Venue - Alton Towers 2/3/13
Host - Paranormal UK/The Haunting
Weather - Clear Starlit skies, damn bloody cold though
As this was my first organised ghost hunt I was a little apprehensive, not knowing what at all, if anything to expect. A total of 60 or so guests and 20 staff (including 4 mediums) had made base camp in the Chapel area of the Towers ruins. Seasoned spook hunters and newbies alike huddled together in the cold eagerly awaiting the start of an hopefully eventful night.
We were split into teams numbering around the 15 mark, and given a list of locations (which included: The Chapel, kitchens, Banquet hall, First floor, Hex and the Gardens/Glass houses) and our investigation start times for each.
So, what did I discover about life after death during my six hour vigil? I present here a rundown of the phenomena I witnessed, and my honest opinion of said events.
When our guide asked if anyone wanted to partake in a bit of Glass work, my immediate fears switched to my distinct lack of glass blowing ability. I need fear not, as all was required was a slight touch on the top of an upturned glass tumbler with the side of your finger (to lessen the amount of pressure each of us may unwillingly apply and therefore dictate a false movement) whilst our group guide calls various questions into the surrounding gloom.
I witnessed the glass respond at various speeds/patterns, seemingly to the questions asked. At first I thought our group medium was influencing the glass as I watched his arm closely and he seemed to move a fraction before the glass started on its travel.
He then stepped away from the group and I replaced him. I can assure you the glass continued to move, in some cases quite vigorously. There were 4 guests as well as myself touching the glass at this time, and no staff were in contact with it. Each of us seemed to have a relaxed touch on the glass. What impressed me most was the sudden change of direction and dead stop of the glass. That would require a definite semblance of control from one of us, and I can honestly say I could not see from which of us it came.
In summary while it is entirely possible that some of the movement could of been caused by one of us, In my opinion whilst I was in touch with the glass I would struggle to name which of my colleagues it may of been.
Now I have seen Derren Brown fake this, and out of all paranormal activity I would say this is the one I am most dubious about.
I witnessed 4 or 5 team members seemingly be contorted by a small tables erratic movement. As I did not get hands on with this experiment I could not comment on to its validity.
At one point the entire group sat around a rather large heavy circular table (pinkie to pinkie I believe the technical term is). After several minutes of calling out the table did indeed begin to rock, seemingly in response to the questions asked. Again I was impressed by the sudden dead stop of such a large table, but with so many physical hands on the surface of it, I cannot rule out physical involvement by any one of the team.
The device that measured Electro Magnetic Field activities peaked at most of the locations we visited, again seemingly in response to any of the questions asked by the guests/guides. Whilst it looked pretty impressive (as all areas read at 0 upon entering and exiting) outside interference cannot be completely ruled out.
Now, call me a cynic but being told a device with flashy lights measures something, and the device with flashy lights actually measuring what is claimed are too different things entirely. It is not beyond the realms of possibility that the device was designed to be triggered via a switch held by an individual. I am in no way deflecting blame from myself either, we were instructed at the outset to switch off our mobile phones as this can interfere with the EMF and cause false readings. I cannot switch my phone off (thanks Apple) as the button is broken. I also suspect I was not the only one who did not comply.
In summary, I may of inadvertently affected EMF several times.its also possible there was an individual with a control switch. Of course It could also of been paranormal activity, but it is important that I discuss the other options.
Hex was perhaps the most intense location we visited. The darkness therein was total, and the cold was noticeably much more apparent here. The group sat dotted around the inner sanctum in the pitch blackness, again calling out to any spirits present.
Distant tappings were heard, but could easily be attributed to the metalwork/wood responding to the cold air.
At two points a stone was heard to impact within our location, one very close to where I was situated. Although possible evidence of poltergeist activity, it is important to remember we were all sat in the darkness, you could not even make out the person next to you, and that they could easily of been thrown/kicked/knocked by a member of our group.
Towards the entrance to the ride our medium and several guest spoke of a presence by the large double doors. Several people claimed to see some kind of light moving across the panels, and one guest photographed what he believed to be orbs.
Cold, tired and a little underwhelmed by this point I decided to bite the bullet, and much to the protestations of the group walked up to the doors in the hope of seeing/feeling something out of the ordinary.
At one point there was the group medium, myself and one other guest. he proceeded to tell stories of Charles Talbot and his bullying ways. He named three children and an old man, stating the year 1887 was important.
The performance was a committed one, however much of what he claimed can never really be proven but it did help to bring a bit of atmosphere and history to the nights proceedings.
Edit: my research has dug up the following...
Charles [Talbot], 15th Earl of Shrewsbury
1st son and heir of Hon Charles Talbot (by his second wife Mary Mostyn, 1st dau. by his second wife of Sir George Mostyn, 4th Bt. of Talacre, co. Flint), yr. bro. of George [Talbot], 14th Earl of Shrewsbury
8 Mar 1753
23 Sep 1792 Elizabeth Hoey (d. 13 Feb 1847), 1st dau. of James Hoey, a printer, of Dublin
s.p. 6 Apr 1827 (bur. at Heythrop, co. Oxford)
No children, no significance for the date 1887.
This information does not tally with the stories recounted by our groups medium.
I may of entered into the evening expecting to much, but I came away a little disheartened.
Now I believe the grounds do indeed hold some kind of energy, the building and the history are fantastic and deserve to be experienced by as many people as possible.
In terms of a Ghost Hunt though, there were so many people on sight that it was almost impossible to generate any kind of atmosphere, as you could hear people talking/laughing in different parts of the Towers and we would frequently be interrupted, breaking any semblance of progress or mood. I witnessed a few lights, flashes and other audible phenomena, but due to the amount of physical activity in the grounds most of it could easily be written off rightly or wrongly as distinctly not Paranormal. It would be interesting to go back one day with just the one group. Indeed if similar things were witnessed again their paranormal credibility would be increased ten fold.
I would recommend a night like this to the curious ghost fan, but a smaller group investigation would defiantly be preferable if I was to embark on one again. I don't scare easy and was heartily disappointed at the lack of atmosphere.
Dan "I want to believe" Weatherer