I have always been very interested and fascinated by the paranormal world. Ghost Adventures, Most Haunted, Ghost Hunters. Whatever – I saw it. I spent hours watching episode after episode, shocked at the slightest whisper or ghostly voice, and amazed at the presence of bullets.
I would say I believe in ghosts, but when you watch TV shows that are always designed to be entertaining, you ask yourself: Is this really real or is it just exaggerated? Do they really “feel” all the things they claim like a breeze or touch, or is it all just in their head? Such questions always plagued me while watching.
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However, I have never personally participated in a paranormal investigation to test my beliefs. That was until last weekend (October 15th) when I joined investigator Jo Banks from North East Paranormal Investigators at the Furniture, Fire, and Granite Warehouse (aka the Reproduction Centre) on Reed Street, Hartlepool for a four hour investigation.
Among the many spooky events reported in the sprawling building are the apparition of a lady in a red polka dot dress, glasses flying off attendees’ heads, and particularly emotional stories from the war when the building’s basement was still in place Company was used as a shelter.
Before embarking on a long exploration of the warehouse, we gathered in a circle and held Selenite sticks for an opening prayer, asking for the protection of spirit guides for our safety throughout the evening. Then the fun began.
Whilst the majority of the building has been used as a family run furniture store for over 30 years, at least 50% of the building is either used for storage or is dormant, which meant our exploration and introduction to the space took a particularly long time.
We went from room to room chatting about previously recorded experiences in that area, while some of the more spiritually sensitive members of our group talked about any feelings they experienced in that particular place.
For my tour I was given a trusty EMF detector to take with me, which picks up the electromagnetic field around you and can sense the presence of a ghost. When I surveyed a corner of the attic where a chair had reportedly been moved, the detector went off a few times, but I didn’t notice anything unusual.
But that was about to change when, two nights before our study, our entire group moved to another quiet area where there was a lot of activity. We all stood back and leaned against the walls while the lead investigators pulled out an REM pod – a small device that only fires when you get close enough to touch it. Another participant also used a device that supposedly could produce words from the spirit world and thus answer questions.
Many then came forward with questions and asked all spirits to get in touch. Are they male or female, did they die here? Did you work here? The REM capsule finally responded. It intelligently lit up when asked and seemed to answer questions posed by the group.
I was in awe and just left in disbelief because I had no idea that so much activity would be recorded and that I would ever get the chance to see it with my own eyes. You could really feel the atmosphere in the room changing and the temperature dropping by 2°C as I felt a cool breeze pass me – it really was a spooky room.
This scary feeling continued as we went into the basement, where there was a very depressing and sad atmosphere that initially made my chest tighten in fear. This is also where the REM capsule lit up frantically, this time triggered by me playing “We’ll Meet Again” by Vera Lynn on my phone to awaken any war spirits that might still be hiding there.
Later that evening we returned to the same basement where a Ouija board was brought out. Now I have to admit that Ouija boards have always been an object of skepticism for me. I’ve always thought that there’s no way these boards work and that those who use them just slide them back and forth to get some effect.
I was quickly proven wrong.
Little finger pressure was applied to the plantain as he spun around the board, answering questions about his age, his name, and how and where he passed. A male ghost stated that he called himself ESG, which we suspected might be initials. The ghost then indicated that six other people had joined him, indicating that he was in the Navy and died in Hartlepool in 1920 – it was fascinating to watch.
Following the evening I spoke to Jo Banks who is working on a book about the various haunted locations in Hartlepool, which includes a detailed chapter on the Reproduction Centre.
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She said: “I was really impressed by the REM pods down in the basement. Normally they never get that busy, but they were almost electrically charged – that in itself was a pretty big deal for me.”
“Every time you examine a building it is completely different. It’s an absolutely fantastic venue. There would have been many traumatic experiences in this building over the years.”
So would you dare put your beliefs to the test with an investigation like mine? Based on my positive experience, I would definitely recommend everyone to give it a try – you never know what you’ll find.