MIKE COVELL gives us a run-down of ALICE, a new high-tech ghost-hunting instrument for talking to the ‘other side’.
As a paranormal investigator-historian I spend a lot of my time with groups from across the UK visiting locations, advising on the history and seeing new technologies used in the hunt for answers.
In the past few years I have participated in paranormal investigations watching various groups across the UK, along with their clients, carry out various exercises, experiments and investigations into conducting communications with spirits, or ghosts.
I have seen Ouija boards, séances, table tipping, glass divination, pendulums, psychics, mediums, and even dogs that will allegedly bark when ghosts are close!
Throughout the years the days of the old Victorian methods, whilst still popular, become less and less used, with many more groups turning to more technological types of communication.
In the past few months I have worked with a number of communication devices, ranging from the standard digital and analogue recorders to capture electronic voice phenomena (EVP), to using a P-SB7 ITC Research Device, or “spirit box,” to using a P-SB11 dual sweep frequency Instrumental Trans Communication Device Research Device (ITC). I have witnessed various types of “Ovilus” devices and seen relevant words pop up at locations.
With each device I have seen, recorded, and verified communications that have come through, and with astounding results.
Today, however, I wish to discuss ALICE. ALICE is an Instrumental Trans Communication Device. Instrumental Trans Communication was a name devised by Professor Ernst Senkowski, a German physicist, which means that you can communicate with spirits using electronic equipment.
I first met ALICE (I know I am talking about her like she is a real person, but sometimes people have actually asked to meet ALICE, and when you communicate and get responses, you do get drawn into whether or not this is someone or AI responding) it was being used by Hull-based paranormal investigators Totally Paranormal Events. The team had a rough idea about the history of the building in that it was once used as a funeral parlour, but that is about it.
ALICE is essentially a computer program set up to communicate with spirits using programs such as natural language programming (NLP) and artificial intelligence (AI) and a mammoth word dictionary. The program can be downloaded onto tablets, laptops or the home computer and essentially sits awaiting communication. Whilst this is happening the screen has a red and a green flashing light, these flash to alert the communicated, in this case me, that the program is waiting for the spirit to communicate. Internally ALICE has a reference list of 5,000 words, however, it can link up to a dictionary giving it a limitless amount of data, meaning that finding the right word is never a problem.
My first encounter with ALICE took place at the Annison’s Funeral Parlour, Courtyard and Stables. (See The Spooky Isles’ article “Hull’s Haunted Funeral Parlour“)
We were sat in the old tack room, a small room with bare brick walls, wooden floors and exposed wooden beams on the ceiling. The room was once used by the Hull Police’s Mounted Division for the cleaning of tack used by the horses. On this particular night, which was a couple of weeks before Christmas 2014, it was cold and as the team gathered in the room we noticed a few things. First of all the group experienced knocks and taps coming from the room below, where we keep an hermetically sealed coffin used for road traffic accidents, suicides, and other gory deaths. We set up a REM pod and listened patiently, sure enough what sounded like footsteps, stones being thrown, and the flashing REM pod on an empty staircase began to flash. We asked out but received no reply, so ALICE was unleashed.
We sat ALICE in the middle of the room and within moments she revealed the words, in this order;
“WILLIAM” “WITNESS” “BODY” “WET” “GRASS.”
To anyone this was a garbled mess of nothing, a string of unrelated words; however, having spent a decade researching the building, I had some answers.
In July 1891 Mary Jane Langley visited the property to have her photograph taken with William Mortimer Edmonds, who, at that time, occupied 123 Witham, which is a property within the complex, in fact, if one stands at the window in the tack room, the first window you see opposite is what was Mr. Edmonds photography shop.
William Mortimer Edmonds would later become a suspect when the body of Mary Jane Langley was discovered in a ditch between Marfleet and Preston, two villages on the outskirts of Hull. The inquest reports, published at the time, describe her body being found in the ditch in the fields of Holderness, surrounded by grass, and soaking wet.
Was this William telling us he was a witness on the case that involved Mary Jane Langley’s wet body being found on the grass?
Of course any communication or words that appear on the screen are open to interpretation, but it does not end there.
On another occasion we were sat in the hayloft, a room used to hold the hay for the horses used by Mr. Annison, the Hull Police Mounted Division, and the Rington’s Tea Company, that also used it to hold their products. We set up ALICE and waited.
A local Reverend, by the name of Reverend Lock also got involved in the Mary Jane Langley murder investigation and told everyone he was psychic and in communication with the spirits, telling people stories about the murder. The story was published in the press, only for the readers to debunk it. Again, via ALICE, when discussing the murder, we had the words, one after the other;
At one point it was almost like a fast and furious argument with a 19th century wife/child killer, with links to the Mary Jane Langley case, who claimed that because he stood
He had already been served his
And wondered why he was in
These three words came one after the other in quick succession.
The location also has a dark history associated with the murder of countless Catholics, back when it was a Block House, and as such ALICE came through with
“REVERAND,” “BELLS,” “PRAY” “PRAYER.”
These might seem like irrelevant responses that are purely coincidental, but when they come in response to a line of questioning about the religious past you do tend to start opening your mind.
The building was built on the site of a large castle structure that was erected from stone from the local church, which still stands. When the castle was in use numerous Catholics were tortured and executed on the site. When the nearby bells of the church, that was not only used in the construction, but whose religion persecuted the Catholics, rang out, these responses came through.
There have also been some comedic results, with one occasion making everyone laugh. The words flashed on the screen in quick succession…
No one had a clue what was going on or what it meant, until a girl stepped forward and said “My name is Lisa and today I bought a new brush … I hope it’s not possessed.”
Naysayers will claim that the system can be hacked to come out with these words, but I must point out that at this location I am the historian and very few people know the history, for them to come up with such terms would be a feat worthy of investigation itself.