Today we talk to Mary Denny about her thoughts and experiences as a paranormal investigator with County Antrim Paranormal Research Association (CAPRA) based in Northern Ireland…
Interview with Mary Denny
SPOOKY ISLES: What was your first paranormal encounter?
MARY DENNY: Through my teenage years, I remember doors closing or my name being called out. But logic always stepped in telling myself that it was my imagination and couldn’t possibly be a ghost. So I never fully believed they were paranormal encounters when in reality they probably were.
Do you believe in ghosts, and if so, what is a ghost?
When I was younger I believed in ghosts in the same sense that I believed in fairies, in that they were a figment of my imagination. Now that I’m older I can 100% say that yes, I believe in ghosts. Ghosts are left over residual energy re-enacting activities they performed when they were alive e.g. going through walls were once was a door. They do not interact with us. Spirits on the other hand are intellectual, they respond to their surrounding and interact with what’s happening in our moment and time.
What evidence have you personally uncovered that makes you consider ghosts are real?
The evidence I uncovered and confirmed for me that ghosts/spirits are real was when I caught an E.V.P. on my phone. It was a short video message of my 8-month-old son which I was sending to my husband at work. In it you can hear a deep hoarse voice say “child” followed by a long sigh. Then right at the end a completely smooth clear voice saying “come up”.
Are you sceptical of the claims others make of their findings?
I think it’s only human to be sceptical. No one wants to be tricked into believing something’s real when it’s not. It helps to weed out the fakes.
How do you prepare for a ghost hunt?
Our equipment is stored at a fellow investigators house so all I need prepare is warm clothes and a torch. We arrive on location with Hugh having already mapped out where each piece of equipment goes. Elaine will do a protection prayer which not all participate but that’s purely down to their beliefs.
What tips would you give for someone going on a paranormal investigation for the first time?
Not everything is paranormal so be open-minded and always put logic first. Also, try to remain calm as panic can cause safety issues if you’re all scrambling for the door in the dark. On a funnier not don’t accidentally bring a voice recorder to the loo unless you yourself are reviewing the evidence. I’ve made that mistake and been left red-faced when Kieran reviews the evidence.
What is your favourite piece of paranormal investigation equipment?
My favourite would definitely have to be the voice recorder. The majority of our evidence is E.V.P. and the results are astounding.
Are you psychic? Do you consider being psychic a help or hindrance for paranormal investigations?
No, I’m not psychic. I believe a psychic can help on an investigation, they can pick up names that can be used when calling out. They may sense a presence giving you the opportunity to take photos in that direction. I don’t see how they could be a hindrance as we are there for digital evidence, so anything they see, hear or feel will have no bearing on our results.
What makes a great haunted location?
People think the older a building the better the haunting. But we’ve done some well-known castles and gotten nothing at some of them. We’ve investigated cottages and abandoned farm houses and have had some brilliant activity, but also some poor. So, in a nutshell there is no hard evidence as to what makes a great haunted location.
If you could investigate any haunted location where would it be?
It’s a choice of two, Pennhurst Asylum, Pennsylvania and Waverly Hills Sanatorium, Kentucky. T.V. may have hyped them up so for my own curiosity it would have to be one of these.
What scares you the most about ghost hunting or paranormal investigations?
When I first started out I was afraid of the dark. I know, who gets into this if they’re afraid of the dark? It’s purely psychological though and over the years I’ve overcome my issue. Other than that, nothing has scared me, yet!
In your opinion, what is the most haunted area in the UK or Ireland?
It would have to be the Ancient Ram Inn, England. It’s supposedly haunted by 20 ghosts and an incubus. The fact that the owner isn’t without his bible in hand speaks volumes as to how haunted it is.
Read any good paranormal books or watched any good paranormal TV shows/movies recently?
An old favourite book which has been made into a movie of the same name is The Haunted by Robert Curran. It tells the story of the Smurl family who suffer a lot of physical activity. The Most Haunted House in England by Harry Price is another favourite book to read. A T.V. show I like to watch purely for entertainment is My Ghost Story Caught on Camera.
Tell us your favourite moment from a paranormal investigation
My favourite moment was at an isolated location. We left recorders and cameras running and left the premises walking a few hundred yards up a lane so as not to contaminate any evidence we might get. Upon return and reviewing the evidence the voices and noises we got were unexplainable. I thought that someone had broken in or was hiding in the attic but checks of the attic and reviewing cameras proved all was clear. It has to be to be one of the best locations and I always enjoy going back, even if some nights are uneventful.