Spooky Isles talks to Andrew Fazekas, President of the Luton Paranormal Society, the joys and frustrations of paranormal investigation…
What was your first paranormal encounter?
Two angels in the sky, when I was aged 17, staring down at me and this was followed by a large disc hovering behind the clouds.
A few days later at the same location, a spirit of a lady in white crossed my path.
These encounters were the subject of a book recording this encounter.
Do you believe in ghosts, and if so, what is a ghost?
I do believe in ghosts, however, my theory on this subject is that they could be a recording of a past event, that is being replayed and picked up by a sensitive person who is there.
For example, stone tape theory where the emotions of events are recorded by stone or the walls of a building etc.
My other theory is that they could be trapped souls who are yet to move on or choose not to do so.
However, even ghosts cannot see each other and sometimes are known to be active in different areas of the same field, without seeing each other just like different time zones. Maybe even a spiritual timeslip?
What evidence have you personally uncovered that makes you consider ghosts are real?
Tough question, especially as I discount orbs, most photos or films, as nearly all can be debunked.
Whenever I have experienced anything it always happens when the equipment is switched off.
I have seen a two dimensional being walking along a path at the Roll Right stones in Oxfordshire in broad daylight.
It was totally black (like a shadow person) and totally two dimensional. I have been back there many times but unable to capture it.
Are you sceptical of the claims others make of their findings?
I do not pass comment, or make any judgment, on others claims except in the area of television programmes on the subject, no names mentioned, and orbs.
When you pick up your camera, you’re holding in your hand the very device responsible for tens of thousands of the most bizarre and unexplainable type of ghost photographs: Orbs.
Orbs, formally called Spirit Orbs, are those semi-transparent white balls seen floating around in many photographs taken in ghostly locations.
Orbs are among the class of paranormal phenomena that are visible only to cameras, and not to the naked eye.
The usual hypothesis presented by believers is that orbs represent spirits of dead people, though some support variations on that.
The science behind this hypothesis is not clear.
For example, there are no plausible hypotheses that describe the mechanism by which a person who dies will become a hovering ball of light that appears on film but is invisible to the eye.
There are lots of other things that a dead person might become, presumably, and the only reason believers have chosen orbs seems to be that orbs are the most common unexpected objects seen in photographs.
If there was any good science behind this, there would at least be some plausible proposals for what the orb might consist of, how and why it is generated by a dead body, why it floats in the air, and also some good predictions about who will become an orb after they die, what size and colour that orb would be, and where and when it can be found.
We would welcome any hypotheses that would explain how orbs could be a real phenomenon, but we haven’t been able to find any.
The only evidence is anecdotal reports and, of course, the obligatory photographs, found on the internet by the thousand.
Orbs most often appear on camera when a piece of airborne dust, an insect, or a water droplet is close to the camera, outside of the depth of field, and the flash source is no more than a few degrees away from the axis of the camera lens.
This causes the object to be brightly light but way out of focus, resulting in a semi-transparent whitish circle. If the flash or other light source is significantly off of the axis of the lens, you won’t get nearly as much light reflected right straight back to the camera.
If the object is within the depth of field it will be in focus and generally very small, and probably not noticeable. If the object is not very close to the camera, again it won’t pick up enough light from the flash.
A majority of orbs I have seen over many years of investigation fit into the 95% explained above.
Those in the very rare 5% are the ones that are purple or orange or another colour.
How do prepare for a ghost hunt?
I really hate that term. Is it a form of Americanism?
I prepare for a paranormal investigation, maybe a year in advance in some cases.
I need to do historical research on a location and cross exam historical reports or paranormal and non-paranormal activity, based on how far back in time I need to go.
I am currently investigating the thousands of locations across the UK with no paranormal history at all with some really good results.
My next step is to prepare a team, who will all be writing down reports as the investigation of a haunting, crop circle, moth man or a UFO investigation takes place.
Once the investigation is complete, it takes around four weeks to compile all media and audio footage including notes and then publish reports.
What tips would you give for someone going on a paranormal investigation for the first time?
Do not believe the hype, as 90% of the time nothing happens and it is not like TV or a paid event experience.
People sometimes join Luton Paranormal Society as they believe it is like what they have seen on TV or on a paid event experience and it is not.
I have had a member leave as we did not provide him with any ghosts on a investigation!
What is your favourite piece of paranormal investigation equipment?
Apart from myself, as you are also part of the equipment, I would go for a SLS camera or ghost box.
However, like another paranormal group near to us, Luton Paranormal Society, is also moving away from the world of gadgets in favour of more traditional methods, due to the effect wi-fi and radio waves can have on equipment such as EMF meters.
