Paul Cowmeadow and Ed Francis started Gloucester Paranormal Investigation Services (G.P.I.S.) four years ago after visiting a local churchyard and managed to capture a ghost with only a camera and a EVP recorder. Spooky Isles talks to the duo about their ghosthunting since in Gloucester, an area renown for its rich and sometimes dark history. They reveal their tactics when investigating, including how to stay on the good side of an angry spirit.
Paul Cowmeadow and Ed Francis, Gloucester Paranormal Investigation Services (G.P.I.S), Question and Answers
How long have you been investigating the paranormal? As a paranormal tech team we formed in October 2016 after we both shared a paranormal experience at a local graveyard and decided to take it further.
Do you believe in ghosts and if so, what is a ghost? We certainly do believe in ghosts, yes, due to the many unexplained happenings and intelligent communications that we’ve experienced and documented over he years and also our individual experiences throughout our lives prior to forming G.P.I.S. To us, a ghost and a spirit fall into two different categories, residual and intelligent. Ghosts are residual and are usually encountered at certain dates and times and other conditions that correspond to a specific moment or event in the past. They don’t interact with the living as they see their surroundings as they did in their time, hence why people see apparitions walk through walls as it may have been a doorway in the past. Spirits are different as they are well aware of their modern environment and able to intelligently communicate with the living through various forms of paranormal activity. We believe that human spirits are bound here for a variety of different reasons like experiencing a sudden death, (not actually knowing that they have died), murdered or wronged in other ways, to be close to their loved ones for protection, bound to locations that they were passionate about etc.
What was your first paranormal encounter? As a shared experience we’d have to say it was where our paranormal journey began at St Catherine’s graveyard in Matson, Gloucester, a location associated with the Siege of Gloucester during the civil war where the ghost known locally as the Grey Lady or Blue Lady is said to appear looking for her lost shoe. We went there with just a digital recorder and a digital still camera and managed to capture what we call a Class A EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomena) of a male spirit saying “So help me God” and also captured the possible apparition of the Grey Lady herself on our digital camera. This is the reason we decided to form G.P.I.S and continue our paranormal journey and every year on the anniversary of that night we go back to St Catherine’s to say thank you to the spirits.
What evidence have you uncovered that makes you consider ghosts are real? We have captured various forms of paranormal activity to back up our believes that spirits exist, like intelligent communication through our digital recorders, Spirit Boxes and other devices we use that spirits can work with to give us words, anomalies and shadow figure movement on various forms of different cameras and responses through some of our other devices to. What makes it even more convincing to us as investigators is when the information the spirits give us actually correspond with historical facts related to that location.
Are you a psychic? Do you consider psychics a help or hindrance for paranormal investigations? No, we don’t consider ourselves to be psychics but do consider ourselves to be sensitive to different spirit energies while conducting investigations. We have worked with some really good psychics in the past that have picked up on things that our equipment has then confirmed or things we already knew but didn’t tell them but as a team we don’t let psychics lead our investigations. Whether they are a help or a hindrance really does depend on the individual psychic and how well connected to the spirits they are.
How do you prepare for a ghost hunt/paranormal investigation? Before we conduct our investigation we do what we call a recon investigation of the location usually during the daytime where we conduct baseline readings to find out where electrics, drafts, noises and other forms of natural contamination that could give us false positive readings are. We also get to familiarise ourselves with the layout and where to set up our cameras and other equipment etc, interview people there that have experiences and identify possible hot spots ready for our investigation.
What tips would you give a person going on a paranormal investigation for the first time? Our best advice to anyone looking to go on their first investigation would be to act respectfully towards the spirits and treat them in the same way that you would treat the living. We certainly would not advise negatively provoking from the onset just to get a reaction. It’s important to identify what kind of spirit you are dealing with so you can move forward in a appropriate way to get as much information as possible and maintain regular contact. Most good spirits will give you absolutely nothing if you are rude and disrespectful to them, just like the living. Negative spirits may give you a lot more than you actually bargained for which can be physically and psychologically damaging, also just like the living.
What is your favourite piece of paranormal investigation equipment? Out of all our equipment we would have to say it’s our bodycams that serve us the most on investigations due to the amount of evidence they’ve produced through video,audio and still images which is usually in night vision and they go everywhere we go throughout the investigation covering all areas. Another favourite of ours at the moment would have to the Alice Box which is run on a tablet and spirits are able to access a large database of letters, words and numbers and produce them on the screen to communicate with us, excellent device for getting spirits names and other relevant details especially when backed up by some of our other equipment.
What makes a great haunted location? Spirits are everywhere from the really old historical locations to houses that have only recently been built but if you really want to set the scene for a great haunted location which we do for our public events then it’s the locations that are steeped in history, character and of course a good selection of spirits from from maybe different times that we know are willing and able to communicate with us.
If you could investigation an haunted location, where would it be? If we ever have the opportunity to travel that far we would love to investigate a place called the Island of the Dead Dolls in Mexico as we’ve seen other teams on TV go there and it certainly looks like our kind of place. Here in England we’ve always said we would love to investigate The Hellfire Caves in West Wycombe due to its dark history and awesome setting. There are so many other locations we would love to go to and hopefully will be able to at some point.
Read any good paranormal books or watched any paranormal TV lately? Most of the paranormal books we have are from local authors that we may use for research purposes. We do watch certain paranormal shows on TV like Ghost Adventures, Ghost Nation, Paranormal Lockdown, Portals to Hell and more recently Destination Fear.
Tell us about your favourite moment from a paranormal investigation. We have so many favourite moments with our investigations but i think one of the most recent favourite moments would be at H.M.P Gloucester where we were doing one of our live feeds. The prison was particularly active that night with cell doors being slammed regularly, footsteps and other unexplained noises eventually leading us to the kitchen area which is said to be an active area. Once in the kitchen we noticed a light on in a little room at the back that had no reason to be on, with that we both hear another cell door slam and then a really loud disembodied growl came from literally right next to us. All of this was captured on our live feed as well as our other equipment. Certainly a investigation we will both never forget.
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