Sara Chiappa and Dawn Noble, from The Scottish Ghost Company, tell us about their thoughts and experiences investigating the paranormal…
Do you believe in ghosts and if so, what is a ghost?
Dawn Noble: Yes, a ghost to me is someone visiting from their afterlife. From another realm. Or a memory/energy left in a location. I feel there are different types of ghosts/energies.
Sara Chiappa: Yes, I do. I believe a ghost comes in a few different categories – there’s not one defined ghost type. I believe in the residual energy, just a snippet in time of a spirit who is not aware of us. I believe in intelligent spirits who are aware of their surroundings, and of us, and we can try and strike up a conversation with them. I like to think when we die our energies have a choice of where to go. Some maybe stay because they don’t know how to move on, some maybe can’t move on, some don’t know they died. I could speak for hours on this but I’ll stop now!
What was your first paranormal encounter?
DN: I’ve had many since I can remember. I remember having a grandparent stand at my bedside as a wee girl; they had passed away ages beforehand. I saw someone dressed in animal skins at a local stone circle when we drove past it – loads and loads of encounters.
SC: I grew up surrounded by mediums, all my great aunts and my gran on my mother’s side had a second sight. Plus, I was brought up in a haunted house where the old lady that had previously lived there was frequently seen and heard. The first encounter I can remember is hearing the old lady come up the stairs and then move the door handle of my room. She did this every night.
What evidence have you uncovered that makes you consider ghosts are real?
DN: Seeing and hearing things for me is a huge consideration. Paranormal investigations on a professional level – hearing bangs, footsteps, lights going off and on, doors opening etc.
SC: EVPs, I always have a recorder with me and I’ve captured some amazing intelligent sounds over the years. I’ve also seen things I can’t discount as not being normal, so to speak. I do try, when investigating, to debunk any noise we hear. I will always try and replicate noises I hear and try and explain what it is, if I can’t then I believe it may be paranormal. Again, I could talk for hours on this.
Are you a psychic? Do you consider psychics a help or hindrance for paranormal investigations?
DN: I wouldn’t call myself psychic. But I have had visitations/the sight since I can remember. Most psychics are great. I work with an amazing psychic who is so beneficial to our investigations but I’ve also worked with and been part of investigations where some are trying to make a point and hinder everything. I guess it’s down to personal preference if you like the psychic or not.
SC: No I am not psychic, although I believe the more you expose yourself to this kind of activity, the more sensitive you do become. As for psychics being a hindrance or help, it depends on the psychic. We work with a psychic, he is the co-owner of the company and he is amazing at what he does. He doesn’t do personal readings or anything, he just uses his gift for paranormal investigating. I have been on some investigations and the psychics have been a bloody nightmare though, but again, there are different types of psychics. They are not all the same and they all have their own strengths and weaknesses.
How do you prepare for a ghost hunt/paranormal investigation?
DN: Pack warm clothes for one! I love history, so I would read up on the location and its past. I also practice my protection and pack my talisman. I’ve never been ‘attacked’ since I’ve taken a strong talisman with me.
SC: I start by getting all my equipment ready, new batteries before every investigation. I put my protective crystal necklace and bracelet on and I do a mediation grounding for protection against anything negative that may be out there.
What tips would you give a person going on a paranormal investigation for the first time?
DN: Keep an open mind. Be willing to try and participate. Listen to your guides and team leaders. Don’t arrive drunk! God, that’s a pet hate of mine.
SC: Question everything! I still do. Go in with an open mind, but not so open your brain falls out! Take part – so many people come on a paranormal investigation and just stand there and say nothing all night. The more energy you put into it, the more you will get out of it all. Be respectful, and don’t forget to have fun.
What is your favourite piece of paranormal investigation equipment?
DN: I must say I like my dowsing rods, Maglites and Echobox.
SC: I love my voice recorder and I do love my Mel meter with Rempod. But I also really love the cheap simple trigger objects like coins and marbles that spirits can move or manipulate.
Tell us about your favourite moment from a paranormal investigation.
DN: A display cabinet door opened at Pollock House, Glasgow – caught on my phone!
SC: I’ve had so many moments I’ve enjoyed, I think the time I heard my name being shouted, clear as day was amazing, scary, but just mind-blowing!
What makes a great haunted location?
DN: A great team with open positive energy.
SC: I think a location where the spirits are prepared to interact with you is always good. Sometimes, spirit just doesn’t want to speak and that’s fine. You can go to a location and it’s just amazing; loads of activity and you can return to the same location and get nothing. It just depends on their mood.
If you could investigate a haunted location, where would it be?
DN: Dunrobin Castle would be good! Edinburgh Castle too.
SC: Oh wow, so many to choose from. I’m very lucky to have been able to investigate many famous locations all around the UK. I think I’d love to investigate St Kilda, I think it would be fascinating.
Read any good paranormal books or watched any paranormal TV lately?
SC: I liked the Holzer Files. It was quite interesting to look into the old cases of Hans Holzer who was a paranormal investigator many years ago. I also really enjoy Dead Files. I love the premise of that show, just genius.
Find out more about The Scottish Ghost Company here at www.TheScottishGhostCompany.co.uk