung’ onto the floor
– Often smell smoke or floral perfume
– One evening when closing up a staff member saw a light on upstairs, went in to turn it off and heard a man whispering
– It is claimed a photo taken from outside shows a face in the attic window
Reported activity from the Country hotel:
– lady is seen walking along a passage and through a wall
– Cat didn’t like going into a certain room
– owners daughter wouldn’t go into a room as a presence in there made her feel uncomfortable
In the attic of the shoe shop Wayne and Andy set up a beam barrier to see if anything passes through the area near the window in which a face was supposedly photographed from the street by a passer-by.
They also put a Dictaphone in the window and a data logger to collect the temperature. There were no results from any of these but even if there had been it wouldn’t have proven anything as beam barriers can be set off simply by a slight drop in temperature, or by particles falling in front of the IR sensors – in a dusty attic it would likely for this to happen.
In the kitchen they replicated the spoons on the cloth to see if they would be moved, they weren’t moved and the investigators were not able to explain why they could have fallen off, attributing this to the spirit of a young boy that Paul the medium had sensed. Personally I would have looked at ways in which I could have made the spoons fall off to see what other causes there were – if I slam a door somewhere else could the vibrations make the spoons move? Was the surface slippery? I don’t know because the team didn’t explore these options…
The staff in the shop also reported that an employee once heard whispering in a corridor area of the shop and so the team conduct an EVP session there. Wayne explains that when “took the material back to the lab nothing was found”.
I’m presuming the lab he speaks of is a dog, because there is no way they actually use a laboratory, and to suggest so is done merely to add authority to the proceedings and that is misleading.
At the hotel Andy and Wayne take an EMF reading of the area around the wall through which the apparition of a lady is said to walk, Andy also measures the temperature and explains the temperature reads as 21.4 (centigrade? Fahrenheit?) but at the same time he is moving the thermometer around the room as though trying to detect the difference in temperature in different parts of the small area. The thermometer he is using doesn’t measure temperature like that and so this is another example of inaccurate use of equipment.
In another room of the hotel they used a trigger object and also put a dictaphone down and left the room, upon reviewing the recordingyou can hear a clattering noise but I do not believe this suggests anything paranormal in nature took place as there is no indication for viewers of how secure the room was.
Episode Five – an emotional encounter for Paul
Locations visited: Ashton Court, nr Bristol & ex-asylum, now a private house, Wells
Reported activity at Ashton Court:
– woman seen walking through great hall into inner hall but is never found and doors are all closed
– friend staying over to develop films saw the ceiling vibrating with waves and fled
– owner heard a window banging all night, went to investigate and found the catch broken, when it was nailed shut he heard it again and a pane of glass was actually smashed.
Reported activity at the private house:
– things being moved, towels being left untidy
– computer switches on unaided
– owner saw apparition on three occasions, always on Sunday morning between 2am – 3am – a dark blob mass.
At Ashton Court Andy and Samantha set beam barriers by the hall doors through which an apparition is said to walk and they also set up a data logger to capture the temperature when and if it fluctuates. The use of beam barriers suggests that they intended to detect something walking through that area which is a biased approach to the case.
They do call that the friend who saw a wavy ceiling may have been suffering effects from being in an enclosed area with developing chemicals, however they then go on to conduct an EVP session in another part of the building and claim to capture two sounds of somebody breathing, that are provided as some sort of evidence of paranormal activity when, in all reality, it’s very unlikely that this is so. At this location Paul the medium also gets overwhelmed but the names he picks up on do not match any records and he does not comment on any of the reported experiences, which is a common theme.
This was a really rubbish investigation and the only technical investigation we are shown is the team making the occupants bedroom dark to see if they can recreate the sightings he reported to them. It’s a difficult case to investigate, granted, but then if you choose to take on a case it’s your own fault if you limit yourself by the phenomena reported in the cases you choose.
Episode Six – a frosty reception for Paul
Locations visited: Arnos Manor hotel, Bristol & Victorian Coach house, nr Cirencester
Reported activity at Arnos Manor Hotel:
– A nun reputed to haunt the location is seen walking up a staircase
– A man in a flat cap is seen sitting in the bar on a non-existent sofa
– An orb was caught on film above a bed & a fluctuation in the temperature was recorded
– One guest awoke to feeling of someone sitting on top of him, he couldn’t breathe or move and the bed shook slightly
Reported activity at Victorian Coaching House:
– used to hear footsteps in the passage way
– sounds of a Victorian bell ringing when there isn’t a bell in the house
– the owners friend saw a man walk across the top of the staircase.
