Anthony Kerrigan is a paranormal investigator with Ghost Éire, based in his home county of Kerry. When he is not exploring some of Ireland’s coolest locations, he interviews other paranormal investigators and members of the paranormal field for his Ghost Éire channel including the Spooky Isles team. ANN MASSEY caught up with him to find out more!
ANN MASSEY: What was your first paranormal encounter?
ANTHONY KERRIGAN: That is tough, I remember making a fuss about being in the downstairs of my nan’s house as a child. She had a severe stroke and was in hospital. My mother left me in the kitchen whilst she went upstairs to gather belongings for my nan. I just remember not wanting to be downstairs – mainly to do with another factor – it was the first occasion I consciously recall not being alone – that an otherworldly force was around… first recognition of a different realm.
Do you believe in ghosts, and if so, what is a ghost?
I would be thinking what people refer to as a ghost. My own personal thoughts tend to go towards another consciousness, a force outside the perimeter that we would normally perceive. Now, it could be thought transference between another realm to our consciousness (minds) that causes us to react. At the end of the day, what we solely sense or in a group sense could all come down to the brain‘s gathering of information… yet that occurrence (visual, sound etc) may never have happened, but it’s what our consciousness wants us to report. There are many environmental, psychological and physiological elements at play so it is hard to distinguish. Our brains are continuously processing, working even in a sleep state, but it is its intelligence to know when and not to operate that makes it intriguing.
What evidence have you personally uncovered that makes you consider ghosts are real?
That is hard to say. There have been a few instances where we have got some good information (unbeknown to us) from a talking board (Ouija board) session which when we later followed up (post research – asking owner, reading library books) on was deemed true. I’m still searching… for the recorded visual.
Are you sceptical of the claims others make of their findings?
I would mainly go with claims if they are backed up by critical analysis. This takes time, and even I wouldn’t be able to hold claim to finding ‘evidence of the afterlife’ as in majority of findings they are spontaneous – out of the blue, not witnessed at the precious moment (for example seeing a figure at a window from a photograph taken three days after an investigation). All angles have to be covered, data to be received, people who were present and the list goes on. There is and always will be constant contamination from the experimenter and from the world in which we live in. Even a single person on site, plainly gathering stats can alter findings. ‘We’re an obstacle amongst ourselves’.
How do you prepare for a ghost hunt?
After a paranormal study has been arranged then normally comes a pre-visit. Prior knowledge of the history is always hard to ignore. Nonetheless, before we ever delve into going to a location we connect with our Spirit guides (angels, some would say) to give us their thoughts on what to ask, what experiments to do, in what way the beings in the location are able to communicate with and so on. Base tests are essential. Checking for E.M.F, temperature, decibel levels etc prior to going-about the investigating. We always make a list or schedule/plan of what experiments/session will be done, by whom and in a particular area. If the location is big, then we control the situation by limiting amount of areas to work in (say 4 out of 20 rooms). Everyone knows where they are, it limits the amount time base-testing, less strenuous and better for recordings. We’re not going to be doing sprints around the place (Scooby-Doo lol).
What tips would you give for someone going on a paranormal investigation for the first time?
Make sure you have someone who accompanies you, first and foremost. Have the right clothing and footwear. A few torches and batteries are essentials as well. There are probably teams in the local area to join, but make sure you know your own boundaries and to seek permission before going onto any property… and enjoy the weirdness of it all… haha.
What is your favourite piece of paranormal investigation equipment?
My colleagues in the team… although at times they do need charging lol. Apart from them – Environmental Multi-Function meter (temperature, humidity, lighting, sound). I only use it in base-testing, to give a summary on what the conditions were like.
Are you psychic? Do you consider being psychic a help or hindrance for paranormal investigations?
I would say I was clairaudient, but my clear-communication comes through my vocal chords expanding and contracting when I enter a meditative state and connect with my Spirit guide. This is rare, as I do this the majority of the time in my own personal time, away from the investigation.
I do think psychics are helpful… gives me chance to test that probability.
What makes a great haunted location?
This might be different to what some might say. It depends really on the location owners. We have investigated amazing historic places in the past, yet it makes a difference when the owners are (not over-expensive) obliging, give you the length of time needed to investigate, trust you know what you are doing, listen to your results and are helpful by furthering the study by offering any information they know about the place (for instance – history, paranormal phenomena etc). If any of this criteria aren’t facilitated, then ‘out the window’ goes any chances of finding anything untypical, therefore feeling uncomfortable and rushing the tests. Better findings are made with investigator-owner co-operation.
If you could investigate any haunted location where would it be?
That is tough. The Tower of London would be one and Hever Castle because we (My wife and I) love the Bolyens.
What scares you the most about ghost hunting or paranormal investigations?
That would be the public (outside influence) at places that are open to anyone to visit. Rarely, do we investigate places where anyone could just pop in and say Hi! We could still get permission from owners to the property, but still a friend-of-a-friend would pop in and scare the by’jesus out of us when unexpected. So yeah, humans…
In your opinion, what is the most haunted area in the UK or Ireland?
Looking at past T.V shows – Woodchester Mansion in the U.K looks fascinating and has some peculiar phenomena in there. In Ireland – everywhere, but in particular the counties Offaly and Wexford tend to be the most investigated. Although Cork is up there too. Dublin should be, but not enough research to classify it ‘haunted’ due to governing bodies who hold control over buildings.
Read any good paranormal books or watched any good paranormal TV shows/movies recently?
Reading ‘Paracoustics’, edited by Steve Parsons and Callum E. Cooper at the moment. Sounds about right.
Tell us your favourite moment from a paranormal investigation
So many different emotions and feelings and not just towards Spirits, phenomena etc. Probably the first protection prayer at the very first investigation… From then, the journey had begun, and I felt in the right place. I would later meet my wife through ‘ghost-hunting’, so has to be that moment.