All paranormal equipment can be debunked as there is no hard evidence that any of them work.
And yet I still keep buying them.
Are you psychic? Do you consider being psychic a help or a hindrance for paranormal investigations?
I have been on investigation for two decades and over that time I have developed and become more sensitive to spiritual energy when it is around me.
I have only used true mediums, who do not charge for their service in helping members of the public, as I feel that there are many charlatans out there who have hidden agendas and I find those will also be a hindrance to an investigation.
What makes a great haunted location?
A great haunted location for me would be somewhere out in the countryside away from the pollution of society where I will not be disturbed. For example, an ancient battlefield like Naseby.
If you could investigate any haunted location, where would that be?
Little Bighorn in America or in the UK the Tower of London or London Underground
What scares you about Ghost Hunting or Paranormal Investigations?
Nothing scares me about paranormal investigation except maybe a vicar that appeared to me right in the middle of a cemetery.
All I could see in the fading light was a black mass that grew and grew until there was an angry face staring at my face.
Thankfully, he was alive but not at all happy that I was there.
In your opinion, what is the most haunted area in the UK or Ireland?
A feeling of sadness hangs over Leavesden cemetery (in Watford) as a result of many years of abuse by people who were placed away from society because of mental health issues.
They were treated as not human and experimented on in ways that Hollywood could not even imagine sometimes horrifically.
Even death has not given many of these poor souls a release from the pain and cruelty they suffered at the hands of so called experts, where even being a single mother could place you in an institution.
Hidden away in life and hidden away in death from society these poor souls rest in unmarked and sunken graves and no one knows who they are and no one cares who they are except for one person in particular (Aaron Kosminski) who is alleged to be buried at the site and is linked to the infamous “Jack the Ripper” Murders of 1888.
Following a Luton Paranormal Society investigation there when we did not use protection, I suffered a breakdown and another member became very ill with mental health issues.
Even now this location is regarded as being dangerous if you do not following keep safe rules.
Read any good paranormal books or watched any good paranormal TV shows/movies recently?
I prefer any paranormal film with Roddy McDowell in it personally.
Hammer horror knew how to make paranormal films back then.
Luton Paranormal Society took part in the Paranormal Dairies Clophill back in 2013 and that was a good film.
I tend to watch Ghost Adventures only and even that is for the comedy element.
Tell us about your favourite moment from a paranormal investigation.
I have been investigating since 2003 and seen two UFO’S Town Angels descend from the sky, One Two Dimensional being and one crop Circle and that is not bad for a paranormal investigator.
Only please can something happen when I actually have my equipment turned on!
Hello again Andy,
Have just been reading some info. from your interview and the comments about the Leavesden cemetery. You made a comment about women being incarcerated for being just a single mother. Yes you are quite right. If I might explain.
In around 1970 I started training as a social worker in Plymouth. Our then senior course tutor and former mental nurse, was a great believer and supporter of the psychologist Freud. In his view he was the `bees knees`. Part of Freud`s theory and so called research /hypothesis
stated that in some types of psychotic mental illness the person, usually of course a young woman, could be overcome by excessive sexual desires leading to, yes you`ve guessed it, illegitimate pregnancy. This was then taken as being an indicator of severe mental illness and the need for subsequent compulsory incarceration in a mental hospital for treatment. The result was that in some hospitals there were whole wards filled cheek to jowl with beds filled with women, many of whom had spent most of their life there. They had often been, of course, subject to various of `experimental treatment` against their will.
I remember visiting two of these in our area, when the psychiatrists were busy trying to have them placed out into the community as they were regarded as no longer being in need of staying there. Frankly, I think these later psychiatrists were embarrassed by the whole situation. (Mrs Thatcher subsequently sold these hospitals off with the profits going into government funds, not the NHS. and the buildings taken over by property developers.)
It`s a good job unmarried pregnancy is no longer regarded as being a valid diagnostic indicator else countless millions of young women would currently be incarcerated as being mad. Heaven help us !!!!
It just goes to show how such a bizarre injustice can come about as a result of the influence of one man and an incorrect interpretation of his work, as I believe, in some exceptional circumstances, there is an element of validity in what he said. Not so as to lock people away though. Incidentally this same lecturer was subsequently dismissed as he believed that being gay was also a sign of serious mental illness. It takes all sorts eh!
I do not know if you hold any special interest in this but I have done a short paper which has a few thoughts on modern psychology/psychiatry. It does need updating though but would be happy to send a copy on to you should you so wish.
With best regards,