Arnos Manor Hotel
Samantha and Wayne conduct the technical investigation at this location, but before they even came onto the screen there was an interesting conversation between Ray and the location manager/owner. As phenomena witnessed in a guest room is being described to him Ray asks the location representative “Why that room?” and the location owner replies “it’s part of the original house” to which Ray nods. Making a connection between the history of a location and what is perceived as paranormal phenomena assumes that what is being witnessed is related to the buildings past and that is a rather naive assumption to make as a paranormal researcher.
In the guest room in which a cold spot was detected over the bed the technical investigators wave a hygro-thermometer over the bed briefly and state that they cannot detect a change in temperature which isn’t an accurate way in which to take a temperature reading. The least a paranormal researcher can do when deciding to use pieces of equipment is to learn how to actually operate them before making conclusions from using them.
Sam sets up a trigger object experiment on the table with some marbles and they leave the room – the marbles don’t move, but if they had I wouldn’t have been convinced because a bit later we see the film crew back in the room with Paul the medium as he does a reading. The marbles can be seen sitting on the table in the background quite clearly which suggests that such experiments weren’t as controlled or as secure as we were led to believe.
A data logger is also used in the room and it records a spike in the temperature of the room that then falls back down, but viewers are told nothing more about why this could be significant or what the team think the cause is, instead we’re left to consider it as mysterious. As I mentioned before, when Paul did a reading in that bedroom the trigger object was visible in the background which would suggest the data logger was also in the room – I would suggest that perhaps a concentration of bodies in the room for a prolonged period of time while filming Paul and the others could have caused the temperature to rise, and then fall when the crew left the room.
In fact, at one point while in the room Paul comments “we were all getting hot” and we clearly see Ray stumble as he apparently becomes disoriented which would suggest nothing out of the ordinary, simply too many people shoved into a small room. We see mystery where we want to see it, and this is a great example of magical thinking.
The report of a man sleeping in a guest room and awaking to find he couldn’t breathe or move and felt as though someone was sitting on his chest was put down to a spirit that Paul the medium picked up on whose lungs he said were full, suggested some sort of breathing problem due to illness. The obvious suggestion I would make is that actually, the experience the man staying in the room had is likely to have been a product of sleep paralysis, staying in unfamiliar surroundings (such as a hotel) is a known trigger, so for ‘The Paranormal 5’ to miss this was like shooting themselves in the foot and difficult to watch.
Victorian Coaching house
The only technical investigation done at this location was to conclude that the bell noise could have been a cat wearing a collar outside of the building which is true, the team also did EVP recordings in the passage way that footsteps were heard in with no results.
Episode Seven – a spirit is delighted to see Paul
Locations visited: Private cottage, Cirencester & private house, Petty France
Reported activity at the private cottage:
– footsteps heard on the staircase
– radio & tv turn themselves on
– daughter & friend were sleeping in the attic when they were woken by a clattering sound they couldn’t trace
– trap door in the ceiling of a bedroom often gets knocked on
– one daughter was awoken by the sound of hands slapping a wall, when she went to look she heard someone running up the attic stairs
– one daughter heard the piano on the ground floor playing on its own and when she went to look the stool was a meter away from it.
Reported activity at the private house:
– in the laundry room people sense a nasty presence and often get touched
– A shadow man has been seen walking through the kitchen
– Son has seen two apparitions, including a man standing at the window watching the son mow the lawn.
This was an interesting case with a vast amount of phenomena being witnessed and I wish I could visit the location to see what I can work out, unfortunately ‘The Paranormal 5’ only saw fit to conduct some EVP recordings next to the piano and to sweep the EMF meter around that area, both with no visible results. At one point Wayne Punter states:
“creaking floorboards don’t sound like footsteps…”
…as he explains to the camera how they tried (and failed) to rationalise the other experiences the family had reported. I disagree with him completely on this because creaking floorboards can creak, thud, squeak and even make a hissing sound through friction – noises I have heard often and mistaken for footsteps.
