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Everyone loves a good ghost story. Spine-chilling tales which make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. Hauntings that can make even the most sceptical among us stop and think; maybe, just maybe, there are some things that can't be explained. Dimensions, other than our own, in which there remain tortured souls wandering lost and alone. Souls perhaps aggrieved that their life, as it was, was prematurely snatched from them in an unfortunate accident or in some murderous, gruesome way.
See below for some strange and informative tales, taken from spooky articles which appeared in the magazine. Fact or fiction? You decide.
The Great Science Ghost Hunt
A large flapping blackbird and a naked man hanging from the roof are just some of the strange sights witnessed at one of the world's biggest ghost hunts.
One of the most haunted cities in the world was the setting for one of the largest investigations into ghost behaviour. Dr Richard Wiseman investigated the prisons of Edinburgh Castle and the surrounding vaults.
On the night of the 4th of April 2001 monitoring equipment was left running in the old prison cells. Two rises in temperature were found but the video showed nothing either on the thermal camera or a normal His camera. The investigation then moved to the Underground City of Edinburgh.
The vaults are part of the arches of a bridge in Edinburgh and they were converted into living and working space and they were used from 1790 to about 1820 when excessive damp rendered them useless. They were filled in and rediscovered in the 1980's and then tours started in the mid 1980's.
Ten vaults were rated by a local ghost tour company, from very haunted to not very haunted, based on the number of experiences reported on their tours. These ratings were kept secret from the team of investigators. A questionnaire was completed and people were left singly in each of the ten rooms and asked to report. Two of the rooms are regarded in the most haunted category rooms 4 and 9, with number 4 winning by a short (disembodied) head. Reports from here included a large, aggressive man with big boots who breathed on people, and pushed them. Also reported here is a small boy who seems more playful than harmful.
'Big boots' was also reported from room number 9, but this room also boasts a large black bird flapping round people's faces, feelings of icy cold, discomfort and even the sight of a naked man hanging from the roof!
When the data was analysed all those who knew something about the history of the area were removed to make sure there was no bias. Two volunteers actually refused to enter the rooms, but of those who did enter 44% reported at least one experience. These experiences included: being watched; burning sensations, a figure crossing a doorway, sounds of breathing, touches on the body, and pulling on clothing.

When the data was compared to the ranking of the vaults, a strong correlation was found between incidents reported and ranking. Naturally the press have reported this as evidence of ghosts but Wiseman wanted to know if there were any physical attributes which may be responsible.

