Date: Winter 2008
Investigation time period: 6.00pm -
Because of the diversity and large area of this hospital complex, it was an obvious call to return and investigate different sections.
The lack of activity during our previous visit had given us a mind set – and that
was not to expect anything out of left field. In other words we were expecting two
long tiresome nights with zero or at least minimal disturbance. Such a mental preset
is healthy by any means because you, as a researcher, will approach situations, should
they arise, more critically than usual -
We, as researchers, can all fall into the psychological net of expectancy, especially when our conscious minds are prematurely induced with second hand theories about a certain place being ‘haunted’. This is when even the slightest noise, be it structural movement of a building or wind rustling loose fixtures, can set off alarm bells. The best way to approach any investigation is to look for prosaic explanations rather than assume that anything that goes ‘bump in the night’ maybe paranormal. Only when our check list of natural possibilities is totally exhausted we can start to engage levels of suspicion. This was one of those investigations.
We began the first night by setting off towards the more remote end of the facility where two particular wards once held some of the more dangerous patients. Our first investigation was to be at a building with electricity and usable power outlets. A two storey Victorian style building enabled us to set up a base station downstairs, while two fixed cameras using external IR light panels monitored the upper level. The microphone sensitivity was set on high and thirty metres of AV cable running from the cameras all the way down into our base station VCRs displayed an illuminated prospective of the otherwise dark second floor quarters.
While some of our crew were despatched in a different area of the complex to cover more ground, a few remained watching two monitors that offered unchanging sceneries. Staring for hours at a couple of small screens that showed nothing more than an empty hallway and a bare room requires a lot of mental discipline … and several flasks of strong coffee.
The dull backwash of light from the displays lent a completely different atmosphere to the large open room we were in – it was almost eerie. Hanging around in an old derelict structure with minimal or no light at all was something we were use to anyway. It didn’t faze anyone, including our new tech guy, Justin, who was fresh to the whole concept.
Just then an orb crossed the screen. The sudden appearance obviously caught our eyes but there was nothing exciting about sailing dust particles or a tiny insect flying past. Because the camera was set on infinity (focused on the far wall), anything small that falls within close proximity to the lens (within the focal length) will reflect the infrared light from the LEDs. The result is usually an out of focus sphere with unusual patterns, almost like an inkblot. Here pareidolia provides us with a psychological explanation to the faces and other figures one can see in an orb that causes misleading perceptions. Furthermore, these ‘orbs’ are not iridescent in nature but rather reflecting light that is otherwise invisible to the human eye.
Then a hard thump echoed through the hallway upstairs. The wind had picked up a few hours ago so the obvious assumption was that something loose was being agitated – a likely change in wind direction. We did however shut all windows before the investigation began but we couldn’t rule out that fact that a draft had somehow made it through the seams or other unnoticeable structural gaps. This would have explained the reason why we were seeing more orbs. The dust was being disturbed by something.
All of a sudden things began to shift. There was someone walking around upstairs. We could hear heals of a shoe stepping and pressing against creaking floor boards. This was no wind. There was nobody from the crew upstairs. Whoever it was, they managed to fall outside the visual spectrum. Dom and I rushed upstairs to investigate, but we came back empty handed. The upper level was completely empty.
Finally all the crew had gathered together at the base station, listening carefully to the next event.
Another thud. This time it was louder than the previous. The wind had not intensified but still a natural cause could not be ruled out.
“Can you hear that?” One of the investigators asked while listening intently to a possible audible phenomenon. The sound resembled piano music … we all heard it. It was amazing to say the least, but again, natural intervention could not be ruled out. Musical hallucinosis can be a psychological misperception of certain auditory experiences. We cannot discount the fact that such hallucinations experienced by one party could not be a suggestive interpretation by another. This would again lead to misperception.
Another plausible explanation is infrasonic sound causing resonating frequencies.
Wind can produce levels of infrasound, especially when air pressure finds its way
through tight passages or vents and out narrow cavities or an aperture of some kind.
Prolonged exposure to certain frequencies in this range (under 20Hz) can have certain
unpleasant side effects (hallucinations, headaches, double vision, light-
Hearing voices could also fall into the same possible categories of cause. Naturally occurring random sound can sometimes be misidentified as voices. Because we are sensitive to vocal communication, it is common to misinterpret these sounds to something we can easily identify. Some EVP have been known to be misdiagnosed as voices from the ether. This is just another form of pareidolia. However, this does not explain the recordings that can be clearly translated as a form intelligent communication (responses to certain questions that can rule out stray radio transmissions etc).
It was now 3.00am. The activity upstairs seemed to quieten down, but the wind still persisted. The lack of disturbances may have been caused by a change in wind direction. A few of the crew decided to go outside for a smoke break. But something didn’t feel right. There was an unpleasant chill in the air and not because the front door was opened for a few seconds. Suddenly our medium Kellie sensed a vulgar taste in her mouth, like some form of strong medication. Almost choking, she stormed out the back, retching. Immediately we followed to offer some assistance, but her strong will asked us to stand back while she attempted to deal with the process.
Kellie is not one for theatrics. In fact she is quite the opposite when it comes
to her mediumship. She’ll tell you that it wasn’t something she ever pursued, quite
on the contrary -
One would now wonder about the coffee Kellie had. Our supplies are usually shared so there would have been others reacting in a similar way. This was not the case.
Just as things began to calm down, I felt an icy whisk over my forehead, followed by a stinging sensation. Laszlo, one of our cameramen insisted on looking at the surface of my skin with a torch to see what was causing my unrest.
“My god!” He remarked. There was a thin paper like cut across my forehead.
I can assure you that the incident occurred indoors in a clear, obstacle free environment (base station). My hands were clear of any sharp instruments at the time and I did not have any previous injuries that would have been aggravated in any way. What happened to me seemed to defy all conventional explanations.
As my mind searched for some form of plausible reason behind this, we were all suddenly alerted to an aggressive thumping coming from inside the old boiler room. It sounded as if someone or something was trapped inside and attempted to kick their way out. Instantly I ran out to the old access door, to see if a third party was tampering with our nerves, but it was totally sealed off. The only other way in or out was from the inside, and that door was locked as well.
It was confirmed: the boiler room had no access or exit … and to add to the perplexity the wind had lost its previous velocity and was now merely a breeze.
By 4.30am the storm after the calm had diminished. The investigation officially came to an end at 4.45am.
Night two of our investigation continued in the neighbouring building. The scenery of a dilapidated ward was daunting enough during the day, let alone at night. The occurrences experienced at this ward were nothing less than nerve straining. There is no doubt that the residual of the previous night played some role in this psychological hotbed of activities, but there is also no doubt that simple psychology could not explain certain phenomena experienced that night. However, we will cover the events that unfolded in ward 11 on a later date. For now, we are left analysing the data gathered from the initial investigation.