Hereford Paranormal Group’s co-founder TOM HUNT discusses ghost hunting and other spooky pursuits in the historic rural county
The County of Herefordshire has always contained a huge amount of stories associated with ghosts and spooky tales. Yet the subject had never been explored in a co-ordinated or experienced manner.
There was no website based in the County dedicated to the subject or a place for people who could share their own knowledge or experiences. People had no idea where to go to report, or explore the subject in a sensitive or trained manner.
In June 2006, things changed when the non-profit making group, the Hereford Paranormal Group, was formed, and went on to launch the very first Herefordshire-based website dedicated to the subject and many ghost stories specifically for the county.
The founders, who had many years of experience of investigating the subject prior to this time, discovered the community support overwhelming. The group held regular open meetings, which were extremely successful in the county where a treasure-trove of locations were waiting to be investigated for the first time.
I had been lucky enough to attend a few investigations around the UK with the other co-founder. I caught the bug. But it was unfortunate that my own county had been so neglected. There had been the occasional ghost hunt for charity and fun ghost walks, but nobody knew that Herefordshire had a serious amount of stories. The subject wasn’t being investigated in any serious way. So we chose to do something about that.
Away from their paranormal life, most of the team are respected professionals ranging from senior managers/consultants to even a police officer. Many have a university education, but all have a passion to explore the paranormal subject. There is an equal balance amongst the team between believers and those still searching for evidence. The majority of the team have remained with the group since forming in 2006, and now have built up close to seven years of experience. This is seven years of sitting, often in the dark and hoping for that one piece of evidence that will be able to convince everyone there is such a thing as ghosts.
In 2008, we launched the interactive online Haunted Hereford Paranormal Database as there were so many people submitting their own stories. It was always an intention of the team to create an accessible database of Herefordshire’s paranormal stories, but the success of the community involvement indicated this needed to be a stand-alone project.
The team has investigated a vast array of different types of premises. Private homes, factories, castles and stately houses, museums, hotels are just some of the types of buildings the team have found themselves in when most are asleep. But all of the locations have one thing in common. We all have reports of someone experiencing some form of paranormal activity. We admit that often there can be a non-paranormal explanation behind a lot of reports, but we all expect respect and being able to deliver theories due to experience, ongoing training and example if possible.
It is exciting to investigate a building that has a huge array of paranormal reports. Although you are hoping to experience or capture that evidence for yourself, you have to remain open minded. But I must admit it is particularly exciting to be given access to some of the buildings to hold their very first investigation. If someone has reported hearing the footsteps of someone running, or a voice and we go in and experience something similar, it even gets my own more sceptical mind working overtime as I look for explanations as to ‘why?’ We have even had investigators who have reported seeing apparitions which is very interesting.
As the team approaches our seventh year of investigating, we still have as many aims as we did when we first formed. Once a year charity events, giving opportunities to the community, continuing to assist and work with other local paranormal teams are some of our continued targets. And of course, the most obvious one is to continue to investigate reports of hauntings for free. The Hereford Paranormal Group is non-profit team, who do not charge for conducting our investigations.
There are now about five paranormal teams in Herefordshire and we have a great reputation. We have adapted and added many things to the team since we formed, for the benefit of everyone. I am confident that people curious to involve a paranormal team will get some reassurance that we are the original team and offer things like insurance, experience, criminal checks and many, many other things too. Some of these things may be important when considering allowing strangers into your home or workplace. I am so looking forward to the next seven years.
For more information on the Hereford Paranormal Group, please visit herefordparanormal.com