Spooky Isles interviews STUART DAWSON, of Simply Ghost Nights, who is a paranormal investigator, based in Doncaster in South Yorkshire
What was your first Paranormal encounter?
Stuart Dawson: My first paranormal encounter occurred when I was about 12 or so, me and a group of friends went to some local woods with a reputation of being haunted, near to the local Norman Church that dates to the 12th Century. We were walking together by some paupers graves when we all heard the name ‘Jono’ spoke with an eerie whisper in close proximity to us, we all spun around to find no one there. We still speak about it today as no one was near us and none of us could have imitated the voice.
Do you believe in ghosts, and if so, what is a ghost?
I have a belief in ghosts that they are the pre-recorded psychic energy contained in matter such as bricks, stones and wood for example and this energy is released to produce a ghost sighting. However, for me it is spirits that we actually communicate with. Spirits have the ability, intelligence and a consciousness to respond to our requests to tap on the table, move the table and communicate via any electrical equipment etc, as well as having the ability to be seen when they want to.
What evidence have you personally uncovered that makes you consider ghosts are real?
I have been investigating for over 10 years and have witnessed, heard and felt occurrences that can only be described as paranormal. Such as tables moving by themselves on request, intelligent responses via the Franks box to our questions, incarnate voices, and doors been slammed on request and in the 10 plus years or so I have witnessed six full blown apparitions which have been so life like you actually think who was that, and where did they vanish to.
Are you skeptical of the claims others make of their findings?
Not really because of the years I’ve been investigating nothing that a spirit does surprises me, however, even on our own investigations we still check for normal explanations first, before you can consider any incident paranormal. Remember old buildings contract and expand during the day, pipes bang as well so everything must be investigated otherwise you’d be kidding yourself about what could be activity and what wasn’t.
How do prepare for a ghost hunt?
I take my ghost hunting equipment with me, such night vision camera/goggles, sound enhances, Franks box, OvilusIII, torch, new batteries, pen and paper and some more equipment too that I take as well on an investigation. I would do an initial base line check of any emf fluctuations as not to interfere with my recordings of data, check for any noticeable bangs or other noises before the investigation started so as not to think they were paranormal. And have a lighted walk around the building to get accustomed to the areas as well. Then it’s time for the investigation to commence I always call out with love and respect, and then you listen for a response from the spirit world. I also use our ghost hunting electrical equipment as well.
What tips would you give for someone going on a paranormal investigation for the first time?
First of all go with an open mind and try to enjoy yourself and take part in the investigation, after all they’ve spent money to join the event. I would also advise them to be positive as spirits love to communicate with positive people, as we do ourselves you don’t want to talk to someone’s who’s miserable and morbid. And even when it’s a little quiet on the activity keep positive and spirit will communicate it takes spirit a lot of energy to communicate and you have to keep in mind that the ghost hunting TV shows are filmed over a day and any activity captured is congested into an hour-long programme with adverts, while we have 5-6 hours of investigating only.
What is your favourite piece of paranormal investigation equipment?
Firstly, I would say your senses, remember your eyes and ears as well as touch are the most important for me. But equipment wise I would say the Franks box, I have heard so many responses over the years from the Franks box that correlate to a question that I have just asked. I’ve even had foul language from the Franks box and remember it is illegal to say such obscenities on the radio of British airwaves. Over the years the Franks Box as given me so many memorable moments it definitely should be in any ghost hunters equipment box.
Are you psychic? Do you consider being psychic a help or a hindrance for paranormal investigations?
Yes, I am psychic but if I’m honest, being a psychic can help encourage spirit to come forward to communicate and bridge the two worlds together. However, calling out in a respectful and friendly manner will persuade spirit to interact with you even if you’re as psychic as a breeze block. I cannot say enough it’s all about been respectful spirit and they will communicate with you.
What makes a great haunted location?
A history of ghost sightings helps also a chequered past makes a brilliant location as well. And a big location helps where you don’t get interference from other vigils.
If you could investigate any haunted location, where would that be?
It would have to be the Tower of London, I wouldn’t expect spirit contact from many who died there, but I’d expect some interaction from the people who worked and lived there in the day. The whole atmosphere and makeup of the building would be so intriguing it would be like walking back through centuries of history.
What scares you about Ghost Hunting or Paranormal Investigations?
To be fair, nothing really, my mantra is that the living only hurt, you not the dead.
In your opinion, what is the most haunted area in the UK or Ireland?
I maybe bias but I would say Yorkshire with the amount paranormal activity I have witnessed there, Yorkshire just pips it with some fantastic locations such as Cusworth Hall in Doncaster, Ripon Workhouse Museum, Cannon Hall in Barnsley and Doncaster Air Museum too.
Read any good paranormal books or watched any good paranormal TV shows/movies recently?
I recently watched Woman in Black, and I like to watch Ghost Adventures as well. As for paranormal books I like to read Stephen King books.
Tell us about your favourite moment from a paranormal investigation.
My favourite moment was on a private investigation about 12 years ago at a disused Abbey that had been destroyed under the dissolution of the monasteries act by King Henry VIII.
It was a freezing February night and there was some cover which was fortunate, I placed my voice recorder on a stone ledge which had some of the roof remaining, me and my wife spoke to each other as did another ghost hunter as well, but to our shock when I played it back you could hear Latin chanting and something akin to wooden plates hitting wooden tables, with our voices in the background.
This had me totally gripped from then on and my love for the paranormal grew. I always try to be logical about any reported activity and somehow try to debunk it, as any investigator would but this incident caught my imagination to the lengths the spirit world can communicate. Also I can remember strange green lights coming near us as well which again on a logical footing what could they have been or what caused them, and they then simply disappeared.