JANET QUINLIVAN gets a glimpse into what happens when Ghost Searchers Ireland (GSI) investigate one of Northern Ireland’s most haunted locations at their charity event in Donaghadee Town Hall in County Down, Northern Ireland.
Donaghadee Town Hall is said to have been built in the 1770s, a large three story building right in the centre of the town. Running down the side of the building is Town Hall Lane which was formerly known as ‘Murder Lane’. The exact origin of the name is unknown but it’s believed that it was named so due to a local called Mrs McCready being found dead in the lane way under suspicious circumstances in 1852.
The Ghost Searchers Ireland (GSI) team were formed six years ago by Gary and Caron Watters and Anne McKinstrey. The main aim of this team is to try and find definitive proof of paranormal activity and the existence of spirits.
Today the team consists of eight members:
- Caron Watters: Co Founder, Media/ investigator – Equipment Preference: Ghost Box
- Gary Watters: Co Founder, Spokesman / investigator – Equipment Preference : Night vision camera
- Anne McKinstrey: Co Founder Admin / Investigator – Equipment Preference: Night vision camera
- Saoirse Campbell: Investigator – Equipment Preference: Ghost Box
- Lesley Wilcox: Investigator / Historian – Equipment Preference: Voice recorder/ghost Box
- Lynn Clements: Trainee Investigator -Equipment Preference: Ghost Box
- Gavin Heaney: Trainee Investigator – with experience Equipment Preference: Full spectrum Cam
- Ronnie Gracey: Trainee Investigator – Equipment Preference: Voice recorder
This team were initially invited to investigate the property by Open House Festival in Bangor. On one of their very first investigations they got some incredible evidence. During a live EVP session using a voice recorder the name ‘Matthew’ came through in the voice of a child. Some of the team in the basement witnessed stones being thrown and some wood in the corner being moved on a couple of occasions.
GSI also received some fantastic EVPs from a man calling himself the Key Keeper, they learned that Matthew was a young boy who was kept in the cellar due to the child’s disability (historically people with disabilities were often excluded from society and most were institutionalised) . GSI say the Key Keeper was Matthew’s minder and they captured what they believe to be an image of Matthew in the Cellar on a Flir thermal imaging camera.
On the weekend of the 10th of February GSI held a charity public investigation in the Town hall with the aim to raise money for Cancer Research UK. I spoke to seasoned Paranormal Investigator John Campbell about the event he attended as an impartial expert. Tickets to the event sold out very quickly and soon the team were ready to start the night’s investigation.
John reports that GSI had many methods of investigation set up in the rooms of the town hall. This gave the public an excellent chance to look at the different ways in which teams attempt to capture evidence of and communicate with the spirit world.
These different methods included: EMF meters, REM Pod, live EVP sessions, vigil, table tipping, planchette writing, medium contact, Ultrasound, night vision camera’s and thermal camera’s.
Gary Watters welcomed the guests and separated the public into groups of roughly 8 to investigate in each room with different pieces of equipment with a GSI team member. John remained with Gary during the first part of the evening. Guests were given the chance to call out to any spirits that may be present, and a voice did come through on live EVP saying the name ‘Thomas’. There were ‘Action Cancer’ balloons throughout the building and after asking for any spirits to interact with the balloons one of them burst, which was witnessed by several of the public.
During one point of the night an investigator’s torch started to get brighter then dim over and over, soon after that the team done a session of table tipping. Seven people including the public were placed (finger tips only) around a folding gate leg table, suddenly the table began to move and did so for some time. An amazing experience witnessed by all.
The public had a fantastic night and a great insight into how different approaches to investigation work. Overall £710 was raised for ‘Action Cancer’.
This team hold several public events in Northern Ireland throughout the year, for more information on upcoming events at this location please visit the GSI Facebook Page.