51% of the participants in haunted vaults reported incidents and 35% of those in non haunted vaults reported something. Was this due to air temperature, air movement, magnetic field effects, light levels or even the size of the vaults? When these characteristics were examined there seemed to be no temperature differences, magnetic field strengths or general light level effects attributable to the requisite rooms. Air movements and magnetic field fluctuations within the haunted rooms seemed to be greater than in the non haunted rooms, but the differences were so small that more investigation is needed on these aspects. When the external light level (the darker the door space), the floor space and the room height were examined there did seem to be a positive correlation. The bigger the room and the darker the door space, the more likely the room was to be regarded as haunted, both in the survey and in general.
"Reports from here included a large, aggressive man with big boots who breathed on people, and pushed them."
Of those who reported experiences the majority were believers to start with.
Visual records were taken during the investigation photographs were taken before and after groups arrived. These included Polaroids, digital photographs and standard 35 mm shots. Out of 200 photographs, three showed anomalies. All were recorded in the before photographs and the incident was not seen in the after shots. From room 9 a digital camera showed a green circle of light, from room 4 a Polaroid showed a green blob which could not be replicated by the team (despite pressing thumbs on developing shots and dripping water from the vault ceiling on the photographic material). Room 9 also showed a fog-like mist in the corner on one of the 35 mm shots.
All told, the results seem to show a stability of effect (plottable to floor space and external light levels) and the picture anomalies need more investigation.
Wiseman, the team and the audience were all impressed by the results and the audience most surely appreciated an unbiased investigation into the paranormal. It is true that more work needs to be carried out and that the psychological aspects of the reports need to be investigated, but that is all for another time.
There was one final item in a true Blair Witch Project twist. A local psychologist, not a strong believer, but curious none the less, was taken into a room similar to those in the investigations. For logistical reasons this was in a slightly different area of the Underground City. One difference was that this person was left slightly more alone than any of the others (at all times the 250 volunteers were never more than a couple of rooms away from help). A camera was set up in the room and our intrepid psychologist reported all her feelings direct to camera for a full 20 minutes. She didn’t expect anything to happen but then she started hearing breathing in a corner and it then moved towards her, constantly going quite as if it didn’t want to be heard but then resuming. She kept the commentary going for the full twenty minutes but the tape was decided to be too harrowing to show at this evening’s event, only a post event debriefing was shown with a clearly distraught subject.
Article taken from Bite me Issue 5
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on the trail of...
The Ghosts of Pluckley
Pluckley in Kent claims to be the 'most haunted village in England' – it boasts at least sixteen recorded ghosts. Luckily, the ghosts are on Sarah Ann Kerr's side as she eerily avoids a brush with death...
It was the worst possible time to go ghost-hunting. Two days before Halloween, and my photographer and I were travelling during the worst storm to hit the country in decades, with severe flooding causing disruption everywhere.
When we turned off the main roads and onto the village lanes that led to Pluckley, the wind was roaring, buffeting the car across the road. The sky was pitch-black. Rain as hard as hail smashed against the windscreen making visibility almost nil. I had a strange feeling that we should turn around and head back home, and do it again another day. But we carried on, laughing off our misgivings.
Luckily, we took a wrong direction: when we eventually reached the Pluckley turning fifteen minutes later, we were forced to stop at an overturned car, its bonnet crushed and twisted. We spoke to a policeman who told us that an ambulance was on its way. He also said that the accident had happened just ten to fifteen minutes earlier- the exact time we would have arrived at the turning if we hadn’t gone the wrong way.
We carried on down the narrow, dark lanes, trying to keep ourselves jolly and not think of what had just happened. The weather was gradually getting worse and every so often the wind would spin the leaves in a vortex and a dark column of them would leap towards the car. From these narrow roads Pluckley suddenly opened up in front of us. Nothing moved and no one was on the streets. Eerie.
The Black Horse Inn
Our first stop was the Black Horse Inn. Well, before setting off on our spook hunt, we needed a fortifying drink. As we settled ourselves, deciding where to go first, I was half hoping to spot something from the comfort and warmth of the inn. Apparently, patrons had watched a phantom coach and horses tear through the streets from the inn.
Once having decided on our plan of action, we steeled ourselves to set off out into the night once more and as I opened the inn door, the wind almost wrenched it from my hands.
We stopped first at the church, supposedly haunted by at least four ghosts. All was dark, but as I approached through the gate I heard strange sounds: chanting voices and a hammering sound. I could not see anything as it was so dark. I was on my own, having left the photographer to fetch the camera we had forgotten, so I wasn’t going to hang around. I headed back after him and we went off for a look down Dicky Buss Lane, named after a schoolteacher who hung himself here. His ghostly body has been seen hanging from the overhanging trees, swinging in a ghostly breeze.
Although the lane was quite sheltered, every so often a strange gust of wind would cause something to bang or rattle, almost keeping pace with our footsteps. We were feeling less and less brave by that time, so we took our pictures and headed off to our next site.
Park Woods are haunted by a soldier that shot himself amongst the trees, but it was pointless trying to investigate them. The wind was blowing so strongly we were certain trees might come down and the rain had made the soil into a thick claggy mud. So we took a few pictures in the woods, and feeling much the worse for wear, turned and headed back to the church.
This time all was quiet and the church was lit up, so we had a quick look at it and took some shots of it. The church is haunted by a woman in white and a mysterious woman in red. Inside the church the spirit of a little white dog is supposed to run amongst the pews, and the figure of a woman in fairly modern dress is sometimes seen.
We headed off to try and find Fright Corner, where a highwayman met his grisly end: a group of Redcoats cornered him, and one of the soldiers ran him through with a sword, left him dying, and pinned him to an oak tree that stood here. A scene that is apparently regularly re-enacted by spirits. I had been looking forward to this as I have a bit of a thing for highwaymen!
All that remains of this oak is just a hollow stump that can apparently still be seen near the crossroads by a little stone bridge. I also wanted to find the spot, close by, where the ghost of an old gypsy woman has been spotted: she fell asleep whilst smoking her pipe and when it dropped from her mouth in her slumber she set herself on fire. People have reported seeing her figure, huddled in a shawl, appear on the spot of her death, but more often her presence is heralded by a peal of insane laughter.
We never got to Fright Corner, as the weather got worse, near hurricane force. I had the distinct feeling that something wanted to keep us away from the spot. When the third tree limb in half an hour came down in front of us, we turned around and headed back to the Inn for a nerve steadying drink, and it certainly wasn’t lemonade we ordered.
After drying out and steadying our shaken nerves, we contemplated going out once again to investigate some of the other haunted places, such as the old mill where the ghostly millers still wander, or Brick Lane where the screams of a man who fell to his death in a brick pit are said to be heard. But we both agreed enough was enough, we would return to Pluckley on another day, but next time in daylight.
Overall I got the distinct feeling that something that night in Pluckley wasn’t too pleased we had paid a visit. Certainly something strange was going on. Mysteriously, all the pictures of Park Wood were lost. Although we were using a digital camera with all sorts of gizmos and flash, nothing was recorded on the disc. In other pictures some strange objects can be seen, flashes of light, misty objects and curious shadows. Make of it what you will, but I am sure that Pluckley is quite rightly titled the 'most haunted village in England'.
Article taken from Bite me Issue 4

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