At this house Andy and Wayne visit the laundry and take an EMF reading in the area, they also do some EVP recording before Andy declares that it is possible that if laundry was hanging around the room like it was at the time of them being there then the people who were touched may have just brushed against some of the clothing, which is a valid point. They move to the kitchen in which the shadowy figure of a man has been seen and set up a trigger object experiment with some coins (despite the fact that nothing has been reported to move in that area), they sweep the area with an EMF meter and conduct some more EVP recordings.
Episode Eight – a landlord recalls a scary experience in his pub
Location visited: The White Hart, Cross
– ghost is said to be a victim of Judge Jeffries who held court in the village
– posters for a ‘medieval night’ with a picture of Judge Jeffreys were put up around the pub and the activity increased
– one lunchtime the landlord was stood behind the bar under a light and a customer said he should run for government, he replied “I’d bring back village stocks and hanging” and the customer replied “Judge Jeffreys is still alive at The White Hart” and the electrics all went off and a cold breeze drifted through the bar area
– one area of the pub always has a constant ‘cold spot’
– one night a drip tray ‘jumped’ six inches into the air on its own
– cat hisses at nothing and the dog reacts to something that nobody can see
– landlady once was a man in a feathered cap looking at her from a mirror instead of her own reflection
– customers in one area of the bar often report seeing a customer waiting in the other area when there is nobody there
– somebody heard moving around upstairs when nobody was up there, on investigation nobody was found.
When testing to see if they can detect a cold spot in the area it was reported in Andy and Wayne both claim they can feel it and then go on to be unable to detect the cold area with the thermometer and Andy suggests that it is the power of suggestion causing them to experience it which is a valid point. Had they used a couple of thermometers in different areas of the room over a longer period of time (say, for at LEAST 1 minute or more….) they might have been able to determine if there was a difference or not.
The area in which the landlady reported seeing the figure of a cavalier in the mirror was testing for what Andy called “energy anomalies” with an EMF meter, perhaps hinting that she may have hallucinated due to a high level of EMF in that area which shows an attempt to think logically about the case but, unfortunately for Andy and Wayne, the EMF meter they’re using isn’t able to detect experience-inducing fields that are thought to cause such effects for a small minority of people because such fields are, at present, thought to sit “on top” of naturally occurring electro-magnetic fields (research is still ongoing).
They also check the drip trays to see if there is any way in which a drip tray could be thrown, unaided, six inches into the air and they report that this could not have happened naturally. One way that it could have happened naturally is if the plastic drip tray had been put into a dish or glass washer and then placed back in its holding while still warm, probably not, but just an idea.
They also do some EVP recording which provides nothing for them. It felt very much like this case was being made to sound more infamous by the owners than it probably was and I felt that a lot of the reported activity could have happened simply due to chance or coincidence and some of it may have been misremembered – but as I haven’t properly researched the case it’s impossible to say for sure.
What I can say for sure though is that with ‘The Paranormal 5’ it’s the same old repetitive methods being used again and again despite the fact that each case is different and has different factors at play and a unique approach should be taken each time. By the time I got half way through the episodes was getting extremely tired of watching the show because of the uninspiring techniques and ideas coming from ‘The Paranormal 5’.
Although this review may seem to be me taking a chance to have a dig at people who I don’t get on with, I will point out that it isn’t that at all. Although I was skeptical that the television show would be that good (and my skepticism was proven right) I saw this as an opportunity for others to see how paranormal researchers who do not do their proper research can be made to look like experts when in fact they don’t know what they’re talking about.
The show may claim to be technical and to use the latest technology available, but this simply isn’t accurate – the show is a simple Most Haunted rip off done badly. I would urge anyone interested in becoming a paranormal researcher to watch this show and make sure they don’t fall into the same trap that the team in the show did by not conducting proper research into what methods and theories you are using. It’s easy to work out the correct information if you are serious about conducting good, open-minded research, but if you’re not, then it’s even easier to simply copy what you see on television…
Footage used in this article is from ‘The Paranormal 5’ and is used under ‘fair dealing‘ for a critique and belongs to ‘Serendipity productions’, ITV, and ITV West.
1 – http://www.uk5paranormal.com
2 – http://www.paulspiritmedium.co.uk
3 – Screenshot from ep 2 of ‘The Paranormal 5’ by Serendipity productions for ITV
4 – 2 Screenshots from ep 4 of ‘The Paranormal 5’ by Serendipity productions for ITV
5 – Screenshot from ep 6 of ‘The Paranormal 5’ by Serendipity productions for ITV