Paraforce UK 2016 has turned out to be a very successful conference. My speech on UFO’s went down well and the other speakers were excellent, see: http://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.co.uk/2016/05/ben-emlyn-jones-live-at-paraforce-uk.html. The event included two live paranormal investigations on the Friday and Saturday evenings. The venue for Paraforce is very appropriate; it is the Galleries of Justice in Nottingham. This is a location with a long reputation for supernatural activity. The Galleries of Justice is a partly underground complex that includes a Victorian courthouse and police station built at ground level, on top of a much older subterranean prison. The courthouse was in use until the 1980’s and the prison dates back to the fourteenth century. During the time the courthouse was operating the prison was used exclusively for capital punishment. Below the courts are a row of macabre cells for death row convicts awaiting execution. The cells are connected to a corridor at the end of which is a gallows where prisoners would be killed by hanging. Beneath the gallows are some far older prison cells and torture chambers, and below them are ancient dungeons hewn from the rock, making them part of Nottingham’s mysterious cave network, see: http://hpanwo-tv.blogspot.co.uk/2014/06/caves-under-nottingham.html. The deepest and darkest of these is called the “oubliette” where a prisoner sentenced to death would be locked in the cave and simply left to die, which would be from thirst and would only take a few days. After that the body would be devoured by rats and the warders just cleared out the bones every so often. The entire facility has been carefully restored and preserved as a museum, see: http://www.galleriesofjustice.org.uk/. Because of the centuries of human death, fear, pain and despair within its walls and tunnels, the Galleries of Justice is reported to be crawling with ghosts. It is a popular place for ghost hunts and paranormal investigations. Therefore I was very keen to take part in one of these, along with my partner Ustane. The trip down into the cells on Friday night had started late and was interrupted by the fire alarm (started by whom I wonder?) so it wasn’t very successful. The Saturday night’s investigation began at around 7.30 PM. Ustane and I joined a team led by a group of physical mediums from Liverpool. We began by sitting silently inside one of the medieval prison cells and switching off the light. We had with us a special meter that reacted to the presence of an electromagnetic field. One of the mediums asked yes-no questions and the meter lit up immediately afterwards in response, indicating the presence of a spirit. We worked out this way that there were several female spirits there and a small boy called William. After that we moved down to the oubliette and tall people like me had to bow our heads to get down the tunnel leading to it. We sat in the cold and dusty dugout and got a few more responses. Some of the team members set up cameras and audio recorders in the hope of capturing images and electronic voice phenomena. Later in the evening we climbed back up the staircases to the criminal courtroom which was wood paneled and full of green leather benches. Ustane and I sat and watched the others at work, not taking part ourselves, but once in the courtroom we became more involved.
The group split up and we were left with just four other people, including some of the mediums. We switched off the lights in the courtroom and got to work. The previous evening I had experienced the feeling of gossamer on my face, a sign of ghostly presence, while sitting at the front of the courtroom, said to be the most active part of that heavily haunted area. We tried several psychic tricks like table tipping, which worked very well. This is where participants place their fingertips lightly on a tabletop and ask the spirits to move the table. Then we tried divination with a glass on the table, but nothing happened. At the same time one of the investigators went and sat in the judge’s chair. This is said to be a place where people are seen to undergo facial transfiguration, their face transforms into that of a spirit. She said that there was a malevolent entity present. She held the EMF meter in her hand and it went wild. She reported that the entity was the ghost of a former judge of the court who had participated in witch trials and it was angrily putting a stop to our divination. She eventually recoiled and jumped up from the judge’s chair. Ustane volunteered to take her place and sat down with the EMF meter in one hand. The rest of us taunted the recalcitrant ghost. We then noticed that Ustane had a strange expression on her face. We called her name and she didn’t reply. I became concerned and ran up onto the judge’s podium. Ustane stood up. She moved differently to how she normally does, faster and without putting her hands on the arms of the chair to support herself. One of the investigators asked: “What’s your name?” She replied “Susan Black”. This is not her real name. I approached her and took her hand. She turned to stare at me and the look on her face was a wide-eyed evil grimace, an expression I’ve never seen her wear before. One of the others described her as looking like a waxwork. She cackled loudly. Then she quickly recovered and began responding to her name and talking normally. Far from being scared or upset by her experience she appeared euphoric. She continued laughing and smiling. We took her to the cafeteria and made her a cup of tea. One of the team took four group photographs of us and interestingly the first two were misted over and the last two completely normal. Ustane and I went home at around eleven PM. The others joked: “Is her head spinning around?”, “Hope she doesn’t stab you to death in the night!”, but I wasn’t concerned about that. By now Ustane was behaving completely normally. The next day she described her feelings in more detail. She literally felt she was another person and reports that she enjoyed that sensation. It made her feel powerful. It looks to me like Ustane was momentarily attacked by some kind of discarnate entity that attempted to “walk in” or possess her. This experience can be disastrous for the individual affected. It is the theme of many horror stories. These are, of course, fiction; but some are based on real events. Even the classic The Exorcist (Warner Bros 1973) is based on a true story, albeit the situation is highly exaggerated for dramatic licence I’m pleased to say. Ustane was very lucky. I was very unnerved by what happened, as were our companions. As her boyfriend, I naturally feel protective of her and felt I had failed in my duty. She had been exposed to danger by my negligence and also the irresponsible actions of myself and the others in the old courtroom. We had egged the ghost on while Ustane was sitting in the judge’s chair, a place which we had been warned on Friday night often caused sitters to transfigure. The only person who was not concerned with the incident is Ustane herself. She is, at the time of writing, still completely untouched by her attempted possession and, indeed, feels intrigued and amused by her experience. All’s well that ends well I suppose.
See here for background: http://hpanwo-bb.blogspot.co.uk/2014/08/ouija.html.