Spooky Isles interviews Christine Donnelly, from Hidden Realms Paranormal Investigators, a group based in Torbay, Devon
What was your first Paranormal encounter?
My first paranormal encounter was when I was visiting Rufford Old Hall in Lancashire with my mother. I was quite young at the time and remember being stood with her in one of the rooms when I was prodded in the back quite hard. I turned round to see who had done this but there was nobody there. Apparently I did have an earlier encounter when I was a small child. My mother had woken up during the night and when she looked over to my cot she saw a small child, in spirit, leaning over the side of the cot looking at me.
Do you believe in ghosts, and if so, what is a ghost?
I do believe in spirit energy. I think the word ‘ghost’ can be a bit misleading. It has so many connotations. I feel that when spirit energy leaves the body it is in the form of a type of ‘orb’, a small mass of energy. It contains memory, energy and a form of intelligence. I think that it may be able to return to our dimension in the human form it occupied whilst alive and it may do this so that it can make itself known to those it wishes to and it can then be recognised. It may for instance be trying to make itself known to a loved one which in its form as an energy orb it would be unable to do.
Why some energy is tied to a particular place is an interesting one. Whether you are a believer in water, string or stone theory it does seem that some places hold a particular attraction for spirit and that for some reason their energy becomes trapped there.
Interdimensional theory/communication is interesting. Are there other dimensions around us that we are unable to see? Are there energies existing in these other dimensions that can gain access to ours? There is a popular belief that these energies are called Shadow People. Apports could also be put down to Interdimensional portals. We know that it is highly unlikely that a book can just vanish into thin air, but it could be that if the book is taken from the dimension we are in and placed into another one that we are unable to see that it may be presumed that the book has ‘disappeared’.
What evidence have you personally uncovered that makes you consider ghosts are real?
I have seen spirit in different forms. On one occasion I had my torch thrown onto the floor. Whilst investigating a haunted building in Belfast, a colleague was scratched by an angry spirit. Another time we were investigating an old cinema and I was sat in the centre of a row of seats. I had sensed a spirit in the seat next to me of an elderly man. When another male team member went to enter the same row of seats the end seat dropped down barring his way. These seats were spring loaded and because of this were unlikely to drop down without being pushed down.
Are you skeptical of the claims others make of their findings?
There have been some very interesting results obtained by various groups and as long as environmental conditions have been ruled out by them when investigating I am happy to explore a paranormal reason for their findings.
How do prepare for a ghost hunt?
When investigating a reputedly haunted building I think it is always better not to know anything about it beforehand. That way your findings will not be influenced by it. Baselines need to be found, also whether heating has been on, any trees near windows etc, baseline EMF sweep and make sure mobile phones are turned off.
What tips would you give for someone going on a paranormal investigation for the first time?
If you haven’t been on a paranormal investigation before it is always best to go with an open mind. Make sure that you don’t attribute every noise or shadow as paranormal. If you are going to take a photo with a flash make sure that others know beforehand. If the group is going to ‘link in’ with spirit by sitting round a table, etc then only do so if you feel comfortable to do this. Personally I always ask for protection for the group and site before we proceed with experiments. Negative energies can be very difficult to deal with if they are allowed in. Always make sure you have something warm to wear and something to eat and drink, it may be a long night.
What is your favourite piece of paranormal investigation equipment?
I’m not sure if I have a favourite piece of paranormal investigation equipment. I like to use the EVP as it sometimes gives some very surprising results. It is better to use it with a Faraday cage to rule out stray radio signals that may effect the results.
If you could investigate any haunted location, where would that be?
If I had the choice of investigating a haunted location I can think of three places that would be great. The London Underground, the tunnels under Edinburgh and if I could travel back in time, Borley Rectory.
What scares you about Ghost Hunting or Paranormal Investigations?
I don’t find any aspect of Paranormal Investigation scary. I find it exciting as it is so unpredictable. I have gone out into the grounds of a haunted castle hoping to see something ‘ghostly’ and have seen a UFO instead. Expect the unexpected and you won’t be disappointed.
In your opinion, what is the most haunted area in the UK or Ireland?
It’s hard to say where I think the most haunted area in England/Ireland is. I’m not sure that one place is more haunted than the other or why it should be. What I do find interesting is that there seems to be a ‘cut off’ point as to how far back hauntings and spirit encounters occur. Roman soldiers have been seen as replay energy but not usually as communicative energy. Why this is I’m not sure. Does spirit have an after life ‘life-span’? There have been reported spirit communications from history but how far back do they go? Has anyone conversed with ancient man?
CHRISTINE DONNELLY, from Hidden Realms Paranormal Invesigators in Torbay, Devon, has been involved with various paranormal groups and has been actively investigating for the past 12years. She has investigated various haunted sites in Cornwall, Devon, Lancashire and Belfast. Visit Hidden Realms Paranormal Investigators website.